Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Qualia, Zombies, and the Spiritual Dead

Nonmodern has touched on the topic of Zombie stories and their symbolism already, twice. It seems that the trend lately in popular culture is favoring Zombies over other traditional threats. This decade alone has seen the production of over 200 zombie movies, with a fourth of that number coming from the last 2 years alone. Part of that may be due to the relative simplicity of the stories and easy production of such movies, but the themes tied to Zombie invasions play a role as well.

Socialism, Communism, Apocalypse, and the true helplessness of Government to deal with real problems are all dealt with in Zombie fiction. They may not be as subtle or exciting as the traditional “good vs. evil” of vampire fiction, but seem to be more popular these days as vampire fiction has been overtaken by the romantically deluded mindset.

Aside from the literary themes of zombie fiction, there is a fascinating philosophical concept here as well: Qualia.

Qualia are basically the subjective perspectives of conscious experience. The two classic examples of qualia are “redness” and the “Philosophical Zombie.” How would you describe red to someone who had never seen color before? Even if a computer were to “learn” the wave-length definition of red, it would still not “know” what red looked like.

A “Philosophical Zombie” is the theoretical person without qualia. They are indistinguishable from normal people except that they do not truly experience anything. They are not true humanity.

All this is very theoretical and pointless speculation unless you begin to think about the spiritual side of things. Christianity claims that humanity has been robbed of its essence. We are all spiritually dead; incomplete people. Until someone enters into a relationship with God and is given spiritual rebirth, they are “spiritual zombies.”

(On a less serious point, this new book mixing Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice with zombies “augmented” by Seth Grahame-Smith looks so crazy it almost makes me want to give it a try.)

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I had come home this morning from looking at a store here that I had always wanted to go into: Mexican imports, furniture, jewelry, etc. really neat and it has a whole section devoted to calavera figures, La Catrina & other Posada "characters" and stuff for Dia de los Muertos, and I had been thinking how I could have used some of those things when I was teaching. then opened this blog and saw that picture! weird! I don't "get" that qualia stuff at all.


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