Zombies are, in part, a product of our view of time. We understand time to be sequential. Of course there is a sequential dimension to time, but is this the only way we experience time?
I don’t think so. Let me illustrate:
Is today (January 28, 2016) closer to
A) January 27, 2016
B) January 28, 1986?
The obvious answer is A), because we almost always think of time as sequential, but for the friends and family of the five astronauts and two payload specialists that died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster on this date in 1986, the answer would likely be B). I watched the launch of the Challenger with my grade 8 and 9 students. We watched for a few hours after as we tried to understand how this could have happened. This was a meaningful event. Chronologically, yesterday is closer to today, but if meaning is our standard, at least for some people, today is closer to this date 30 years ago than was yesterday.
It’s the same with birthdays, anniversaries. Each of these is a step out of sequential time where the present moment moves closer to a past event.
Rituals are a part of this conversation as well. By repetition we connect a present moment with a past moment. I always watch the Super Bowl with the same group of guys while eating Buffalo wings wearing my Seattle Seahawks shirt. These ritualized activities link this February to many previous Februaries. By this standard these events are closer in time, not closer in chronological time, shall we say, kairotic time.
Religious rituals are particularly powerful in warding off the infections of the undead. These bend time by centuries.
The Jewish Passover commemorates the salvation of the Hebrew people from the Angel of Death–a substitute lamb died instead. This event contained echoes of Abraham killing a ram instead of his son 500 years before that. The Christian Communion commemorates also commemorates the death of Jesus Christ, aka: “The Lamb of God” who died in place of all people. All these rituals celebrate the bloody death of a helpless victim, who died instead of someone who deserved it. The ritual celebration of Communion in 2016, loops back 2000 years to the first Communion, which was a celebration of the Passover meal, the first of which was 1500 years before that. Those who eat and drink the wine and bread of Communion stand in the convergence of these three events.
I have this theory that some people are much more immune to spontaneous zombification. Religious people fall into this category, in part, because through the celebration of rituals, they do not conceive of time as meaningless and mechanical.
Not religious? You can at least start with birthday parties!