In a Binary World, You Can’t Have Angels Without Monsters

The moment we divided the world into opposites, we opened the gates of Hell.

Any good movie fan knows that Guillermo del Toro loves his grotesques — it rarely takes more than a glance to realize you’re watching a film from his universe. Really, though, it’s our universe, and del Toro’s fascination with monsters has little to do with making horror movies. His monsters spring from that half of the Western psyche that moves in darkness instead of light, night instead of day, and embraces evil instead of good. Our Western investment in a binary reality of opposing opposites is the bottomless well from which his monsters arise.

It might cross your mind after watching this video to wonder if Eastern cultures have monsters, since their comfort with duality would eliminate a need for the embodiment of opposites, as del Toro notes. They do

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less