Welcome to the New Age
By Bobby Neal Winters
I’m waking up
I feel it in my bones
Enough to make my systems blow
Welcome to the New Age
--Imagine Dragons, Radioactive
Many of my friends have been confused as to why zombie movies and literature are so popular. I’m not. The human race has been fine-tuned to look for apocalypse. Disaster to the point of near total destruction has been an ongoing theme in history and prehistory. There’ve been plagues, wars, and famines taking us to the brink.
The Zombie Apocalypse is simply another metaphorical vehicle in which to carry the theme along. Near-total destruction of the human race is a theme going back at least as far as the story of Noah and the Ark. We see apocalypse covered of course in the Apocalypse of St. John, also known as the Book of Revelation. We get the metaphor of the Four Horsemen: Conquest, War, Famine, and Plague. One could view it as the ravings of a madman or one could view it through the lense of what happened as the Roman empire eventually fell in the West and was conquered in the East.
Within the literature, within the stories we read in books or watch at the movies, there is usually some core of survivors. Noah’s family survived. Those whose name were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life survived. There is a prize set of traits that help survival:
Rule 1: Cardio
Rule 2: The Double Tab
Rule 3: Beware of Bathrooms, etc.
Those who don’t pick up on these rules are selected out, winnowed like the wheat from the chaff. This brand of literature tends to focus sharply on survival. I was deeply affected by wanting Steven Spielberg’s version of The War of the Worlds. It’s not a zombie movie, of course, but it is an apocalypse. Humans are faced with beings who simply want them dead. There is no misunderstanding; there is no negotiation; the aliens are using humans as fertilizer for their own alien flora. Gardeners don’t typically negotiate with fertilizer, either bone meal or blood meal. That presented the issue with a razor-sharp edge.
Rarely in life are issues presented with that sort of focus. In this genre, it is clear what is at stake and the stakes are high indeed: personal survival and the survival of the species. In the modern West, we are rarely allowed to see anything with this sort of clarity.
For example, currently one in five babies conceived will be killed before they are born.
I put that last sentence in a paragraph by itself to make it hard to miss. I leave out the absolute numbers for now because they are so large. Stalin, the antichrist that he was, said the death of one person is a tragedy but the death of a million is a statistic. Twenty-seven people, twenty of them children, were killed in the Sandy Hook school tragedy. On that same day, a couple of thousand--yes, thousand--were aborted in the United States. That happens every day. The same people who are up in arms about Sandy Hook, don’t breath a word against abortion. There are people who won’t eat chicken who will fight to the last to preserve a woman’s ability to kill a child up until the point it’s born.
But one in five children conceived will be killed before they are born.
If this were a disease killing that many people, we would be up in arms, and, indeed, many people are. The irony is that so many of the people who support abortion rights are otherwise gentle souls: they take good care of their pets; they are very fastidious with regard to the ethical treatment of animals; but the slaughter of the innocents, even when carried out on a truly apocalyptic scale, goes under their radar.
No, that’s not true. It doesn’t go under their radar. They will spend their money, their intellect, and their time to maintain a woman’s ability to kill her unborn baby.
What hurts is that I was once on that side. Then, somewhere along the way, the scales fell from my eyes. My eyes opened, and I could see.
Blindness that is a good metaphor. Or, better yet, think about I am Legend. The lone hero in the city doing his work in the light, while the vampire/zombies flee the light. Of course, they do kill him eventually.
I see nothing that can change the current situation quickly. The apocalypse comes and there is a great dying. The survivors struggle on afterwards because those who die take so much with them when they go: art, literature, and various other pieces of civilization. Civilization does require people to keep it going.
But the survivors do emerge afterward, stronger. Those who survive a plague will carry some sort of resistance. Those who survive a disaster carry some sort of knowledge of survival techniques. Presumably those who survive a zombie apocalypse would take good care of their cardio and praise the value of the double-tap.
Those who survive the current apocalypse will also come through changed. The culture will be changed. But the bulk of the apocalypse is ahead of us, and we must first survive it.