The existence of zombie culture has always brought questions of comparison. By this I mean comparing the zombie to the human. What makes us so different, or so similar to these monsters? How can they look like us, but not be like us? How do zombies represent us as humans?
First off, in almost every piece of zombie literature, characters come to the harrowing conclusion that if your loved one turns into a zombie, they can no longer be treated as you would treat them prior to turning. They are not who they once were. They cannot love you, they cannot care for you. They cannot do anything for you but to eat you and spread their disease. This illustrates the big difference between humans and zombies. Zombies are incapable of having a meaningful relationship, or any sort of self-awareness… where humans are?
In this day and age, the consumer is… well everyone. According to Drybonz in “Zombies and Human Purpose” zombies are the reflection of the dark side of human’s consumer culture. Zombies have lost all of their compassion, love, and ambition because of their insatiable appetite. Constantly looking to consume (brains). This directly reflects how zombies have a lifeless meaning and additionally represents the darkness of humanity, and how we have evolved into creatures of consumption.
Has our consumer society taken us away from a meaningful life? If you believe that having a purpose in life is to have meaningful relationships, and to love someone to the point of putting their needs far above yours, then perhaps all is not lost. Of course, these genuine relationships of pure love, the ones that have no conditions do still exist but to what extent?
Gene Blair, leader of Savannah Safe Zone, is the ultimate consuming creature. He is a glutton for power, material goods, and attention. He uses cultural weaknesses to obtain goods and power to excuse his worship of finery. He manufactured a world in which he is centrally entitled. But when the zombie apocalypse strikes, and his suede shoes can only get him so far, how will he appreciate his nice things then? Will his carbon fiber toilet seat and Persian carpet be able to save his family?
Where Gene Blair strives to protect his power and material wealth, Catherine Latimer, emerging leader of Coronado Safe Zone believes in usefulness. In keeping with her personal utilitarian philosophy, she allocates the luxuries many of us take for granted today and turns them into sustainable resources for all. In her attempts to look for and support survivors of the zombie scourge, she asks the people to give up rights to their own precious resources, space, and safety. Here Catherine represents that compassion which many find to be evasive in today’s society, which begs the question, will her community embrace it?
Zombies bring the question of purpose to our attention. How material items hold such a strong importance to society today, when really there is no constructive purpose for our designer shoes and handbags; fancy bottled water and gourmet meals in mansions and expensive apartments with the right zip code. In a time of survival, shelter, shoes, clothing, and water are all that matter. Our luxuries become extinct, and the need to hold on to them could be the end of us. After the zombies come, the only zip code required is a safe one.
The zombie scourge can possibly be the cure for humanity from turning into the creatures of consumption hell bent on destruction. Maybe the zombies will cure us of this disease and bring us back to the reality of what it is to have true meaning and purpose in our lives. Maybe we have been the real zombies all along.