So /tg/, how would you define a monster? I feel it's a vague term that can describe anything that invokes fear to unnatural beings separate from humans and animals.
I am not the person to be asking this question, what with a brief description of my first character being "Social Justice Paladin who took a Mind Flayer under her wing within the first 5 minutes of the session"
Monsters are unnatural things; they are defined in terms of wrongness. Excess or dearth, absence or overabundance, incongruity.
A zombie is a monster because of what it lacks (consciousness, language, a pulse).
A giant spider is a monster because of what it has in excess (it's too big).
A chimera is a monster because of its incongruity (lion, goat, and serpent parts aren't supposed to go together) and because of its excess (it has too many heads).
Monstrosity may be defined in terms of outwardly visible physical components (monstrous appearance) and/or internal mental/behavioral components (evil).
Patrick Bateman from American Psycho may be called a monster; though he looks like a normal human being, he is lacking in empathy and restraint but excessively charismatic and excessively prone to violence and sexual depravity.
A monster does not necessarily need to be a creature, either. The spiral symbol from the film Uzumaki is a kind of monster too, excessively powerful for something so abstract, yet lacking in any kind of meaning that we can comprehend. Other examples of abstract monsters include the Color Out of Space, and the Videodrome signal.
You realize that there are far more kinds of definitions than just what are in the dictionary? The dictionary will only give lexical definitions. And to quote Wikipedia:
>Note that a lexical definition is descriptive, reporting actual usage within speakers of a language, and changes with changing usage of the term, rather than prescriptive, which would be to stick with a version regarded as "correct", regardless of drift in accepted meaning. They tend to be inclusive, attempting to capture everything the term is used to refer to, and as such are often too vague for many purposes.
If you wanted a more specific definition, you'd have to get a precising definition, which is basically a definition that goes out of its way to be very specific, like what you would find in a legal document. A lot of kinds of definitions that we could use can't be used for a fictional kind of creature like a monster. There's no genus or class to match it to, it's not part of any scientific theories, and we can't just point out monsters whenever we see them. At best, we could also have a stipulate definition - a definition where an already commonly used term is given a new, specific meaning for the sake of an argument (I define liberals under these lines) or for slang (This music is hip).
I should clarify:
Monstrosity is defined in terms of deviance from what we understand to be 'normal' or within the bounds of nature.
A six-foot-eight person is just a tall person. A nine-foot-eight person is borderline monstrous. A sixty foot tall person is definitely monstrous.
Any fat person you see scooting around Walmart is just a normal person, but the Baron Harkonnen from Dune might count as a monster due to his excesses made all the more excessive by his incongruity (he levitates.)
Medieval and Early Modern art and literatures are replete with images of nonnormative bodies. Saints lives valorize physical challenges, fabliaux render them metaphorical, medical texts pathologize them, and marginal images make them subjects of amusement. Divergent bodies are viewed as gifts from God, markers of sin, or manifestations of medical imbalances. In many cases throughout Western history, a figure marked by what Rosemarie GarlandThomson has termed “the extraordinary body” is labeled a “monster.”
In this collection, we wish to take on the challenge of examining the intersection of the discourses of “disability” and “monstrosity.” Bringing these two themes together is a timely and necessary intervention in the current scholarly fields of Disability Studies and Monster Studies, especially in light of the pernicious history of defining people with distinctly nonnormative bodies or nonnormative cognition as monsters. This collection will explore the origins of this conflation, examine the problems and possibilities inherent in it, and cast both disability and monstrosity in the light of emergent, empowering discourse of posthumanism.
true monsters in my setting are basically: "Anything that's been tainted/corrupted by the blood of Humbaba; the god-eating, nightmarish monster abomination who fucked up the planet with a 1200 year long war."
Thus, Daemons (distinct from Demons, who were the native denizens of the Second Civilization), despite being humans, fully sapient, and are not inherently hostile, are still considered monsters because they've been tainted.
Meanwhile though, Slimes are simply classified as animals (technically aberrations because they fly in the face of understood biology by being giant, one foot tall and wide amoebas) and Dungar (dwarven soldiers the Gods mutated into super soldiers in their battle with Humbaba and basically are a mix between FO Super Mutants, 40k Orkz, and TES falmer) are simply considered "Altered"
That's not the definition of rape I subscribe to - it's when you stick the penis inside the vagina (or you force the penis inside the vagina if that's how it's going) without consent that it's rape. Creepy hellos are creepy, but not illegal or morally wrong.
>and we can't just point out monsters whenever we see them
Because that thing which is eating my family right in front of me and smiling at me just because it fucking can is certainly not a monster.
Nevermind the fact that a twenty-six foot tall, ten-thousand pound, forty-two-armed, seven-legged, goat-headed, anus-mouthed, acid-breathing, child-eating, family-destroying, Santa-hating dickwad would be the sort of thing universally called a monster.
You really can point at a monster, and generally speaking, normal and sane people will agree that it's a monster.
Unless you're being an asshole on purpose.
>when you stick the penis inside the vagina
You're forgetting the basics here
Irina Metzler has observed that in the Middle Ages there was no conception of the disabled as it would accord with modern notions of embodied difference.In looking for figures of the disabled and the deformed,scholars in medieval Disability Studies have often fallen back on monstrosity as an overlapping or even equivalent category.We are looking for essays that address the imbrications of monstrosity and disability in provocative and searching ways.We especially encourage essays that do not simply collapse these two categories,but rather look to interrogate the convergence and divergence of the monstrous and the impaired in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period.What is the effect of reading monsters as disabled and the disabled as monstrous?How does the coupling of these two Othered groups obscure important features?How does reading them together illuminate the social and cultural processes by which difference is constructed?How do the discourses of monstrosity and disability intersect with recent thinking on the posthuman?We invite essays from all disciplines and national traditions,and we welcome interdisciplinary,transtemporal and transcultural thinking, including medievalism. We plan to include ten to twelve essays,framed by an introduction written by the editors and pair of brief codas written by prominent figures in Disability and Monster Studies.We invite essays based in the disciplines and discourses of medicine,literature,religion,art history,law, ethics,and on,that consider themes including visibility and invisibility,civilization and wildness,normativity and abnormality,vulnerability,processes,transformations,encounters,and enactments.Possible topics include, but are not limited to,“monstrous births”;“monstrous peoples”;“monstrous gender”;religious,social,and political otherness; physical,mental and cognitive difference;care and treatment of the disabled;disability,sin,and salvation;and positive,even celebratory depictions of disability.
There are humans, the species. There is human, to be relatable to us on a deep level. There is humanity, or mercy. There is humanity, the species.
So to get this out of the way, the term can mean more than just one thing in differrnt contexts.
Monster can refer to any non-humans, or things you cannot play as without level adjustment. Or to anything hostile, including other humans. Or to a cruel disposition. It can mean other than human, as in "minority" refers to other ethnic groups than the largest in the nation. It can refer to sins comitted, being a moral version of "criminal". It can be a word used to describe an unknown value, like Fey or Spirit.
If you're just talking about calling something a monster like 'that bear is a monster' or 'that bureaucrat is a monster' then sure, we can point out monsters.
But if we're talking about fantasy monsters, you can't point them out, especially as a broad category.
That's a good point anon. I guess anal would still be rape, oral would be what I'd file under sexual assault (along with lewd touching without consent).
Not sure how it'd go in court though, so don't go 'anon told me it wasn't rape if I did this.'
>anon gives explicit example regarding a fantastical monster, and how you could literally point at it and call it such
>"well you can't actually point out a monster in a fantasy setting"
>never minding the fact that most setting with monsters have a separate compendium or bestiary or tab therein which specifies monsters
Kill urself my man.
Okay, look at it this way - if somehow I'd never heard the term animal before, and I asked you to tell me what animals are, pointing to a dog wouldn't solve anything. I'd think what a animal is would be a dog.
Yes, a dog is an animal, but there are a shit ton of animals. It'd take hours to just try to point all the common ones out.
He gave me a lot of descriptors. Are monsters only monsters if they're twenty-six foot tall, ten-thousand pound, forty-two-armed, seven-legged, goat-headed, anus-mouthed, acid-breathing, child-eating, family-destroying, Santa-hating dickwads?
Is a monster suddenly not a monster if he celebrates Christmas or has an elephant head, or is only a foot tall and twenty pounds?
Not him, but Ill give you a better example.
I could point to a cat and say it is a feline, but that wouldnt make clear what a feline is.
Someone who has never seen a dog or such would be prone to thinking that it is also a feline.
>had a long thing all written up and ready to go
>decide anon is just being a faggot just to be a faggot
>go on with my life
It's not a question of intelligence - it's giving a guy a word and expecting him to know exactly which things to always be able to apply it to, just by pointing one singular example out. If you point to a flower and say it's a plant, someone from the desert probably wouldn't be able to point out moss or trees or bushes as plants. If you pointed out a boulder to a guy who'd somehow never seen one before, he'd probably call a mountain a boulder too.
And that's why stipulative definitions are at the end of the day the most fallible. Sorry about getting something forced down your throat.
Dogs and cats are also visually distinct, and behaviorally so as well.
Even big cats can be told apart from dogs.
And this is without any prior knowledge apart from what you can observe on the surface with little actual observation.
An actual example would be something like alligators to crocodiles. Something that is to the uninitiated entirely the same thing, save perhaps size discrepancy or coloration, both of which do not immediately spring to mind as anything other than genetic diversion.
Oh come on, cats and dogs aren't that dissimilar, especially if somehow you don't already know there's a distance. They're roughly the same size in several cases, they're both covered in fur, four legs, two ears, they don't talk, they act as people's pets and often wear collars...
You'll notice that housecats, lions, cheetahs, jaguars, and mountain lions all act very similar to each other, in some cases in the exact same way.
They also look very similar, if not the same in some cases.
They don't act the same in the slightest and plenty of defining features that are as far apart as cats and dogs
Feline and canine have clear (scientific) definitions. And OP is asking for such, not examples that vary greatly, not to mention the examples of monsters are even further apart that flies and fish
>The meanings of words changes all the time.
Nope they dont.
New meanings are added to words, old ones are never removed.
If the word 1 means X
And people start to use word 1 to definition Y
Word 1 now means X and also means Y
But what if, as time goes on, no one uses word 1 to mean X anymore? Eventually the definition gets old enough it's only used in archaic texts.
Who uses 'marry' as an expression of surprised agreement anymore?
Non-sapient creature (alive, animated, or undead) that has the potential and proclivity to kill an armed adventurer.
Drawing a parallel to real life- a hippopotamus. A hippo is a monster.
im gonna go with the dictionary, just like that other dude said it gets updated and is a general representation of what qualities make a monster.
a strange or horrible imaginary creature
: something that is extremely or unusually large
: a powerful person or thing that cannot be controlled and that causes many problems
Full Definition of monster
a : an animal or plant of abnormal form or structure
b : one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character
: a threatening force
a : an animal of strange or terrifying shape
b : one unusually large for its kind
: something monstrous; especially : a person of unnatural or extreme ugliness, deformity, wickedness, or cruelty
: one that is highly successful
You got animals out here in the world, right? We got a pretty good idea how they came around.
A monster is any creature you couldn't plop down in the real world and then build a ecosystem for it to live in that would make it what it is.
Dire wolves, you can look at them in the real world and go "okay, a little excessive, but I could see how that could work in the right environment with proper physics and all that." They're just animals.
No amount of evolution is going to give you a chimera.
>by lurking more
Seriously, you lurk in China for five years, and never speak a word of English, you'll be surprised how well you speak Chinese at the end. You won't lose your accent, but you'll make good conversation; better than a five year old Chinese baby.
While that makes sense, how the hell is anyone going to lurk in a country they don't speak the language of for five years? Wouldn't it be more likely in your scenario that they'd seek out the people that also speak English and focus on talking to them to the exclusion of learning any Chinese?
Sure, because you already have the language to map Chinese onto by picking it up in context / overhearing.
For those without language in the earliest stages of life we literally use pointing and repeating.
Depends. Are the fairies and aliens people? People overrides monster. Otherwise monster.
Robots are their own category, but you can have robots that have the traits of monsters. Robot Monsters.
That's what I'm saying.
DON'T SEEK OUT ENGLISH. Babies don't have 'basic language' to retreat to (fu Chomsky), adults do have their language to fall back on.
I'm given to understand that Dutch is one of the harder languages to learn well, even though it's so close to English. Why? You go to the Netherlands to immerse yourself, and they all speak English to you, and fluently too.
And I don't mean to literally lurk in the shadows, lurk like babies lurk, this includes pointing and grunting.
Monster is the word you use when the thought that any person or animal could have done what so disgusts you is too terrifying to bear. So you use "monster" to make them special and apart from everything else.
Dictionaries are reactionary, not prescriptivist. They report what the general sense of a word is in a population at the time of their writing. They do not claim to direct how words are used and force this upon the masses.
I'd say a monster is a living (or unliving, if you subscribe to that sort of worldview) thing that inspires horror. A human very well can be a monster, if they act monstrously, as can a bear, a golem, and a spectre. The key is that you are changed by the contact with the monster, and the monster provokes a negative emotional response.
and for luck
Unnatural beings with a penchant for evil. Of course, natural beings can become sufficiently evil to warrant being called "Monster."
>I'm given to understand that Dutch is one of the harder languages to learn well, even though it's so close to English. Why? You go to the Netherlands to immerse yourself, and they all speak English to you, and fluently too
Well, not fluently, but nearly everyone speaks it on basic level
>They don't act the same in the slightest
I am utterly nonplussed by this.
They actually have similar methods of stalking, pouncing, similar ways of showing aggression, startlingly similar tells in terms of emotional response, incredibly similar methods of attacking, each one is adept at climbing and they all climb the same way, the exact same way, mind you.
That's like saying humans and any other ape share virtually no similar qualities or behaviors, which is totally false.
Felines are feline because of their physiology, they -will- be similar because they are almost the same in every way save size and environment. The small differences they have are because of those two factors, otherwise virtually the same. And even humans, who are far and beyond other apes in stature and intelligence still share qualities with them.
But then why don't we just call humans apes, if humans are so similar? You must admit that there are still differences, no matter what ideas of obvious similarity you try to draw. Differences in where they live, what sort of prey they prefer to hunt, if they naturally coexist with humans, if the hunt by chasing their prey down or ambushing them...
>Language acquisition and definitions aren't exactly the simplest things in the universe.
True, what why we still don't have machines that can do it reliably. But person of average intellect can pick up most languages pretty fast if they actually focus on it on daily basis. The problem is most people won't, because they either don't have the patience or don't have the time.
>no tail, so not a monkey
>Y5 lower molar, just like chimps, gorillas and orangs
Humans have got all the hallmarks of being an ape. We even share 98% of the same genes as bonobo chimps. One might even go so far as to argue that we ARE chimpanzees. The sexy ones.
In my setting, it is any being which is souless, harmful to mortals (anything with a soul) ort society, and/or devoid of empathy.
A friendly dragon is a mortal, the draconic empire is ruled by monsters. Undeads are monsters, the Ordo Athanatoi's undead knights are valuable citizens.
The local law may sentence a fugitive criminal, such as a killer or rapist the brand of 'monster', meaning it is a crime to help "it' and killing "it" is a duty of every citizen.