difference between monster and cyborg


The other “I” in your book, the “I” who is not you, Laloo, seems to have already created her own definitions for monsters and cyborgs that exist separately from society’s collective understanding of the concepts. She writes that monsters hallucinate and that cyborgs are sexual. I have never considered what sort of hallucinations a monster might have. Perhaps that is because to label something or someone a monster is to dehumanize them, and to hallucinate is such a human experience. I have also never considered cyborgs to be sexual, although it seems right they would have a sexual agenda, not sexual desires. But the term cyborg connotes metal and machinery. No nerve endings. No hot flesh. The antithesis of something as human as sex. If one of the two would be sexual, I would expect it to be the monster, because sex is animalistic.

I think I have written too much about your, or not you but the other  “I”‘s, definitions of cyborgs and monsters without elaborating my own understanding of the concepts, the understandings I held prior to reading this book. Is that what you’re asking about? These are the understandings that shape how I comprehend hers, so I shall lay them out for you to assist you as you comprehend my comprehension of her understandings.

Cyborgs and monsters, like every other categories of being, are constructs composed by language and human thought. In this case specifically, they are two categories into which humans thrust what they consider to be “the unnatural.” Terrifying beings that shouldn’t exist; that god didn’t create. Humans write fantasy about monsters. They write science fiction about cyborgs. Stories about both usually center on horror.

The chief difference between the two is how the unnaturalness of each relates to humans’ sense of control.  Monsters are unnatural scary beings born from nature (I am aware that this quite blatantly contradicts with their categorization of “unnatural”–humans are not rational creatures. Often what is “unnatural” has little to do with nature and much to do with humans’ sense of comfort.) Humans, therefore, have no control over them. The most they can do is attempt protect themselves against them or hunt them down, but they cannot prevent their existence.

Cyborgs, on the other hand, have a more complicated relationship with human control. They are the children of human manipulation. They are the product of humans mastering control over machinery and nature to create something quite unnatural. But then, they so quickly become the loss of human control. They gain intelligence that surpasses that of their creators. They take over. (I have actually consumed very little media that contains cyborgs, but this is my impression of what happens.)

There are exceptions. Frankenstein’s Monster, one of the most classic examples of Monster, was created by a human. He was the result over a human trying to exert control to make something unnatural. The situation spiraled out of his control, from my understanding (or maybe not, I have never actually read Frankenstein.) But then maybe the fault here lies not with my definitions but with his categorization? Maybe he would more accurately be named “Frankenstein’s Cyborg.” Or would he need some sort of computer, software element for that?

I don’t know.

I don’t know why you thought I would have these answers.



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