Sunday, October 13, 2013

Why People Think Zombies Are Cool

Have you seen this funny AT&T commercial, featuring a zombie who, presumably because he's neither dead nor alive, is intrigued by the company's lifetime unlimited plan?

The first time I saw it, I thought it was pretty funny.

These days zombies, which used to be one of the scariest concepts in horror films, are considered fun and "cool." Today, the big bucks are in selling zombie costumes for Halloween. The movie "World War Z," starring Brad Pitt, was a thriller about a worldwide zombie pandemic. It grossed a half a billion dollars.

Have you seen it yet? Me neither, but I plan to catch it on Netflix.

Why the public identification with zombies - the "undead"? It can't be about what zombies are, because zombies don't exist. Only in fiction do dead people get up and walk around. Real dead people stay dead. The fascination has to be about what zombies represent.

Wikipedia describes a zombie as a "person bereft of consciousness and self-awareness, yet ambulant and able to respond to surrounding stimuli."

Sound familiar?

I recently finished Eckhart Tolle's classic, The Power of Now. (I know, I know - Where have I been the last 15 years?) In it, he promotes a simple practice, the centerpiece of spiritual traditions for over 2,000 years, which is to quiet the mind's nonstop internal commentary about memories of the past and imaginings of the future, in order to focus conscious awareness on the present moment. According to Tolle, this is how anyone can achieve enlightenment. He may be right. Since the past no longer exists and the future is only something you imagine, the direct, unfiltered perception of right here, right now is the only authentic life experience a person can have. The rest is just the mind babbling away about the past and the future, making it impossible to be fully conscious of the reality of the present moment.

He says that for most people, the awareness of now is a rare, fleeting experience that happens when they are shocked into paying attention to the present moment.

In other words, for most people, most of the time, they are alive, but not truly alive to the reality around them.

Could this be why people are fascinated by zombies?

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2013. Building Personal Strength .


Kathleen Scott said...

Cool post.

Juliana Tafoya said...

I think you have a great point. This reminds me of the message of Buddhism, being mindful and in the present moment; you are probably right many people are living in the past or future and I know for sure some are and this is why many have chronic depression. I think Zombies and what they represent is a reflection of that depression and of people wanting to make light of death and mindlessness in this manifestation.

Unknown said...

Great Book