Why am I fascinated about zombie stories?

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

I am attached to this world. I like life. I like living. I like learning from life. At the same time, and maybe for this reason, I listen carefully to what science has to say about our future if we continue with the same societal model. I’m tuned to them. I diversify my sources, but unfortunately it is now scientifically proven that our civilization will collapse because it is non sustainable. Civilization collapse doesn’t mean end of the world. It means the paradigms on which it is based will eventually totally change. Science also says it is very likely that humanity is heading towards major catastrophes, that may induce the civilization collapse. However the future will look, I now know I will live in my life many ends, and many beginnings.

Out of this analysis, I cannot prevent myself from making my imagination flow. Danger and end of our civilization does make me fantasize some kind of end of the world, or end of humanity as we know it today. The question I ask to myself is “why?”.

A cancer story

I wish the best for humanity, and for life on earth, but at the same time, I am fully aware that humanity, if it does not operate rapidly a radical switch of consciousness, is, and will continue to be, a cancerous tumor on a sick body, planet earth.

Not matter how religious people are, how any people place human at the center of the universe, this is the obvious truth: based on simple observation of nature and its functioning, we do are a tumor for Earth, and each human being is a cancer cell. If you don’t believe me, take this simple figure: in 1800 we were about 1 billion people. In a ridiculous 200 years, the world population increased more than sevenfold. More impressive. I was born in 1990 on a planet of 5 billion people. At school, as a teenager, I was told we were 6 billion on Earth. When I graduated in 2012 we were already 7 billion.

Redemption will come from humanity’s own ability to regulate itself, in a way that its living doesn’t undermine Earth ability to host all of us. And this implies that every one of us must operate a consciousness switch, or I can call it a mind decolonization from ideologies such as eternal growth and its wasteful consumption model. We also have to redefine in ourselves what being human means. We are all biologically wired to make more copies of ourselves, passing on our genes, making more babies. This is the result of a basic evolutionary process, that allowed us to survive when we weren’t once on top of the food chain. But now, what precisely allowed us to survive, could well be what is going to kill us. The planet is limited. We have to face it. Right now, if we globally change the way we live, Earth can host all of us, and more. But even when all of us will have an low carbon-footprint exemplary lifestyle, there will come a time in which we will be too many. Earth is limited. Soil is limited. There will come a time in which we will have to stop making babies. And if we do continue making babies, Earth will not allow it anyway. There will be no resources left, no room left, for extra human beings. Those who believe in a technological breakthrough to save us all are lying to themselves. Even if we did colonize other planets, or other solar systems, also those are limited in space, and the problem will eventually impose itself to us again.

So, all this digression is to say, that a major catastrophe like a zombie apocalypse, would be quite a horror, quite radical, but still, after all quite a solution. I’m lying. It wouldn’t be a solution at all but at least the “cancer” would stop spreading, it would reshuffle totally the life game’s cards and the threat and its solution would be much more easily identifiable.

Life would be easier

Life would be simplified. There would be one rule only: survive. Whereas, right now, life appears to me much more complex. Changing a society one person at a time is one such daunting task I have assigned to myself so that humanity can operate this mind decolonization, consciousness switch, I was mentioning above. It is a task I know I won’t get to experience the results in my lifetime. Therefore, if a zombie apocalypse occurs, all this difficult task would vanish, and the cards would be radically reshuffled. Threat will change face. Threat would no longer be the hard-wired mind of people toward satisfying their ego (growth) rather than their transcendental self (auto-regulation). Threat would no longer be people’s inability to control some of their biological impulses: getting more power, dominate the others, being recognized, but also making babies, and also some basic survival things such as eating but unfortunately done in an unsustainable manner. And all of sudden, our biological conditioning of survival, passing on genes, and all the other results of our evolutionary process, would suddenly be justified again. Biologically, we are much more adapted to face a zombie apocalypse, than to auto-regulate ourselves and enter the post-modern society of post-consumption.

The zombie apocalypse scenario is appealing to me if it is some kind of Earth’s response to its own disease. That would lift up the weight on humanity’s shoulder to take charge of its own responsibility in saving itself. We would no longer need to bother about how to make our life sustainable on Earth. We would not need to operate these difficult changes in our mind, in our heart, in our everyday habits, and even our own biological programmation. And for me that would be quite a relief. I wish I didn’t need to fight everyday to challenge how people think, how people speak, how people act. The thing is, I am not the kind of person who likes to hide being illusionary thoughts, to shut my mouth, close my eyes, and shut my ears in face of inconvenient disturbing truth or ideas I believe are right.

When I was a kid I grew up thinking horror, injustice, brutality, were a thing of the past. That we had achieved the best of what human beings can give, that everybody was alright, that we were in a democracy, in peace, and I just needed to enjoy life simply. But the more I grew, the more I saw that it was not true at all. The more I understood how far we were from a peaceful and serene society. The more I understood that brutality and injustice is a shadow following us constantly, and that peace and justice is not something you win once and get to have forever. It has to be fought for and by every single generation, reinforced constantly. I understood that my parents had not been vigilant, and were looking in another direction when brutality and injustice came up on the surface again, slowly, disguised, perniciously. Now I see the world as it is, and I understand that I have to fight for a better world, I understand that I have a moral obligation to keep fighting, for those who fought before, for me and my generation, and for those in the future. I also see the complexity of the task, but I am a lazy person. I don’t want to fight. I just want to garden, love people, create stuff, fail, succeed, discover the world, love a woman, grow kids, learn, teach, contemplate the beauty of nature, appreciate the beauty of life, and live in a society in peace with itself and its environment. People will tell me: “Well Nicolas, you are asking a lot but you still can do many of these things, you even already did some of them!”. True, but even if I was egoistic and did this thinking only about myself, society is such that I still will be pushed to fight for these things. “Life is a fight”. Sure, I accept it. I like problems for the challenge they bring, but not when they threaten the very existence of life. Not when they threaten peace and justice. That is my point. I wish I didn’t have to worry about it. I could forget it. But then I would very much hate the reflexion of myself in the mirror. So you see, a good zombie apocalypse would solve my existential problems, and humanity’s existential problems at the same time. At least temporarily.

One could also tell me why specifically a zombie apocalypse when any other end-of-the-world scenario would do? I think it is because I like the disease metaphor: we are a disease for Earth and by extension also for ourselves. And suddenly, caused by a disease, zombies, the pale reflexion of humanity, would plague us the same way we plague Earth. By eating us. Also, without zombies we are already auto-destroying ourselves, but then, with zombies, the image of auto-destruction is much more graphic, pregnant, visible: The zombies would become the embodiment of us currently destroying ourselves.

In conclusion, the reason why I like zombie apocalypse stories is because they answer this part of me that is lazy and coward, and because it would be a excellent metaphor of our own current auto destruction.

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About me
I'm passionate about sustainable lifestyles and urban agriculture. I believe that community-supported initiatives and bottom-up policies are key to foster necessary societal changes. I'm an advocate of degrowth, agro-ecology, sharing economy and participatory democracy. Based in Bratislava, Slovakia, I like learning, reading, writing, sharing, hiking, dancing, eating, and celebrating.
Nicolas Giroux
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