December 9, 2010

The Walking Dead: Not About Zombies

Walking-Dead-god-forgive-us.jpg
step 1



The Walking Dead is a show about zombies.  It's a modern tale, with modern characters.  They know about cell phones and Camaros, the CDC, and tanks.  The show is also aware of its own artistic context, with numerous scenes referencing/honoring other movies.


walking-dead-merle-saw.jpgMad Max knows there's not enough time to saw the handcuff


The "suspension of disbelief" necessary for this show is that zombies could exist.  Once you accept that, everything else is America 2010.  Given this, why do the characters never refer to the zombies as zombies?  "Walkers," "geeks," "the walking dead."

Most modern zombie stories begin from the premise that the characters have "zombie" as part of their knowledge base (e.g. Zombieland.)  But somehow these characters don't ever call them zombies.

One character, fed up with the inefficiency of his camp members' zombie hunting skills, says, "you're supposed to shoot them in the head. Everyone knows that."  Agreed.  How did you learn that?  So how come you don't know what they're called?


II.

Let's play a game, a child's game, and if the outcome of this game is a little insight that keeps you from blowing your brains out or helps you crawl out from under the bottle then it will have been worth playing.  The game doesn't have to be accurate to work.   Interested?   The rules of this game are words, and the name of the game is the rest of your life.

So turn over the First Zombie Question Card: what is it called when something obvious to everyone else never makes it to your consciousness?  Repression.  Repressed material comes back distorted, sometimes unrecognizably so.

Kind of like a zombie.

III.

Sigmund Freud is mostly remembered for his work on penis and vagina, but one of his biggest contributions to society was his observations about mourning, and cocaine.  He went too far with the cocaine, and not far enough with the mourning.

Observation 1: no one can conceive, that is, perceive, their own death.  Allow me to vamp: the ability to do so is an indicator of substantial pathology, especially a terminal one.  There's no problem conceiving of everyone else's death, but any attempt to see your own fails because it requires you-- a first person singular perspective ("I am seeing what it is like.")   An interesting experiment is to try to conceive it in second person, e.g. looking not at your wife mourning, but as your wife, through her eyes.  Does that make your death seem more sad, or less?  Time to rewrite the will.

Observation 2:  All mourning is ambivalence.   Ambi-valent, two conflicting powers: the cherishing and remembering and sadness part; and the guilt that perhaps maybe you wanted this person dead.

Wanted him dead?  You're never too far from age 2, when your rage is magically powerful.  At some point in your life, you thought it, and the unconscious never forgets even the briefest of hates.  Sometimes the guilt over your hate has a convenient narrative: caring for a cancer-ridden, demented parent who exhausted your physical and emotional resources, and then finally(!) dies.  That's going to generate a phew feelings, and they're going to cost you. All accounts must be settled at checkout.

IV.

It didn't always used to be this way.

Back in 1968, the first best zombie movie was made.  How do you make a 60s zombie?  You reanimate the dead.  How they died doesn't matter, because the interesting part is that something had the power to reanimate them.  Life after death?

Times change, and in our current time of narcissism all zombies appear through a new process: plague.  That makes these zombies not so much the risen dead or the living dead as the incompletely dead.   Life after life, life continuously-- even in zombie films we disavow death.

The zombie becomes the externalization of the ambivalence of mourning.

Paraphrasing from memory:

The narcissistic identification with the (loved) person becomes a substitute for love; the result is that even in the face of a conflict with the loved one, the love connection need not be abandoned.  This substitute of identification instead of object-love is an important mechanism in narcissistic affections.  This is a regression-- the first stage of object love is identification and is expressed ambivalently.  The ego wants to incorporate this object into itself (oral stage).  It wants to devour it. 

Oh, I know, none of this makes sense until it happens to you.  So turn over the second Zombie Card Question Card:

Apart from a scene showing a zombie eating a guy, what other scene is in all zombie movies?

A scene in which a main character confronts a loved one turned zombie.  The rest of the previous zombie attacks are merely prelude to that one, specific, pivotal interaction.  Quick, bolt the door, ambivalence is coming.  Movies give the loved-one zombie a momentary flash of the old self-- is it remembering, is it a trap, or are you seeing what you want to see?  This is the most important scene and how the living negotiate that bit of mourning determines if they'll be able to put the dead to rest, or are going to have be tied to them forever.

In The Walking Dead, there isn't just one such scene; the whole show is those scenes.    Which brings us to Observation 3:

Observation 3: zombies are uncanny.  Incomprehensible, yet incomprehensibly familiar...

V.



In Episode 1, a black man and his son are hiding out in their house, the only two humans surrounded by zombies.  They save the main character, Rick Grimes, who also has a kid, but Rick is white.  Is that just a coincidence?  Of course (not).  Black is in contrast to white, which would mean-- foreshadowing-- that the black guy is going to become quite dark.

 
morgan and son.JPG
But for now, why hasn't he and his son left town?   Because wife got turned, and husband couldn't bring himself to re-kill her.  And so zombie wife is still shuffling up and down the driveway, coming or going, staying or leaving?   He's going to stay until he can finally put her to rest, there's some unfinished mourning to do.


morgan with scope.jpgI miss you every single day.  So this time I'm using a scope

The scope won't help.  Incomplete mourning has affected his trigger finger, not his eyes, and so day in and day out he tries to (not) shoot her, repeating it over and over, working through it until he masters the material. 

He can spend the rest of his life repetition compulsioning if he wants, but time marches forward and like everything else in life it comes down to a binary choice: he'll either get over her or get with her.  It is inevitable.

That's why there's no sense in putting it off, and you certainly can't avoid it-- it follows you around.

That leaves the son, a small boy who isn't afforded the luxury of mourning.   Children are much closer to the ambivalence of mourning, because when they (frequently) temporarily hate their parent they aren't confident of the physical limits of that hate, and if mom suddenly dies it's hard not to think you didn't have a wee bit to do with it.   Which is why the job of proper mourning falls to the surviving parent-- lead by example-- and if he's smart he'll take advantage of the 6000 years of human history and allow the rituals of mourning to naturally lead the process, that's how the unconscious works through its conflicts.  Learning by doing, until it becomes second nature.  (The first nature died with the parent.)

And it's never too late, if you didn't do it right the first time and have been haunted ever since, you can always go back and perform the rituals more completely.  "But I won't respond to those rituals because I'm not religious."  It's not up to you; you're built for ritual.  So are The Walking Dead characters, who completely against everyone's and their own survival instincts decide not to burn(/deny) the bodies of their zombie-murdered friends, but bury them all in time consuming (all of it), backbreaking graves.  "It's a hundred degrees out here."  If the digging's harder, the mourning is easier.  And that's why they (living and dead) are able to move on.

Speaking of haunting, what's one potential consequence of a parent's incomplete mourning?  The kid develops a strong belief that he can see ghosts and has ESP.  If you're not ready to let go, then you'll hold on tighter; and if The Walking Dead scripts according to psychological flowchart, then little Walt will be revealed as psychic.  Oh, wait, that's not Walt...

VII.

In a late-r episode, Sister B gets bitten and will soon become Sister Z, but Sister A can't bring herself to terminate the process.  Instead, she sits with her sister as she lays dying, then undeading.

andrea-amy.jpg

It's a very tense scene for us not because Sister B is going to die (how sad) but because we know she's going to be pissed when she does.  But it's easy for us: we're not mourning.  This is the interesting part: we're not mourning sister B, we're angry at sister A-- "shoot her, idiot!"  And even when Sister Z reaches an undead hand towards the mourning sister's face, Sister A doesn't fight it.  We are frustrated.


Episode-5-Andrea-Amy-760.jpg

She finally does discharge our anxiety right into her temple, and phew.  But hold on: for most of the season I thought they were twins, I couldn't tell them apart.  Nor, given their character development, was it necessary to do so.  Yet in one completely "unnecessary" scene, there's a long dialogue about how Sister A went off to college and was too busy for Sister B, and how guilty she felt that she wasn't there for her-- yes, they are that much spread in age.  Hmm.  That would make Sister A the mother figure.  Now it gets interesting.  Where's Dad?


Episode-5-Amy-Andrea-Dale-760.jpg 
Oh, there he is.  So now this isn't about losing a sister but about losing a child.  The ambivalence has taken on a different character.  There's no fear in this mourning, just guilt, which makes this scene NOT "if you can't save them,  join them" but rather "if you can't save them, your punishment is to join them."   It's no coincidence that Sister-A can't shake the guilt and opts for punitive suicide in the season finale-- only to be lead, at the last minute, through the final steps of mourning by Dad.   We don't really get a sense of his pain (it must be gigantic, that was his daughter, too) because the point is her pain, and a good Dad is beside the point.  That's what Dads have to be: wolfram, stoic, pulling everyone's emotional weight when it's time to do so, because if not them, then who?  That doesn't make their pain easier, unfortunately, but it's what's right.  Does anyone remember right?  Obviously not: that's why there are zombies.

VIII.


Let's go back to how uncanny zombies are.

[If] every affect belonging to an emotional impulse, whatever its kind, is transformed, if it is repressed, into anxiety, then among instances of frightening things there must be one class in which the frightening element can be shown to be something repressed which recurs. This class of frightening things would then constitute the uncanny

Mature people have a number of options for complicated bereavement.  One option is to take on all that unconscious hostility and subsequent guilt ("I could have done more for him!") and develop a pathological, obsessive guilt. (The cure for which, if you're not much interested in auto-analysis, is to re-run the rituals, and run them right.  It worked on Regan in The Exorcist, and she wasn't even Christian, let alone a Greek Catholic. And if that doesn't work, you run the rituals every so often, like memorials, keep retraining the unconscious. (And what about the person who doesn't want to do the rituals? When something is true for a trillion people over thousands of years, and you are firm in your belief that it is pointless, that's called resistance, and now the question changes to why you won't.   The young are particularly susceptible to this, they don't want any part of your silly rituals and unskeptical beliefs because that would be to accept that they're no different than the trillion who have died before them.  Don't worry ages 15-30, it's natural part of ego development.   But keep in the back of your mind that no one is bigger than history, and certainly no one is bigger than death or it's consequences, and when the zombies come it wouldn't kill you to remember the rules.))

But immature people, i.e. cavemen, kids, and everyone in who is a main character in their own TV show (including The Walking Dead)  have a less neurotic (so more psychotic-- the line between ego vs. id and ego vs. reality is the true bi-polar) option: projection.  All my conflict shifted on to the dead himself.  And there's enough anger there to keep them alive and make them come after me.  Hence malevolent ghosts, vampires,  werewolves (and oh, yes, "walkers," or whatever they are, they seem familiar but I just can't...)  They are full of rage, not me. But a bullet to the head should solve that.  Better them than me, after all.

Not for nothing, projection-- taking unacceptable emotions and attributing them as coming from the other person-- is what TV does so well, which is why we like it so much.  Now you know why you love it when TV says George Bush is a selfish jerk and Lindsey Lohan is out of control slut.

IX.

What's familiar about the uncanny?  The repressed material it represents.  Are there examples?

Seeing your own double should be uncanny, and oh boy is it ever.  So uncanny that they tell you if you ever meet your time traveled double, the universe will explodonate.  How's that for a self-preserving narcissistic prohibition.

Try this: adopt an expressionless face and look in the mirror.  Don't move, just look.  That's you.  Does it look like what you thought it would, exactly?   Now imagine that it slowly smiles back at you.  That's uncanny: it is the physical manifestation of repressed material. 

"Huh?  What repressed material?"  

Is your smiling mirror-double good, or evil? 

"Oh, that repressed material." 

Your superego is moonlighting as a projectionist.

The double is an affront to your narcissism: "hey, wait a second, that's not really me, that's my Evil Double."  No, it's you.

Now that we can see those repressed feelings manifested as a double, we also understand that we don't want to see that repressed material any more than we want to see a double smiling back at us in the mirror.  The uncanny may be familiar, but it was supposed to stay hidden.  If it doesn't stay hidden-- if it instead shuffles up and down the driveway-- you're going to freak out.

The uncanny doesn't defy explanation, it is obliterated by explanation.  (Remember Lost?) In the first few episodes of the series, the zombies are uncanny.  But the moment we see the scientist at the CDC watching zombie viral particles under a light microscope(!), the zombies are no longer uncanny. If they are the result of a virus then we don't have to wonder if they're the result of repressed feelings.  Alternatively, if they are the result of repressed feelings, and those feelings are brought to awareness, then the zombie ceases to be uncanny (and exist.)   Once you know the rules of mourning, zombies are an easy kill.

Let's go back to Sister A and Sister Z.  Why don't we perceive Sister Z as uncanny, but the zombie wife in the driveway we do?
 

walking-dead-wife.jpg
We don't see the sisters' interaction as uncanny, we're infuriated by it-- because we're a 3rd person perspective reality testing the zombie narratives, and we know the steps to properly mourn a zombie.  The point of the scene isn't Sister Z, but Sister A-- so not uncanny.  Just like listening to someone's supposedly uncanny dream.   But if you consider Sister A's perspective, looking from her eyes, it must be very, very uncanny to see her sister as a zombie.  Hence, the further we move away from the narcissistic position-- which allows us to recognize what's familiar-- the less uncanny it will be.

I've read that the supposed crucial advancement of the zombie folklore is the change to running zombies.  I disagree; a more important change was the use of humor in zombie movies.  Humor, especially irony, represents a shift in perspective, a new 3rd person awareness of your first person experience.   This decreases the personal familiarity, the uncanny-ness, and hence is a defense against awareness of those repressed feelings.  A funeral is no place for jokes, there's work to be done.  Save those for the wake, not when they wake.

X.

It's popular to say the title, "The Walking Dead," really refers to the living people, not the zombies, and that the show is really about humans interacting with humans against the backdrop of a disaster.  The zombies are thus "anything which causes society to regress to a more primitive state."

But those zombies aren't just anything-- they aren't an earthquake, they aren't bugs, they aren't aliens-- they are zombies, they are the uncanny, even if after hundreds of miles, deaths, and losses no one can identify them as such.  Here we have a weakly TV serial about zombies and none of the characters know they are (the) zombies.
 

What do you get when ego and id aren't in conflict, in fact, they team up, against a common enemy-- reality? A reality which must often be denied in order to get some id-iPal satisfaction?  You get America.   What do you get when you get so good at denial, that you extend it to the inevitable?  You get American zombies: denial of death.

The Walking Dead is a uniquely American show, about Americans.  It depicts the unconscious processes involved in death and mourning with perfect articulation, because it is founded on denying what is obvious to everyone.   "No," it says, "this is different."

---

You might also enjoy:

Unstoppable

Near Death Of A Salesman

When Was The Last Time You Got Your Ass Kicked?

----

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych











Comments

Does asking if you should l... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:46 AM | Posted by Daniel: | Reply

Does asking if you should leave your wife mean that you should? Is the question the answer?

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AHHHH I'M GONNA HAVE NIGHTM... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 3:18 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

AHHHH I'M GONNA HAVE NIGHTMARES NOW

also, my mirrordouble is wearing a hat. WHAT DOES IT MEAN

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Sooooo gooooooooooood. Ever... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 3:31 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Sooooo gooooooooooood. Every word is succulent. Alone, please never stop writing.

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What does it mean that I wo... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 3:37 AM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

What does it mean that I would take the red pill, but feel fairly certain its "reality"
is just as artificial as the blue pills?

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"The unconscious"? "Repress... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 3:50 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"The unconscious"? "Repression"? Oh for pete's sake. Why not go all the way and start helping people recover precious memories of Satanic Ritual Abuse?

The reason you can't bring past events to the surface is that you've forgotten them, i.e. the data has been lost. The brain is an imperfect storage medium. And some events don't even make it onto the hard drive, they get stuck in RAM and then get lost.

And anybody who tells you different is out to bill your insurance company what a typical American makes in a week per 55-minute hour. "Mumbo Jumbo will hoodoo you!"

Life is a practical skill, not a Mystic Art.

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Indeed, anonymous, we are b... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 4:48 AM | Posted by jack: | Reply

Indeed, anonymous, we are binary, on or off, all or nothing, just like computers, eh? Only, computers which sometimes, at random, for no reason, just toss a bunch of 1 and 0 inputs into the aether instead of our hard drive. Computers that have a surface... and underneath?

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I'd take both the pills. Wi... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 5:44 AM | Posted by Jo: | Reply

I'd take both the pills. With rum. Furthermore, as someone who repeatedly dreams about the forthcoming Zombie invasion [don't argue, it's coming any day now], I can safely say, I have shot all my zombified friends and family in the head and felt pretty good about it.

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That's one of your best pos... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 7:29 AM | Posted by MJ: | Reply

That's one of your best posts. Respect :-) you transcended the stuckness!

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Have you ever read Slavoj Z... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 8:11 AM | Posted by RA: | Reply

Have you ever read Slavoj Zizek? The application of Freudian analysis (filtered through Lacan) to pop culture (especially Hitchcock movies) is pretty much his stock in trade. In fact, continental philosophers have been writing a lot about zombies for the past ten years or so.

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How about wanting a loved o... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 9:03 AM | Posted by Jason: | Reply

How about wanting a loved one to die, to end their suffering?

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george romero never refers ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 9:06 AM | Posted by achtungbitte: | Reply

george romero never refers to the zombies as zombies in his movies either.
and in shaun of the dead:
Ed: "Are there any zombies out there?"
Shaun: "Don't say that!"
Ed: "What?"
Shaun: "That."
Ed: "What?"
Shaun: "That. The 'Z' word. Don't say it."
Ed: "Why not?"
Shaun: "Because it's ridiculous!"
Ed: "Alright... Are there any out there, though?"

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true, but "beside the point... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 9:52 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

true, but "beside the point." These characters living as 2010 Americans should know what zombies are.

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I have a red pill for you, ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 10:01 AM | Posted by Felan: | Reply

I have a red pill for you, it's cyanide and will kill you but only by consuming it will you come to know reality from this dream you find yourself in. Do nothing if you would like to stay in the dream.

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"Who's to say what's real? ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Posted by pallas: | Reply

"Who's to say what's real? "

Freud, apparently. Who is the, like the holly Christ who has liberated Last Psychiatrist from the matrix!

Hallelujah!

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This is a great start, but ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 10:15 AM | Posted by Poseidonian: | Reply

This is a great start, but I don't think it differentiates the prior zombie material from the show adequately. As you suggest in passing, mourning is on here continually, instead of sporadically, which suggests to me not an intensification, but an inversion of sorts.

If I may:
http://poseidonian.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/the-walking-dead/
http://poseidonian.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/the-walking-dead-ctd/
http://poseidonian.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/walking-dead-closing-thoughts/

Also, I don't buy the significance of the fact that none of the characters says "Holy hell! This is just like a Romero picture!" because not doing so is a condition of the possibility of the show. It takes place not only in a world in which there are zombies, unlike ours, but a world in which there are no zombie films, unlike ours. Being bugged by this is like wondering why Captain Kirk doesn't just review old Star Trek videos to solve his problems when they arise. But in the Star Trek universe, there never was a show called "Star Trek". Self-referential deconstruction is the exception, not the rule.

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Alone has read Zizek and di... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 10:18 AM | Posted, in reply to RA's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone has read Zizek and disagrees with him on his latest book

http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2010/09/the_legend_of_steven_colbert.html#more

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Romero never referred to th... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 10:48 AM | Posted, in reply to achtungbitte's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Romero never referred to them as zombies in "Night of the Living Dead"; can't swear about "Dawn of the Dead" et al.

It can't be a denial of a known concept, though - he was the first. Before him, "zombi" referred to a resurrected person who was under the resurrect-or's control, in certain religions. The term only got applied to Romero's ghouls (as he called them) later.

Romero's inspiration wasn't the zombi, but the vampire - specifically, the vampires of Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend".

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Kirkman has been wise in ob... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 10:49 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Kirkman has been wise in obstinately and cheerfully not explaining the zombie outbreak in the comics.

We've had no access to any CDC, or any similar resource.

It doesn't follow the vampire-style I-bite-you-you-turn model. Everyone who dies rises, no matter how they died. If Bob shoots Joe, with nary a zombie in sight, Joe nonetheless rises as a zombie. Being bitten by a zombie is merely one way /to die/.

In the comics, the characters do indeed refer to the walking dead as "zombies", but only at first. Our main group of survivors starts to refer to them as "lurkers" and "roamers" (depending on whether they lie in wait or walk around), and another group is seen referring to them as "biters". (Can't recall what other terms I've seen - whether "walkers" or any others.)

"It's popular to say the title, 'The Walking Dead,' really refers to the living people, not the zombies, and that the show is really about humans interacting with humans"

Popular and canon. There's a point in the comics where Rick blurts it out, like it's an epiphany.

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I found Romero's original N... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 11:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I found Romero's original Night of the Living Dead very scary - but then I probably shouldn't have gone to see it on acid when I was about fourteen. My friends found it hilarious, me not so much. But, hey, they probably weren't involved in a power struggle with a violent, narcissistic parent so it didn't have quite the same resonance.

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RE: zizek and "end times"..... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 11:39 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

RE: zizek and "end times"...

We're not living in end times in terms of the religious meaning, we are living in a time of huge transition and the end times of a certain system/organizational model of society. Most of this change is technology driven, as are all real changes in human society, and what we're seeing is various people and organizations reacting to that (both positively in terms of new potentials as well as a highly reactionary attempt to "keep it the same/hold onto old world type power". It's not really a new battle in many ways because it's between humans so about basic human concerns but the nature of the battle and battlefield has changed.

Of course, others may see it differently...that's just my take on it.

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This TV show (and comic) su... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 11:53 AM | Posted by Dr. D: | Reply

This TV show (and comic) subtley articulates what is true for all zombie movies - that the human experience is the juxtaposition between life and death.

The majority of zombie movies have some pinnacle event that unleashes the horror - Be it chemicals in the ground or some plague, the allegory is the same: you are born, shit happens, and you fail to live up to the image of yourself (succumbing to death) that you had thought you always believed. You're going to live forever, right? Good, me too.

That is the horror in the movies - death marches toward you and you (all of us) are trapped in a limbo state, waiting for death. We can try to sexy it up like vampires and werewolves, but the outcome is the same - the greatest fear is acknowledging that we are stuck between birth and death. Not being allowed to move between these states is the terror of our experience and has been acknowledged for millenia (Purgatory, Sheoul, Re-Incarnation, etc).

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This TV show (and comic) su... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 11:53 AM | Posted by Thanatos: | Reply

This TV show (and comic) subtley articulates what is true for all zombie movies - that the human experience is the juxtaposition between life and death.

The majority of zombie movies have some pinnacle event that unleashes the horror - Be it chemicals in the ground or some plague, the allegory is the same: you are born, shit happens, and you fail to live up to the image of yourself (succumbing to death) that you had thought you always believed. You're going to live forever, right? Good, me too.

That is the horror in the movies - death marches toward you and you (all of us) are trapped in a limbo state, waiting for death. We can try to sexy it up like vampires and werewolves, but the outcome is the same - the greatest fear is acknowledging that we are stuck between birth and death. Not being allowed to move between these states is the terror of our experience and has been acknowledged for millenia (Purgatory, Sheoul, Re-Incarnation, etc).

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<a href="http://thelastpsyc... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 12:39 PM | Posted by Chris: | Reply

Quote:

I don't want to cope. I want to see the videos of the planes being flown into the Towers. If we allow ourselves to choose the path of sadness, then nothing has been accomplished, everyone died for nothing. It will have been nothing more than an earthquake.

I don't want to get past this. Nor do I want it to get past me.

How does this relate to

And it's never too late, if you didn't do it right the first time and have been haunted ever since, you can always go back and perform the rituals more completely. "But I won't respond to those rituals because I'm not religious." It's not up to you; you're hard wired for ritual. So are The Walking Dead characters, who completely against everyone's and their own survival instincts decide not to burn(/deny) the bodies of their zombie-murdered friends, but bury them all in time consuming (all of it), backbreaking graves. "It's a hundred degrees out here." If the digging's harder, the mourning is easier. And that's why they (living and dead) are able to move on.

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Surely you're intell... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 12:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Surely you're intelligent enough to recognize a layman's analogy for a rough approximation of neurological terms? Dipshit.

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One character, fed up wi... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 12:46 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

One character, fed up with the inefficiency of his campmembers' zombie hunting, says, "you're supposed to shoot them in the head. Everyone knows that." Agreed. How did you learn that? So how come you don't know what they're called?

Because the character has noted what works, and what does not.

A character in that world who does not internalize 'how to stop zombies' knowledge is dead, or real lucky.

That cigar is just a cigar.

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I took the red pill when I ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 1:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Butterfly McDoom: | Reply

I took the red pill when I started psychoanalytic psychotherapy three years ago. Before that, I was living in a blue-pill world, knowing I didn't like being asleep but not knowing how to wake up.

"The unconscious"? "Repression"? Oh for pete's sake. Why not go all the way and start helping people recover precious memories of Satanic Ritual Abuse?

Belittling or demeaning therapy is a common defense against the fear and anxiety the subject raises. But of course it's unconscious fear and anxiety, so you don't really feel it, and since you don't believe in the unconscious you must not really be feeling those things. There's no way they could be informing your behavior. You just think it sounds like bullshit "because it is," right?

The reason you can't bring past events to the surface is that you've forgotten them, i.e. the data has been lost. The brain is an imperfect storage medium. And some events don't even make it onto the hard drive, they get stuck in RAM and then get lost.

Just like wiping a hard drive... the process is imperfect. And if you're TRYING to forget something, particularly something unpleasant or traumatic - yeah, that's called repression.

And anybody who tells you different is out to bill your insurance company what a typical American makes in a week per 55-minute hour. "Mumbo Jumbo will hoodoo you!"

...And arguing money/cost is another common defense. It's easier to say "Talk therapy costs too goddamn much money!" than it is to articulate/feel "I'm afraid of dealing with the unknown and facing difficult, uncomfortable feelings I would rather not feel/remember, so I'm going to talk smack about it instead."

Life is a practical skill, not a Mystic Art.
It can be one, it can be the other, it can be both or neither. Everyone's experience of life is valid. Defining it as practical is necessarily concrete and limiting.

...then again, maybe I've been trolled.

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At this point I am the anno... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 1:35 PM | Posted by SDC: | Reply

At this point I am the annoying person who points out the error: did you mean to say 'weakly' series?

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Saw does not cut handcuffs.... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Posted by Notsaramus: | Reply

Saw does not cut handcuffs. It does work on the iron bar handcuffs are attached to.

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I simply don't belie... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:00 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


I simply don't believe in "The Unconscious." It strikes me as a religious/mystical concept, not a scientific one. I don't go as far as the Skinnerians, like I do believe there is such a thing as "mind," but I accept "mind" because I can experience it myself and and point it out in others.

But "The Unconscious" is said to be something you can't really experience yourself nor can you point it out in others. "You're unconscious of that" is simply another another way of saying "you refuse to accept that what I say about you is true." It's got nothing to do with fact and everything to do with Making Shit Up, usually so that you can pretend to be a Wise Expert and/or put people down with impunity. ("You're not a bodybuilder because you want to be bigger and stronger than pointdexters like me, you're a bodybuilder because 'unconsciously' you know you're a sissy and a fag.")

Nor does "repression" in that schema mean "TRYING to forget" -- if you have to TRY to do it something it's not an UNCONSCIOUS mechanism. From the Wikipedia article on Psychological repression: "Repression is an involuntary or unconscious process." I.e. the opposite of what you thought you understood before I taught you this.

This is Psych 101 stuff, learn it. Read more and assume less.

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From the Wikipedia article ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:14 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

From the Wikipedia article on "the Unconscious mind":

"There is a great controversy over the concept of an unconscious in regard to its scientific or rational validity and whether the unconscious mind exists at all. Among philosophers, Karl Popper was one of Freud's most notable contemporary opponents. Popper argued that Freud's theory of the unconscious was not falsifiable, and therefore not scientific. He objected not so much to the idea that things happened in our minds that we are unconscious of, but to investigations of mind that were not falsifiable. If one could connect every imaginable experimental outcome with Freud's theory of the unconscious mind, then no experiment could refute the theory."

This one excerpt contains enough data for an intelligent to person to investigate further and find out what I'm talking about; you might want to look up "scientific" and "falsifiable," for starters.

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"But "The Unconscious" is s... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:27 PM | Posted by Walenty Lisek: | Reply

"But "The Unconscious" is said to be something you can't really experience yourself nor can you point it out in others."

I regularly have direct experiences with my unconscious mind. By unconscious I mean the parts of my brain I do not have direct access to, but I'm not going to defend Freud or anyone else's particular definition.

I experience that unconscious mind regularly whenever I have a thought *pop* into my head. The Myers-Briggs people describe this as intuition. Again, I'm not trying to defend them on scientific grounds, but I do find their definition an easy way to talk about things.

It has not been an uncommon thing for me to know something without knowing how I know it. Usually I'll have the solution first and then I can work backwards to figure out how I know it. What I suspect is going on is that a non-conscious part of my brain is doing the "thinking" and then delivers the answer to my consciousness.

Here is some research that seems to back up my experiences:

"We found that the outcome of a decision can be encoded in brain activity of prefrontal and parietal cortex up to 10 seconds before it enters awareness. This delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision long before it enters awareness."

http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v11/n5/abs/nn.2112.html

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"Belittling or demeaning th... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:35 PM | Posted by Pallas: | Reply

"Belittling or demeaning therapy is a common defense against the fear and anxiety the subject raises."

It is TRUE as revealed by the great SAGE Sigmund Freud.

Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

Can I get an amen?

AMEN!

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I thought this posting was ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:35 PM | Posted by SusanC: | Reply

I thought this posting was really good, but...

It's common in fiction that the characters are unaware of the genre conventions of the type of story they're in--even though, logically, they ought to be.

Usually, characters in horror movies appear never to have seen a horror movie.

If I remember rightly, there are no superhero comics in the fictional world of _Watchmen_: in a world where superheros exist, the comics have to be about something else (e.g. pirates).

This blindness of fictional characters is everywhere; but does it have anything to do with Freudian repression in real-world people?

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"If I remember rightly, the... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:38 PM | Posted by Pallas: | Reply

"If I remember rightly, there are no superhero comics in the fictional world of _Watchmen_: in a world where superheros exist, the comics have to be about something else (e.g. pirates)."

Nope, in the comic, at least, Superman comics existed but are long forgotten. When Superheroes became real, nobody wanted to read about the fictional types anymore. (admittedly an unlikely supposition) The original Night Owl writes about the long forgotten Action Comics #1 that he read as a boy.

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"Which is fine, I can't fau... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 2:46 PM | Posted by pallas: | Reply

"Which is fine, I can't fault them for doing what they need to do to make it. What's amazing to me is that there's no shame in this choice; to the contrary, they defend it as self-evident, like "of course I go to hookers, why wouldn't I?" Who's to say what's real?


This paragraph reveals Last Psychiatrist is a complete crank (or plays one on the internet. )

Freudian theory is not scientific. Freudian concepts are not falsifiable. Studies cannot be done to prove or disprove the theory, since Freud will offer an explanation for any action a patient takes. (I.E. if you agree with Freud, it proves he's right. If you disagree, you are "resisting"- and, a Freudian would have it, proves he's right)

Last Psychiatrist doesn't get to offer ethereal nonsense as an operating approach to life, then sneer at people when they point out truth is subject. Well, he can, but it means he's completely nuts.

The patient is in charge of the asylum.

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I'm not going to lie, I fou... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 3:00 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

I'm not going to lie, I found this article confusing. What's the thesis statement here, simply, could someone please help me out?
In the meantime I will re-read it and see what I can make of it.

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"if you agree with Freud, i... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 3:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"if you agree with Freud, it proves he's right. If you disagree, you are "resisting"- and, a Freudian would have it, proves he's right"

This sounds a lot like a form of "kafkatrapping" as discussed at this website:

http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=2122

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"Last Psychiatrist doesn... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 4:30 PM | Posted by Ospranamus: | Reply

"Last Psychiatrist doesn't get to offer ethereal nonsense as an operating approach to life, then sneer at people when they point out truth is subject."

We can agree truth is subject. No human language can reach truth; There is still the matter of accuracy; two different approaches can reach same conclusion. Concepts can correlate, describe all they want, they'll never reach absolute truth. There can still be a very accurate description of how something works.

There's a quantitative way of looking at human mind, as I undestand, Freudian theory is more qualitative than quantitive. How can you describe something that can't be measured when the things that can be measured aren't clearly the whole truth?

You make the best of it, and if you're really smart, you'll get into conclusions that revolutionize things. Freud has infiltrated our thinking in so many ways, we couldn't get rid of him if we wanted. Then again, some theories in physics can't be falsified - doesen't render them as "nothing". You think Einstein didn't "guess" things? If I recall correctly, some of his theories were proven right afterwards. Same with Darwin.

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I have had a hard time unde... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 4:43 PM | Posted by Jon: | Reply

I have had a hard time understanding TLP's articles lately. I can not tell if this is because the articles are unintelligible or because of my own defenses.

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I feel like you've missed t... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 4:49 PM | Posted, in reply to pallas's comment, by eightbitman: | Reply

I feel like you've missed the point. Actually several people here have missed the point. I don't know much about psychology, but I think the important point is what helps people get their heads out of their asses, start behaving themselves, and stops them from abusing the people around them. Are you able to form healthy, long term connections? Are you able to accept criticism of your ideas? Are you totally mentally stable and find everything about your life fulfilling? Then why did you even comment?

If you're reading it, it's for you.

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Popper also claimed that ev... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 5:00 PM | Posted, in reply to pallas's comment, by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

Popper also claimed that evolutionary theory was not really science. The issue is how well the arguments correspond to the evidence offered. Trying to cite a philosopher does not invalidate the argument.

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You should read The Zom... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 5:06 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

You should read The Zombie Apocalypse is the New American Dream.

Some overlap of ideas, there, though from the angle of zombies in video games and why they are so popular. Someone should collect all these essays into a book someday.

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I knew you were a Freudian.... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 5:07 PM | Posted by Robert: | Reply

I knew you were a Freudian. I love reading your blog and look forward to more. Thank you.

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"Sigmund Freud is mostly re... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 5:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Sigmund Freud is mostly remembered for his work on penis and vagina"

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@Anonymous- His most import... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 5:43 PM | Posted by Robert: | Reply

@Anonymous- His most important contributions were the concepts of transference and counter-transference. But, his theories of infantile sexuality have more explanatory power than we currently credit.

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So how many repressed memor... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 6:19 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So how many repressed memories can dance on the head of an oedipal complex?

As for TLP's recent posts, maybe he's been overdoing the rum. Many people react to winter and "the holiday season" by boozing more; I certainly do.

Or maybe he's just showing a reaction formation from his unsatisfied anal needs.

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Or, perhaps, "Fuck y... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 6:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Or, perhaps, "Fuck your Freud and fuck his discourse!"

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Or, in other words, ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 6:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Or, in other words, "Fuck your Freud and fuck his discourse!"

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Someone has some unresolved... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 6:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Someone has some unresolved father issues to work out. Maybe some time on TLP's couch?

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"Freudian concepts are not ... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 6:56 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

"Freudian concepts are not falsifiable."
Sure, some of them are. The studies would just be unethical. You could make predictions about what outcomes you should see depending upon where, in early development, you really messed someoen up - like abandonment by parents or something. Then, randomize 100 kids to either have their parents abandon them or not. And follow the outcomes: who ends up in adulthood clingy and insecure in intimate relationships. Something like that.

Possible, but highly unethical.

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The creator of the comic bo... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 8:45 PM | Posted by Jacob: | Reply

The creator of the comic book has answered your question:

"Q: Why don't your characters call the walkers "zombies"? -- Erica Badu

A: The main reason is because "zombie" is a term that we are accustomed to hearing, and when the characters run around saying "zombie" it takes you out of the story. This is supposed to take place in a world where no one has ever heard of a zombie before. So we just don't use that word. Everyone they encounter will have different names for zombies. Some people are calling them "geeks" in the show. I think we will eventually find a group of people that call them "roamers" and "lurkers" and "biters" like in the comic."

http://blogs.amctv.com/the-walking-dead/2010/12/robert-kirkman-fan-interview.php

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Was that an Ernest Becker s... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 9:34 PM | Posted by DCF: | Reply

Was that an Ernest Becker shoutout in section X?

Good stuff but much like with Becker when you get this "out there" how can you really know any of it IS in fact real and not just a figment of your imagination? You need scientific process to keep you honest, and I don't know of any (yet) that can (accurately) measure someone's thoughts.

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I hate to sound like some o... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 10:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Walenty Lisek's comment, by DCF: | Reply

I hate to sound like some old drugged out hippie (though I know that's how these comments are always received), but try psilocybin and you will have (for a short period of time) significantly more access to your subconscious.

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I know a lot of parents who... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 11:04 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by ALI test: | Reply

I know a lot of parents who would willingly participate in a study like that if they were able to be the parents who abandoned their kids.

It's funny because I was actually at a cocktail party last weekend and this subject of whether or not Freudian concepts are falsifiable came up in a conversation. I didn't stay for its conclusion though because my drink was empty and I had to get a refill and by the time I got my refill and finished flirting with the Finnish bartender, people were talking about whether or not they will surprise their spouse with an ipad for x=mas.

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(A): On mourning and ritual... (Below threshold)

December 9, 2010 11:07 PM | Posted by The Devastator: | Reply

(A): On mourning and ritual:

And it's never too late, if you didn't do it right the first time and have been haunted ever since, you can always go back and perform the rituals more completely. "But I won't respond to those rituals because I'm not religious." It's not up to you; you're hard wired for ritual.

(B) On denying reality:

A game I play with people to see how fast they will hate me is to ask if they'd take the red pill (see reality) or the blue pill (stay inside the Matrix, where it's warm.) Most people choose the blue pill, especially when I remind them that if they choose the red pill it does not also mean they are The One. Which is fine, I can't fault them for doing what they need to do to make it. What's amazing to me is that there's no shame in this choice...

Isn't there a pretty glaring contradiction between (A) and (B)? "You need ritual, but you should be ashamed of deceiving yourself." Well, shit.

Wait! Maybe you mean I should participate in rituals without deceiving myself.

"And now a reading from Thessalonians: 'Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.' Of course, you understand that I am just saying that for the sake of ritual. We all know that Mom is just dead and there is no heaven. However, reading Bible passages about hope is psychologically necessary for completion of the mourning process. We are hard-wired for ritual. Amen"

...

Nope, that doesn't work. Rituals run on deception, on a story told and believed because it is useful, not true. So what is Alone getting at? Here's what I think it is: He would contend that deception is necessary for us to function, but it must be imposed from the outside. The thing that is destroying America is that we are all making up deceptions on our own and imposing them on ourselves. Cultural narratives have stood the test of time, they connect us to one another, etc. But an individualized narrative is another word for insanity.

I'm sure there's some wisdom in that. But notice that the thing Alone prefers -- a story that we all share and use to interact with each other -- is exactly the definition of the Matrix.

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Last, I love your blog. I r... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 8:49 AM | Posted by Gospel X: | Reply

Last, I love your blog. I regularly recommend it to friends. Your insights are generally worthwhile to read and entertaining. This one, however, seemed like a bit of a stretch. Not to say that you didn't hit the right marks, but at other times I think you went a little too deeply into it and projected. (And assumed that the scene with the dying sister was meant to frustrate us. My interpretation was that we were meant to experience the tragedy of her upcoming loss. It was the inability to pull the plug.)

You often point out that the major epidemic in America right now is narcissism. I think readers sometimes lose sight of this and assume that since you're pointing it out, you are free from the shackles of narcissism. You're an observer, after all. But that isn't the case. There is a good reason that you spend time writing about top rated shows on AMC but not something like How I Met Your Mother, Bones, or Fringe. There is a good reason why you wrote so many words for a show that is so straightforward it wears its observational intent in its title. (Yes, the Walking Dead are the survivors.) Not to say that your insights aren't worthwhile, but that was a fairly lengthy piece for no good reason - unless the goal was to prove how intellectual you can be (we wouldn't come back if we didn't already believe it) and to generate a lot of hits by using keywords related to one of the top rated television shows.

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jacob that's a bullshit ans... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 9:02 AM | Posted, in reply to Jacob's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

jacob that's a bullshit answer. How does hearing the word zombie takes you out of the story?

That's like saying that in a movie about an alien invasion, hearing the word alien takes you out of the story, because the movie is supposed to be set in a world where no one has ever heard about aliens.

That's not a valid answer, even if it comes from the author of the comic book

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"if you agree with Freud, i... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 9:40 AM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

"if you agree with Freud, it proves he's right. If you disagree, you are "resisting"- and, a Freudian would have it, proves he's right"

Thank you, that will be $200. See you same time next week.

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I think the reason they don... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 11:25 AM | Posted by Pastabagel: | Reply

I think the reason they don't use the term zombie is the same reason they don't use the term "psycho killer" in every slasher film after Psycho. This is referred to as "genre blindness".

Hell, people in romantic comedies have never seen romantic comedies. The handsome, wealthy, athletic fiance of the high-maintenance blonde bitch never turns to said bitch's frumpy but loyal friend in the first act and shouts "Holy shit, this is a rom-com! That means I'm gonna marrying fat-faced Rene Zellwegger in less than 100 minutes! HELP!" So, genre blindness is essential to storytelling.

Likewise, characters still walk into the dark basements in horror movies, and the audience always shouts "Don't go into the basement!" Why shouldn't they walk into the basement? If you heard a noise in your basement in real life, wouldn't you check it out? What's the worst it could be? A mouse, maybe a squirrel? In real life, you wouldn't avoid the basement because you think a psycho is lurking down there, that would be insane. So why do you want the character in the movie to be insane?

If you expect characters in horror movies to act like they know they are in a horror movie, it would be totally unrealistic unless you expect people in real life to act like real life is a horror movie.

Like the creator of the comic says, invoking our word 'zombie' in the story takes you out of the story because it would force the characters to act completely unrealistically given that the supernatural weird thing is actually completely understood. If the characters know what zombies are from the same movies you've seen, then they will therefore also know how to kill them, how to avoid them, how to build a zombie-proof fortress, how to A-Team up a van into a mobile ass-kicking machine, etc. But then we are in the world of Zombieland.

This fictional world of the understood monster is no more frightening than if the world was overrun by perfectly non-monstrous, perfectly ravenous tigers. (Or birds. Or velociraptors.) Frankly, I've seen (on TV) people kill zombies more often than tigers. Knowing that the characters know that the problem is zombies means the characters should also know how to deal with it.

See also, Scream.

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That's like saying that ... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 11:36 AM | Posted by Pastabagel: | Reply

That's like saying that in a movie about an alien invasion, hearing the word alien takes you out of the story, because the movie is supposed to be set in a world where no one has ever heard about aliens.

There is no canonical "alien". Chewbacca was an alien, klingons are aliens, xenomorphs from Alien are aliens, the blob is an alien. "Alien" conveys no information. By contrast, zombie is a specific entity with known physical and behavioral characteristics. This is how we can watch a show called "The Walking Dead, where the creatures are called 'geeks' or 'walkers', but everyone in the audience calls them 'zombies', and absolutely no one calls them aliens.

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I am not an old drugged out... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 11:49 AM | Posted, in reply to DCF's comment, by limey_on_mushrooms: | Reply

I am not an old drugged out hippie (though I am of that generation, but I would describe myself as more of a Dick Cheney conservative type from the get-go, I never bought into that rock n roll/our parents suck/we must break the machine garbage), but I have had experiences with psilocybin and each time I consumed a fair amount, I would take on the accent of a British person (I am American) whenever I spoke. If indeed, DCF, you believe I was accessing my subconscious, does that mean that I wish to be British? ( In the 80's, I greatly admired Margaret Thatcher and I always love to watch the House of Commons debate whenever they are broadcast on C-Span- I always wished America to have such lively discussion and its politicians to be so well-spoken.) I wonder if I should apply for British citizenship? I've always felt something was missing in my life- maybe it will make me happy or feel more 'complete' if I become a British citizen?

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If you ask yourself the que... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 12:55 PM | Posted by Uncanny: | Reply

If you ask yourself the question: Should I leave my wife, the answare is yes. Because if you shouldn't, you wouldn't have thought of it in the first place. Mildly suggestion.

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I don't know -- I think eve... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 1:00 PM | Posted by Chiara: | Reply

I don't know -- I think every time I heard them not calling a zombie a zombie, THAT would take me out of the story. Because every time they used some other word my mind would be saying "But that's a zombie. It's a zombie."

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If you ask yourself the ... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 1:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Uncanny's comment, by Butterfly McDoom: | Reply

If you ask yourself the question: Should I leave my wife, the answer is yes. Because if you shouldn't, you wouldn't have thought of it in the first place.

Thinking about something does not make it so.

I've thought about leaving my boyfriend. I've envisioned the break-up, the painful aftermath, the dating, the one-night stand, the living alone. I've asked myself what circumstances might bring about a mutual break-up, or what I might do to irreparably lose his trust and cause him to want to leave me.

I've thought a lot about death - what it would feel like to die, what it feels like to be stabbed or shot, to drown, to die by degrees in a hospital bed. I've asked myself about what it would be like to commit suicide, or murder, premeditated and in cold blood.

I've thought about a number of things I don't want to do, events I don't want to live through, choices I don't want to be forced to make. But I think about them because it's a human thing to do - I doubt I'm Alone in that. My mind, and dare I say soul, contains dark places, and I would be denying part of myself if I continued to shy away from them.

But I don't leave my boyfriend, or cut myself or drink Windex or dismember a body and bury it in the back forty because I'm not interested in committing those forms of pain and self-destruction.

It's easier to mitigate. Drink rum, or jerk off to horse-porn or not call your mother because she's such a controlling bitch.

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Say what you will about abs... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 5:03 PM | Posted by Erickson's Voice: | Reply

Say what you will about abstract thinking (e.g., non-falsifiable, non-scientific), but it is a way for us to understand something as complex as the mind.

Knowing how the mind works from a purely scientific perspective is as limited as knowing about it from a purely abstract perspective.

You can that schizophrenia is secondary to hypofrontality/dysfunction of GABA receptors in the prefrontal cortex...

But that doesn't mean you can talk to someone who's relapsing from schizophrenia and prevent him from offing himself.

We need science (treatment of the brain) in psychiatry, but it's naive to throw out what we learned about treating the mind. There is how the individual parts of the brain work, and how the brain works as a complex whole (the mind).

Some things are better shown than said. A therapist who genuinely wants to help her patients will quickly learn what works. In Alone's defense, his batting average indicates he knows what works.

It may not be politically correct, it may no longer be popular/accepted, but a physician who genuinely wants to heal his patients concerns himself with what works, not dogma.

If your gods told you everything must be falsifiable and have t-tests to be real, not only is it an indicator that you're under 30, but also that you've never had a patient bleed on you.

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PastaBagel - "The handsome,... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 5:16 PM | Posted, in reply to Pastabagel's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

PastaBagel - "The handsome, wealthy, athletic fiance of the high-maintenance blonde bitch never turns to said bitch's frumpy but loyal friend in the first act and shouts "Holy shit, this is a rom-com! That means I'm gonna marrying fat-faced Rene Zellwegger in less than 100 minutes! HELP!" So, genre blindness is essential to storytelling."

It's not essential to storytelling really but it's essential to a certain type of story telling. A post-modern romcom would be "self aware" and any time a director indicates to the audience that he's aware of the audience, there is a certain level of stepping outside of the story. A romantic comedy that does this brilliantly is Stranger Than Fiction. (Though, obviously, most genre movies are genre movies because they play by certain rules.)

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Your blog really helps me d... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 7:59 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Your blog really helps me deal with my dad a lot. A LOT. He is so, so fucking pathologically narcissistic, it's kinda scary. Not violent scary, scary like, "how the fuck could anyone say _________ (all the really, really fucked up things he's said to me and my siblings) to their own kids???" It helps, it helps a lot, it keeps him in perspective, and reminds me to find a different way to deal with him, besides becoming him.

When he is dead, I think it will actually be nice to be able to feel all the affection and love I have for him, because right now, I can't even talk to him for more than a moment without wanting to tell him I SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOU, YOU FUCKING IDIOT, but then he just lashes back with the most insane, ridiculous, hurtful things he can think of to retain his identity, and no matter how untrue I know they are, these things fucking hurt coming from your father.

So thanks.

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"You could make predictions... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 8:04 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by pallas: | Reply

"You could make predictions about what outcomes you should see depending upon where, in early development, you really messed someoen up - like abandonment by parents or something. Then, randomize 100 kids to either have their parents abandon them or not. And follow the outcomes: who ends up in adulthood clingy and insecure in intimate relationships. Something like that."

How would that prove Freud right or wrong? Its pretty obvious that abandoned kids would be messed up. (And there are undoubtedly all sort of studies that already show this, i.e. higher rates of mental illness among orphans)

It wouldn't prove Freud right or wrong because the prediction (abandoned kids will be clingy, or depressed, or distressed, or whatever) won't have anything to do with the theory.

Abandoned girls being messed up later in life doesn't prove that penis envy is real. Abandoned boys being messed up doesn't prove that they have unresolved oedipal urges.

Freud will basically take any piece of evidence and invent a story to explain it after the fact.

IF a boy marries a girl like his mother, freud states its cause of oedipal urges. If he marries someone different that his mother, its because of castration anxiety.

Ironically, freudianism is the ultimate form of narcissism, because the freudian doesn't actually have to engage with anyone in the world at actually consider what they have to say. They can just invent a story explaining someone's behavior, and dismiss their stated thoughts and feelings as "resistance" or whathaveyou.

"Hypothesis: Abandoned children will end up clingy because Christ intends families to be together." would be pretty much the same thing.

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"A therapist who genuinely ... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 8:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Erickson's Voice's comment, by pallas: | Reply

"A therapist who genuinely wants to help her patients will quickly learn what works."

My understanding is most therapy, if not all, works due to a placebo effect. Or rather, if not a placebo exactly, the simple notion that talking to someone about your problems makes you feel better if the "doctor" appears to be sympathetic. (If you know studies that show otherwise I invite you to cite them)

Which is fine for what it is, but unfortunately, people have this naive notion that the man or woman playing the confidence game has some clue what they are talking about, and isn't just babbling secular- religious nonsense.

Unfortunately, people might actually make real life decisions based on the influence of preacher guy, without realizing preacher guy is kinda full of crap.

Or, as anon said "Fuck your Freud and fuck his discourse!""

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Wow, you beat the crap out ... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 8:41 PM | Posted, in reply to jack's comment, by polhemoth: | Reply

Wow, you beat the crap out if that straw man! Nice job.

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That's the last psychiatris... (Below threshold)

December 10, 2010 9:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

That's the last psychiatrist nailed to the wall,
Looking as if he were pickled in rum.

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so that's like making a mov... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 4:21 AM | Posted, in reply to Pastabagel's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

so that's like making a movie where an army of chewbaccas invade the earth, set in 2010, and no one calls them "chewbaccas".

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Personal "truth" is always ... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 9:53 AM | Posted, in reply to Ospranamus's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Personal "truth" is always subjective, but personal "truth" and reality are not the same thing and just because our personal experience of reality is subjective that doesn't mean that objective reality doesn't exist. Problems arise when people mistake their subjective experience of the world for the actual world, when one doesn't realize that we are the matrix and their are levels/types of matrix. There's the personal matrix of our neurobiological/cognitive functioning (or dysfunction) and there's the collective matrix of our family and larger cultures (what is also called consensual reality, which is our collective/cultural beliefs about the nature of the world/reality). It's why religious and ideological wars (aka "culture wars") are so hard to resolve, because they're arguments for whose matrix is going to dominate and define collective "reality".

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Well LOM, it would be silly... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 1:53 PM | Posted, in reply to limey_on_mushrooms's comment, by DCF: | Reply

Well LOM, it would be silly of me to speak with any certainty on the matter seeing as I've never met you and know nothing about you.

I think when one goes to those deeper levels of self (ie the subconscious) accents and nationalities mean little. Maybe you had an affinity for all things British, maybe you just heard a commercial for Virgin air that morning, who knows. More importantly, what did you say?

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Check it out DCF: the last ... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 8:31 PM | Posted, in reply to DCF's comment, by limey_on_mushrooms: | Reply

Check it out DCF: the last time that I did psilocybin, I didn't talk very much; I laughed a lot and remember a feeling of great relaxation and contentedness. at the time, I was dating an out of work 40 something alcoholic actor who also dabbled in cocaine addiction- I believe now that he was a self=medicating manic depressive. Anyway, the most that we could get to talking about in between bouts of laughing and great sex was how exactly I would handle calling my boss later that morning to tell her I would not be coming in for work as we wanted to go to the beach and continue to be intoxicated for as long as possible. I suggested that I say I was suffering from a cold, but since it was the height of summer, my boyfriend thought that I should get more creative and so we traded ideas for about 2 hours...and that was basically what I said while under the influence of psilocybin. I can't recall with great clarity much more detail. I'm not sure what that means in terms of my deeper self?

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But having talk therapy wor... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 9:16 PM | Posted, in reply to pallas's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

But having talk therapy work just because you talk about it is just as crazy.

If I ask you "how do you feel about X" you'll spend a lot of time ruminating about X. How do you feel about mommy not accepting you means thinking a lot about why mommy didn't accept you. Just by common sense I would suggest that spending a lot of time thinking about all your problems probably would make you sadder, not happier. I think giving someone a way to deal with the problem head on would probably be more useful.

Something a wiccan said always sorta stuck with me "It's better to hit your ghosts over the head with a large stick than trying to convince yourself not to see them". In other words, feeling like you have control over a situation, even if you don't really have much makes you feel better than just ruminating about why you feel bad about not having control.

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"If I ask you "how do yo... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 11:17 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"If I ask you "how do you feel about X" you'll spend a lot of time ruminating about X. How do you feel about mommy not accepting you means thinking a lot about why mommy didn't accept you."

BINGO.

And get on with your life. E.g., Mommy was disappointed because I didn't turn out to be her perfect little Action Figure she could rub the neighbors' noses in, but that's her problem; my problem is what to do with the rest of my sad pathetic little life, what kind of sad person I eventually want to get old trying in my sad pathetic little way to pretend to be.

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"but that's her problem; my... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 11:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"but that's her problem; my problem is what to do with the rest of my sad pathetic little life, what kind of sad person I eventually want to get old trying in my sad pathetic little way to pretend to be."

haha, I feel the same way and my mom actually likes me. even though I lead a sad pathetic little life. I don't know why she actually cares for me when all I do is continually underachieve and live in paycheck to paycheck poverty.

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Probably your mom realized ... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2010 11:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Probably your mom realized your obvious limitations early on and attributed your mediocrity to odds and so could still accept and love you. I am guessing that you have one or more successful siblings.

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Yes, I do... three older br... (Below threshold)

December 12, 2010 12:00 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Yes, I do... three older brothers who each run Fortune 500 companies.

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Wow, how do you not keep fr... (Below threshold)

December 12, 2010 12:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Wow, how do you not keep from feeling like a complete and total loser in comparison to your brothers? There are three siblings in my family and two are brainy and successful, while one is artistic and waits tables; I feel that my mother is able to love my bipolar artistic sister only because my brother and I have jobs in government and academia, own houses, have stock portfolios, and are mentally stable.

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"When something is true for... (Below threshold)

December 12, 2010 12:47 AM | Posted by Z. Constantine: | Reply

"When something is true for a trillion people over thousands of years, and you are firm in your belief that it is pointless, that's called resistance, and now the question changes to why you won't."

The best estimates we have in the field of paleodemography put the total number of humans who have ever lived somewhere around 106 billion (Population Reference Bureau, 2002).

I would be very surprising if that estimate were off by an order of magnitude (we still have a few trees and a few fish in the sea left, after all).

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"I feel that my mother i... (Below threshold)

December 12, 2010 5:43 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"I feel that my mother is able to love my bipolar artistic sister only because my brother and I have jobs in government and academia, own houses, have stock portfolios, and are mentally stable."
That's because you're a soulless bourgeois shallow little shit. And if your mother really thinks/feels that way about her own daughter she's even worse. "Come the revolution..."

Unless of course you're putting us on. I hope you are for your sake and your family's.


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It's not about zombi... (Below threshold)

December 12, 2010 6:01 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


It's not about zombies. It's about psychiatrists who will eventually find the right pill to prescribe for this mental disorder.

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One theory used in marriage... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 2:54 AM | Posted by moth: | Reply

One theory used in marriage counseling is that we partner up with someone that is a "light" version of our most dysfunctional relationship. We're all familiar with the pop psych version of this "she married her father" or "he married his mother", right?

If this is true, maybe our love of zombies is our desire to marry a more disposable version of society, our "light" version. What I mean is that we can just shoot humanity in the head this time, because they're the undead and it isn't nearly as naughty.

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er... I need sleep. I meant... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 2:58 AM | Posted by moth: | Reply

er... I need sleep. I meant to add that we do this to make it possible to fix this "light" version of the dysfunctional relationship, and feel some resolution because we cannot fix the original relationship. Is that more clear? probably not.

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LOM,I see where you'... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 10:11 AM | Posted, in reply to limey_on_mushrooms's comment, by DCF: | Reply

LOM,
I see where you're going...a caveat to my initial post should be "make sure you're in a setting where introspection is likely to take place".

Setting plays a large role in how any drug effects you (you went to the beach with your boyfriend... a great setting for fun but perhaps not for introspection). If you do want the full introspective effects, speak with a seasoned vet about proper dosage and try it on your own (or if you want to take it to a level deeper than that, go in an isolation tank).

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That's interesting... I nev... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 10:16 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

That's interesting... I never heard of 3 siblings running three separate fortune 500 companies. Odd, one would think that might make the news.

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The point isn't that this i... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 11:37 AM | Posted, in reply to Erickson's Voice's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The point isn't that this information is useless, it's that it shouldn't be taken TOO seriously. TLP states things in a way that makes them sound as if they are fact when they are far from it.

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Alone's response: You ar... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 4:16 PM | Posted, in reply to Pastabagel's comment, by Alone: | Reply

Alone's response: You are probably correct from the technical standpoint of writing a show like this. And I don't presume that my post reflects the actual thoughts of the writers, or hell, even the unconscious thoughts of the writers. (whereas in "Unstoppable" I do think that was a legitimate interpretation.

The purpose of my post was see if, by playing a "game" I was able to give something helpful to actual people in mourning. That was the point.

Aside-- did you drop out of Metafilter? Did you start a blog??

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The problem with Freud is n... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2010 12:46 PM | Posted by R. Kevin Hill: | Reply

The problem with Freud is not unfalsifiability; post-Quine, underdetermination of theory by data haunts *all* cognitive enterprises. I think that Patricia Kitcher was closer to the mark when she argued that Freud was indebted to adjacent late 19th century sciences from which we've moved on, but by concealing these debts and representing his results as nothing more than inductive generalizations from clinical data, he insulated psychoanalysis from further development. What is needed is renewed dialogue with current adjacent science.

All this is moot now. We don't really need *any* psychology, since instead of literature we have videogames and porn, and instead of therapy we have pills. Yay.

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"...and if he's smart he... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2010 4:58 PM | Posted by G Peters: | Reply

"...and if he's smart he'll take advantage of the 6000 years of human history..."

I'm confused by this statement. Which 6000 years should the surviving parent take advantage of? Is the author referring to the most recent 6000 years, a different 6000-year block, or 6000 specific years scattered throughout our history? Our earliest ancestors, a group of particles that through random chance gained the ability to self-replicate, existed about 4.3 billion years ago. Which 6000 of those 4.3 billion years does the author consider to be more important than all the others?

Could someone please clarify this?

Thanks in advance.

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Yeah. That old man isn't t... (Below threshold)

December 20, 2010 9:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Yeah. That old man isn't their dad. he's just another survivor.

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So you've got me thinking; ... (Below threshold)

December 21, 2010 8:32 PM | Posted by Andrea : | Reply

So you've got me thinking; what then are the principal drivers of human identity? Where is a good place to read up on the same?

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It also works on flesh.... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2010 12:52 AM | Posted, in reply to Notsaramus's comment, by DE101: | Reply

It also works on flesh.

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Cool. So if I think "should... (Below threshold)

December 25, 2010 9:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Uncanny's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Cool. So if I think "should I steal this item from the store?" having the thought means that I should do it.

YOu fail at logic and are probably one of those psychopaths with no capacity to understand social contracts as described in the recent discussion.

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Hmm, I wonder about a compe... (Below threshold)

December 31, 2010 4:58 PM | Posted by KKB: | Reply

Hmm, I wonder about a competing narcissism in Americans & most humans: the idea that we are literally the center of the universe, that human primacy is more important than anything else, that we operate best when we act as individuals rather than as a group animal - - in fact most people believe that we aren't even really animals at all.

In the Matrix, of course, the "animal" living in symbiosis with us / preying on us is by no coincidence one of our own making: the machines. But imagine that instead of these machines we are talking about Earth's own organic viruses, riding around inside us - - living in their own galaxies of complexity, transmuting and evolving and generally carrying on as all living things do, without much care as to the host, ie us. (Sort of how we treat the Earth itself.) Which is all already true. So in this metaphor of the Matrix, why not just accept the symbiosis? Can we not just need each other, and be happy with what we've got? Allow for another sort of life to thrive outside our consciousness? Or do we need to murder off all other sorts of life in order to ensure that we reign supreme, regardless of weather or not reigning supreme means eating gruel in a desecrated wasteland, with occasional raves. Totally worth it, right?

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NBA jerseys are your perfec... (Below threshold)

January 11, 2011 5:19 AM | Posted by NBA jerseys: | Reply

NBA jerseys are your perfect choice during the hot summer also because they are comfortable to wear. Wearing the basketball jerseys, you will still feel the touch of wind rather than be boiled inside. As we all see, NBA jerseys are generally made of cotton mesh, which absorbs sweat as well as permit air to enter. Take one of the most famous ever-been NBA jerseys for example, they are either made of mesh or dazzle. And the clothes like that is all that need in summer.http://www.lovejerseys.com/nba-jersey-c-66.html/

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Are you implying that he's ... (Below threshold)

February 26, 2011 1:45 PM | Posted, in reply to RA's comment, by Francis: | Reply

Are you implying that he's not alone (Alone?) Cuz that would be terrible! Haha jk, couldn't resist, Alone...

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This is way too intelligent... (Below threshold)

July 22, 2011 2:07 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

This is way too intelligent for me. Al I have to say is; The main character's name isn't Fred, it's Rick

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Ok, this post completely pi... (Below threshold)

August 30, 2011 4:44 PM | Posted by Ben: | Reply

Ok, this post completely pisses me off because obviously you have paid absolutely no attention to this show, and yet you are picking at it. The creators have stated that the reason the characters do not call them zombies because in The Walking Dead world, zombies have never existed even in stories, games, movies etc. No one has any idea of what is going on besides that people die, and then return from the dead and feast on the living, so DARYL (the survivor that notes that you have to shoot them in the head) knows to do this because of their constant battle with the undead and through much experimentation. Also, the main protagonist is named RICK Grimes, not FRED! So here is the most obvious fact that you have not paid any attention. And as for the reason that ANDREA does not shoot AMY as she is going through the zombification process probably goes something like this; Andrea- feeling bad that she has neglected her sister pretty much her whole life, has decided to make up for it by protecting her through the apacolypse. When she realized she has horrificly failed at this, she wants to stay with her human even though no longer living sister as long as possible. Once she has realized that Amy will no longer be her loving sister anymore, she decides to shoot her. And as for "the father figure" DALE, he states at Amy's death that after his wife died from cancer that ANDREA and AMY were the only two people that brought him back to reality. So yes, he is very grief stricken from her death and the reason why he stops Andrea from staying at the self-destructing CDC building. Next time, make sure you pay attention to the damn show before you rip it apart with your incompetence to understand basic concepts.

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Maybe you should focus on g... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2011 5:19 PM | Posted by Josh: | Reply

Maybe you should focus on getting the characters' names right if you want us to put stock in your OPINION (not fact, since you didn't write the screenplay or the graphic novel on which it is based). Tool

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haha way to go ben. love wh... (Below threshold)

October 25, 2011 2:59 PM | Posted by dh: | Reply

haha way to go ben. love when people try to make something into something that it isnt and how could he mess up Rick with Fred? hahaha

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is there a written rule the... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2011 1:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by bree: | Reply

is there a written rule they have to be called zombies? I think its just a unique term for the show. Is it really that big of a deal? I enjoy the show, do I care that it started out the same way 28 days later did? Not really. It's a show dealing with zombies/walkers, it's going to be similar to all other zombie movies. I think one of the main reasons this show is so popular and fun to watch is because your watching them surive for and hour each week, not in an hour and thirty minutes.

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I likes where you but shoot... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2011 5:34 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I likes where you but shoot her already stupid, cause that was what i was thinking. LOL :)

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You have the whole tv show ... (Below threshold)

November 20, 2011 5:43 PM | Posted, in reply to dh's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You have the whole tv show (the walking dead) wrong. Number one you don't know their names. Number 2 the name walkers is more unique then zombies,also they are walkers why not call them walkers, the people in the show have never heard of (zombies)so they call them walkers. Do you even watch the show because this is truly pitiful! Make another website of something else because this is not a good topic for you.

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What is, or what are (or we... (Below threshold)

December 11, 2011 10:48 AM | Posted by CC: | Reply

What is, or what are (or were) the rituals for leaving home? For manhood? To what extent, if any, is parental involvement required? Can these rituals be repeated in a similar way to how you say the rituals of mourning can be repeated? What if some parties do not wish to participate in re-performing these rituals to get them, and it, right? Does it matter that the overall economic outlook is very different now as compared to when the dad set off?

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In Lay-mans terms, this was... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2012 5:59 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

In Lay-mans terms, this was fucking stupid!!!

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The main character is Rick ... (Below threshold)

February 22, 2012 2:40 PM | Posted by Oscar: | Reply

The main character is Rick Grimes, not Fred Grimes.

In the comic books they do call the zombies zombies. But Kirkman (the creator of The Walking Dead) explained that the TV series is supposed to take place in a universe where there are no zombie movies or stories, so that the people living through this don't have any prior knowledge to bring to what's happening with the dead.

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I have a handle, but my wif... (Below threshold)

March 15, 2012 2:07 PM | Posted by Not usually anon: | Reply

I have a handle, but my wife knows it and I don't want to freak her out if she ever sees this. Also, maybe I will feel appropriately guilty if I keep this anonymous.

I've sometimes thought about life without my wife (whose company I enjoy) and thought it would be a nice change, especially if I took care of her and demonstrated my loyalty all the way until the end.
I feel guilt about this, because if I'm honest with myself I see that all I want is time to read and navel gaze, and all I would actually do is watch TV. She's not holding me back from anything worth while. I am a narcissist, probably worse than a typical one because I see things that I do are selfish as I do them, and don't stop myself. But realizing I am thinking that particular thought always startles me.

A few weeks ago, I was reading Love In the Ruins (on a side note, I'm not completely convinced Alone is not Dr. Thomas More incarnate). There's a part towards the end that is as moving as anything I've ever read, which is weird because it's a satire (but, unfortunately still prophetic). Dr. More is reflecting on the childhood death of his daughter, and he talks about feeling pleasure with the pain, and feelings of guilt coming from that pleasure. I'd never heard of anything like this before, but I recognized the feeling. Now here's Freud, of all people, talking about it. C.S. Lewis wrote an essay (been a little while, I may be fuzzy) about how human perception has limited bandwidth, which could explain why sometimes it's difficult to distinguish emotions because the perceived feelings might have some overlap.

Do you think that's what's going on here, or am I more broken than I thought? Not mutually exclusive I guess. Do I really have to read Freud to get some answers?

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There's a term for what you... (Below threshold)

March 15, 2012 3:45 PM | Posted, in reply to KKB's comment, by tim: | Reply

There's a term for what you're referring to -- anthropocentrism.

Much has been written, especially in the area of environmental ethics, on these topics.

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so, if I am deathly afraid ... (Below threshold)

September 10, 2012 5:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

so, if I am deathly afraid of zombies, does that mean i'm a super-narcissist?

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i hate the way you write.</... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2012 6:10 PM | Posted by hater: | Reply

i hate the way you write.

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I hate the way you hate... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2012 4:37 AM | Posted, in reply to hater's comment, by Haterhater: | Reply

I hate the way you hate

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"Allow me to vamp: the abil... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2012 9:58 AM | Posted by tornpapernapkin: | Reply

"Allow me to vamp: the ability to do so is an indicator of substantial pathology, especially terminal ones. "

uh-oh... care to elaborate?

I almost died once. Maybe that's why it's easy :/

...

But thank you so much for this article? I was actually just having a conversation with some one else, trying to understand the zombie fad after a friend explained it to me as "well you don't have to feel bad after killing zombies" to which I replied "you don't HAVE to feel bad after killing anyone."

But I hate zombie shows and now I know why. Thanks for that. Too simple.

I'm a big fan of ghost stories though, the ones that won't go away where there is no simple resolution. Maybe that's how I like my grief and repressed mourning, open, cyclical, unwilling to rest, and eager to talk...

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"Try this: adopt an express... (Below threshold)

February 25, 2013 4:20 AM | Posted by DD: | Reply

"Try this: adopt an expressionless face and look in the mirror. Don't move, just look. That's you. Does it look like what you thought it would, exactly? Now imagine that it slowly smiles back at you. That's uncanny: it is the physical manifestation of repressed material."

As I read this, I imagined myself doing this exact thing. It was a completely unconscious reaction that sent chills shivering down my spine. Your point is well taken.

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His name is Rick Grimes, no... (Below threshold)

March 16, 2013 7:49 AM | Posted by bnarrs: | Reply

His name is Rick Grimes, not Fred Grimes.

FAIL.

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I thought he was making ref... (Below threshold)

April 3, 2013 4:52 AM | Posted by hotdoggin: | Reply

I thought he was making reference to Frank Grimes, the Simpsons character, but came up with Fred instead.

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The best show about Zombies... (Below threshold)

July 19, 2013 5:26 AM | Posted by Marine: | Reply

The best show about Zombies ! I've never get bored looking at it. I was worry before seeing it, 'cause the comic book was so AWESOME that I was thinkin they'll never do something good in series adaptation .. But now I can't wait for season 4 !
What I like in the comic and the show, is that we have zombie attack - blood - sadness, ok. But it makes us think about : If one day it happens, what will I do ? Humans will be more dangerous than zombies, in a way ... that's what I love.
Nothing can be compare with the Walking Dead.

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I have shot all my... (Below threshold)

July 19, 2013 5:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Jo's comment, by jonny: | Reply

I have shot all my zombified friends and family in the head and felt pretty good about it.

That's a delightful dream...sigh. Give me a reason, any reason.
___________

Marge: "That's a wonderful thing you did for my sisters."

Homer: "I didn't do it for them...I did it for you, Marge. I'd kill for you.

Please ask me to kill for you..."

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I thought he was making ... (Below threshold)

July 24, 2013 3:46 PM | Posted, in reply to bnarrs's comment, by HipsterWithEBT: | Reply

I thought he was making reference to Frank Grimes, the Simpsons character...

...or "Grimey," as he liked to be called.

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we will all miss you amy an... (Below threshold)

February 7, 2014 3:02 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

we will all miss you amy and andrea

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They don't call zombies by ... (Below threshold)

April 4, 2014 8:19 PM | Posted by Brooke: | Reply

They don't call zombies by their name zombie because zombies don't exist in this world. They never knew what they were. They learned how to kill them from trying to shoot them in the chest but they found out they wouldn't die so they shot them in their head and they died.

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Dude, this Freudian interpr... (Below threshold)

June 2, 2014 1:03 PM | Posted by Jackson: | Reply

Dude, this Freudian interpretation is pure nonsense!
The walking dead are those who have yet to fully awaken to conscious presence/awareness but instead live out an automatic existence completely preconditioned by their past (think Buddhism, but this theme is present in every religion on earth). The Zombie film Warm Bodies really distills this theme and makes it stand out crystal clear! These silly tv shows are mostly just post apocalyptic gore drama with a lil' bit of theme tossed in for good measure.

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