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Zombies - Part 1

October 25, 2008 Length: 41:38

Come for the zombies. Stay for the insights and "Apophatic Anthropology"

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Fr. John: Welcome back to Paradosis. I’m Fr. John Hainsworth, and you’re listening to a special edition of this podcast. And I’m hoping, in the next few podcasts, to be discussing a sort of special topic, a unique topic in a perhaps unique way. The topic is “apophatic anthropology.” Now, usually people talk about “apophatic theology,” and by that they usually mean, at least in the popular sense of the term, that there is a way of speaking about God in which we say something about God and then unsay it about God.

So, for instance, cataphatically, we would say that God is love, but apophatically, we would say that God is beyond love, that he is beyond the category of love. Cataphatically we might say that God is good, but apophatically we would unsay that by saying that God is beyond good. He is the source of goodness; he is a being which transcends being and all categories of human thought. So “cataphatically” is a dogmatic or a doctrinal statement and “[apophatically]” allows us to “unloose” God from those strict categories of human thought, which are nevertheless true and revealed by God.

Now I hope to apply the same approach to understanding what it is to be human. And, of course, “being human” means being created by God, being alive, having a soul, living in community, and so on. But what can we say about what it is to not be human? And it’s my conviction that the fiction of the zombie genre—that’s right, I just said “zombie genre”—provides us just that opportunity to explore what it is to not be human, and thereby understanding or gaining a deeper understanding of what it is to be a human being.

Now, to help me discuss this subject, I have with me Fr. Kosta Kaltsidis. He is the Greek Orthodox priest of the Presentation of the Lord Orthodox Church here in Victoria, British Columbia. He is an expert in, obviously, all things theological, scriptural, liturgical. He has an excellent academic history in history itself, particularly Greek history. But he also is quite well-versed in the zombie genre in general. Fr. Kosta, welcome to Paradosis.

Fr. Kosta: Thank you; it’s nice to be here, and thank you for having me.

Fr. John: You’re very welcome. Okay, Fr. Kosta, to get the topic going, can you give us a little bit of a survey of sort of the most famous zombie literature and movies and things like that. Where does this genre come from; what’s its background; what does it do; what does it have to say?

Fr. Kosta: Well, I believe that the zombie genre really finds its heart and soul from folktales about ghosts, about spirits coming back from the dead. And it’s very much our fascination with our mortality and what happens after we die and what happens if we return from the dead. In that reason, the zombie genre was very much linked to myths about vampires and other ghosts and spooks that go bump in the night, but modern zombie genre, as depicted in many books and novelizations and film and so forth, really holds as its great-grandparent Frankenstein’s monster, because this is the first body brought back from the dead through science.

Fr. John: Right, so Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which was revolutionary in the 19th century in that genre, but, anyways, go on.

Fr. Kosta: Absolutely. And although in today’s zombie movies and books, you will have corpses reanimated through magic or demonic possession or whatnot, by far the most prominent and the most popular are zombies that are brought through some scientific method, even if it’s a method which is not caused by humans or a cause that is unknown; in our logical mind, it needs to be explained through some scientific means, which leads us to the most popular theme being a zombie virus which reanimates the dead and causes zombies and therefore becomes the medium by which they propagate.

Fr. John: What would be sort of the most popular work on this sort of modern take on the reanimation of the dead, the “zombie virus,” this understanding of the zombie? What would be the most popular and exhaustive work on this subject?

Fr. Kosta: By far I would say that the zombie genre, at least in film, was by George A. Romero, who made a very low-budget film called Night of the Living Dead, and, although he gives hints in that movie about how this reanimation of the dead comes about—he hints that a probe from Venus brought back some kind of radiational material that raises the dead—he doesn’t fully flesh it out, but it’s scientific, it’s cold, personal and yet impersonal, that causes the zombies to rise. Mind you, in the remakes of these films—because he did three films: Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Living Dead, and Dawn of the Dead in between those two, so “Night,” “Dawn,” and “Day”—those films were remade, and when they were remade, it defined it much more clearly in that it was a virus; it was transferred by bodily fluids from a zombie to a living victim, thereby causing the living victim to succumb, become a zombie in themselves and spread it that way. So, really, if the great-grandfather of the zombie genre is Frankenstein’s monster, then the work of George A. Romero is the father of the modern-day zombie genre.

Fr. John: But there’s been a lot of writing as well. What kind of major books would there be in the zombie genre, for instance?

Fr. Kosta: There are many, and I think that even some very prominent writers—for example, Stephen King has written certain zombie stories—being influenced by the work of George A. Romero, and also Italian directors such as Lucio Fulci, and you get many others, but I think a pioneer or someone who rises above the rest in recent times has to be Max Brooks, who wrote a wonderful—

Fr. John: Son of Mel Brooks.

Fr. Kosta: Yes, yes, funnily enough he worked also writing skits for Saturday Night Live.

Fr. John: Which could also be reanimated from the dead…

Fr. Kosta: We all hope, yes. His debut as an author was writing the survival guide to a zombie attack. It’s a handbook on how to survive against a zombie attack from very small to very large pandemics. And then he followed that with an equally successful and very well-known book, which will become a movie, I think, by 2010, called World War Z, which is, I think, not only an anthropological masterpiece, but a sociological one as well. It’s very much about human society, more than it is about the zombie society. But human nature and society becomes clear and in stark relief when the zombie threat arises, and I think that’s where it becomes very pertinent and how we can learn about who we are from the zombie.

Fr. John: So people like Romero are making movies which are entertaining, and certainly horror movies, for those inclined that way. But somebody like Brooks is writing, really, an anthropological and sociological thesis using the zombie genre as a medium and a platform.

Fr. Kosta: Yes, and in fact, George Romero, even from his very first film, which is a black-and-white film—I don’t remember the exact date, but it was made in the late ‘60s, I believe—he tackles such things as racism, the inefficiency of the government, and also cover-up when such a threat occurs, and then, continuing on, he shows that even when humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction, that there is still division: every man for himself. There are bandits that are willing to kill their fellow human beings, take what they need rather than work together. And in his latest film—and I’m talking about Land of the Dead—he shows that what happens if the zombies to mimic humans and they came to care about each other, then, perhaps the living become the villains in a zombie world when they kill zombies who, quote unquote, have feelings for each other. So he very much asked, “What is it to be human?” So he does delve into that, but I think because Max Brooks, his medium is the written word, I think it drives closer to the human soul, because when you read about these things, you can’t help but put yourself much more into the story and ask, “Well, then, how would I react in this situation?”

Fr. John: Now since, obviously, the zombie genre has become very popular—there is a recent Will Smith movie which had a take on the zombie or reanimation-of-the-dead genre, then there were 28 Days Later and then 28 Weeks Later and I’m sure there will be a 28 Months Later and then the follow-up 28 Years Later, and there’s been a lot of these sort of movies coming out. I think [M.] Night Shyamalan had a kind of movie in that vein. I’m not sure; I haven’t seen it, but it seems like it was. In any case, it’s an incredibly popular genre now. Do you have any ideas as to why it’s so popular in Western society? Or is just a good— I mean, just people like horror movies and this seems to be a good thing? Or do you think this has deeper roots, say, in a social unrest, maybe, or do you think there are any deeper roots in this?

Fr. Kosta: Very much so, yes. I think while some people may flock to the movie theaters or rent DVDs just to see gore and excessive violence—because most zombie movies tend to have these things—a truly successful zombie movie must really draw at the human heartstrings, emotionally and sometimes also literally. And I think the appeal really goes beyond just Western civilization. While it’s true, for example, like Lucio Fulci had extremely successful zombie movies which became a success outside of Italy, at the same time, because the zombie genre ultimately talks about either the reanimation of a corpse or, like in 28 Days Later and in the Will Smith movie I Am Legend, a human who is so deformed that they are no longer human, these things, they really, I think, touch at the very core of the zombie genre, which goes all the way back to the folklore, those tales that we would tell to our children, to each other, about the boogeyman who was human, is no longer human, and is to be feared.

And let’s not forget that the term “zombie” is an African term which was taken through the Haitian culture, so its roots, much like its name, really go right back to our very core: who are we? and what happens when we change to the point that we become something totally other in an evil way?

Fr. John: Yes, absolutely. I’d like to follow that train of thought, but before I do, there’s another element—it feels like, to me—that is pretty appealing to a lot of people. And I remember—and it seems to come from a related but also unrelated genre—but I remember long ago, watching the movie when it come out, The Last Man on Earth. And being totally fascinated with the concept of being the last person on earth. What would that be like, what would you eat, even years later when Empire of the Sun came out and I remember that little boy was left all alone in his parents’ house and how he had to survive, and there seems to be a kind of almost a fascination with a lot of people with what it would be like if there were no other human beings about. What would you do, how would you live, how would you think, how would you survive? And so there’s a sense of, in the whole zombie outbreak literature, because it always goes from one zombie to many zombies, and I think in another portion of this series, we’ll come back to the whole zombie outbreak and how in the genre that happens, just for general interest’s sake, but it seems to be that the community, the idea of living in community, or living as a human being in community, sort of plays a big part in that, and when you’re all alone and you’re striving to survive—

In fact, there was a movie that came out in, I think it was last year or the year before, I’m trying to remember the name of it now. It’s not coming to me, but it was an independent movie; you know, a small, independent movie, and it was filmed in San Francisco. And the premise of the film was that two decades after a massive virus destroys all but point one percent of the planet’s population, a group of people are just seeking to survive together in this post-apocalyptic scenario in San Francisco, and I think there’s only about 150 people left living in San Francisco, and it follows what it was like for these people, and this one person is collecting footage of what it used to be like, and of course they have to find power sources and he’s preparing a small bit of footage from what it used to be like when Earth was filled with the population, and a very interesting aspect of this—it’s kind of a fictional documentary, because he interviews all of the survivors—and a very interesting aspect of it is when he’s interviewing the youth who don’t remember what it was like when the planet was filled with people, or who were so small that they just have no real recollection—and they don’t care. They’re sick and tired of hearing the stories of what life was like. For them, this is their world; this has only been their world and they just want to go ahead in the future. But what’s so interesting is the violence and the almost animal quality of these young people, because they have no real social framework in which to grow and develop socially. So it’s very interesting. So I think that’s another, at least for me, aspect of the zombie genre: the sort of outbreak and what would you do if you were the last man on earth, which is, I think, captivating for people.

And I think you get a sense of how that captivates people, because in the Hollywood versions, such as the Will Smith movie, there’s a lot of sort of lingering emphasis on his life before the action begins, because people would be fascinated on seeing those special effects shots of New York or Manhattan, that is, with gazelles and lions and things wandering around. And what’s also interesting is there is a man who wrote a book last year or the year before called The World Without Us, and it’s a fairly cunning idea for a book, you know, what would happen to the world—minute by minute at first and then day by day and then month by month and then year by year, all the way up to about 2,000 years—if we just suddenly vanished, totally vanished: what would happen? And he focuses on Manhattan, and he spent about a year and a half doing his research on what would happen to Manhattan and the world in general after we vanish from the earth. And that has ignited a small TV series that came out and all kinds of things chronicling this kind of idea of just exactly what it would be like if there were no human beings left, or there’s just one or two, or whatever.

So there seems to be a sort of fascination about this topic in general, trying to explore what it means to be in community. And, of course, nothing is new. It would seem as though this is another way, rather than just being a fascination with the macabre, it seems to be another way in which human beings—in the absence of faith and a philosophical framework—exploring what we’ve always explored which is human life: what it means to be human and not-human and in community, and what are the gifts of life and so on. Before we go on, though, maybe you could just put us in the picture about what exactly this process of zombification is. Okay.

Fr. Kosta: Absolutely.

Fr. John: In the genre, of course, because it has to be said for the record that neither of us believe there is anything like the zombies or anything like the kind.

Fr. Kosta: Yes, we don’t keep machetes sharpened and rifles loaded. Though every movie and every book is free to write its own “zombology” on how the virus—if it’s a virus—spreads, I think we should follow Max Brooks and his study of the zombie because all these angles that we are talking about—the internal and external changes of the human being when faced with such a threat—are beautifully depicted in Max Brooks’ book, from the micro: of what happens inside a person and how they change, to the macro: how does society change?

So, let’s look at what Max Brooks has to say. From his understanding, it begins with a virus called “Solanum” which does not exist in any plants or in the soil or in any water, but is alive only within a living tissue. And so that means that there has to be constantly a carrier from whenever this virus seemed to somehow be created, and he actually hints at the fact that this virus is pre-historic, that there were even cave paintings to show that our ancestors, when they lived in caves, painted zombies on the walls. So there has to always be a carrier; this virus has to live inside the carrier. So we’ll have to begin with one zombie out there, somewhere, attacking a victim.

So, like we said before, this virus spreads through bodily fluids. So that zombie has to be able to bite or to scratch, and if it scratches, there has to be an open wound on the zombie, and a bit of its saliva or a bit of its blood has to get inside the human being, which is actually harder for a zombie to do than a living human being. If two human beings were to, God forbid, fight, and they were to cut each other, because we have heartbeats and an active circulatory system, it’s easy for blood from one person to get onto another person, and if they have an open wound, to get inside their circulatory system.

But because a zombie is a reanimated corpse, we should point out at this point that it’s a reanimated corpse, but certain parts are not reanimated. It has no circulatory system that is functioning, no respiratory system, no digestive system. So when the zombie claws at you, when it tries to bite at you, if you were to somehow get away without any of its fluids getting inside you, you’d be okay. But if it bit you and some of that tissue, some of that dried blood from its mouth got into your system, you’re infected, and if that infected tissue inside you was not amputated immediately, then there’s a 99.9 [percent] chance that you are going to succumb and become a zombie.

Fr. John: So how does that take place? How would you become a zombie and how long would you have? Half an hour? Hour? I guess it depends where it bites you.

Fr. Kosta: Absolutely.

Fr. John: If it bites you in the neck, well, then as soon as it gets to the brain, which is where it has to go, right?

Fr. Kosta: Yes, absolutely. The virus begins to infect every cell as soon as it enters your body. And as soon as it enters your body, it enters cells, infects them, and makes copies of itself. So, depending where you’re bitten, if you’re bitten on the hand or in outer extremity, the infection in the beginning would feel something like the flu. Your body temperature would rise, trying to combat this unknown virus, so you would think you would have the flu. But it isn’t the flu. As soon as it gets to a vital organ, and it begins to infect it, that organ would begin to necrotize and shut down. So you could become dead quite quickly; if you’re bitten in the neck, then that virus would begin to spread very quickly to the brain and reach the heart and so forth, and as soon as it reaches a vital organ and that organ begins to stop working, you would die, and the virus would continue to spread, which is something unheard of. There are no viruses that we know of—at least that I know of—that, once you die, it continues to spread, but that’s exactly what it does.

So if you were to be bitten, say, in the hand, there could be, depending also on your constitution, how healthy you are, how long you’re able to survive to fight this virus, but within a few hours, when it would reach a vital organ like the lungs or the liver or whatnot, and those organs would shut down, you would die, and the virus would continue to spread. If it reaches the brain quickly, then you would reanimate quickly after death. If it reaches another vital organ before it reaches the brain, then it would take longer, since, for example, if you’re bitten in the hand, it reaches your heart, and then your heart stops working, you die. Well, that virus still has to get to the brain. And at this point I should note that although the virus can live in any tissue—it can live in the tissue of an animal; it can live in the tissue of an insect—and it kills all, in fact, 99.9% fatality—it is only in human beings that, once it reaches the brain, it reanimates them. We don’t know why, but that’s what happens.

Fr. John: Now, a virus is not a living thing, to begin with. It’s not; it doesn’t actually have any life in it. It’s classified as a non-living thing.

Fr. Kosta: That’s right. It is basically like a machine, a floating syringe, which recognizes a certain type of cell, attacks that cell, injects its DNA, changes the cell, and that way it reproduces. And in those aspects, the zombie virus is no different; it does the exact same thing. But there is a difference, in that, while the zombie virus infects all cells—and it seems to be able to penetrate through cellular walls, because once you’re dead and your circulatory system ceases to work and your body effectively dies, it continues to jump from cellular wall to cellular wall, infecting all the cells, using some. It destroys some cells, so it can reproduce, and others, all it does is enter, perhaps a different strand of DNA, and alters those cells down to their very cellular level.

So that means that after you die and it continues to spread, once it reaches the brain, even after it reaches the brain, it will not stop till it has completely changed all the cells in your body, perhaps not in a visual way. And then you reanimate. It seems that it uses your brain to command the entire body, not in a cognitive manner, but in an almost instinctive, cellular cognizance.

Fr. John: Yeah. And that’s pretty interesting. Right from that point is where I’d like to jump off in terms of— I mean, I think that’s an apophatic statement right there, an apophatic anthropological statement right there, that our brain is in fact physically animating our body, forcing it to move and to operate, and that, fundamentally, is inhuman, right? And that’s the first backing up, it’s the initial violence of human against human or at least what you would perceive at the beginning of human versus human. That is, first of all, horrifying, and second of all, that you would be consumed by something that is machine-like in efficiency, and also not alive.

There’s nothing personal here. This is not a personal vendetta. Human beings very much like to see a purpose in the universe, and a purpose to life. And right from the beginning, I think we begin to see that what the zombie genre kind of teaches us is that the process of zombification is a lifeless, purposeless process. And that is initially horrifying because the human being always has life, and everything in it—its cells, its organs, its composition—is charged with life. And, of course, a life always has some sort of purpose, and also we have some control. We have some will over this, that we have some way of operating. But a zombie has no way of operating, so right from the beginning we know that we’re a zombie, and the process of zombification begins with violence, we can say, therefore, human beings are inclined genetically towards a peaceful co-existence, and where we can see that the process of zombification is a lifeless, purposeless process. We can see right from the beginning that, cataphatically stating, human beings only know life charged with life and we have purpose, a purpose to our being, and we seek and look to the universe for purpose.

And what’s so horrifying about this description that you gave is just that there seems to be no purpose to it whatsoever. It’s a machine; it’s something that has nothing in it for us, that expresses nothing. And this is horrifying to the human being. And then lastly, before we go on, it’s interesting that in the genre, the brain, the lifeless brain, but it’s “operated” in a sense, by this virus, but the body is driven by this brain. Nothing else is alive in the body. And so we can say right from there that to speak about what it is to be human: that we are more than just a biology that is animated by a brain. We are more than biological beings. If the rest of us were dead, it’s horrifying to think that this brain is the only thing that’s moving us, and that’s terrifying!

So, despite this idea that you get in popular culture, that we’re just “walking brains,” and that a soul—what’s that? “Emotions come from the brain and faith is somehow a product of the brain and that, in fact, we’re just walking around biologically as just brains and that’s it.” In fact, where we might state that, scientifically, when we express ourselves in the more genuine fashion through writing and movies and art, in fact, that’s a horrifying premise. So we can say that, right there, the zombie genre teaches us that what it is to be human being is more than just having a brain in a skull that animates a body. There’s mystically much more.

Fr. Kosta: And I think even from its conception, we see how much the zombie is unlike us, and yet, because it possesses our bodies and reanimates them, becomes more macabre. For example, the zombie virus has no ontology; it does not have a will that will lead it to something greater. Because, as we speak, especially in subsequent podcasts, we will see that the terminus, the destination of the zombie, is its own destruction. It has no way to grow or escape its boundaries. The virus itself is a machine; it’s a slave of its own instinct, and it is tyrannical, because it enslaves the human body, it pushes out the soul, and then it uses the human body—and by “using,” we’re giving an anthropomorphic will to it, like I said, it’s a machine. It neither learns nor adapts; it follows its instinct.

So it takes over the cells because that is what it was meant to do. It pushes out the soul, and once it has complete dominance of the body, it only wakes up the brain, which then commands the muscle structure and the nerves, and uses whatever residual, static energy and electricity that’s within each cell to animate the body, because that’s all it can do. It does not not-use your heart because it can’t, but it sees no benefit in using your heart. It sees no benefit in you breathing, because it doesn’t want you to be alive. It is tyrannical, and it is a slave of its own making. As we know the human body, every part is important. There is no human person that would willingly cut off some member of his body and not feel loss.

And we also know that chemicals that are in the brain and help the brain to think are found throughout the entire human body. So that’s why, when we take a certain medicine that has a certain chemical for our stomach or whatever, and that chemical is also found in the brain, it affects the brain. So I think that any scientist or any person that says that our entire body is not used to think are wrong. Our entire bodies think, our entire bodies live, our entire bodies attribute to defining our being. But the zombie virus is not, because it does not seek out self-definition. It does not care about its host, even the flu virus, for example, if its host dies, it dies.

Fr. John: What is particularly terrifying or horrifying about it is also not just that we understand that we as a human being are more than just a body animated by a brain, but, going back to what we’re not, what the zombie genre would show us there is, in fact, our bodies and our biology are incredibly important. And I think that’s terrifying to me: the concept of the body-death. That listening to the process of zombification is a kind of a gross idea, I think, for a lot of people, simply because we value our physicality and our physical being, right? And so, to be human is to inhabit, fully, this body.

I have a dentist; she’s an amazing dentist. She’s a therapeutic dentist as well. It’s not that I need therapy when I’m doing dentistry, it’s just that she’s a really nice lady and she was willing to take our family. But she worked with a lot of people that have suffered trauma. And she says, for instance, that the mouth is our first experience with the world, that when an infant comes into the world, it reaches out with its mouth. The very first thing it does is touches the world, and receives from the world around it through its mouth.

And that this is why so many people have such difficulty with dentistry, because when they open their mouths, which is their most sensitive place, primally, and they have these people kind of haphazardly it would seem, stick drills and suction things and picks and scraping stuff and I don’t know what else, into the mouth, it’s a terrifying thing. And I remember being in her office once, and she kind of unloaded on me, a lot, every time I’d go in there, because she knows I’m a priest and so she knows she can talk, right? And so she would just kind of let it all out, and just kind of express herself in the safety of my being a priest.

And she said that the week before, she had a woman in her office who had been abused while somebody had a gun in mouth, and this was when she was a teenager, but now in her forties, being at the dentist was probably the most terrifying experience ever, because the body has a memory. And I guess where I’m going with all this is just that, physically, we are human, and that our bodies, in fact, are incredibly important to our existence, and that we are more than just brains animating a body. We, in fact, value our bodies, whether we know it or don’t know it. But there is a definite, kind of Manichaean attitude out there that ultimately our bodies are not that important, and maybe the Manichaeans should be bitten by zombies… That would take care of that heresy.

Fr. Kosta: You’re right, because if we look at it through that cold, analytical process, then the zombie is more alive than we are, and is actually the perfect model for a citizen of society. And what I mean by that is that the zombie is just a brain in a body; at the same time we should say even though the body is dead by our definition—that the circulatory system doesn’t work and so forth, whatever it eats it doesn’t digest—however, at the cellular level, each cell has been altered and is just as alive as we are. At the same time, it cares nothing for this world. It cannot be tempted; it doesn’t care if any member of its body is destroyed. You could chop it up and it feels no pain. And, that’s something that we want, secularly speaking. We want our bodies not to be sacred, not to be fallible by not caring, because to live, many times, means to hurt. And that doesn’t happen to the zombie.

And, interestingly enough, Father, a child learns about the world through its mouth, and therefore the act of eating, the mouth itself and the entire body is sacred in that it can be sacredly or it can be used in evil, but for the zombie, the mouth is the very first thing it uses to know the world as well, even though it will learn nothing and adapt from nothing. But it uses its mouth to bite as a weapon, to consume, for a hunger it does not understand but complies to, a hunger that will never feed it, but will spread the evil.

And the last thing I want to say about that was that I made the statement that the zombie seems to be a perfect member of society. Well, I’m talking about a zombie society, always the same. You never have to wonder what it thinks about: it hungers to feed and it will feed. If you were, for example, to tie a zombie and make it walk on a treadmill, and on the other side of the treadmill have a delicious living human, a delicious morsel to the zombie, and that zombie was to continuously walk on the treadmill, trying to reach for that prey, it would do so until it fell apart, down to the cellular level. Until its ligaments and its joints and its muscles would just fall apart and decay. And if you were to tie that treadmill to a generator, it would provide energy until that zombie died. And then you could put the next zombie up there and it would do the same thing. So they would fulfill their job as a zombie perfectly until they die.

Fr. John: So in other words, it is an endless appetite. And therefore we can say that a human being is more than an endless appetite, that it in fact, can in fact be fulfilled. And that it can, in fact, be fulfilled by only one thing. And that is life. And I would say, not just because I’m an Orthodox priest but because I truly believe, that it’s Christ who is the giver of life as we both affirm and life for, Father, and that we can live in a fulfilled way, but what it means to not be human is to be filled with an endless, meaningless appetite. A meaningless appetite, to consume anything we can consume: consume the latest clothing, consume the latest song, consume the latest movie, consume the latest fad, consume the latest political ideology that comes our way. Whatever it is, we’ve got to have it, but even in having it, it doesn’t fulfill our appetites. But what it means to be a human being, as opposed to a zombie, is that we can actually participate in the body and blood of Christ, and in the life which God gives us through Christ and be fulfilled everlastingly on that feast.

And I think that is where I think we should end this particular podcast. Fr. Kosta, I hope that you can come back and we’ll do another podcast on, I think, the zombification of a nation, for instance, and how it would spread and what it teaches us about life as a human being, socially. And we’ll see how that goes and where that takes us in this process of understanding what it is to be a human being by exploring what it means not to be human, which is to say, exploring the zombie literature. Or you had a nice turn of phrase: “the fiction of…”

Fr. Kosta: I think it’s: “the anthropological study of fictitious necrology in literature and mass media.”

Fr. John: Absolutely. Well, we’ll return to that next week. For those of you still listening to this podcast, I need to just reassure [you] once again that Fr. Kosta and I read the Bible much more than we watch the movies or read the books that we’ve been talking about. That we do not actually believe in zombies, and that our lives are directed towards Christ, and we are only using this particular topic as another platform to explore what is truly meaningful which is life in Christ. And we all know in Colossians 3:3 that “our life is hid with Christ in God.”


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