There is an amusing essay here about the deadness of modern life and our culture’s fascination with zombies and how the two may be related on some levels. It is an interesting connection because the modern, in relation to its streams of naturalistic influence (philosophical naturalism) has a way of reducing everything to the point of “deadness” really, for want of a better word. What is the difference between being alive and being dead? At first glance the question appears obvious, rather dumb even. But if life is just matter-in-motion, if it is just chemistry, if it is only signals from our brain to raise an arm and such, then is that “life.” Certain brain injuries leave people in just such a state of “life.” If anyone remembers the scene in the movie “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” where the character played by Jack Nicholson is lobotomized, we see the difference between being alive and just existing. Bacteria, worms, and maggots have the same sort of “life.” What is the difference between that type of “life” and what we as humans normally experience? One would probably say “consciousness” is the difference. But materialism reduces this down to chemistry too. It is an illusion really. Modern life tends to reduce us to machines, where our “humanness” our “spirit” is only an illusion. But we are not machines, we are flesh and blood—thus the better analogy may be we are reduced to, if not zombies, at least a zombie type existence.
People on the street don’t normally give this much thought, but the zeitgeist, the world-view operative at any given time in a culture, has a way, like fog, of seeping in and coloring they way we view ourselves and the world. I think in much of the modern escape into endless entertainment, over-eating, consumerism, drug and alcohol addiction, sex addiction, and even the mindless violence one sees, for instance after a city’s team wins a sports championship, or more apt in the endless military adventurism and war drum beating, we see an attempt to “feel” to truly “live” because of this “deadness” bequeathed to us by the modern related to its materialism. These acts are almost done in rebellion to the disenchantment of the world and ourselves. The modern, in its technological aspect, allows all the conveniences for an easy life and the ability to acquire, but no narrative of purpose, no over-arching noble goal, no romance, no love, no redemption, and no forgiveness. Thus, there is living, and there is living. Without such aspects as love and purpose, we simply become the living dead, walking around, consuming, defecating, reproducing, and then becoming food for worms. In a billion years, if not sooner, if humans and the earth are gone, there will be only silence and no one will care and nothing will have mattered. If so, then consuming and living for one’s self becomes quite easy, which is so obvious—just look around. I mean, if there is no point, then what the hell?
It is hard to imagine why anyone would believe in something that reduces us to zombies really and blurs the line between truly living and simply existing, especially when it is a choice to believe that way. There is no “evidence” or “fact” or new discovery that would force or compel one to believe such a thing. It is a chosen faith, which makes it all the more amazing. What ramps it up to incredible is that it flies in the face of our experience. Even if we had been duped into thinking the “facts” demanded we believe this way, we know deep down, that we are more than chemistry and matter-in-motion; we know that we do exercise free-will, that without love, grace, purpose, redemption, and forgiveness, most nothing else much matters in this life. We live for all the things the naturalist tells us are illusions—which should have been our first clue it was a bankrupt and false view of reality.
If we think of this on a larger scale, internationally, as a nation, it becomes rather depressing. The modern in its materialism translates to a hollow and shallow age. Thus, the best we can muster as a culture in nobility of purpose and adventure is to consume the world’s resources and make the planet safe for corporations to do business, while the people doing the work are entertained by Hollywood and Las Vegas. And, if you challenge or disagree with us, we will bomb the living hell out of you. We offer the world two choices: You can be dead–or you can be the living dead. You choose.