Zombies are having a moment. Television shows, movies, books, video games - zombies are the star of the show at every turn.
Don’t get me wrong - I like a good zombie (is that an oxymoron?) as much as the next person. But I find myself wondering why we are so enthralled with this concept of the undead. An apocalyptic turn of events: an infection of humankind that turns us into something else, and that turns that something else against us. The undead waging war on the living, never stopping until every living person has been consumed and/or turned into the walking dead too.
I think I understand why we like this genre (horror) so much - I suspect it’s the visceral nature of the experience. It truly transports us out of our reality, into another place; making us feel alive, if only because our stress hormones are going crazy as we get scared or titillated.
But I also wonder if there is something deeper here - a triggering of a concealed memory, something we are hiding from ourselves. Perhaps we watch this because, in some ways, it's real for us: We know we are at risk of becoming (or already are) the walking dead - moving and ever consuming, but not really alive.
More specifically, I have been thinking about how we tend to "deaden" our true selves/our souls in order to "function" or "survive" in our modern day existence: Consuming more and more of all kinds of things in a misdirected attempt at survival and success in the mortal world.
We come into this alive and kicking. Upon first breath, we begin to take in this strange new world around us. Bit by bit, we learn who we are "supposed to be" and generally try to become that. Bit by bit, we begin layering over our true nature, our true selves (which are inherently perfectly imperfect), in order to "fit in," "get by" or "win" in the world we find ourselves in. And functioning or even thriving in our modern, fast-paced world means turning to time-saving conveniences that ultimately distance us further from who we are at our core. "Conveniences" such as:
- Fast/processed/unhealthy food replacing the real nourishment that our bodies long for.
- Time outside in nature giving way to industrialization and factory or office jobs, increasing the time spent indoors and sedentary.
- Schools cutting recess/PE time in favor of more time at desks learning in a standardized way.
- Information technology minimizing or eliminating time to process communication thoughtfully.
- Social media and online interactions replacing real human-to-human contact.
Less time serving our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies means an increasing risk for disconnection between who we really are and who we are trying so hard to be (or not be). I think we become so disconnected, so distanced from what our souls really want, really need, that we then begin to take each day in survival mode - consuming whatever it is that our minds and bodies are calling for in that moment, rather than mindfully serving ourselves in a soul-nourishing way.
I believe that it is so painful, this separation from soul self, that we start to look for ways to numb out - consuming what we hope will make us feel better, in hopes of feeling better - but it never does, because it can't.
The antidote? I think it is in remembering who it is we really are, before the zombie apocalypse got us. To get back there, unpeeling the layers of human experience, human pathology and human habit to find out what really serves.
Zombies are having a moment. And if we are not careful, each of us can indeed become a mindless, consuming shell of what we were once were…what we were, and are, intended to be: Alive and kicking.
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Published On: September 09, 2013