Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Apocalypse 2012: humanity vs survival (an essay)

One year from now, we will see if the plethora of prophecies we have come to learn will indeed come true. I can't help but to wonder if we are even ready for what the days after December 21, 2012 has in store. What will happen? Will we survive it...the supposed apocalypse? Will we survive ourselves?

I watched the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead a couple of weeks ago. The episodes leading up to the finale really had my mind spinning. I look at The Walking Dead as a show of entertainment...but being the thinking person that I am, I started to think about the deeper and hidden meaning behind the entire season. To bring you up to speed on what The Walking Dead is...

The Walking Dead is a post-apocalyptic drama about what happens after the world has essentially gone to hell. In this case, an epidemic has broken out that causes people who have passed to come back to the life (i.e. become zombies). The show follows former Sheriff Rick as he wakes up from a coma in the midst of a zombie infested Georgia. He spends the entire first season searching for his family (his wife and son) and his best friend, Shane, hoping that they are alive and not one of the walking dead. To make a long story short, he finds his wife, son, and best friend plus a host of other survivors as they make their way to, what they know as a safe place, Fort Benning.

Season two, where we are now, continues to follow them on their journey from the "walker" infested city of Atlanta to Fort Benning. Without giving too much away for those who have never seen it. Sh*t hits the fan as one of the survivors daughter, Sophia, goes missing and the crew searches for her. They take shelter at a farm owned by a Veterinarian, where they encounter a host of...unpleasant surprises.

Anyways, it got me thinking. When the world goes to hell, we will work hard to survive it. We will start to only care for the basic necessities that we need in order to survive and to keep our loved ones alive. As we strive for survival, our codes of ethics that we used to operate in our normal world will fly out the window as every man fends for himself. Kind of like what we saw during Hurricane Katrina.

After a catastrophic event, we are not simply in a battle to live through that event, we are also in a battle to maintain who we were and what we had. The more we strive for survival as a result of the post apocalyptic world, the less we strive to maintain our humanity in spite of it. Just like Shane in The Walking Dead. The more they get deeper into survival on their trek to Fort Benning, the less humane Shane seems to be. Conversely, Rick strives to maintain his spite of their need for survival. Rick strives to maintain what he had post "walkers" that he is willing to endanger himself and the group in order to essentially have a heart. However, as we saw in the order to survive in this new and unknown world, you have to break your code of ethics if you want to live.

So my question is: If our basic instincts of survival kick in after a catastrophic situation will we (as a race) relinquish our humanity for survival or will we be able to maintain our humanity in spite of our urge need to survive?

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