5 Reasons the Zombie Apocalypse is the Prevailing Metaphor for Our Times

Myth and metaphor play an important role in constructing our culture and creating purpose in our lives.  They are tools that help the subconscious mind to digest the happenings of a world that is too complex for our five senses alone.  The poet uses these tools to arouse you. The screenwriter uses them to amuse you.


Original article by Dylan Charles
Waking Times

When we hear tales of Homer and his Odyssey we also receive cues we need to uncover the strength and perseverance required to face personal challenges.  When we follow Ahab on his journey against the white whale, we are shown, in metaphor, the perils of our own intensely burning fires of vengeance and obsession, and thus warned on a deep level of the folly of allowing one’s lowest nature to dominate the higher self.

But, well beyond the tales of Ahab and Homer, we have today the widespread proliferation of the modern Zombie tale, the prevailing metaphor for our times.

A Zombie is an animated corpse.  A walking, un-dead lunatic.  A former person, now devoid of the qualities we all know as explicitly human, such as compassion, logic, love, awareness, self-preservation and so on.  The Zombie is soulless animated human cadaver inhabited only by some of our lowest capacities and cravings.  A Zombie drools and spits, mindlessly walking into peril with absolute disregard.  Robotically driven to cannibalize and feast on the living, the Zombie is only capable of committing acts of violence or acts of stupidity.  The Zombie is born of witchcraft, chemistry or disease and is hopelessly beyond reform.  A Zombie is nearly unconscious.  Hypnotized.  Dumb.  Deadly.

But the hero has his ways as well.  As the myth of the Zombie goes, there is always some unsuspecting survivor watching the world spiral from civility to Zombie apocalypse in a short period of time.  For the remainder of the tale, an orgy of entertaining and righteous violence ensues, until king of the slaughterhouse is declared and our half-wit hero stands proud atop the pile of gore that once was his community, neighbors, family, fellow man and so on.   Total insanity.

Insanity Resonates

So what is it about this myth that makes it so resonant in today’s world?   Why do more people show up for Zombie make believe night in the local park than show up to an anti-war rally?  What does the myth of the mindlessly violent zombie invasion tell us about ourselves?

1.  Nearly Unconscious Plebs on the Loose

Human consciousness is variable.  A child is aware only of his immediate needs and surroundings, while the wise old sage is considerate of the self, plant and animal life, and even the cosmos above.  But the majority of so-called adults operate within a state of awareness that rarely breaches the boundaries of their personal worlds.

We witness today a massive disconnect between our desires and the effects of those desires.  On a micro level, most are wholly engrossed in personal dramas, portable devices and the satiation of cravings.  For the greater world, carved up by tribalism and nationalism, and managed by conflicting interests, it is clear that, en masse, people are wildly unaware of the interdependence and interconnectedness of all life on planet Earth.

2.  An Army of the Undead

Record numbers of people, including children, regularly take medications andmind-altering pharmaceuticals for one reason or another.  And if you don’t have a prescription, you still receive hefty doses of this garbage from our contaminated water supplies and from food produced with contaminated ingredients.  These drugs pollute the natural faculties of the mind and alter one’s personality, often making one numb to the emotional realities of life.

Television, for many, is an all day/all night affair.  It doesn’t matter if you watch The Discovery Channel or Jerry Springer, the brain reacts the same; by slipping into a low alpha state, growing groggy and slow, mushy, suggestible and reptilian.   The effects of watching programming on the boob tube are dastardly mind numbing.

We are also a heavily poisoned society and there seems to be no reprieve in sight for the degradation of our environment.  GMO’s, nuclear power, vaccines, water fluoridation, depleted uranium, chemtrails, arrogant oil barons and a grotesque addiction to plastics, are all signs that our respect for life is near zilch.  Living in a world so stressed out by toxicity can feel like being dead already.  And this course is a guaranteed death sentence for all, given sufficient time.

3. Hypnotized Automatons

Individuality is being erased as more and more people succumb to the hypnotic indulgences of a poisoned, consumer driven, media controlled way of life.  Group think is at an all time high in America, and watching people cheer and whinny by the thousands over a political campaign or a sporting match is like nervously watching the advance of a drooling Zombie army.

Hypnotic and entranced, far too many people follow orders and obey ridiculous rules, laws and regulations.  Observing an airport security line is a fine example.  Does Grandma really need to be felt up to ensure a safe flight?  Of course not, but the TSA agent was told to do so, and the people witnessing were told to do nothing about it and so a passerby from a sane universe might have to wonder what nefarious witch’s spell is making all these people carry on so mindlessly with such humiliating affairs.

Even the means by which most of us earn our daily bread has become so mundane and automatic that we might as well be Zombies. The trek to the office, spending most of the day and most of the week performing tasks and tricks for someone else.  The neck-ties, the 401k’s, 4% annual raises, company handbooks, pee-in-a-cup exams and all that.  We have been trained, or be-crooked, into defining our selves and self-worth by our jobs, belying our natural human tendency to desire freedom and individualism.

4.  Violence, Violence, and More Bloody Violence

From the top down, our society is trained to resolve issues with violence.  The government leads the way and sets the tone by forcing upon us a punitive system where all infractions are punishable by fines, imprisonment, death, or worse.  Even something as benign as selling raw milk can result in an armed police raid.  And with the modernization of warfare and a bottomless public budget for fancy tools of death, there really is no end to the government’s capacity to kill and destroy.  We are all in the cross hairs now.

And as above, so below, as the populous is whipped into a frenzy of cage fights, random street beatings, school massacres, drug wars and road rages.  Our preferred sources of entertainment masterfully and ceaselessly plant these powerful auto-suggestions into our minds.  Creativity in violence is the order of the day.

5.  Every Cannibal for Himself

It is evident that millions upon millions of Americans are stocking up in preparation of a societal collapse scenario.  Fine enough, but sadly, the emphasis is broadly on self-defense rather than community defense, or better yet, community prosperity.  People have somehow concluded that if everyone else is dead, things will be all right.

Even pre-collapse, we see how citizens are already turning against each other in thought and deed.  People are falling victim to the fearful suggestions of a police state, submitting more and more readily to the notion that to be safe one must do harm to others.  Now, we are even being prodded to report suspicious ‘activities’ to uniformed ‘authorities’ and obey every dehumanizing order given from the dropout, riot-cop enforcement class, no matter how degrading.

Most significantly, though, people willingly turn a blind eye to the injustices perpetrated by government.  The prison population balloons with non-violent ‘criminals’ while the wars, ‘collateral damage’ and ‘civilian casualties’ continue unabated after a good ten-plus-year orgy of death from above.  With no effective protest movement for any cause, the Zombified masses don’t seem to really care what happens to their fellow man.

In The End

Societal reinforcement of a popular myth is an indication that said story strikes a resonant chord with the many, containing widely felt truths.  In this way, our greatest and most told legends and myths reveal to us the contents of our collective subconscious mind, the things that otherwise may be too awkward, too misunderstood or too obvious to express literally.

So by looking at the ugliest qualities in our world with an eye for awareness and conscious resolution, while remaining open to the warnings contained in our popular myths and metaphors, we give ourselves the crucial opportunity to improve.

Art imitates life.  And sometimes life imitates art.


About the Author

Dylan Charles is a student and teacher of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, a practitioner of Yoga and Taoist arts, and an activist and idealist passionately engaged in the struggle for a more sustainable and just world for future generations. He is the editor of WakingTimes.com, the proprietor of OffgridOutpost.com, a grateful father and a man who seeks to enlighten others with the power of inspiring information and action. He may be contacted at wakingtimes@gmail.com.

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  1. Brilliant article it really stirs up a lot of what I can see is really happening in the world, its scary to see how we are being hypnotised by society and the entertainments.

    You can start to see how these things are causing people to be ever more unconscious to the point were the local government is talking about putting warning signs and lights in the pavements to warn people as to stop them from walking into the traffic while looking down on there phones

  2. This article was put so neatly and really expressed something that has been on my mind for some time now.

    Most look at it simply as ‘entertainment’, but hundred of years ago tales and songs where also mainly used for this, yet they often captured hidden truths and supported high morals, rather than working against it.

    Nowadays myths in the shape of movies, games, music etc. capture mainstream society just like the tales did in the past and I think the article brings those connections very eloquently.

    Thank you!

    • Good point Pavlin, the zombie narrative becomes even more tinged with sadness when you remember that our myths and tales used to reflect a different kind of story.

      This article does really hit it home. Sometimes I realise just how degenerate and unfavorable for spiritual/moral development the world has become. The automaton is easily seen while filing in lines in the underground, staring at mobiles, playing inane games on them to ‘pass the time’, but the herd-like mentality is so ingrained you can start to see it at a more subtle level too, when intelligent people just can’t stray from the paradigm they’ve subscribed to.

      I love the point about people being drugged up. Well, love-hate. It’s incredible to me how it’s assumed now that health is about finding the right pharmaceutical drug and that a lot of people spend their whole lives on a stream of medication.

      It’s a clear analogy, I wonder what the obsession about vampire is about too …

  3. Thanks for the article,

    I have heard that real zombies existed in the past when people would administer drugs that would make the heart beat so softly that it appeared the person had died. They would have a funeral and then at night dig up the person drugged out of the grave and take them home to be their slave. The drug apparently left them docile and easy to order around.

    These days it appears that the authorities are doing everything they can to get drugs into the populace and if this is true it may explain it. They seem hell bent on enslaving every one and if you read some of the old Gospels you can see that none of this is new.

    • I’ve heard stories like that too. Always scared me.

      Sometimes I wonder how I’d feel if I only ate wild things, and drank water from mountain streams. Sometimes I do this, and I feel much better.

  4. It is a very interesting point; asking why some things are very popular? Obviously something in it resonates with our psyche. I think this can both be something that appeals to our consciousness, and, as is unfortunately the case most of the time, to some of the many animalistic emotions and drives within us.

    This article has lots of true points about signs of docility of humanity (sadly.) I can see the ‘automaton’ in myself, and am probably even more mechanical than what I can even see.

    I think for this particular zombie genre another main thing why it appaels is those deep rooted thoughts and emotions related to survival. Being chased as an animal, the fear, the excitement of trying to get away, the comfort of a save place with a few other (female?) survivors, the adrenaline of attacking someone etc.

    Did you ever wonder why hide and seek has its inherent appeal? What the root is of those emotions one can feel when hiding, anxious about getting caught? 🙂

  5. Good points. I hadn’t thought about that analogy