Nothing is more monstrous than man

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Fiction can teach real and important lessons.

Contrary to popular belief, Frankenstein was actually the name of the doctor that created the infamous monster. There is an almost poetic irony in the fact pop-culture always fails to recognise this important distinction between Frankenstein and his creation. Much like the symbolic nature of the unknown, unnatural, and unexplained, the hideous creature Frankenstein created was nameless. What was done to the nameless creature was monstrous, and this is what eventually created a monster.

In my experience, this story seems to echo the natural consequence of social participation today. Interior feelings trump facts and anything unknown, unnatural, and unexplained that doesn’t align with the narrowly defined status quo is often expelled or petitioned for censorship. Any discourse against the curve of political correctness can quickly turn hostile, resulting in polemic attacks and ad hominem arguments that create more monsters than they target. The misunderstood are outcast.

Why? Because we’ve allowed ourselves to be consumed by the serenity of convenient truths and the comfort of insulated exposure. We were raised in an environment of Fisher-Price rounded corners, talking costumed animals, and irenic fairy-tale endings to believe the world is one of cordial culture and civility. This lie has made many of us intolerant toward dissent, and now we’ve shamefully become a content moderated collective that can only accept the world through the lens of filtered selfies, Hollywood heroes, and picturesque celebrity lifestyles.

This comes at a social cost. Silenced outcasts become nameless. Anonymous prey-turned-predators left to wander the deep dark recesses of their own minds, assembling hideous thoughts from parts of exhumed ideas until their voice someday returns to life. As if rising from the lab table something different, the troll inhabitants of the Internet, but far from folklore.

Nietzsche nailed it. Real monsters live in the abyss of every mind – and when you gaze long enough into your reflection and the monster inside you gazes back, consider that maybe just on the other side of this life is another. Like an unfinished book you muse over until you reach a blank page where the story ends and you’re left alone with yourself and your thoughts. There lives the scariest monster. Nameless and frightful. One that even the most powerful drugs cannot slay, and one that you may someday need to face yourself, lest someone else face it first.

If we don’t like these monsters we’re creating then maybe we should consider the Frankensteins we have ourselves become — as like most, they become a part of our imagination or a part of ourselves.

Much is monstrous, but nothing more monstrous than man.


Jacob Riggs

Jacob Riggs is a senior cyber security professional based in the UK with over a decade of experience working to improve the cyber security of various private, public, and third sector organisations. His contributions focus on expanding encryption tools, promoting crypto-anarchist philosophy, and pioneering projects centred on leveraging cryptography to protect the privacy and political freedoms of others.

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