Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reincarnation, or Resurrection?

Everyone always asks if I think zombies are like resurrected people, just not in the "right" way, but it occurred to me today that in some ways, they're more like the way Hindus believe we will be reincarnated as something/someone else, because in the Hindu idea, you come back, and your present existence has an influence on your next incarnation, but you don't really remember your former existence(s). If zombies wander around, but don't quite remember being human, and don't remember basic things like how to talk, or basic rules like you're not supposed to eat other people, then that sounds kind of similar to reincarnation. Just saying.


Blogger ChrisI1024 said...

Do you think they have souls at all? It crossed my mind that the undead might have animate, but not rational souls, but then that wouldn't account for the fact that animals don't behave at all like zombies.

9:52 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

That's a good distinction. I think that they are consistently different from animals, as you note. If left alone, they do nothing, but if pushed, they can learn new things - that sounds like human children, not animals. And they clearly have memories of a human existence. I guess if we're going to get all Thomistic, we could say they have a rational soul as a potential, not necessarily as a reality. The other thing they consistently seem to act like is Alzheimer's patients - clearly human, but very hard to interact with, since which memories they have or can recall at any given moment isn't at all linear or predictable.

10:20 PM  
Blogger Rev Sam said...

As it happens, I was pondering just this question last night - I'm working my way through your book, slowly, because I'm wanting to watch each film before reading what you say about it, and I've just taken delivery of the DVDs! So I got through 20 minutes of Dawn of the Dead before having to stop - because the children were not going to bed properly(!). And I got to thinking - if they had seen an image from the film (heaven forbid) - how would I describe what a zombie is? The eldest at least (he's 5) understands resurrection, because we've taught him about Jesus, but that merely opens up the possibility of radical misunderstanding. I was thinking along the lines of: Jesus is resurrected as a spiritual body, transformed from our present flesh; zombies are reanimated as unspiritual bodies, degenerated from our present flesh.

I was wanting to say that zombies have no soul - but the distinction between animate and rational covers that I think.

7:30 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

See, I think saying they have no soul doesn't adequately deal with the horror (or humor) of becoming one. In other words, if your body is just going to dance or jerk around after you die, that's gross and all, but I can't imagine committing suicide in order to avoid that. But if the idea is really that *I* will come back as *something* and wander around the mall forever, that'd be worth putting a bullet in your head.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Rev Sam said...

Ah. Didn't look at it like that - possibly because I've always seen the suicide option as preventing harm to _others_, not one's future self. You know - if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem...

btw have you written anything about Fido?

11:47 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Fido hasn't been released anywhere nearby yet. I thought the trailer looked tremendous.

1:16 PM  

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