Met a man who only smiles,
Asked him if he ever cries,
He said, “In every smile you see me wear,
Hides a tear I fear to share.”
Met a man who only smiles,
Asked him if he ever cries,
He said, “In every smile you see me wear,
Hides a tear I fear to share.”
Sitting as I’m reclined to sit, to watch the sages of my age
Rivet us with tales of worry ’bout the happenings of the day.
The scorn rises from the cynics lips; lisping laments for the lame.
The jester gestures at the festive scene of stalwarts’ silly seriousness.
While the content point to the sky on high, to avoid the pits below;
The discontent comfort in the pits beneath, to not be burdened by too much sunny hope.
And I sit, still inclined to recline, afar from these treats, and tricks, and qualms, and psalms,
Hearing these sages happily sing sorrowful splendors, soaring through a splintered sky.
“This age is lost, and masses stupid!” shouts the cynic from his stool.
The jester shrieks, “Oh, what fun it is to mock so cruel, and play the fool that beats the fools!”
“But hope is near, no need to fear!” come the voices from a happy few.
“I’ll hear no more, your hope I scorn!” snub back the hopeless legion, shrill and lewd.
And I sit, inclined to try and define, whilst still seated reclined,
How to approach the voices bestowing wisdom onto me.
How to understand these people eager to define the world for me.
What views to hold; what views to scold.
Which to mock…flock to…and which to block.
Only wanting to understand whose banner I am most inclined to stand under.
I spend a lot of time with teenagers. Wait, that sounds possibly incriminating. What I mean is, I spent a lot of time watching teenagers…Damn it! That sounds much worse. Okay, my time spent volunteering as a tutor with struggling middle school students places me in a position from wherein I can observe the day-to-day behavior of a large group of teenagers better than most adults. (Yeah, that sounds sufficiently neutral and creepy-free).
And in my time with the up-and-coming minds of tomorrow, I have noticed that a lot of teens easily buy into a lot of fabrications we adults tell them to ease their pubescent angst; with some lies being more innocent than others.
Lie: Acne clears up on its own with time.
Lie: Bullies will get what’s coming to them once they enter the real world.
Lie: To achieve, you just need to believe.
Lie: Wisdom comes with age.
I’m sure there are plenty of more examples of lies we tell teenagers out there (and if you have any good ones I would be more that happy to read them), but I think that I made my point. And to any teenagers reading this, let me just say–in the spirit of honestly–that we adults lie to ourselves when we say that the reason we deceive you is to ease the social pressures you’re going through. The greater reason is that we lie as a means of getting you to shut up about your problems (because shit if we know how you’re supposed to solve any of them). But to make it up to you, hear is a picture of a cute koala bear.
Insomnia is one of those strange things about the human body, where you feel physically tired and mentally drained, but for some reason cannot find the means by which to drift off to sleep. My past bouts with insomnia have always followed the same basic trend: months (even years) will go by with completely regular sleeping patterns, then, suddenly, I’ll find myself spending most of the night staring up at my bedroom ceiling–wide awake, despite being tired as hell.
If my prior experiences with insomnia are anything to go by, these sleepless nights will cease in the next few days/weeks. Nonetheless, I just want it on record that when it comes to whichever part of my brain is responsible for causing my insomnia, if in the coming decades dementia overtakes me, I hope it affects you first; so I can at least be restfully senile.
Okay, now that I’ve had my say, I’m off to watch old episodes of Futurama.
[The following essay is an excerpt from a wider work titled No Fear Nietzsche, available on Amazon Kindle.]
The proclamation that the ideal life philosophy is one in which the individual strives to live according to nature, has been a popular adage amongst spiritual and moral thinkers throughout the ages. Generally speaking, this stance insists that since nature is what nourishes life, man—being an indisputable part of life—is also an intrinsic part of nature; therefore, he must seek to connect with the natural world to find peace, to ultimately be whole as a person, and as a living being. Nietzsche considered such an outlook to be both narrow-minded and imbecilic, on account that nature is not only composed of (and nourishes) life, but is also (to a larger degree) made up of non-life, not to mention, plenty of matter that can be accurately described as innately hostile to life. Thus, to base your life philosophy on living according to nature, demonstrates a naive willingness to self-deceive by virtue of ignoring all the undesirable aspects of the natural order, in favor of retaining a euphoric-sounding cliché about the dubious benignity of one’s surroundings:
Imagine a being like nature, wasteful beyond massacre, indifferent beyond measure, without purposes and consideration, without mercy and justice, fertile and desolate and uncertain at the same time.
To elevate nature to a status of reverence, according to Nietzsche, reveals more about the person who feels the desire to partake in such an act of misplaced veneration, than anything about nature itself. Because nature simply is, and all life is simply one of its inherent attributes (amidst a whole array of non-life, and anti-life attributes), any open espousal about the wish to live according to nature becomes completely redundant, since no living (or non-living) entity has any real choice in the matter. As Nietzsche puts it, “Why make a principle of what you yourselves are and must be?” You cannot live according to nature, anymore than you can live in opposition to nature; all is encompassed in nature, and everything that occurs in life is already occurring according to nature by default—whether it’s conscious of the fact or not.
Clearly Nietzsche doesn’t see much merit in distinguishing between life and nature, and deems any attempt to do so as philosophically untenable. The philosopher does recognize how there is a clear difference that needs to be identified between the distinct nature(s) of the living and the non–living (much of the latter being, as already mentioned, hostile to living).
Like all pieces of matter, living beings are subject to a variety of forces that together operate to sustain physical reality (of which living beings are an inseparable part). Similarly, Nietzsche maintains that there exists a force, analogous to any other physical force in reality, which is distinctive to the nature of living beings, and accentuates the very essence of what it means to be living as opposed to non-living matter. He calls this force the will to power.
Despite its popular interpretation, Nietzsche did not personally conceive of the will to power as either a philosophical or metaphorical concept. To him, the will to power is the underlying force that characterizes the nature of life. Here, it’s important to mention that Nietzsche also did not mean to refer to the will to power as a mere attribute of life; nor is it meant to be an explanation of life. Rather (as Nietzsche conceived of it), the will to power is life, above and beyond any conceivable traits or values living organisms wish to personally place on life:
A living thing seeks above all to discharge its strength—life itself is will to power; self-preservation is only one of the indirect and most frequent results.
Just as all of physical reality is governed by the theory that bodies of matter exert force on one another, Nietzsche envisioned a comparable physics at work amongst the most basic instinctive functions of living matter, especially in relation of these functions operating between living matters. None of which is a conscious act on the part of the living being, because the will to power is in no way contingent on the mindfulness of the organisms it’s operating on (again, it is not an attribute of life, it is life).
The will to power is also not a teleological concept, meaning it has no ultimate end-goal or greater purpose/desire in its effect (a common misconception even self-described Nietzscheans have about the subject). The individual organism’s desire for life (i.e. self-preservation), and instinctive avoidance of death (i.e. nonexistence), should not be confused with the will to power itself. Just like the force of gravity can’t coherently be said to have the purpose of wanting to keep you grounded to the Earth, the will to power shouldn’t be thought of as operating under the purpose of wanting to keep you alive. Both may indeed bring about this result, but neither exists in itself for that purpose (or any conscious purpose, for that matter).
Of course, the obvious objection to Nietzsche’s conception of this will to power is in its inescapable dissimilarity with the physical forces the philosopher wished to liken it to. Unlike a physical force like gravity, which can be measured, detected, and (most importantly) falsified for the sake of running an experimental model of its basic functions, the “will to power” allows for no such tangible confirmation of its existence. In tradition with other mental concepts and social theories, the will to power seems to be just elastic enough of a premise to be immune to any concrete counterexamples. In other words, it is a presumption that seeks to explain everything, and (like all such ambitious ideals) it’s relevance for accurately studying reality can be deduced to explaining nothing, at least from the standpoint of empirical reliability.
Nietzsche appeared to have foreseen this objection, and made it a point to clarify his case a bit:
The question is in the end whether we really recognize the will as efficient, whether we believe in the causality of the will: if we do—and at bottom our faith in this is nothing less than our faith in casualty itself—then we have to make the experiment of posting the causality of the will hypothetically as the only one.
Nietzsche defends the veracity of the will to power through a reductionist approach: if you believe in the existence of cause and effect on the physical level, and accept that a living being’s cognitive functions reside in this physical level (as an inherent part of it), then you have no reason not to believe in the existence of cause and effect acting on this neurological level, too (the realm of the will). The will to power, according to Nietzsche, is just that; cause and effect, for our base instincts.
But not of a directly physical nature (though it presumably has physical consequences), as Nietzsche puts it, “’Will,’ of course, can affect only ‘will’—and not ‘matter’ (not “nerves,” for example).” This sounds like a passive acknowledgment towards readers who are pedantic enough to attempt to scrutinize Nietzsche’s desire to define the will to power as being equivalent to an actual physical force, despite the fact that it fails to qualify for this categorization (for reasons listed in the previous paragraph).
Regardless, Nietzsche still wants to maintain that the will to power is essentially a force operating in the physical world, yet he does seem to recognize the fact that it does not function exactly akin to what are understood to be the proper qualities and functions of a force as described by modern physics. He explains this away by stating that the will to power acts not on matter directly (though physical matter is affected by it), but the will (meaning the instinctive, cognitive faculties that themselves are composed and operating through physical matter on a neurological level). In other words, to object to the will to power on the basis of its failure to meet the standards of scientific scrutiny, is (from Nietzsche’s perspective) an issue of conflating differing states of observation and functions on the critical reader’s part, rather than an incompatibility in terms on the part of the will to power as an active force in reality.
Nietzsche considers it a given that we already recognize and accept the truth that there exist a number of active factors operating on the instinctive level of the cognitive body, which can be referred to as a living being’s will. What the philosopher proposes is the consideration that these presumably varying active factors are really one underlying force—the will to power:
Suppose all organic functions could be traced back to this will to power and one could also find in it the solution of the problem of procreation and nourishment—it is one problem—then one would have gained the right to determine all efficient force univocally as—will to power. The world viewed from inside, the word defined and determined according to its intelligible character”—it would be “will to power” and nothing else.
Leaving aside the question of the empirical verifiability of all of this, it is fundamentally vital not to forget that the will to power, within Nietzsche’s usage of the term, is not meant to be a mere feature of life. The will to power is life, and life is the will to power.
Because nature cannot be a guide on which to differentiate between living and non-living (as Nature, writ “romantique,” still makes no active distinction or preference for life over non-life, evident by much of its—unduly anthropomorphized, though no less poignant—hostility towards both life and non-life), the will to power is Nietzsche’s answer to what defines living beings as distinct from the rest of physical matter.
Though the concept itself is not a feature, the will to power does produce a number of unique features amongst living organisms:
It will have to be an incarnate will to power, it will strive to grow, spread, seize, become predominant—not from any morality or immorality but because it is living and because life simply is will to power.
Life, being an accumulation of matter acting on one another, is an exertion of power; including competing and subverting powers. Though Nietzsche warns not to personify this living force—i.e. the will to power—he does remark that this force does and will personify life. Moreover, like all competing forces, it will cause friction, and out of this friction will come dominance as some body of living matter’s will to power is bound to eventually run into a weaker body, causing it to naturally gravitate and subvert the less powerful entity’s will through the sheer strength of its magnitude.
Nietzsche also makes it a point to mention that there is no sense in rationalizing or arguing over the morality of this system, as the causal effect of the will to power neither cares (because it’s not consciously aware), nor operates on a moral/immoral framework. As already stated, it is the basic force of life, not a contemplation of it. In this light, while our notions of what is “right” and “wrong,” “good” and “bad,” are important in preserving the preferences we have set for ourselves in life and society, it is irrelevant to the basic functions of life itself. In fact, Nietzsche stresses the idea that much of what modern society has come to denote as bad and immoral, is essentially inseparable from the brute reality of life:
“Exploitation” does not belong to a corrupt or imperfect and primitive society: it belongs to the essence of what lives, as a basic organic function; it is a consequence of the will to power, which is after all the will to life.
Life is parasitic in nature; we feed off and/or exploit other living organisms for the benefit of our own existence. Nietzsche’s philosophy emphasizes the idea that in man’s desire to construct a moral framework (in particular, a so-called objective morality), he often ends up neglecting, vilifying, and denying the aspects of his character that sociocultural trends have deemed as “decadent” and “evil,” despite the fact that these bad traits are as inherent to the human character as any hitherto conventionally approved good traits (and will often manifest themselves even within the implementation of these supposedly “good” traits). The will to power, not being dependent on the conscious musings of the minds it functions on, has no such reservations.
As a force, an individual living organism’s will to power is not averse to subverting the will of other organisms, even creating the basis of a hierarchical order of rank within the natural world, which unconsciously permeates through to the conscious behavior and actions of living beings—including the social behavior of human beings.
All events in the organic world are a subduing, a becoming master, and all subduing and becoming master involves a fresh interpretation, an adaptation through which any previous “meaning” and “purpose” are necessarily obscured or even obliterated.
The fact that it is fundamentally impossible to promote one’s viewpoint and ideas, without tarnishing and deposing the viewpoint of others (whether this is done aggressively or passively is irrelevant, as the underlying intent is still the same), seems to give a certain amount of credence to Nietzsche’s main thesis here. Because even if your primary goal is for everyone to adopt a tolerant and moderate mindset, any actual traction you make in propagating this ideal within the greater conscience of human society, will be accomplished at the expense of any differing mindsets that have otherwise been in competition with your own. The greater benignity and noble intent of your mindset—your instinctive values—in comparison to all others, is of no consequence to Nietzsche’s essential point. Your will to power grows, spreads, dominates, and subdues to become master, no matter what conscious rationalizations for your instinctive behavior you happen to concoct to justify it.
When it comes to the will to power, intent is meaningless (as all intent and utility assigned are by definition post hoc rationalizations for a wholly deterministic system):
Purposes and utilities are only signs that a will to power has become master of something less powerful and imposed upon it the character of a function.
What Nietzsche is basically saying is that care should be taken not to confuse the will to power with the more colloquially used willpower. Broadly defined, willpower is the concept that a person can achieve some set desire or decision, through some form of mental concentration or restraint—however defined, willpower is undoubtedly a conscious act. The will to power, on the other hand, is not conscious, and cannot be harnessed to achieve any purposeful goal or outcome by the living organisms it acts on. The outcomes that do result from the will to power are the end product of entirely instinctive forces—you absolutely have no conscious control over the process, just like you have no control over how gravity works on your body, or how your atoms are arranged.
Although Nietzsche insists that the will to power has no consciously goal-oriented desires in itself (being a force of pure instinct, and all), he does propose that a sentient being’s creative output in life—the various details and ideals which end up defining value of life for said being—can be ascribed to his unconscious will to power:
For fundamentally it is the same active force that is at work on a grander scale in those artists of violence and organizers who build states, and that here, internally, on a smaller and pettier scale / creates for itself a bad conscience and builds negative ideals—namely, the instinct for freedom (in my language: the will to power).
The will to power is universal in its scope amongst living organisms; however the affect it produces amongst individuals depends on the nature of each person’s particular instincts and impulses. For the few who instinctively create value, rather than have it commanded to them, their will to power develops and grows into the contributions and advances that come to give life meaning and affirmation.
For the majority who lack the fortitude to be value–creators of their own accord, and need to parasitically feed of the creative output of others, their will to power—if left unrestrained—also grows and develops, and what it develops is an inversion of anything close to life affirmation; a slave mentality of the individual.
It is Nietzsche’s opinion that this weaker, decadent drive of the will to power represents “the greatest danger for the healthy; it is not the strongest but the weakest who spell disaster for the strong.” The reason for Nietzsche’s alarming pronouncement of the dangers posed by the “weakest” to the “strong,” is the fact that the philosopher views modern society as already being largely dominated by the product of this life-negating force. This is a disaster in Nietzsche’s eyes, as it fosters a sickening environment wherein the least competent are nurtured to set edicts for all others in society to follow (including their creative superiors):
Those who are failures from the start, downtrodden, crushed—it is they, the weakest, who must undermine life among men, who call into question and poison most dangerously our trust in life, in man, and in ourselves.
The greatest danger expressed by Nietzsche is that this popular reverence for the weaker will within the human conscience has propagated (and will continue to propagated) a host of degenerate values on greater society, where even those individuals whose will to power would otherwise be instinctively inclined to detest and counter such a mentality, will succumb to its influence through the sheer magnitude of its prominence (remember, the herd is much larger in volume than the lone shepherd dog):
Undoubtedly if they succeeded in poisoning the consciences of the fortunate with their own misery, with all misery, so that one day the fortunate began to be ashamed of their good fortune and perhaps said one to another: “it is disgraceful to be fortunate: there is too much misery!”
The weak are a sick and depressing lot, and so is their will to power. Given the opportunity to rule, the atmosphere they create will be equally sickening and depressing, so the point that all human developments and achievements that may subsequently arise within this atmosphere will still carry the stench of destitute and misery on them (if taken at face value, it is conceivable that the significant rise in clinical depression and pharmaceutical medication amongst modern societies is one possible result of this trend).
Yet, the obvious question that a reader might raise here is how, if the will to power is the force defining living matter, and the instinctive drive which nourishes all our unconscious passions and impulses, and this entire natural system functions on the basis of strength and dominance, could it ever happen that the stronger variant of the force became subdued by the weaker?
Nietzsche’s answer would most likely be that it wasn’t; at least not directly. Instead, what the philosopher appears to suggest is that, over the last few centuries (possibly even millennia), the weaker herd-masses have managed to shift the paradigm to elevate their lowly traits (meekness, humility, pity, etc) as noble social virtues, not through strength or confrontation (either physically or intellectually; Nietzsche suggest they lack the fortitude for either), but through stealth and cunning—which is the true “strength” of their weaker will to power. Thus, the instinctively stronger—and thereby far more creatively dynamic—will to power of the value–creators has been redefined as a vice that society must tame for the sake of preserving civility and avoiding chaos.
Nietzsche sees something deeply unnatural about this mindset, as it seeks to castrate innate characteristics of human beings as bad and immoral, with the sole intent of preserving its own meek existence within the brute reality of life. Furthermore, the will of the weak neglects what he considers to be an essential value in life; namely that, “the higher ought not to degrade itself to the status of an instrument of the lower, the pathos of distance ought to keep their tasks eternally separate!”
At times, it does appear that Nietzsche is straying somewhat from the premise he has personally set up for his conception of the will to power. This is particularly true when he begins to moralize about the depravity of the weaker–minded will to power of the masses (which is incidentally dominant in current society), in comparison to the strong–minded will to power of the far fewer value-creators, whose creativity and life-value are being subverted by the prominence of their weaker counterparts. However, Nietzsche did warn us that it is futile to moralize over the effects brought about by the will to power, because (being an unconscious, undirected, purposeless force) it neither cares for, nor requires the subjective input of the bodies of matter it happens to be acting on instinctively.
Taken to its full conclusion, one can make the case that—even granting Nietzsche’s fears about the disaster it holds for society and the value of human existence if the will to power of the weakest continues to rule over the will of the strong—the propagation of the weaker will at the expense of the stronger will, cannot be deemed as a perversion or degeneration of life, since these weaker agents are simply acting in accordance to their will to power (which, going by Nietzsche’s own terms) means that they are just operating in accordance to life itself.
I imagine Nietzsche would have an effective counter to this point, most likely by appealing to the fact that he has also explicitly mentioned how the will to power, as the unconscious force acting on the instinctive level of living beings, operates on the basis of becoming master, and will inevitably subdue competing wills as a rule. Hence, Nietzsche is not moralizing about the reality of the will to power, but reacting to the competing (in his eye’s negative) effect its weaker variant is causing, as it stands in opposition to his own person. Something he cannot help himself but do, since his own will to power instinctively forces him to oppose and subdue the competing force that is exerting itself on him.
Nietzsche is not a relativist when it comes to either human moralities, or the underlying instincts that drive them. He unashamedly has preferences, and considers it a genuinely moral imperative for him to warn modern society to move “away from the inner corruption and the hidden rot of disease!” that is plaguing its core. Essentially, because the will to power forces on him no other alternative but to resist the opposing power pulling down at his being.
 Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil, “On the Prejudices of Philosophers,” Part One (1886), section 9.
 Ibid, section 13.
 Ibid, “The Free Spirit,” Part Two (1886), section 36.
 This is not to be confused with the popular concept known as “Free Will,” which Nietzsche wholly rejected as an illusion.
 Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), section 36.
 Although a reasonable counter, I still maintain that this explanation does little to solve the problem of the will to power’s ultimately unfalsifiable nature, as its description allows for no external confirmation by experimentation.
 Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), section 36.
 Ibid, “What is Noble,” Part Nine (1886), section 259.
 Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Genealogy of Morals, “Second Essay” (1887), section 12.
 Ibid, section 18.
 Ibid, section 14.
 His reasoning involves an even broader concept he calls the Slave-Revolt of Morality, which itself is key aspect of Nietzsche’s Master-Slave Mentality.
 Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals (1887), section 14.
I have an unhealthy obsession with conspiracy theories. When I say this please don’t misunderstand me. I don’t actually buy into the stated details of conspiracy theories, I’m just fascinated by how much devotion and faith people put into them; how a person will take several demonstrable facts and then loosely connect them into something–which at first glance–sounds like a plausible narrative, which will appeal to a wide spectrum of people. Despite what some might think, I am wholly unconvinced that either intelligence or education plays a significant role in deterring people away from believing in conspiracy theories, because such theories are not really about filling the gaps of our mind’s ignorance and shortcomings. It’s more about satisfying a base desire for witnessing something greater, higher, that is closed to the majority of the “deluded” masses. This is what makes conspiracy theories appealing to its proponents.
I was still young when Lady Diana died in 1997, but I was old enough to take note of the reactions people around me had to the news. It took about four minutes after hearing the news for several members in my family to staunchly announce how they didn’t accept the “mainstream” story. Why didn’t they accept it? What tangible evidence did they have to make them doubt the news report? Essentially none, but it didn’t matter. There suspicion was that the simple answer must be a distraction to cover up the real story. Or as my mother put it, “I cannot believe that there isn’t more to this whole thing.” This sentence, I believe, captures the mindset most of us have, most of the time, when we are confronted with some awestruck piece of data. The official report of the incident was that Diana and her boyfriend died after crashing in a road tunnel in Paris, due to the driver losing control of the vehicle. But this just wasn’t big enough for most people, who to this day maintain there has to be more to it. And no investigation will be enough to convince any of them otherwise, because any investigator who comes up with a different conclusion will simply be evidence of the greater conspiracy. Most conspiracy theories follow a similar line of reasoning.
We have an innate aversion to simplicity. Just repeating a story we hear isn’t enough, we need to add more complex details onto it to make it more digestible for wider consumption; refine it and move the narrative forward with facts we think ought to be included with the official details. It can’t be that politicians are simply corrupt and self-serving, they must also be secretly operating under the direction of an unknown shadow government, which is menacingly pulling the strings behind the curtain [and (occasionally) this shadow government has to be made up of shape-shifting, inter-dimensional lizards, whose bloodline traces back to ancient Babylon]. It’s not enough to say that life on earth is simply adaptive to its environment, there has to be more to it; some kind of grand purpose and intent operating on a level too complex, too powerful for our meager minds to fathom. This line of thinking is especially strong when we don’t have enough facts to draw any kind of clear conclusion, in such a case we’ll reason that even a conspiracy theory is better than no theory.
Simple reasons and answers are often not enough to do the job for us, because simplicity can never meet the expectations of our innately suspicious imaginations. What does satisfy out suspicion is a narrative that goes counter to the “mainstream.” That only those of us who are of the most elite intellect can grasp. “The Illuminati may be fooling you but it’ll never fool me,” is the popular tagline. Part of the appeal of conspiracy theories is the layer of excitement they bring to everyday facts. It is stimulating beyond belief to lose oneself in all the various plots and details of a hidden world, even if its veracity is only verified by a very questionable set of complex circumstances; this just makes it more exciting. The other part of the appeal is the strange level of remote plausibility it brings to the table. For instance, there is no denying that people have conspired in the past (and still do today), often for ominous reasons (an example being the documented long history of unethical humane experimentation in the United States). And this air of remote plausibility is more than enough to keep people’s suspicions on high alert, except when it comes to scrutinizing the various details being used to support the particular conspiracy theory they have chosen to embrace.
We know that the human mind is in many ways constrained in its ability to rationalize the world, thus we are constantly seeking the higher, the greater, the unimaginable as our answer of choice. The strange thing is that as the answer we are seeking becomes more nuanced and complex the simpler it will begin to seem to us, and we will insist that our highly elaborate–immensely complicated and circumstantial–answer is really the most simple and obvious of them all. Because by that point we have already accepted the narrative of the conspiracy, where the grand conclusion is being used to fill in the details, instead of the observable details being used to arrive at the most possible conclusion (be it simple or complex).
Precisely because there appears to be something innate about the way the human mind is drawn to conspiracies the ease by which ideas are exchanged in our lifetime makes it a ripe golden age for conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists to thrive. The reason being that this greater medium of communication, and the great vastness of information available to us in which we can indulge our niche interests, also makes it possible to feel as though we are exploring new pieces of data everyday without ever really having to step outside the conclusions of the particular niche interest we are being drawn to. Given enough time, we’ll cease wanting to hear from an opposing view contradicting the knowledge we have invested so much time in attaining. The deeper secrets we have learned will become a part of the way we view and interact with the world. In short, the conspiracy will become a part of your identity, a personal matter for you to defend, and all competing and alternative data will work only to confirm what you already have accepted to be true. Reducing reality to a matter of popular vs fringe consensus, the veracity of which is to be decided based on how titillating it is to one’s cynically credulous senses.
Ever since The Walking Dead has made zombies a marketable cash cow for a new generation of consumers, there have been many commentators (some more serious than others) talking about all the possible “what-if” scenarios, if (in purview of some hypothetical reality) zombies were actually to rise from their graves to feed on our delicious human flesh. It’s a thought I, too, had many years ago when I first saw Night of the Living Dead as a kid, and since then my worry on possible zombie apocalypses has remained unchanged; in that, if it were to happen, I see no personal reason to worry about it at all. Allow me to explain this in blog digestible form, by composing a short list of three reasons why a zombie outbreak gives me no viable concern.
1. Zombies are slow and extremely stupid. Even as an easily fooled youngster who was prone to believing that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were a real thing living somewhere in the sewers of New York City (let’s be honest, it would be the less surprising find, compared to what is probably really crawling around down there), I still could not believe the premise of any zombie movie where these slow-moving, completely brain-dead things take over the world; dragging one foot at a time, as we sprint ahead at full speed. I think I could probably lightly skip my way passed a traditional zombie movie monster (at a relatively casual pace), and still be so far ahead of it that I could take a brief nap on a tree branch, wake-up refreshed, and continue on thereafter without losing an inch of my head start.
I don’t understand how these things could manage to outmaneuver anybody, they’re joints barely bend for crying out loud. If you don’t have the speed or flexibility to get passed a zombie, you probably got other (far more pressing) health issues you should be more worried about than a zombie attack. Another thing, since these things are really, really, really stupid, and we have a whole functioning arsenal of fleets stocked with weapons strong enough to wipe out all of civilization several times over, why on earth couldn’t we figure out a way to lure them into a giant hole somewhere [the Grand Canyon would work just fine], seal it off, and take them out from there in one big swoop? Or, at the very least, why can’t we put up a large array of treadmills all around the outskirts of the country, so that those dumb things can just walk in place as we take them out from above.
Which brings me to my second reason for not fearing a zombie outbreak.
2. I live in the South. Some people are under the impression that Jesus is Lord in the American South, but those people are a little misinformed. For many Southerners, Samuel Colt is the true messiah by which we are all made equal around here, and the 2nd Amendment is the Divine scripture through which His will be done on earth (can I get a hallelujah, brothers and sisters?). In the South, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear if we really did have more bullets then there are actual people in all of North America, not to mention, a helluva lot of trigger-happy folks itching for some (un)life target practice. If zombies start scavenging around the United States, I don’t see them getting very far past the Mason-Dixon line. Which means that, even though I don’t personally own a gun, and wouldn’t be good at firing one if I did [poor eyesight and all], I’ll still be the safest SOB in the country on account of all the brave yokels ready to face the swarm of slow-moving dead guys. And, if we’re being honest, many of them will probably take out a good number of zombies before they even realize that they were in fact shooting at zombies–‘cuz, son, trespassin’ is a mortal sin ’round these here woods. That goes for the living and the dead.
3. What’s the worst that can happen, really? Let’s say I’m bitten by a zombie, and I become a zombie, then what? Nothing, because I’ll lack the cognitive capabilities to even so much as give a shit about my new undead state. It’s not like I’m going to be bummed out about it, contemplating the depressing existence I’m now forced to endure for the remainder of time. I’m a freaking zombie! I won’t (I can’t) care. I won’t care about anything except getting a bite of some of that savory, mouthwatering, “save-the-taters-and-just-pass-the-gravy,” delicious human flesh. I’ll tell you what else I’m not going to care about: bills, mortgage payments, debts, my income, that stupid “check engine” light that keeps coming on in my car [no matter how much I check that stupid engine and find nothing there]. Because I’m a zombie, I’ll have no cares; so what’s there to worry about even in the worst case scenario of a zombie apocalypse? Come to think of it, it kind of sounds rather relaxing.
With werewolves, on the other hand, there is no point in even contemplating the outcome. Because I’ll be one of the first people those quick and agile motherfuckers eat and digest.