Why are zombie movies so popular? Are they giving us a reflection of something?
I once read about a fascinating account an alcoholic had with his demon.
He was talking about his drive home from work. He went through different stages. At first it was.
“I’m getting in the car, but I’m going straight home.”
Then it was:
“This isn’t the road I normally take, but I’m not going to the bottle shop.”
“Ok, this is the road to the bottle shop, but I’m not going in.”
“Ok, I’m going in, but I’m not going to buy anything.”
“Ok, I’m buying a bottle, but I’m not going to drink it.”
“Oh no, I’m drunk again.”
Addiction is a powerful thing, and I can only imagine how terrifying it is to not have full control over your life, even your own body.
I think it’s why zombies have such sway in popular culture. They’re totally relatable.
Zombies are bodies that have ‘slipped the leash’. They’re no longer controlled by their ‘human’ masters. They’re just an animated meat raffle.
And the truth is that even without a shred of what we call ‘intelligence’, those animated slabs of meat are quite powerful.
I think we recognise something in this. I think we recognise that our own bodies are quite powerful and driven, and the only thing preventing us from becoming zombies (maybe not hungering for brains – but doing other things that might get us into trouble) is a thin line of ‘will’.
Basically, we are all zombies with manners.
And when you realise that we are all zombies with manners – that society is a seething maul of zombies, held together by nothing but politeness, I think it can be a little scary.
And so zombie films give this terror an outlet. When someone is being chased down by a pack of zombies, deep down, we can relate.
And I think the truth is, that for a lot of us, we are a bit scared of our own bodies. They feel alien and mysterious. They’re governed by drives that are difficult to understand.
And we all fear the things we can’t understand.
But I think where we run into trouble is in our response to this.
And mostly I think that’s because we energise our heads. We think we can ‘intellectualise’ our way out of the problem. If we think hard enough about ethics and right and wrong, if we keep drawing our awareness out of our bodies and into our minds, then there’ll be no room for the zombie within.
We can smoother him with thought.
We live in an era where we celebrate the intellect, so I can understand where this idea comes from. But I still think it’s wrong.
And the truth is that an uncontrolled intellect is just as scary as an uncontrolled body. Think of all the sci-fi movies – Terminator and all that – movies where some sort of super intelligence slips the chains of human control and wrecks havoc.
Either we forget to teach it right and wrong and it just decides that it would be useful to enslave people (or turn them into batteries); or we do teach it right and wrong and it sees that humans are mostly wrong, and it decides it would be doing the universe a favour by getting rid of us.
Pure intellect gets pretty scary pretty quickly.
So I wonder if the growth journey is just about bringing both the mind and the body under control, and bringing them into harmony.
Both are incredibly powerful tools. There is a deep wisdom that lives in the body, and a deep connectedness. This is a valuable resource. Likewise, the mind’s deductive powers are incredibly useful.
But how do we make them work for us? Thankfully, the science here advances further and further every year. We know more and more about how to interface with, and direct our body and mind.
A lot of the tools I teach my students can be seen through this lens. Take vision-boards for example. This is a process of teaching your body, at a deep level, what it is that you really want. It’s about focussing and harnessing the power of your subconscious.
It’s about putting your zombie to work.
There is a deep, beauty-loving power in the body and mind. Too often the default setting is to be afraid of both, and cling desperately to the steering wheel in your little seat of consciousness.
But there is a fascinating journey waiting for you here – the journey into knowing the full depths of your own being, and the full depths of your own power.
Go you good zombie.
Any tips for hacking your own zombie?