No need to wait for The Walking Dead to return, zombies are real Dude. We can see them all around us, wandering the Earth mindlessly trying to satiate their animalistic hungers. They have forgotten that they are members of the human race, and they can’t see how their ravenous hungers are impacting their fellow man. They are animated by their need to consume, with little or no regard for the negative impact they have on our environments, leaving behind them only filth and decay. They walk among us man, they are the greedy, the apathetic, the over achieving consumers of emptiness and their hunger knows no bounds. If we are not careful, we can all, each of us, become one of the walking dead-inside.
Just like in The Walking Dead we all carry the virus, lying dormant waiting to be awoken. We all have the capacity to fall into zombie lifestyle, even the Dude gets seduced by the prospect of big money and things like a beeper and cell phone. However there is a cure, in the same way as in the movie Warm Bodies, in that unique zombie movie they find the act of caring for others is what reawakens their humanity and makes them alive again. We can avoid our own zombification, and also return others to their empathetic human selves. We just need to stay connected, stay empathetic, and stay aware of the zombie within us all, which is lying in wait to devour our humanity.
With no other thought than to feed and follow the herd, spreading their disease as they go real world zombies fill our communities, our malls, and our places of employment. Unmoved by the suffering they create, always looking to infect the others around them with self-satisfying emptiness and apathy. Real zombies cannot see their own suffering, but they can feel it. To them the only way to fill the emptiness is to surround themselves with more zombies. Herding together in order to make their situation feel ‘normal,’ if misery loves company, then real world zombies are the Lollapalooza of mindless consumption.
Not motivated by purpose, their work is simply a means to feed their desires, not their spirit. Zombies have jobs, but not careers, they have partners, but not lovers, their minds are addicted and closed, not limber and open. They infest the boardrooms of capital, and they lack any insight or any empathy for the humans and environments effected by their greedy desire to feed. Enlisting other zombies to aid them in converting resources and human expression into easily digested dollars. Money the main fodder for zombies, and though they live to feed and amass heaps of cash it is never enough. Not content to take their fill and move on, they gorge themselves on cash until they are bursting, and then seek more to assuage their loneliness.
When they can’t feed on money they devour hours of meaningless hollow entertainment, they shuffle about with their heads drooped over, staring into little screens they carry. Captivated by the mundane and mindless, there are whole television networks set up to feed these cultural zombies. Blinded by their zombification they cannot see the living breathing world around them, preferring instead to interact with televisions. Or maintaining a farm in some pixellated land, when instead they could be outside with their hands in the actual Earth, connecting, and seeing themselves as more than a simple consumer of nothingness.
That’s the bad news man, we are surrounded by a slow moving zombie apocalypse. But there is hope, many zombies can actually reawaken to their humanity. They can remember that they are here for more than to just feed, and we can help them find their humanity again while we inoculate ourselves. In The Walking Dead everyone is infected. This is true to real life as well, we all carry the zombie gene. Selfishness and disconnect from our fellow man and nature is how the virus invades our humanity, that’s how it transforms us. Understanding this is part of the key to avoiding zombification and also key to helping others return to their warm human nature. It is being too wrapped up in ourselves, and not connecting with others and the living world around us that releases the zombie toxin.
Empathy for and being connected to other humans and nature is the antidote to zombification, by staying in loving connection with all we stop the spread of the disease. You don’t even have to take this to the extreme, just simple loving acts can keep you whole and human. It is in living for more than ourselves, in caring and making a difference in others’ lives that gives us purpose. From the mother caring for her child to a fireman on the frontline, when we give of ourselves we get so much more in return, primarily our humanity.
It is also important to remember that humans and zombies can and do enjoy the same things, it is in the way we enjoy them, and how much of ourselves we share with the world that makes the difference. After all we all carry the zombie virus, and our families can have some active zombies within them. One could be awash in stacks of cash, and still not succumb to zombification; you could love certain TV shows, and still not be lost to the real world. Simply maintaining our connections can be enough. The greater our empathy for all beings, the greater the vaccine we create against becoming zombified.
That’s how they saved themselves in Warm Bodies: when they start to connect and care for others that’s when they start to have a heartbeat again. In the movie one undead starts to feel for a living human, he starts to become human and alive again. This “cure” is even contagious. When the other zombies see him protecting and caring for his living girlfriend they are inspired, empathetic thoughts and feelings reawaken within them. Even The Walking Dead shows us how when the group is working together, each member working for the good of all, that is when they survive the best. That is when their true character shows through and gives hope to their situation. When we learn to live for more than ourselves, when we see ourselves as a small part of something much larger and amazing, that is when we become most human.
There’s a time to say “fuck it” Dudes, but there is also a time to give a shit. Knowing when and how to give a shit may just save you from becoming zombified. By staying aware of ourselves and our thoughts we can be mindful of how the virus creeps into our lives. That is how we can foster more empathy and love in our lives. That is how we stay abidefully human instead of merely insatiably hungry.