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May 30, 2018

Learning From Monster Movies

By Rob Kall

Movies create monsters so they can be killed, James Cameron says. But sometimes we don't know that what's been created is a monster until it comes to life. What if we've been living with a monster for thousands of years?


Movies create monsters so they can be killed, James Cameron says.

But sometimes we don't know that what's been created is a monster until it comes to life. What if we've been living with a monster for thousands of years?

James Cameron's new series, Story of Science Fiction, is incredible. He includes the biggest, smartest, most creative writers, directors, actors, scientists, set designers, and analysts in a wide-ranging exploration of the dimensions of science fiction. They include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Guillermo Del Toro, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Goldblum, Ridley Scott, Zoe Saldana, Will Smith, Bruce Willis, Keanu Reaves, Christopher Lloyd, Rolland Emmerich, and so many more.

One comment that a few people repeated was that science fiction explores unexpected consequences. For example, they point out how Mary Shelly created Frankenstein after learning about the work of Galvani, where he electrified frogs and caused their legs to jump. Electricity was a new idea then. Edison was not thrilled with the idea that the energy he'd tamed was being used to create a monster.

Steven Spielberg observes to Cameron that people aren't interested in the positive results of new innovations. They're interested in the ways things go wrong.

That got me thinking about one of the biggest innovations humans ever created--civilization. We take it for granted. Many attack people or cultures who don't buy into it as uncivilized.

In my journey of exploring all the realms of bottom-up and top-down it became clear to me that civilization, with its transition to top-down ways of being, has produced some of the most horrible, monstrous unexpected developments; i.e., things that have gone wrong.

James Cameron observes, in discussing the creation of Godzilla, on his segment on monsters, " create a monster so you can kill it." and Guillermo Del Toro observes that monsters reflect the zeitgeist of the times.

In 2011, I watched one of the early Avengers movies, right around the time the Occupy Wall street was happening. As I was walking out of the theater I thought to myself that the hero of the movie, of virtually all movies, is one guy, one protagonist. And being immersed in Occupy, with its emphasis on bottom-up horizontalism, it came to me that we could be making movies in which the crowd, the people, humanity became the hero.

I contacted Chris Vogler, the guy who wrote the book on applying Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey concept to movie making. We had a great conversation about it.

Add that to my watching Cameron's TV series and I am wondering why we can't have movies that literally challenge civilization. And of course, we do have some. Pierre Boulle's book Planet of the Apes explored the liabilities of civilization. Cameron's Avatar brings the viewer to the point where we are rooting for the indigenous Navi and hating the human corporate tools, wanting them to be killed.

I'm sure there are many other films. I depend upon the wisdom of the crowd in the comments to help me recall and discover them.

But no matter how many have already been made, we can use a lot more. Civilization enabled humanity to stay in one place, to accumulate surpluses, to build grand cities and massive road systems, to land on the moon. But it also brought us hierarchy, domination, slavery, patriarchy, authoritarians, diversity-destroying centralization, enabling and empowerment of narcissists and psychopaths, world wars, environmental destruction, and mass murders of millions.

Cameron's guest, Alec Gillis, effects designer for Aliens, observes that "the queen alien has organic, flowing lines to her, because she's feminine. She's hideous but she's also very beautiful, which is fitting of an elegant matriarch of an alien society."

Keep in mind that often, monsters don't start off as monsters. They start off as someone or something beautiful and mysterious. We don't learn until later in the story that what seems beautiful, or magical is, in reality, a monster.

We should be questioning every aspect of civilization, all the ways it's gone wrong. And of course, science fiction is one of the best ways to do that.

Submitters Bio:

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect,
connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity  

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune
500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered
first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and
Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful
people on his Bottom Up Radio Show,
and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and
opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

Rob Kall Wikipedia Page

Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 400 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Or check out my Youtube Channel

Rob Kall/OpEdNews Bottom Up YouTube video channel

Rob was published regularly on the for several years.

Rob is, with the first media winner of the Pillar Award for supporting Whistleblowers and the first amendment.

To learn more about Rob and, check out A Voice For Truth - ROB KALL | OM Times Magazine and this article. 

For Rob's work in non-political realms mostly before 2000, see his C.V..  and here's an article on the Storycon Summit Meeting he founded and organized for eight years. 

Press coverage in the Wall Street Journal: Party's Left Pushes for a Seat at the Table

Talk Nation Radio interview by David Swanson:  Rob   Kall  on Bottom-Up Governance June, 2017

Here is a one hour radio interview where Rob was a guest- on Envision This, and here is the transcript. 

To watch Rob having a lively conversation with John Conyers, then Chair of the House Judiciary committee, click hereWatch Rob speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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His quotes are here

Rob's articles express his personal opinion, not the opinion of this website.

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