Projections Of Existential Anxiety
What do goblins, ghouls, witches, vampires, werewolves, dragons, and demons have in common? They, along with all the other terrifying supernatural creatures fabricated throughout human history, are projections of existential anxiety. People have always struggled to simultaneously name and distance themselves from that inner dread, that threat of nothingness that is existential anxiety.
By it’s very nature existential anxiety is ephemeral, hard to conceptualize. There is no way to define nothingness. This is where those supernatural creatures step in, allowing for the transformation of nothingness into somethingness, into tangible objects that can be seen, heard, touched, tasted, conceptualized, combated. Better the devil you know than one you don’t.
We might scoff now at the fact that people believed in dragons, werewolves, or vampires but the average person today still believes in demons, ghosts, and the devil. Psychologically speaking the motivation is exactly the same. It’s a way to name and achieve distance from that painful, hard to define inner feeling of dread, to fool oneself into believing it’s inspired by real, definable entities out there. Then the threat those entities pose can be at least partially controlled through right living, prayer, magic, or luck, a situation that for most people is preferable to honestly confronting the true source, the threat of nothingness, that is always lurking in the background.