Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Strange Case of the Zombie Apocalypse

Zombies scare me. Of all the nightmares that I recall, zombie nightmares are the most prevalent, aside from random nightmares about people chasing me around. I had a conversation earlier with a friend, who mentioned that he would blast the zombies away if ever there was a so-called "Zombie Apocalypse". That got me thinking. Why is our culture so obsessed with the zombie fantasy? Why is this subject so pervasive that it has spawned a whole "culture" and "phenomenon"? 

These questions plagued my mind for an entire afternoon, which was flooded by numerous questions. Why, whenever I had a zombie nightmare, was I always a survivor? Why, in people's imaginations, were they always part of the small group of survivors who have to battle against the hordes of zombies? We are all aware that zombies were once humans who lost their sanity. Then why is it that we never perceive ourselves as losing to the battle that we call the zombie apocalypse? This led me to ponder over the root of the entire issue. What did the zombies represent in our culture? Why are we so afraid of the zombie apocalypse happening? 

I believe that every "monster" in society, be it a zombie or even Godzilla, has a reason for its being. These monsters were invented, and remained prevalent in society simply because they each represent a fear inherent in every human being. Godzilla's creation stemmed from the Japanese fear of American invasion. This struck a chord with the rest of the world simply because every country in the world is afraid of invasion and perhaps, colonialism. Now, zombies, in this sense, would probably represent a global fear shared by every human. The fear of losing your humanity, or essentially, what makes you human. What differentiates us from other animals is our intelligence. Now imagine losing that, and having to base all your actions not on logic, but on instinct. This is but the beginning. The scariest part about zombie-ism is the aspect that causes a person to lose not only his or her intelligence, but his or her instincts as well. Lunging towards a moving car in a bid to devour some of that juicy juicy brains within would constitute a severe lack of instinct. 

Despite the origins of the zombie being that of Haitian Voodoo, the definition of the modern zombie seems to have deviated greatly from its roots. The original zombie was meant to be the "Undead", a corpse that has risen from its grave, losing its humanity through death. The modern zombie, on the other hand, appears to be a human being that has been defeated from a deadly virus and can be cured. The fact that the modern zombie can be cured seems to be evident of a common hope that exists among people today. In a sense, it represents a newly found optimism in modern society that had not existed in the past. 

The undifferentiated common fantasy, or confidence, to be the survivor in the case of a zombie apocalypse, is therefore derived from people's desire to become a hero, to represent the hope that the modern zombie phenomenon has paved the way for. That could also explain why superhero movies are gaining so much popularity recently. After all, who doesn't want to eventually save the day? 

So much logic disputes that a zombie apocalypse would never survive, much less succeed. Zombies are intrinsically human. They harbor no weapon against wild animals, or even against potential danger like the moving car I mentioned previously. Their sole weapon is their brutality, and perhaps, their teeth (Which are depicted in films as having the ability to rip open a human body, but in actuality, is probably blunt with the exception of "canine" teeth). Without their sense of logic and instinct, how do these defenseless creatures stand a chance against their armed and sane counterparts? Besides, a virus that spreads through biting simply isn't feasible. What then, when all humanity is gone and the only living creatures on the planet are zombies? Most viruses simply cannot survive without a living host, much less the zombie virus. 

Perhaps no one will ever know for sure whether the zombie apocalypse might happen, or how long the phenomenon in films and books will prevail. But one thing is for sure, in the case of such a situation actually occurring, pray hard that you'll be in the proximity of a zombie-blasting weapon! 

And since its Christmas, here's a picture of a winking Santa Claus! ;)

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