Wednesday, August 7, 2013

implications of life

The enormity of life and the ramblings of one deprived of sleep, is that too long of a title? I think so.

So I saw this movie, Warm Bodies. In essence, it's all about this world where there has been a zombie-outbreak, where the living are a minority and the entire human race seems at peril. It's romantic, it's funny, it has the living dead, and while that may sound very cliché, it's different in a couple ways.

For one, it's all told from the perspective of a zombie. A zombie who feels, thinks, and falls in love. You wouldn't tell, though, because he couldn't tell you. In fact, none of the walking dead express any feelings, but the hint is that they're all capable of compassion, feelings, pain, love, the whole spectrum. They just can't talk about it, because, well, they're zombies. The main character walks among them, thinking about this, pondering their animate lifelessness, their shallow appearance.

But when you think about it, this reflects the real world quite well. We bump into people, we walk by others. It's something we don't think about, but that guy you stood next to in queue at the local grocery store lives a life. We don't think about it, because we don't know this person. But just think about the implications. The entire world that exists within your head is mirrored by an equally large perception of the world in his head. This guy, buying frozen pizza and cigarettes, he loves, hurts, he feels things exactly as vividly as you. He might not have the same problems, the same joys, or the same mediocrity as you, but he feels, and lives, just as strongly. So many things happen in a life, a tale of a million words and more, and just as you have experienced all sorts of things, so has he. 

The thought is humbling. There are seven billion people alive, and every single one is just as aware of the world as you are, at this very moment. There exists 7 billion lives, and there is no reason to think that any of these lives contain any fewer feelings than your life does. You just don't think about that, when you meet people. To you, they could just as well have been zombies, a barrier of only unfamiliarity separating you and another sphere of thoughts that is just as large as yours.

The symbolic is actually insinuated twice. A large wall stands between the living and the undead, and this wall symbolizes the unfamiliarity that keeps the two apart. The wall is torn down in the end, as the living start to understand that the zombies have feelings, can think, which leads to a melding, an understanding where the zombified and living can live together. The humans never recognized that the walking dead had feelings, until they were explicitly shown otherwise. 

Another wonderful thing about this movie was that the undead regained their humanity through love. Love, the strongest of feelings. It was wonderfully depicted that their hearts started beating again as they watched pictures of couples, of romance and of love. And what's a heart without the love that we so often say exists there? The symbolic becomes dreary, as all that remains is a clock, a countdown steadily ticking down, every second closer to our demise, the end of our physical lives.

It makes me think about how I choose to study maths and physics at school. Academic pursuits that mirror my interests, that's what I would say they are, but it's sad. It's sad, because to a physicist or mathematician, only the ticking exists, not the proverbial warmth of the heart. I need to get into humanities.

Anyway, I haven't been drawing a ton lately, and I really was feeling quite dry in terms of inspiration tonight, so I skipped the art, for a second entry in a row... Have faith, though, when school starts I can stock up on two years of previously unseen artwork that I've drawn in class, and my entries won't be all text.


  1. Hmm, I really need to see that movie at some point. I recall watching the trailer several months ago already, and I found the concept to be interesting.

    I can see what you mean with that border of unfamiliarity as well. You can walk past thousands of people every day, without even giving a single thought out to the people, or the lives behind their physical appearance.

    My friend said something interesting that has a bit in common with all this. I don't know how many movies you watch, but there are several movies where the main "hero" of the film has to break into a place, or do something similar to that. Action is a popular genre, but most of the time people don't seem to care even if hundreds of guards are killed in order for the main character to complete his task.

    The thing is, those people could really just be working there, but somehow the killing of those guards is justified, in the viewer's eye. If it were reality, those people would probably have friends and families, and a whole emotional life themselves. But we humans easily get stuck in patterns, where if we're used to something, we don't often give things much further thought (very clever of the writers).
    However, if we hadn't watched any movie before, or if the focus of the film was on those guards, we'd view it all completely differently.

    My not so well explained point is, most people in western society are used to not talking to strangers, and to not having much other social contact with people we don't know and are comfortable around, unless we're practically forced to. At least for me, it's somewhat difficult to really comprehend that everyone around me has as large an existance as myself. I guess I can't be the only one, since the conspiracy theory about everyone else not really being human exists (No, I naturally don't believe that).

    Well, I see what you mean when you say that a physicist or so only sees the heart as a clock, ticking towards nonexistence, but you're not bound to see it that way, if you've got any imagination at all. But I'll have to admit that I'm more of a humanities guy myself :P (Sorry for once again writing a comment that is almost as long as an entry).

    1. It's a sad society where our movies teach us that killing isn't a big deal. But then again, movies are the people's way of experiencing extraordinary things. Same goes for literature altogether, it exists in part to show us things that we might never see in our own lives. People want to read about fantastic love, tales of heroes, amazing stories of worlds that aren't our own. And in the end, what's more extraordinary than our generic action movie? Shoot the baddies, be the hero, get the girl.

      What you said about western social society also true. I think it's quite uncomfortable that most of the people you know, you know from somewhere. Either you met through school, you're buddies from work, or you met because of some other external circumstance. I think conventions in which people get drunk are great, because you can just walk up to someone and talk to them, get to know them. There wasn't anything in particular that forced you together, you just met, quite randomly. This doesn't work while sober, because just walking up to someone and starting a conversation isn't something we are used to in western society. But when drunk, it's okay to break these unspoken rules.

      Yes, naturally, studying maths and physics doesn't hinder me from the occasional emotional spell or philosophical blog post, but in the field of maths, the understanding you can achieve of a heart is very limited. In truth, I guess I would like to study all things, because in the end, it's about better understanding the world that surrounds us all.


    Some food for thought.

  3. Very interesting indeed:0 The same thought have struck me on some occasions, however its something you forget all too easily:/ But you presented the idea very well, good thinking:D

    And although I was kinda unsure about this Warm Bodies movie (because it did not look like the type of movie that I usually watch) now I'm intrigued. The concept sounds original and if not overly romantic I'll give it a watch and reflect on what you wrote;)

    And although I can't wait too see some more of your impressive art(I was going to say beautiful, however sometimes I would call your work more thought provoking and artistic;)
    ,it will mean the start of school and all the stress that comes with it.....
    Anyways It was a well written blog;) Keep it up!

    1. Thanks for the kind words!

      Yup, Warm Bodies is definitely a movie I'd recommend. It's not fantastically great, but it's a nice friday-night movie to cuddle up to and watch with a friend or someone you like. Fine entertainment!

      What you wrote about my art made me crack up :P I strongly believe art doesn't necessarily have to be beautiful. It can be, some kinds of art even require it. But if I had the choice, I would draw things that made people think, rather than art that made people marvel at the beauty of a depicted landscape or motif. It's not always the easiest thing, though, to make smart art.


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