"I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history." -Cardinal Francis George

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Will There Be Zombies? Look around.

I love Zombie shows. The Walking Dead on AMC has been my surprise favorite viewing entertainment of the last several years. And even he movie Zombieland strikes more than a funnybone. There is some underlying truth that makes it so funny and entertaining. I have often wondered why we love zombie stories though. I think these shows (particularly The Walking Dead) are the most culturally relevant art available at the moment. They are relevant because they are true. What follows is an excerpt from an article with some of the most profound social commentary I have ever read. It answers my question about zombies better than anyone (including myself) has yet done, and it has an extended prophecy of the coming collapse, its causes, and what we can do to be prepared. It is sobering yet encouraging.

From Will There Be Zombies? by :

...it is often so that popular culture, guided only by its intuitive and communal wisdom, sees what can’t be seen, but is nevertheless real. But having gained some trust in that, I was still confused by the rather odd phenomenon of the zombies. Why did this rather obscure Caribbean cult of people in a drug-induced catatonic state get so easily transformed into such an elaborate metaphor of the post-apocalyptic world? And why did they think that the world after the collapse would be filled with people stripped of their souls, stripped of all feelings, whether of pain or pleasure, anger or joy, who spent their time relentlessly pursuing one product?

And then it struck me: they aren’t looking into the future, they are looking at the present moment; and they aren’t looking at what will be done to others; they are looking at what has already been done to themselves. The image, so silly on its face, resonates with the young because they know, at some intuitive level, that we are already in the midst of the apocalypse, that the world wishes to strip them of their minds and their hearts and make them pure consumers, and relentless consumers of one product, the advertiser’s dream. They know, in their heart of hearts, that the world is out to get them, and means them no good. They have seen a deeper truth than anyone cares to admit.

And what they have seen is something for which there is no parallel in history. Literature and the arts have always had, as their purpose, the transmission to the young of the most important values of a culture; they were the means of initiating the young into their own history, of telling them their own story. But never in history have such vast engines of persuasion and manipulation had, as their sole purpose, the degradation of the young, the stripping them of their minds and spirits; never has any society deliberately dedicated so much energy and wealth to corrupting its own young, to sacrificing its children to the idol of mindless consumption. There have been, to be sure, periods of bad literature and awful art, but even the worst was done with the best of intents; its purpose was never deliberate degradation for mere commercial advantage. Indeed, the Supreme Court of the United States has once again affirmed that the organized corruption of the young is a commercial right, even as it has affirmed in the past that exposing them to prayer in the classroom would be a violation of their rights. No civilization has ever committed such crimes against its own children.

Or perhaps there is a precedent. The Carthaginians, under siege from the Romans in 146 BC thought they could revive their fortunes by sacrificing their children; 300 children were thrown into a furnace to the god Moloch, but the city fell anyway, the inhabitants were sold into slavery, and the ground sowed with salt so that nothing would grow there, so deep was the Roman revulsion with the city. Carthago delenda est, and no city more deserved its fate.

But what of our fate? Have we not, in a way, committed the same crime to be condemned to the same fate? Have we not condemned our children to be sacrificed to the fires of a commercial Moloch, and must we not suffer a fate much worse than Carthage? Well, after all of this, I have a rather odd message: be of good cheer. We can get through this; we can do this, and perhaps it is only us, and people very much like us, who can do it. I believe that if we keep our wits and our faith about us, we can show our neighbors how to live—once we relearn the art ourselves.

We start by asking what happens in a collapse. ...
Read the full article here.


  1. Oh man! What an excellent point/perspective! I haven't heard anything that "on the mark" in a while! Thanks for sharing Uncle David.... I'm gonna have to read the rest of the article. Our society is sickeningly bent on destroying itself through creating a world of consumers... I like that he recognizes that "if we keep our wits and our faith about us, we can show our neighbors how to live—once we relearn the art ourselves."

    ...I wonder, too, if the zombie fascination doesn't also have to do with the world being dead to God since the fall of man. Those who do not have new life in Christ are literally dead zombies walking about fulfilling the lusts of their flesh.

  2. Yes, John John Médaille is great. On a side note, he is a distributist, which is the ecconomic philosophy on the third point of the triangle from capitalism and socialism. If you like him, you would LOVE Chesterton. And if you read Chesterton, start with Orthodoxy. I 100% guarantee you will love it.

    "Those who do not have new life in Christ are literally dead zombies walking about fulfilling the lusts of their flesh."

    Yes. I think that is the necessary conclusion we must come to when we look at the cultural suicide around us. But of course no one consciously sees themselves as "fulfilling the lusts of the flesh", they prefer to call it "freedom". And in the same way, they call their TV "reality TV" and their favorite viewing material "Adult"; which is to say they call things by the polar opposite of what they really are.

    But, although I agree with the thrust of your comment, I do think that a culture can be filled with people who are not necesarily living a regenerate life in Christ and yet not be so degraded like ours is. There is more to the story, and I dont know the answer. But the history of western Christendom is filled to the brim with generations of people who, on a whole, were fairly lukewarm in their faith on a personal level, yet these same people were able to produce great art, architecture, and thriving cultures where Christianity could flourish. I think this has something to do with the fact that they had a corporate identity which looked outside themselves at what is universal (truth, beauty) rather than a corporate identity based on individual "liberty", which looks inward.