I have given them the last rites, now you do what you will. You are stronger than us, but soon I think they be stronger than you. – Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Today’s blog is actually a thought exercise I’ve been mulling over for quite some time. There has been such a massive focus on the Zombie Apocalypse scenario over the past ten years, it makes me think that if Zombies have become such a pop icon, how close are we to making this a reality? What spurred this thought today was a recent news story I heard about some gun ranges now setting up Zombie targets for Zombie themed shooting events. While this seems very amusing, and I did giggle when I heard it, it is also a bit disturbing on many levels.
Zombies, as defined in the iconic Night of the Living Dead, were meant to be commentary on the capitalist society we live in. Zombies are mindless wandering automatons who exist to consume. Mr. George Romero is a visionary director, and his films paint a very disturbing fate for the human race, one which none of us can truly escape. If the dead are rising up from the grave, and all of us will eventually die, then all of us would eventually become zombies, which is quite frightening.
But back to the thought exercise. We as humans have an amazing ability to make a dream into a reality. I think back to some of the early science fiction works from the early 20th century, and how many of those concepts are now a reality. Fahrenheit 451 talked of wall sized TVs, and we have made that a reality. Asimov talked about robots, which have become a reality, though still in its infancy. There are so many of these instances that I can cite to punctuate the tenacity of humans to make things a reality. What makes a zombie apocalypse any different? If you think about it, all one needs to do is create a virus that numbs the mind and removes reason and emotion. This could be accomplished any number of ways, and in a world where biological warfare is a constant threat, who is to say that we have not already set this wheel in motion. It would be highly desirable for an enemy to infect us with a virus that not only damages the host, but causes the host to kill those around them. All one would need to do is introduce the virus and watch their enemy destroy themselves from within.
I personally know many people who seriously believe that the zombie apocalypse is a real possibility. The power of the human mind is astounding. It has the ability to make things come into reality by sheer force of will. This is not to say that we can conjure things out of thin air, but if someone wants something badly enough, it can happen. It was believed man would never be able to fly, now we can do it pretty much anytime we want. We didn’t believe we could leave the planet, but we’ve had men walk on the moon. So many wonderful and horrible things have come from our power of will.
So here is the thing to ponder, if we are obsessed with zombies, is it not possible that someone somewhere will be fueled by all the information we’ve provided on how zombies should be, and make it a reality? With all the movies, shows, books and games on zombies, we have effectively given someone all the “research” they would need to actually create such a thing. And if I were a betting man, I would bet on a zombie infection similar to 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, as they seem the most viable candidates for a realistic disease that mimics the Romero vision of zombies. It seems highly unlikely that people will “rise from the grave” without some sort of supernatural cause, but a virus that makes people mindless, blood-thirsty killers seems highly likely to me.
At the end of the day, we must always keep in mind, “Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.”