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Richard Greene, K.

Silem Mohammad-Zombies, Vampires, and Philosophy (2010)

Chicago Open Court

“She’s Not Your Mother Anymore, She’s a Zombie!”: Zombies, Value, and
Personal Identity

What distinguishes us from zombies, however, is our potential for brief intermittent
actualizations of imaginative goal-directed action.

Dead Serious: Evil and the Ontology of the Undead


That would make an instrumental and not an evil-constituting motive. Even if the
desire to eat fresh brains is non-instrumental, it does not look as if it’s really a desire
to harm the welfare of others. If there were a way to get fresh brains without harming
the welfare of anyone, I suspect zombies would be perfectly satisfied.

Consider the case of vampires. A vampire simply seems to be the person who was in
the body prior to becoming a vampire. There is no obvious reason why having
become a vampire would suddenly add non-instrumental motives to harm others. To
the extent that vampirism introduces new desires, they don’t (necessarily) seem to be
of the problema-tic sort
When There’s No More Room in Hell, the Dead Will Shop the Earth: Romero
and Aristotle on Zombies, Happiness, and Consumption

In depicting zombies as the ultimate consumers, Romero satirizes consumerism—the

search for happiness through material acquisition.
STEPHEN: What the hell are they? PETER: They’re us. That’s all
Perhaps pleonexia plays a role. To desire living without limit is to desire immortality,
or in ancient Greek, to be athanatos.
ne “explanation” for the dead’s return to life is that their graspingness in life—rooted
in their unlimited desire for life—knows no bounds.
Romero’s treatment of this life is melancholic. Although the zombies horrify us, they
are sad creatures, lost souls condemned to wander the mall in search of an elusive
Zombies, Rest, and Motion: Spinoza and the Speed of Undeath

the Undead in this fourth film are in many ways indistinguishable from the living
poor: they are hungry, unruly, and unattractive, and no one wants to become one of
We say that zombies are “mindless”—it is practically part of the definition. What we
mean, a Spinozist would say, is that they are very focused (“single-minded”). They
have no time to spare on abstract reflection or moralizing. Or they are not permitted
that privilege…. They have a job to do, and nothing else.
they are the radically embodied, limit-breaking consequences of repression in its
social totality, the inevitable eruption of crisis on a global rather than personal level.
The Undead Martyr: Sex, Death, and Revolution in George Romero’s Zombie

George Romero unveils human instinct as the true star of his zombie films.
Throughout Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the
Dead (1985), and Land of the Dead (2005), human instinct is the motor that drives the
endless ranks of Undead corpses ever forward. From this we can straightforwardly
deduce that Romero portrays pure and unrefined instinct as a dangerous force that is
threatening to human life. But why should our most natural urges be seen as hostile,
and why does Romero visualize them as stumbling Undead corpses with an insatiable
appetite for human flesh
The Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud… civilization, since its origins, has
demanded the constant control and repression of the primary human instincts
But Freud goes on to state that deep down, the individual rages against the injustice of
this deal. There is part of the individual’s mind that still longs for instinctual pleasure,
even though it is banned. Freud says that this unlawful desire sometimes bubbles up
within the social order and manifests itself as the dark and murky underbelly of
civilization. Freud calls this lawless presence the “return of the repressed.”
The conflict between humans and zombies in Romero’s films can now be understood
as a dramatization of the struggle that exists between civilized individuals and their
own repressed instincts.
Stephen and Francine work for a television network, and Peter and Roger are both
policemen. They all desert their civil duties and escape together as the zombie chaos
swells out of control
In Dawn of the Dead the civilized economy is now redundant. Within the mall,
Francine, Stephen, Peter, and Roger are able to take whatever they want for free. The
mall has become a domain of lawless pleasure.
In Romero’s films the repressed Eros returns to haunt civilization in the form of the
zombies’ rampant desire for flesh.
Kaufman is only overthrown because the zombies themselves evolve and work out
how to penetrate the city’s defenses. Throughout the film we see zombies being
taunted, abused, and massacred, but this all changes when they rise up and march
together on the city. The zombies display a newfound sense of cunning and ambition.
They are communicating with each other and learning how to use tools. Social
organization emerges within the zombie population; they are becoming civilized on
their own terms
We can finally claim that the evolving zombies represent the beginnings of a
pleasurable union between civilization and the instincts. So Romero is able to create
the very system that Marcuse reluctantly deems impossible. Romero’s work is no
more than a fantasy, of course; so too, it would seem, is the prospect of a free
civilization. But let’s not end on a sour note. Imagine, for a moment, a possible scene
from Romero’s next zombie film. Imagine leagues of living humans lining up in front
of their Undead counterparts, happily sacrificing their flesh so that they might be
liberated from repression and delivered into a realm of instinctual pleasure.
This would set up a fascinating philosophical question for Romero to explore: is it
better to be Undead, happy, and free, or alive, miserable, and repressed? In this
emerging new order, to give oneself to a zombie would be a radical act of self-
initiation; it would be a rite of passage into the land of the dead—into a realm of
pleasure and freedom
When They Aren’t Eating Us, They Bring Us Together: Zombies and the
American Social Contract
Romero’s Dead films evoke the problem of what should be at the heart of an
American social contract, and that they implicitly advocate communitarianism over
one black (Ben) and one white (Mr. Cooper),
The media reports that zombies should be destroyed: despite their human appearance,
they should be considered mindless, soulless animals undeserving of respect—exactly
the opposite advice of that given by the priest.
The other communitarian leader in the movie, interestingly enough, is a zombie.
“They’re just looking for a place to go, just like us.”
Edited by TRAVIS LANGLEY Sterling 2015 New York

Shock and Dread: What Fear Does to Humans DAVE VERHAAGEN

People who score high on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index are much more likely to
develop panic disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder, and people with these
disorders develop greater anxiety sensitivity. In other words, it’s a vicious loop and a
crappy hand they were genetically dealt. It’s what makes the difference between being
a Father Stokes and being a Sheriff Rick in the zombie apocalypse.
Fear is the most primal of all human emotions. It has kept us safe for millennia and
gives us a fighting chance in the zombie apocalypse.

Diversity and Strength in Zombie Apocalypse Atlanta


Positive psychology looks beyond the reckless behavior, poor judgment, and even
symptoms of mental illness that Glenn, Michonne, or Tyreese may display and instead
labels and categorizes the positive traits they nd others have demonstrated. According
to positive psychology, these strengths not only would help people survive this
nightmare but in many cases would help them thrive
By exhibiting various strengths and virtues, the many characters of color in The
Walking Dead create for the audience an expanded range of possibilities of what a
person of color can be and do.
Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A
handbook and classification. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Who Needs an Untrustworthy Doctor? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow proposed that a hierarchy (an arrangement of priorities from most
to least) of psychological needs drives people. This often is represented as a pyramid
(Figure 1), with the most basic needs on the bottom
Once physiological needs are met, the next level up on the pyramid is safety. This
includes physical safety as well as law and order and freedom from fear
Level 3: Love and Belonging
When people have bonds of love and respect, they can work toward the fourth level of
Maslow’s hierarchy: esteem. These needs include self-esteem, self-worth, and dignity.
Level 5: Self-Actualization
When people reach this level, they are working to live up to their fullest potential.
People on this level seek out moments of intense joy, wonder, and happiness. They
work to create art or solve problems larger than those of everyday life.