- The iPocalypse Is Nigh
Do you like zombie movies? Post-apocalyptic thrillers? The Walking Dead, World War Z, I Am Legend, Mad Max, Terminator? There’s been a rash of movies and tv shows in pop culture lately focused around dystopian culture and the downfall of what we call human civilization. Why? Do we really want to experience the end of the world as we know it?
I personally don’t believe so. But rather: we already are starving, already longing for human connection and closeness, so we fantasize and glamorize what it would be like if we were forced to live without the heaviness of societal norms — forced to set aside all our nerves about how we are received by others, and instead being totally and completely accepted by others, simply because we exist and are human.
The one thing that most of these thrillers share is that all of the “normal” or unaffected individuals are actively seeking each other out — they are overjoyed when they stumble across someone who isn’t a zombie or crazed maniacal anti-human. Not only for survival of the species, but simply for companionship, for love. They choose to help and support others of their species just because it’s necessary.
If we lived in a world where simply existing as a healthy human being was good enough for others to seek us out and find us, just so we could survive and thrive, it would take the massive pressure we experience every day away. We wouldn’t feel that latent division, that heaviness that separates us from each other. We wouldn’t fail to act out of fear of being judged, rejected, ostracized.
This says something about where we stand as a culture — if, on some subconscious level we inherently crave the breakdown of certain societal systems just so we can experience what it would be like to unify, discover and love others, and accept them simply for who they are….aren’t we going in the wrong direction?
With the availability of information now — the fact that you can reach hundreds, if not thousands of people — just by touching a little digital object, we’ve devalued the meaningfulness and uniqueness — and ultimately the beauty and depth — that is inherently available (and invaluable) when we actually listen to each other. We believe that only after the destruction of our civilization as a whole we’ll realize we ultimately need each other.
Consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a theory that we prioritize our needs in order of importance: we have physiological needs, like eating, drinking and sleeping first — followed by safety and security. After that come social needs — which include belonging and closeness, then finally esteem, accomplishment, and ultimately achieving our perceived “potential”. You can’t move onto the next level of needs until the one below is fulfilled.
Additionally, you’ll notice at each level the needs get more complex and more intangible. At first, it’s the very basis of survival that concerns us. But then, it’s all about connection and acceptance — and from there we’re able to build something for ourselves that’s meaningful, lasting, and significant. The problem is, we currently struggle with that third level, regardless of the availability of and scope of communication currently possible — making it difficult for us to achieve further.
Unfortunately there’s no real resolution possible unless we actually start to treat the relationships, friendships, and connections we already have and value with more consideration and love. If you’re sitting across from someone and having trouble paying attention to them while they talk, consider what it would be like if they were the only person you had seen in weeks, and you both shared a latent fear of complete obliteration at you and HAD to connect — and connect closely — to survive. It’s a funny thought, but a legitimate one nonetheless.
The fact is, we’re already living in a zombie apocalypse. Fortunately, those zombies don’t manifest themselves as flesh-eating, gory, and horrific in nature. They are totally human, yet lacking empathy, unwilling to see how similar we are — and instead focusing on separation, classification, competition.
Of course, it’s much more subtle than a horrific dystopian society — but we’ve debased the very needs of humanity by consuming low-quality connection in favor of quantity over quality, and it’s beginning to affect us quite a bit as a culture.
The only solution is to take notice on a personal level and begin to treat others the way we actually should — by understanding that we crave to be together — not on a surface level, but with some depth. Have conversations that are actually poignant, hug each other, talk about your fears and aspirations, and be accepting of what others’ paths may be.
Maybe then, we won’t become the walking dead we so fear.
- Date of publication:
- Tue, 02/13/2018 - 09:09
Click on the link - it will be copied to clipboard