How to tell you’re a zombie.
We’ve all seen the movie. An intrepid band desperately holds out against a world gone zombie due to a mind controlling virus (I am Legend, World War Z) or evil mastermind (The Mummy). Zombies behave in scary and illogical and (self) destructive ways, all in an unrelenting effort to convert the uninfected into them.
But all of these movies one-sidedly show the perspective of the “normal” people. If anybody asked the zombies, they would be the normal ones, doing what is but the natural, the just, thing to do. The hold-outs would be the evil, weird ones, denying the blinding truth that every sane zombie agrees is obvious and just… right. The zombies are as sure of their stance as their opponents. If the zombies out-number the normal, as in many a movie, a free and fair democratic vote would settle the issue in favor of the zombies once and for all.
Thus we see that for everyone, he himself is utterly normal and others are the zombies. So who is the real zombie? Maybe we are the zombies right now?
Similarly, in history we have many examples of mass hysterias. For instance, the dancing plague of 1518 involved hundreds of people dancing unstoppably, for days on end, often to the death (1). Mass faintings are a dime a dozen (2, 3). Heaven's Gate members committed mass suicide in the belief that comet Hale-Bopp hid a spaceship which would take them to the "Next level" (4). But all of these examples are mass hysterias from the outside. For those inside, they are totally authentic.
"People present at the event were adamant that the symptoms were real and not the result of imagination or hysteria”.. Holinwell incident (3)"
We can only say these are false because we are outside and unaffected by them.
But what if there truly were mass hysteria, unlike most hysterias that affect large numbers but small percentages of the population? What if most of society were to fall into a spell of mass hysteria/zombiehood? How would we know then that our behavior was “abnormal”? What if we’re in such a spell right now? How could we possibly know?
These are not just quixotic, humorous questions. Right now we have left-wing and right-wing camps in society which vehemently accuse their opponents of evil and obscene behavior induced by malice and social conditioning. Both proponents and opponents of mass-migration, high taxation, affirmative action, gay marriage etc., accuse the other camp of evil, misguided, brain-washed behavior. So which of these are the zombies/hysterics and which are the heroic defenders of truth and justice? Or are both merely different zombie factions? What we need, then, is an asker- and context-independent method of judgement.
I attempt to develop one below.
What is the universal feature of zombies, from whichever movie? What is the common element in mass faintings, the dancing plague or the mewing or biting nuns (5)?
It is that they cannot self-perpetuate, reproduce, survive independently and sustainably. They know not Tark Marg (see previous post, 6).
Thus, zombies can only survive on a regular supply of fresh uninfected blood. If they harvested zombie crops, treated zombie disease, vaccinated their zombie babies and conducted zombie civil discourse, as is necessary for self-perpetuation, they would cease to be zombies. Similarly, mass hysterics, whether fainters, dancers, mewers, cannot form a sustainable society. If they were not fainting or mewing but self-perpetuating by educating their children, doing regular jobs etc, they would simply become normal people. Thus the critical feature of zombies/mass hysterics is 1) the ability to infect others and 2) the inability to survive independently.
Put another way, bad (i.e. zombie or mass hysteric) behavior is that which impedes self-perpetuation, and conversely, moral behavior is defined by its ability to promote self-perpetuation (6). As a corollary, when comparing two or more options, the more moral option is that which better promotes the self-perpetuation of its followers.
Now we are in a position to judge which faction in real society is the zombie. Let’s focus on a particularly contentious issue.
We see today a movement, especially in the West, whereby the immigration of large numbers of people is encouraged and celebrated, as in the recent case of Germany and Angela Merkel's decision to allow in over a million Muslim migrants in 2015. Proponents of this choice seek to convert (or at least compel) others to their line of thinking by vociferously condemning opponents. Opponents push back. So who of the pro- and anti- migration faction is the zombie?
Let us apply the self-perpetuation test. It is evident that by allowing in large numbers of migrants who typically have high fertility and cultural conditioning diametrically opposite to that of their hosts, the proponents of mass migration have imperiled their own physical and philosophical selves. We saw an example of this in the mass sexual assault perpetrated in Cologne on New Year's Eve by crowds comprising a cross-section of the migrants. This point should have been obvious to German mass-migration supporters given the example of similar situations in the UK and France and elsewhere. Yet, the mental virus of empathobesity (a harmful excess of an otherwise useful instinct of empathy, analogous to obesity; see December 2015 post) compels proponents of mass migration of pursue this path despite the immense harm it will inflict on them.
We can thus conclude that in the case of mass migration, the proponents are zombies, enslaved by their own runaway sense of empathy to act against their self-perpetuation interests.
Much the same can be said about many other leftist fashions like gay marriage, which also arise from an empathobese tendency. Without going into detail, some right wing policies (especially in the USA) such as climate change denial, opposition to abortion, or (in India) blind subservience to scientifically untenable traditions like banning beef or fantastical claims about the technological abilities of one's ancestors, also fall into this category.
In conclusion, I hope this post will enable the reader to rise above the zombie viruses of obsolete instincts, herd mentality and tendentious assumptions. Please inform others if you found this post interesting.
1) Viegas, Jennifer (1 August 2008). "'Dancing Plague' and Other Odd Afflictions Explained". Discovery News. Discovery Communications. Via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria
2) Moss, P. D. and C. P. McEvedy. “An epidemic of overbreathing among schoolgirls.” British Medical Journal 2(5525) (1966):1295–1300. Web. 17 Dec. 2009.
5) http://www.csicop.org/si/show/mass_delusions_and_hysterias_highlights_from_the_past_millennium/ Via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria