Zombies, Freewill and the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse

A reader requested I write about the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Very well then.

I do not ascribe zombies to the rise of the Tea Party, the Gang of Six, or today’s call by euro-zone chiefs for a “selective default” on the Greek debt.

Although that would be entirely conceivable.

However, it is worth noting that respectable bastions of academia are taking seriously the zombie question. This has been evidenced by such mounting bodies of work as: Why Zombies Are Inconceivable (Eric Marcus); Zombie Killer (Nigel Thomas); Zombies and the Case of the Phenomenal Pickpocket (Michael Lynch); Zombies Support Biological Theories of Consciousness (Andrew Bailey); and Zombie Mary and the Blue Banana (Tillman Vierkant).

Ordinarily, this might be dismissed as so many starving philosophers jumping on the Max Brooks “Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead” bandwagon and its many spinoffs since the book’s release in 2003.

Except the term “zombie,” it seems, was first introduced and popularized by a philosopher and professor back in 1974. That year, Robert Kirk, now professor emeritus in the department of philosophy at the University of Nottingham, released a paper called “Sentience and Behaviour.” Being the 1970s and all, the whole zombie notion caught like wildfire. Since then, Kirk has continued writing about consciousness and physicalism. (Physicalism, for the uninitiated, was thought up by Otto Neurath in the early twentieth century. Mr. N. believed everything in existence was no more extensive than its physical properties. The conceivability of zombies posed a problem here if one accepted that zombies were, molecule-for-molecule, the same as humans — and yet somehow not human. Philosophers have loved pondering the differences ever since. This assumes, of course, you truly believe humans aren’t zombies.)

Now, zombies have their very own poster boy — David Chalmers, a rather handsome, shaggy-haired philosopher from Australian National University. Chalmers, the director of the school’s mysterious Centre for Consciousness, is also a visiting professor of philosophy at New York University. As you can see, he is really into zombies, going so far as to break them down into three obvious categories — the Hollywood zombie, the Philosophical and the Haitian zombie.

Not to be outdone, Bob Kirk, the original zombie master, has returned in recent years to defend his title. His book, “Zombies and Consciousness” aims to infuse academia’s tired old zombie argument with fresh rigor and “demolish the zombie idea once and for all,” according to the Amazon product description.

Could this, at long last, be the zombie apocalypse? The zombie creator looking to pound a steak through his own phenom’s heart?

7 thoughts on “Zombies, Freewill and the Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse”

  1. The re is an amazing moment in the New Orleans Horror Story where snipers take pot shots at the crowd of masses seeking sanctuary. It looked exactly like the moment in Georgio Romeros film when the protagonists take pot shots at zombies from their vantage point at the top of a shopping mall.

    It taught me two things
    1: the powerful subtext about how easy it is to dehumanise the urban poor and homeless.
    2: The visceral fear of the crowd and the extent to which Zombie movies have had a huge effect on the subconscious of the people of America

    In the UK Bristol Council have issued a guideline on how to deal wtih a zombie invasion. It treats the zombie as a question of managing infection control.

    Bristol Council treats zombification as a form of infection control. Their paper shows the influence of Wade Davis the ethnobotanist who “discovered” the effect of tetrodotoxin and other chemical compounds in producing zombification and the game world of resident evil whose umbrella corporation mutates the theology of haiti irevolutionary practice (zombies played a key part in haiti’s revolution) into a bio war technology.

    The Haitians who provided this insight into cryogenics, consciousness and mortality did not receive any money for their biotech innovations and that is a whole other story about the commercial relationship between the West and the developing world and the relationship between anthropologists, ethnobotanists venture capitalists and indigenous people.

  2. Zombie Economics
    “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. JM Keynes”

    I am stuck on the introductory portion of the post wherein Zombie-ism is a term used with some frequency in respect of economic discussion. I personally never was much of a literature or movie-goer–nor a deep philosophical thinker. For me, a rigorous scientific training converts into pairing cause and effect. The same concept dominates legal thinking. Add numbers and you have international finance.

    In this sense, a Zombie would be one who ignores the basic concept that effects derive from causes. Pairing may require paistaking investigation –it may be elusive–but in the end that is what mankind is supposed to excell in, vs say an earthworm. But worms have sufficent conscousness to crawl from their holes after heavy rains to avoind drowning. So the lowly earthworm recognizes that drowning derives from remaining underground after a rainstorm.

    It is a simple analysis but worth noting–changes in behavior can cause changes in effects. The hypothetical Zombie does not apply such rules and acts as a pre-programmed automaton–instructed to go forth and perform a simple task without consideration of cause and effect.

    The next fundamental aspect of scientific thought is part of the cause-effect pairing analysis. If one observes a behavior, then one surmises that it was caused by an event. The trick is to identify the triggering event or events acting in concert. This usually ends up as a sequence of events. Dominoes.

    I vaguely recall philosophic themes such as determinism vs self-actuation or something like that moving this forward. Those that dispute the need to pair cause and effect to facilitate fall back on “belief systems”. We do not need to know cause/effect relationships because the outcome was compelled by the unseen hand. It made for a simpler life–no need to ponder the seeming imponderable. These are 1st cousins to Zombies.

    Somewhere along the way the human-appearing creatures out there that did not read the 1st chapter in the 3rd grade science book decided to just read the last chapter which states that the world is thus and so—and dont worry about how it became that way. Akin to the Greek financial crisis.

    For the scientist there is no imponderable–no impossible–impossible just takes longer. Requires identification of more facts and juxtapositioning of those facts. Thus begins scientific method. Given a universe of possible contributors to an observed effect, the search for causation becomes insurmountable absent the additional mental trick: the hypothesis.

    So to sort things out a scientist [or lawyer] must gather all facts that are even remotely contributory to an effect–legal “discovery” allows the search for facts which might lead to thers that are relevant–those that may be material. The effect is placed in context.. Then the scientist starts listing hypotheses. As many possible causes or interactions of causes as she can that might lead to the effect.

    Thus are born conspiracy theories.

    The scientist develops a plausible theory or ten [beware belief systems sneaking in to limit the inquiry] and begins to test them. The testing process may be laboratory based–like Edison’s search for the carbon and tungsten fibers–or they may be based on examination of past or present events. This is pattern detection–the last large element of scientific thought. Absent judicial notice, a plaintiff attorney would have to establish that on multiple occasions when one car strikes another damage occurs in oder to prove that in the specific case in controversy, defendant’s car struck plaintiff’s car and therefore the damage resulted from that effect. Causation.

    So the quantitative analysis comes into play in looking for causation. And circumstantial evidence rather than direct evidence becomes the controlling feature. On the night in which defendant’s car was damaged, the parking garage had but one other car present that also was damaged in a particular manner. Nobody saw the actual encounter. It is not belief –it is statistical analysis –what are the odds?
    The concept of “thinking outside the box” comes into play–do not ignore correlation coefficients–just because conventional wisdom asserts there is no reason to believe that correlation may exist.

    Now let me bring this into the world today. The Fukishima plant reactors started erupting into mini nuclear explosions [or not depending on who you believe]—with the result that there were hypothetically at least 3–perhaps 4 uncontained uncontrolled nuclear reactions which resulted in plutonium coming to rest outside the plan. The temperatures must exceed the 3800 centigrade level needed to temporarily vaporize plutonium. Steel melts at 1300 degrees. Thus the hypothesis would suggest that the presence of plutonium outside the plant might mean that the temperatures exceeded the levels necessary to penetrate the reactor bottoms. Add to this the fact that other radioactive isotopes cesium etc were found in groundwater near the plant. This fact tends to support the hypothesis that indeed the temperatures did exceed the 1300 degree range and the core U-235 was in fact in a China -Syndrome situation. For movie buffs go back to the 60’s–when these plants were designed.

    One effect that could result from a cause–severe nuclear meltdown is inconclusive say 50/50 odds if the belief system is against you. The belief in this instance is that any Zombie will instantly tell you that the nuke plant next door is perfectly safe.

    Now if we add a second factor—a 2nd effect, ie core material in the groundwater and the odds supporting the extreme nuclear burping /meltdown grow geometrically. The scientist within is only 50% sure that the uncontained nuclear explosions/burps occurred based on one effect but with 2 effects the geometric certainty grows to say 75%. Still not certain that the effects indicate the hypothsized cause. We could start to add in some really soft anecdotal evidence at this point such as the CEO of Tepco requiring immediate medical treatment at an undisclosed location far from the reactors which could go critical at any time under this hypothesis. But not more than say 5% –so 80% sure?

    Now in the past 60 days another seemingly unrelated truly extraordinary phenomenon was disclosed which adds another dimension or two.

    Apparently according to news accounts–[smell Murdoch?] at the exact same time as our hypothesis about the severe mini-nuclear bomb-burps occurred –or at least the roofs were blown off the reactors, Earth received a beam of cosmic rays from multiple trillion miles away. Thus the “beam” ——-absent a beam, the energy to support a generalized outpouring of so much energy in all directions would be too large to be credible to anybody with high school physics. Baisically it took awhile to find an exploding star at the right time to explain the incoming cosmic rays. Unfortunately for those theorists the distance is just too great to make sense to anybody but a Zombie.

    Maybe the Zombies will buy the beam theory? Seemingly they did because there has been little follow up by the “free press”.

    The problem was that the way to measure incoming cosmic rays is indirect. One must look for Mu-mesons. These are among the 200 or so particles emitted from decaying nucleii. They are unique in that they have very little density and travel at great speed and pack a lot of energy. So small, fast and energetc that they pass through dozens of feet of concrete and stell as if it air. The particle is so energetic that it must strike a nucleas head on to stop.
    The particle carries a negative charge–a sort of very high energy beta particle–ie electron. It creates an electo-magnetic field that can make subtle changes to DNA that it passes. It drives subtle evolutionary mutations if our belief permits us to accept such things as fact.

    But the 1950’s mathematical models –achieved using abacuses and Fourier Analysys–which I never “got”—indicated that ONLY a cosmic ray striking a high level atmospheric atom like nitogen could cause the release of anything with the energy and penetrating power of the Mu-meson. Thus, when we sat deep below the buildings in the sub-sub basements circa 1973 and measured incoming mu mesons we were told with confidence that they came from outer space and not the radioactive isotope room 12 feet away. And if you did not believe it you could check the Fourier Analysis proof!!

    So it appears that the Earth was necessarily inundated with cosmic rays and resultant measurable Mu-mesons while Fukishima was melting down and releasing radioactive materials into the air.
    The coincidence as well as the bean theory make this explanation a bit on the hard to buy side–any gambler would put the odds as pretty astronomical that anything other than Fukishima was the cause —-so now we have 3 effects —and that magic number gives us about 99% certainty of a catastrophic meltdown worse than Chernoble–by several fold.

    But you still do not grasp what I have just told you unless you are a nuclear physicist that has accepted the failure of Planck’s Constant
    or something like that. Fukishima has inadvertantly proved that mu-mesons can be created by Earth sources. Specifically by decay of U-235, the fuel of choice at most of the US’ 134 reactors.

    Still not clear what Im saying? Let me add another fact,. All the Fukishima-type reactors have spent fuel rods in pools perched atop the reactors with minimal shielding. A fuel rod is spent when it is about 50% depleted by decay –so a spent fuel rod is actually about 50% pure U-235. The original approved designs were to enable the storage of about 5 years’ worth of spent rods–at which time they were to be removed, encased in concrete and shipped to someplace never to tread upon by man again. Millions of years half life.

    Instead to reduce costs, the utilities packed 25 years worth of spent fuel rods in those pools. Tightly packed to critcal mass. Separated by boron sheets to prevent the rods from actually going critical. The rods absorb neurtons until the boron is decomposed by the bombardment. But neither the boron sheets. nor the concrete ans steel containment of the pools or the reaction chamber can contain the mu-mesons.

    Liken the situation to a campfire. a group of people sits in chairs around the fire jofully cooking marshmellows. then a moron comes by and throws a ton of wood on the fire–which increases in size and intensity–emitting infra red waves. the circle of chairs must move back to avoid the occupants being cooked–probably the party is over completely.

    Today the spent fuel rod pools in the US are each filled with 250 tons per reactor –1000 tons per plant. 50% of the 1000 tons is decaying U-235—— Now we know that the U-235 is emitting mu-mesons also. These are undeterred by the shielding–they disrupt DNA . when the plants were permitted there was a fatal flaw–failure to acknowledge mu meson emissions at all. Today the emissions are at least 5 times the design specs.

    Sadly nobody told the people who live nearby that a moron threw a ton of wood on the campfire–so tose people and their children and childrens children have been slow-cooked. The hypothesis is that there will be hot spots of various diseases genetic and otherwise for people living in the vicinity of the plants. the girls born there and exposed until they produced eggs will show the damage by miscarriages and deformed children. It will not be hard to prove and it is the biggest story of the century.

  3. London. 2011

    In the early 1990s a series of hardcore and uncensored MTV Videos began to be shown in West Africa. The culture of Death Row – a record label that celebrates the terrible and terrifying incarceration statistics of young black men in America – fused with disaffected mindset of the Sierra Leonean youth enabling Dr Dre to gain a double in the form of the head of the notorious West Coast boys of Sierra Leone. The West Coast Boys were a gang/militia that formed a faction within the Sierra Leone civil war.

    The West Coast boys terrified, intimidated and recruited a number of young boys – Local Area Boys – into their gang and gave them a lethal mixture of cocaine and alcopops. This gave the boys a false sense of invincibility. Armed with machine guns and machetes the kids terrorised all around them and the cocaine pops mix affected their response to blood trauma meaning that they could be riddled full of holes and then would just drop down dead like a character in a video game.

    By the mid 90s the Child Soldiers of Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Somalia had began to make their home here in London. Left alone and mostly unsuported they completely changed the street culture of London. One simple example was that gangs learned how to swarm, scatter and regroup in highly creative non linear patterns they also learnt how to use communications technology to support their regrouping. They became smart mobs.

    I remember seeing a group of policemen struggle to catch a gang of youths following a street fight that had used those tactics. The groups attack in a linear manner split up in multiple directions and regroup (Ridley Scott captured some of this in Black Hawk Down).

    By the mid noughties these groups had adapted these tactics to provide a highly lucrative drug trade and distribution network that involved the use of encrypted technology (blackberry closed networks, cryptolectic slang – that could not be used evidentially in court – and steganographic graffiti and gestures).

    By dividing their territory by postcode more than a quater of a millon pounds a week could circulate wihin a half mile radius. This territorial division led to the formation of vicious street gangs that combined terror tactics with intense localised information networks to control their zone.

    Last week the police made progress against the most prolific of these gangs that were based in an estate in East London. This weekend the Gangs made a truce regarding the movement of members through their distribution territories to regroup and swarm.

    How does this fit with the Zombie Post? West Coast African culture had a strong influence on Haitian Political Theology and Zombie Science. This theology described a number of invisible territories including aquatic kingdoms (Ife) and Pharonic Kingdoms that could help them with their political and economic struggle. The Black Consciousness movement of the 70s (Oakland Panthers, Funkadelic, Earth Wind and Fire etc) adapted a number of these theological speculations into a vast Egyptian and Pan African pantheon of super-beings and other invisible influences. The black consciousness movement created its own interpretation of the Egyptian and Pan African mythology and pantheon.

    By the early 90s Funkadelic’s musical revolution had been transformed by Death Row Records into a creative interpretation of the Book of the Dead – with Snoop Dogg as Anubis – and a celebration of both the criminal and carnivalesque qualities of “the short but good life” before the arrival at death row.
    In other words the Haitian Book of the Dead and Zombie myth of the journey to the world of the dead and the return from that world was reimagined and been adapted into a sub cultural aspect of Californian Culture. The same Death Row Zombie myth was re-exported back to West Coast Africa where it mutated into Dr Dre’s Death Cult of the Sierra Leonean West Coast boys and influenced the local area bad boys of Liberia.

    The second connection with the Zombie post is that Zombieism and the idea of the super indestructible worker and soldier is strongly connected to the use of toxicology and pharmacology to create a weapon and worker of last resort. Fortunately the formula of Alcopops and Cocaine never made it to London.

    Alcocoke created a strange hybrid a prototype of The Grand Theft Auto Superhero (GTAS) who could not feel pain but would just drop from trauma. However, the crack and GTAS made it to London and enabled the mutation of myth of zombieism into a force of strong intoxicated and chemically modified groups of men who celebrate and do not fear death and could stand their ground against any force of law and order, add to this mix long term structural unemployment, the intentional destruction of social infrastructure funding due to “austerity”, absence of parenting, a community of bored teenagers and very angry self medicating adults and you have “celebration” of the collapse of any sense of HOPE. This “celebration” has lead to an orgy of looting and destruction as we are confronted with the generation of Lost Hope.

    This is not a summary or attempt at a clear explanation of what is happening in London more a description of the lethal cocktail of influences that self ignited over the past 3 days .

  4. Interesting tie in to Brit East Africa—-kind of payback for colonial exploitation. The commentary does reference the 1970’s US movements but in my view misses the best comparison which I viewed up close and personal in 1968. As I returned from vacation last night, flipped on the BBC and watched London burn, there was no explanation as to who was lighting the fires–I was left to guess. I surmise the Brit PC would not allow it to point to immigrants from East Africa or wherever. This is the 1st clear explanation Iv seen.

    However, my gut reminded me that it all looked an awful lot like the US in 1968. Many cities on fire. The result was an outpouring of PC and affirmative action that put to shame the 1964 Civil Rights blue print. The US has endured 40 years of affirmative action—something like 3 generations now–with no end in sight. One half of all children born now are non-white and the US is bankrupt with no jobs and fanatical Teaparty types demanding cutbacks . The vast outpourings have raised the standards of living of a broad crossection of middle class black Americans.

    Anybody who sits in any meeting in a non-military administrative agency meeting in Washington can see that these advances have resulted in the elevation of these beneficiaries of affirmative action and govt largess to the highest levels of executive agency administration—-in fact a qiuck head-count will affirm that a majority of these execs meet these criteria. This pinacle of success for these programs and the beneficiaries coincidentally corresponds with the current advanced state of efficiency and effectiveness of the administrative branch.

    Since clearly the US experiment has worked so effectively, it represents a tried and true guiding light for Britain, and other EU countries with race issues. Simply give them free educations, put them in all govt jobs and advance them as soon as possible to the highest levels—expand the welfare for those who are unable to show up for govt jobs–require business to hire 50% of all new hires and similarly advance the disadvantaged. This will alleviate the anger of the disadvantaged and provide peace and long-term prosperity as it has in the US.

    Since the solution has worked so well in the US –there is no justification for Britain and other EU nations to continue to drag their feet in eliminating the 500 years of abuse —by advancing the interests of the disadvantaged above all others and curing the inequalities ASAP. What other choice is there?

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