You will be assimilated – A quote from any instance of the Borg
Zombies are scary. They seem human (mostly) but cannot be reasoned with. Sometimes (depending on the mythology) they may be capable of logic (I Am Legend), even at superior levels (the Borg), but that just makes them more frightening. They are frightening because they are usually trying to make you just like them, and that’s unreasonable.
Let’s take a little sidebar and talk about logic and reason. Things may be perfectly logical yet perfectly unreasonable. Wiki explains the difference like this:
Reason and logic can … be thought of as distinct, although logic is one important aspect of reason. Author Douglas Hofstadter, in Gödel, Escher, Bach, characterizes the distinction in this way. Logic is done inside a system while reason is done outside the system by such methods as skipping steps, working backward, drawing diagrams, looking at examples, or seeing what happens if you change the rules of the system.
Consider the entreaty, “Let’s be reasonable” as opposed to, “Let’s be logical”. The request for reasonableness is an appeal to the broader picture while the request for logic is an appeal to reductionism.
Coming back to zombies, their logic is a closed system, cold and inhuman. Any reasonable (warm blooded) human being would resist assimilation in order to preserve their humanity even if they were the last person on earth (if we are to believe the writers). This allusion to the temperature difference between cold (dead) logic and warm (even passionate) reason is an important one.
Some humans would rather become zombies. There is a logical reason for this 🙂
Jessica Stern, in the introduction to her book Terror in the Name of God, identifies a phenomena referred to as “doubling”. In the context of her book this is a separation between the original self and a new (morally disengaged) self, and she goes on to cite references to that psychology. My own introduction to the concept came through Eric Hoffa’s True Believer which I read in high school (so I should have known better, but I digress). In a nutshell the doubling process is used to escape the pain experienced by the original self.
Ms. Stern is careful to point out that the “doubling” phenomena is sometimes a positive and essential aspect of meaningful contribution in some professions including medicine, psychology and military service. I believe it is important to recognize this positive purpose because my cosmology sees evil as the corruption of original purpose.
When The Buddha “woke up” some 2800 years ago he taught that the self was the source of all psychic pain and that the way to peace could only be found in the renunciation of that self. If you have read (almost) any other post on this blog you already know that this religious truth is universal.
As Christians we are taught to deny ourselves, to crucify our flesh, to die with Christ in order to be free of the natural man so that we might live in the spirit.
I think there is a subtle difference here that I would like to explore.
I think the difference is whether we escape the pain of self or we endure the death of self. I think this is the difference between killing ourselves (our humanity) and submitting to God, between maintaining and yielding control.
As Christians we learn that the self must fall to the ground like a seed. That it must be buried and resurrected in a new life. We are further taught that new life, if it is allowed to grow, will bring forth fruit. Fruit of the most wonderful and satisfying variety. Fruit that is living and full of life, fruit of the Holy Spirit of God.
We are also taught that we don’t grow that fruit, but that God Himself is the one responsible for the increase. All we can do is provide the seed and maybe some fertile earth (since we are but dust). He grows the fruit, not us. Just like He chooses our gifts. The fruit and quantities of it are different for different members. They are, dare I say, diverse just like the life He has created.
The peace of God is not the peace of the cold and lifeless death of self, it is the peace of life fulfilled, of love and righteousness. The peace of knowing and believing that the pain of the world has been addressed, that real Justice has been and is being served.
That brings me back to zombies. They die but are never resurrected. Zombies can’t grow fruit because they are still dead. My pastor commented in a sermon, that some Christians are like farmers that go into their fields and tie fruit onto their trees. Are these Christians really submitting to God or are they working in their flesh to be the image of life? Jessica Stern points to current and historical documentation that what makes highly religious believers into terrorists is their unwillingness to wait for God to work, their conclusions are logical but the results are unreasonable. The result is zombies, either foul rot or cold plastic and both are equally scary.
Some people are warm and caring, even to strangers. They reveal the love of a Living God. Zombies are cold and lifeless, they seem less than human. They have the empty clang of the noisy gong and are mostly incapable of reason because they have escaped instead of dying.
Can we be Christians and loose our reason? Can we truly reveal the love of the Living God without our humanity, the reflection of his image? The Lord Himself entreats us to reason with Him, and goes outside our logic to reveal that He will make us clean. The Lord does not assimilate us, He resurrects us. In Him we have life, warm and vibrant.