Smiling Souls

Steeped in the delicious tea like leaves of anthroposophy for the evolving soul.


I had an idea yesterday that I really liked. I have been thinking about zombies and other horror staples as metaphors for psychological illness and dysfunction in mainstream world culture. I see all things, even scary things, as reflections of the soul. Things to gain positive insight from, to grow from, and to evolve from. The zombie as a ghoulish creature is an interesting reflection of self. It thinks very little. It is not self aware. It mindlessly consumes the flesh of living people whenever possible. It festers, and rots, and falls apart.

For me, zombies reflect in their most distilled representation, misery. Misery loves company, and misery will seek out any path that presents itself to bring to itself that company. What a coincidence, because zombies love company too. You might say they are drooling over it!

In a more fine-grained understanding, zombies reflect the misery of mindless consumerism and constant escape. If you look at aspects of life on earth, it isn't very difficult to make the connection between zombies as a metaphor and the materialistic consumerist culture. Where living animals are treated like inventory. Where plants are modified without consideration for the harm that modification might cause to people. The onus for this falls at the feet of the consumer, who does not consciously recognize or consider how their behavior plays a role in feeding this tragically uncaring beast of greed, gluttony, sloth, and misery.

Consumerism is like the zombie because it consumes indiscriminately and without regard for the source of what it consumes. It feeds and feeds and feeds until there is nothing left to feed on, and it leaves nothing behind to carry on when it has passed. It does not even have regard for destroying itself in the process of consuming or seeking out consumption.

Another aspect of the misery reflected in zombies is the constant need to escape. The need to escape through television and movies. The need to escape through drugs. The constant need to escape any meaningful self reflection, dialogue, or interaction with self or with other people. At its core, the zombie does not think, it carries on in a trance like state reacting only to its primitive desire to make more zombies by consuming all living flesh it sees until that flesh becomes a zombie too.

Of course, we need certain things to stake out an existence, material things aren't themselves bad. Neither is consuming meat in itself a bad thing. But an ethical and realistic approach to solving the zombie problem looks vastly different than the one conditioned upon us by the wealthy elite. It requires treating animals as living beings, just as necessary and equal in existence as humans are, and providing animals with their natural environment and the care a living being should have. If the animal is a chicken, then it should be doing things that you imagine a chicken would do. Pecking food from a lush green field, for example, running free. Not grown in tiny cages the animal is not allowed to depart while being pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to squeeze the most money out of its brief and miserable existence. Practicing LOVE demands that any animal be treated well and that its existence be respected and regarded as sacred, rather than something to control and dominate.

Likewise, the destruction of natural environment must end. Trees, green growing things, the ocean, the air, are all sacred things required for both humans and animals to exist on the earth. The impediment to realizing harmony and balance with mother nature is materialism and greed. Greed never finds enough to be satisfied, that's why it is called greed. Today greed has destroyed so much habitat that entire species are on the brink of extinction, and greed will not be satisfied once it has made extinct the entire earth, not even when the last breath is choked out of the last living thing.

The various tools of escape have to be minimized or eliminated. First, it is required to consider the motivation behind tools of escape and what those things bring in terms of personal growth. Where it concerns television, video games, and movies, not all are equal. The objective of television is to keep watching television, and so television is designed like a fly trap. It lures in and won't let you leave easily. One episode is intentionally designed to be a cliff hanger, to keep you coming back to watch the next episode and the one after that, ad infinitum. Television and movies also portray a very unrealistic view of life. You get lots of drama and violence and imagination. Life seems very exciting through the eyes of someone else when you can live vicariously through that person in a world that does not exist with characters that don't exist. But when you leave the television or the movie and return to your own life, your own life seems less fulfilling and more dull. You are not as excited about your own existence. Not as excited or interested in talking to your wife or husband or children. The event of the day of an ordinary life don't feel as fulfilling when you spend all your time engaged in someone else's idea of an adventure or good story. Additionally, through media, you are constantly being influenced and conditioned. Your point of view on political and social issues is influenced. You are constantly being subliminally persuaded to buy things to make your life better, even when more often than not you don't need those things.

Which is certainly not to say that all is bad in television, movies, and video games, some things excite and inspire. Some things lift up and cause great reflection leading to growth. It requires a discerning attitude to tell the difference.

The effect of lulling media essentially has the same effect as drugs in terms of escaping life and interaction with self or others. Turning off the television is a big step forward, doing so comes with the realization that you will never find the resolution you seek, it is an illusion. You are constantly being led like the rabbit to a carrot on a stick.

So in consideration of the zombie as a metaphor for social dysfunction, I've made a plan for my own future that involves as much self sustaining behavior as possible, and as little reliance on the outside world as possible. This involves paying off and canceling credit cards and loan debt. It involves the desire to own a farm, to grow food, to shepherd animals for both well-being and eating. I'm not perfect, and at this point in my own life these solutions are still in their infancy, but at least I have already recognized the zombie in my own behavior, awakened to it, and am taking steps in the direction of changing that behavior.



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