The iconic Godzilla was introduced to the world over 60 years ago and has so far been the highlight of dozens of massive movies since. In fact, its most recent iteration, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was recently released in the cinemas. But more than the entertainment that those monster movies provide, is it possible that Godzilla, particularly the growth of its size, represents something more?
According to a pair of scientists from Dartmouth University, the fact the Godzilla has doubled in size since 1954 may be rooted in the real global anxiety that we are experiencing today.
Godzilla was first introduced during a time of turmoil. In fact, at the time, it represented the United States’ hydrogen bomb testing in the Marshall Islands. Back then, Godzilla was 50-meters-tall, but the most recent movie portrays the creature as a 119.8-meter-tall monster that is battling three other massive monsters.
While the growth in Godzilla’s size may merely be a cinematic choice, the researchers suggest that perhaps its size is actually growing in response to humanity’s growing collective anxiety. In fact, they were able to find a strong correlation between Godzilla’s growing size through the years and U.S. military spending, the latter being a factor used as a proxy for humanity’s anxiety.
Representation Of Humanity's Collective Anxiety
Simply put, while the size of a fictional monster seems harmless, or perhaps even trivial, it may actually be representing our growing fears and anxieties over the world today just as it did in the past. As our anxieties grow and evolve, so does Godzilla, regardless of whether those anxieties were born from perceived terrorist threats, geopolitical instability, bolstered military presence around the world, or other threats.
“If Godzilla is the embodiment of our anxiety, then our collective anxiety appears to be spiking as it did during the nuclear age of the 1950s,” researchers say.
That said, they also note that the movies may also be considered somewhat of a fable because they almost always lead humanity to realize that we have to work together in order to defeat the monster.
The paper is published in the journal Science.