Use of the zombie in horror films symbolises what George A. Romero put forward as tool to criticise Society’s attitudes of general apathy to Politics, War, Education, the Environment in favour of practicing Consumerism, worship celebrities etc. Zombies could also represent Mankind’s fear of Death and one of the ways to express denial of our mortality – the continual torture of something having to be forced to continue its existence past it’s own death, to resist death from wounds that would normally kill a living person, to be killed off/ feared/ hated by the living, to act as a form of ridicule through its crude imitation of life etc.
There’s always sides, clashing of Egos, who is right/ wrong, superior/ inferior, all the way throughout time.
The differences because we live in a world of duality, disparity, inequality as what Lao-Tze pondered about a considerable time ago. Both sides try to annihilate each other, feeding the fire of this vicious cycle of hate like love.
Hannibal Lecter wanted to destroy his enemies by eating their flesh but in a way he became his opposition by absorbing their flesh, transforming their essence into his. To defeat your enemy whether in War, your workplace, family etc, you must think and understand like them, in a way you symbolically absorb their thought processes and Mind and this is shown all too well in history, especially ancient Roman history. When the ancient Roman empire fought a bitter long war with its rival, Carthage and eventually won through treachery, great bloodshed etc., Rome decided to wipe out the ancient city of Carthage from the face of the planet by destroying every building, every weed, every item that belonged to Carthage and enslaving its people. Rome thought it destroyed its enemy completely but no, the very memory of Carthage is etched in her conscious mind, embedded there like a poison. Rome may have destroyed the physical aspect of the enemy but not its Idea as today we remember Carthage. Rome destroyed herself in the process because she was forced to adapt to defeat Hannibal Barca’s mind and armies who represented Carthage so she became one with the enemy.
It’s the same with the Troubles in Northern Ireland, where the feud between Protestants and Catholics escalated to the point where Britain was involved and more bloodshed and atrocities occurred. The late Protestant religious leader, Ian Paisley had made it his lifelong mission not to compromise with the Catholics over who should control Northern Ireland but eventually he gave in and cooperated with them in his later years prior to his death.
Hegelian dialectic, a system of thinking named after its creator who was a German Philosopher, organised a method of argument to resolve disagreements between one side, called the thesis and the opposition, called the anti-thesis. How these two positions are resolved is by combining the sides of Truth that they offer and bringing forth a new thesis called the Synthesis. It’s this same process that has happened in Northern Ireland and ancient Rome. The case with Hannibal Lecter is arguably true because what became of his enemies’ bodily matter was incorporated into his own protein structure, their presence having caused him to change no matter how small a change it was whether emotionally/ cognitively etc.
Enemies will change us (whether a person, thing, environment, at work etc) but for better or worse, that is where we have control. There is also the question of who becomes the dominant one after the process of assimilation/ Synthesis (like the North Americans of European descent) and the one who becomes a footnote, only to be a vague reminder of the events leading to Synthesis/ assimilation (like the Native Americans who are remembered for being the original Americans who had their lands taken away from them).
I like to do away with vague metaphysical terms like “intrinsic”, especially with the question of if morality is intrinsic. It’s not precise enough.
For people who kill like ISIS and for people like us who feel disgust, it seems to be how our brains and the environment we live in deciding the morality of things.
I haven’t read Friedrich Nietzsche work featuring the “Will to Power” concept yet but he mentioned another concept the “Master – Slave morality” and this is where I see how his idea is true. Perhaps there is no morality, only Power that comes in the form of survival of the fittest for individuals, working together for groups that are weak individually and the Justice system to keep the individuals and slaves in balance. If there is no Justice system in place, then there will be anarchy and the ruling Elites would lose profit/ control. The Masters in the modern context are the company CEOs, Politicians, Aristocrats etc while the Slaves are the working class, the poor, you and me, the soldier sent into the front lines to die for the sake of occupying foreign land for oil/ diamonds/ gold/ land etc.
Monkeys show similar behaviour to us because an experiment was conducted in which two capuchin monkeys were given a type of food; one monkey received a grape every time it cooperated with the Scientist whereas the other monkey only received cucumbers whenever it cooperated. After this experiment was conducted many times, the monkey that only received a cucumber began to realise he/ she was being treated unfairly because he/ she was aware that the other monkey kept receiving the grapes so he/ she responded by throwing the cucumber back at the Scientists. This explains why there are groups like Occupy Wall Street and other groups that are Left wing/ Socialists.
Of course, some philosophers say that morality is an emotional reaction, though I can’t remember the philosopher who said this, which is true because upon reading the first few pages of a book called “Confessions of a sociopath” by M. E. Thomas, she stated that when she found a baby Opossum struggling to swim to safety in the pool, she decided to kill it by submerging it with a net but gave up, letting it die a slow death. She didn’t feel any guilt, no remorse, no empathy for the animal, only that it was an inconvenience and needed to be gotten rid of so that her pool could be disinfected and used for a swimming lesson. She saw no benefit in keeping it alive. The same goes for serial killers like ISIS/ IS, the criminals in the big city etc.
There is also the cultural and environmental element involved as well; some cultures regard certain practices as acceptable while others don’t like Honour killings, marrying cousins etc while children or adult born or conditioned in an environment that is violent are likely to be violent.
Radical Islamic Terrorists, French Foreign Legionnaires, Samurai, Crusaders and Japanese World War 2 kamikazes all seem to be very different on the outside and are separated by vast oceans of time but when you look past that, they appear to be fundamentally one and the same.
When I was talking to one of my Facebook friends, Cody Funk, I learned from him that people who dedicate themselves to an Idea/ Ideal destroy their Ego and become more than they really are. That got me thinking, when they undergo the transformation of the Ego destruction to embody an Idea/ Ideal, they tend to override all sense of self-preservation and cannot be swayed so easily with money, Power or other worldly things and instead devote themselves to achieving this new purpose they made which exists as Symbols in the realm of their Minds.
I read from a post on www.psychologytoday.com about “The Power of Symbolism: Why burning the Quran Is Disturbing” and it presented an interesting idea that Symbols are our way, as humans, of coping with our frailty and finite lives and meeting our need of wanting to be part of something larger. It is when those symbols are desecrated e.g. burning a country’s flag, attacking a country, burning a Bible/ Quran/ cross, football team banners, mocking a God etc that we feel insecure , destroys the idea of us wanting to be part of something larger and reminds us of our mortality.
The Symbols that are ingrained in our Minds start to take a life of their own and we begin to feel and express love for it as we do for a lover or family member according to “The Brain Sell” by Dr. David Lewis which explains why most people are fooled to buy branded items like Gucci, Armani, Rolex etc.
It is this love for Symbols that makes us do anything to achieve what these symbols suggest or represent like spending excessive amounts of money on the branded items or maybe even killing other people who don’t represent or support that Symbol. Soldiers and Kamikaze fighters say they die for their country, which in their minds is the flag symbol, when in actual fact, they will kill as a way to express their love for that flag Symbol. The same goes for Radical terrorists who do disgusting things as a way to express their love for their idea of God.
Words and names are really sounds we make from our vocal chords and the movement of our tongues. Doesn’t sound amazing but it is those same words and names that have a significant effect on our minds assuming we do let them affect us.
The name of a place, person, thing etc. conjures up memories in our minds of that person/ place/ thing or anything approximately associated to that utterance from our current schema.
Words can anger or injure another person.
Words can put someone at ease or become happy.
Names can cause people to feel afraid or be happy depending on the memories they have of that name.
Names can cause people to temporarily ignore the present and retrace the residue of the past imprinted in their memories, in effect going back in Time according to their interpretation of the past.
Names sharpen your intent and effort.
Words allow you, to some degree, to get people to do what you want them to do depending on how willing they are to obey you.
Words can be used to bend our Reality and the Reality of others through lies or Truths although the consequences and damage done will be irrevocable.
Since words and names can change our Reality, words and names have Power.
Prometheus was a godlike being (Titan) who stole the gift of fire from the Greek Gods and gave it to humanity so they could progress. In a way, we are gifted with that “fire” in the form of knowledge and a rare few people are able to use that fire to invent extraordinary things. In a way, we have become the Gods of old and new in that we have found the components to fabricate Reality (in the form of Quarks and leptons), we wield weapons that can level entire cities like the Nuclear bomb, we are trying to harness the power of the Sun on a macro level in the form of Fusion reactors and we can cure most diseases which were at one time incurable and fatal. These are but a few examples of what the “fire” of knowledge imbues us with. One day we may become more than humans, transcending our limits, becoming part-machine, part-human, a new renaissance in the form of the Post-Human. Even as I speak, we are progressing to that point where the Creator (human) and the Created (machines) are becoming one in the form of mechanical hearts, synthetic limbs, artificial nanoparticle “blue blood”, stem cells being used to replace tissues and organs which we normally wouldn’t be able to regenerate like the heart, eyes, arms etc. In the old times, whenever we came to a phenomena we had limited knowledge of, we would tend to say it was “God’s will” or the “Gods were punishing us with earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc because we have sinned”. As time went on and our knowledge expanded, we would no longer turn to Supernatural causes and turn more to Science. The God or the Gods became “God/ Gods of the Gaps” because we would always push that idea to phenomena which Science couldn’t explain.
Why should we be restricted to an idea of Gods or a God creating us and seeming to not care at all about our affairs? Surely the point of the Singularity or “the Big Bang” ,which is the starting point of creation, is sufficient enough and that is how thing are, no metaphysical creator or creators needed. I am open to the idea of there being no Gods or God but it is not something I completely follow blindly. Gods or God could interpreted to be just ideas in our Minds which represent something like how the old Greek Gods represented a facet about human affairs/ emotions.
Perhaps the idea of God/ Gods is really not for explaining phenomena but a need which humans have to sate. As the French philosopher Voltaire put it, “if God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”
Socrates once said, “know thyself.” Aristotle further expanded on this quote by developing a system of Morality called Virtue ethics, which as the title suggests, is to aim to develop virtues for each and everyone of us in order to achieve a much happier and successful life. Virtues and their vices are really just labels applied to a set pattern of mental, emotional and physical reactions we have towards certain situations like dealing with people, in a stressful environment etc. Virtue ethics is basically applied Psychology. For instance, focus on the feeling/ idea of anger; too much anger and we become irascible, make people scared to interact with us and lose all sense of reason. This is very important with regards to Business because a business can’t afford to lose customers if its employees and/ or CEO are rude and irritable to its customers or if the company is unable to stay calm towards an unsatisfied customer. Furthermore, quickness to anger shows you are not in control of the situation you are weak. Too little expression of anger and we become passive/ passive aggressive and people will take advantage of us in our everyday life, making us become bitter of the past which drains us of our mental resources rather than focusing on the present which is what matters. Being passive/ passive-aggressive and being very irritable are examples of Vices with respect to the application and expression of anger which we feel in certain situations. The “Golden Mean”/ the Virtue/ the True Path of expressing anger is to neither be too angry or too passive but to be patient, to bear the anger, acknowledge it and express your feelings towards the person/ situation in a controlled and calm way. The feeling of anger and how we respond to it, whether being irascible, passive/ passive-aggressive or patient is also important in Politics because Diplomats know they must treat their counterparts and foreign Government officials with respect to not provoke them into wars and to get cooperation.
Similarly, for the feeling/ concept of self-worth, too much overconfidence in oneself and its physical expression borders/ becomes arrogance which leads to the path of destruction as we become blind to our egos, we become like Narcissus which makes us weak, powerless and easily manipulated. There are numerous times when an army that seemed far superior technologically was brought to its knees because the General of that army was too arrogant to think that the opposing army was ever match to his army. Just look at the examples in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and the American Revolution where the British, American, Russian and Greek Empires suffered horrific casualties at the hands of a smaller, poorer army. An abnormally small amount of confidence leads to shyness which could lead to arrogance because the very shy person tries to compensate for their lack of social interaction by excelling in Academic studies, thereby feeling superior than everyone else. If that is not case, then the person will likely not get very far in life because you need to form connections with people, market yourself etc. Image and reputation counts and it is the key to power. Thus the Virtue of the concept/ feeling of self-worth is confidence where you feel you are strong enough to deal with a person/ situation while making the required preparations and not underestimating the opponent/ challenge.
However, although what Aristotle says is true and wise, there are times when despite achieving/ trying to achieve Virtues in our lifetimes, situations and life do not go according to how we want them which makes the whole attempt to achieve Virtues pointless.
Narcissus was a character in Greek Mythology who was so proud and egotistical that he fell in love with his own image reflected by a nearby river. Narcissus eventually died because he was so obsessed with his own self-image and wanted to make love to it.
The Ancient Greeks were truly a wise and insightful people, much of Western Civilisation is influenced by their ideas. In particular, this myth of Narcissus yields an underlying, universal Truth about human nature and its flaws. As a side note, if you read the Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung’s work on the Archetypes, he also gains insights into the meanings underlying many of our Myths. Narcissus is very similar to arrogant and vain people, people that you surely have met in your daily lives, yes? These types of people are to be avoided at all costs or if you have the misfortune to share your moments in life with them, they are merely to be tolerated with until an opportunity arises to leave them permanently.
Arrogant people get angry when their wishes are unfulfilled, they believe they are always right, they act very rudely towards others, they will not accept most people’s ideas that are contrary to their own etc. Arrogant people hold this belief that they are far greater than everyone, are flawless and they are trapped in this grand delusion which they are not aware. Their mind and its thought do not align properly to the Reality that occurs before them; their interpretation is skewed and incorrect. This idea of perceived superiority expresses itself in their rude, brash and brazen behaviour towards others they consider lower in status than themselves. They lower or devalue people so they can feel better and elevate themselves which is a parasitic and weak thing to do. There is no point disagreeing with them because of that deeply fixated belief in themselves. The best thing to do is “agree” with them which works wonders and lowers their guard. When you “agree” with them, they will no longer be hostile to you because you appear to mirror them and their attitudes when you agree with them. Hence they see a mental reflection of themselves in you as you defer to them and fall in love with that mental projection which is similar to how Narcissus loved his own image. Thus, this prolongs the cycle of their arrogant thoughts and behaviour. When you mirror their behaviour and thoughts, you camouflage yourself from them. They think they are superior but in fact this idea of theirs opens them to attack where they can be controlled just like with the mirroring technique. In their belief that they are perfect, they are in a state of self-denial and are wilfully CHOOSING to be ignorant. That is stupidity defined clearly. We see forms of arrogance everywhere like when the old colonial Western Powers would roam outside Europe, doing as they pleased, taking other countries’ resources, subjugating native populations etc. It is through the process of Colonisation that they project their own self-image to the countries they conquer which is reflected back at them, fuelling their arrogance and feelings of superiority.
Vain people, like arrogant people, tend to be obsessed with fashion, they put a lot of attention to their appearance, they get angry if you make a mocking comment on their appearance etc. They want to derive pleasure from being visually and aesthetically “perfect” and when they come across someone who does not reflect their thoughts back at them, they respond with anger and frustration; their minds doesn’t align with the Reality that they observe before them.
Much of what I have written on arrogance and the self-love gained from mirroring the arrogant/ vain person’s attitudes and beliefs originated from an author called Robert Greene.
Ideas are indestructible. You can’t kill them. No matter the span of time between two points, age does not hinder or corrode ideas e.g. ideas like Democracy and Nazism are still alive and in people’s minds, believers and non- believers alike, despite the origins of the respective ideologies being in the order of decades/ millenia.
Ancient Rome wiped out the empire of Carthage at the conclusion of the Punic wars and so great was Rome’s hatred of Carthage that it decided its soldiers should level all of Carthage’s structures and place salt on the ruins of the former empire in order for no life to grow there. In assuming ascendancy of the known world at the time and despite its efforts to wipe out its enemy completely, Rome failed because the idea of Carthage remains in our minds as well as the minds of its destroyers. We still remember ancient Carthage and the great Hannibal who destroyed Rome’s armies many times.
The same can be said for Adolf Hitler and Nazism. Despite Hitler’s armies being beaten and Germany being occupied by the allies, the concept of Nazism was never destroyed and it has been reformed in the form of Neo-Nazism. The idea of Neo-Nazism still endures in the countries of the Western world that opposed Hitler and it grows stronger in times of crisis like in the case of Greece’s and its mounting debt due to the Recession. Greece’s extremist party “Golden Dawn” is modelled exactly like Nazism, even its party symbol resembles the Nazi swastika.
By going against the very ideas we oppose, we become a part of it unwittingly; it defines us. As what the great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said in his book Beyond good and evil, “He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster.” Sometimes the idea that we hate so much becomes a part of our personality, infecting us like a virus e.g. killing someone who has caused atrocities makes you no better than that person, you become like him. Even Leonardo DiCaprio’s character states that ideas are like viruses in the film Inception.
Ancient Rome persecuted the early Christians and killed a considerable number of them. Likewise, the ancient Catholic church massacred “heretics” and free thinkers who didn’t believe in their ideas. The more Ancient Rome/ ancient Catholic Church tried to wipe out its dissenters, the more Christians/ Atheists thrived and multiplied in number.
Symbols are ideas in material form yet they are almost substantial; they are blots of think, pieces of fabric, paper etc. Were I to burn a flag of the UK on live television, a lot of people would get angry and want to kill me. The same can be said if I desecrated religious icons and money. When we look at the icons and symbols of corporate companies, we instantly know what type of company it represents and its products because the idea and symbol of the company is repeatedly shoved in our faces in the form of adverts. The symbols invade our minds. The ideas behind the country flags, religious icons, money, corporate logos etc affects us greatly depending on what viewpoint we have of the symbol, whether its favourable or unfavourable. Ideas and Symbols are Power assuming the symbols meaning is already established in the mind of the beholder.
Herein lies the paradox. Consider the Golden Rule made by the great Sage Confucius. Confucius stated, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself” and that is a very nice rule indeed, a rule that I generally live by and which mostly in others is lacking much to my annoyance. When you read that Law, take note on the latter part “you would not choose for yourself” and see that despite trying to be selfless and good by treating others well, you first have to think about yourself and the actions done to yourself before you can begin to treat others ethically. Hence by being good and helping others, you in fact are helping or thinking about yourself in the first instance. When you were born, you weren’t born because you chose to be born, that decision was made because your parents wanted you to be born so they could feel good about themselves and because of the continuation of Mankind; at once, the needs of the community and the needs of the individuals are met, much like a legal contract. When person “A” goes to do a charity event to “feel good about himself” and help the charity in question, he has himself aimed to get a reward which is the release of endorphins and other substances released in the neurons which triggers the feeling of happiness despite helping the charity. Happiness is like a painkiller to help make us at ease with our existence which can be very scary sometimes; the thought that you or I can die at any moment despite the low chances of it happening is still a possibility, the slow but steady progress of the days into months, Seasons and years and how routine your life can be makes you wonder where you are headed in life if there is ever a purpose.
Just thinking about colossal black holes at the Galactic centre in our Universe and possible Multiverses made me feel like my mind wanted to escape my skull, like a feeling of giddiness. With that in mind, it makes you wonder that you are an insignificant germ within the grand scheme of things yet we easily forget that fact because of what’s in front of us which is life, the traffic, going to work, going to school etc. Much like reality in general i.e. my body thinks the furniture around me and the house I live in is solid but it actually isn’t because it’s actually energy with very little disorder or entropy. My eyes don’t see that but Science says it is.