For today’s article I thought, let’s leave the real world behind for a little bit; you know, not talk real life issues. I decided to stoke the fires of the imaginations of my readers a bit on a much flogged topic: Zombies.
The idea of a zombie apocalypse is one that has been exhaustively explored in a myriad of best selling novels, multiple highly rated tv series and box office topping movies and is something I never took relatively seriously until very recently.
There’s essentially two building blocks upon which the whole “zombie” myth has been built: The Metaphysical, and The Scientific.
Fiction aside, in Haitian folklore Zombie means an animated corpse raised by magical means such as witchcraft. And yes, there have been accounts that evidently support those claims. For the sake of this article however, I’m focusing on the scientific ( without seeming to discard the spiritual )
Themes pursued in the movie “World War Z” and the “Vaccination” trilogy by Phillip Tomasso, combined with the recent outbreak of the Ebola virus got me thinking; with the speed of advancements in medicine and biological science – both ethical and unethical – coupled with the ever present threat of worldwide biological warfare; this whole “walking dead” affair might not be so far fetched after all.
In “The Walking Dead” a virus re-animated the brain stem after the infected host had died, and restored the most basic of functions of movement and feeding. Also, in World War Z” and the “Vaccination” trilogy earlier mentioned, the premise was similar, only this time the infected host didn’t need to die to completely change. Once infected, the virus essentially took over the body. It’s interesting to note that in “World War Z” the virus avoided sick and infirm people, driving it’s hosts to attack only those it considered healthy; while in “Vaccination” the virus infestation came about as a result of a government mandated nationwide flu inoculation/vaccination. Turns out the vaccine had been corrupted AND the flu virus – in the first place – was man made. Some seriously scary stuff right?bAnd this is just the flu albeit a genetically engineered version but still, the flu.
This is a world where we haven’t figured out a cure for HIV or Ebola, where even with vaccinations for polo and treatments for lassa fever mortality rates are still high, where a sickness as “common” as malaria regularly trumps other diseases in the “how many you can kill” game. Now, imagine a disease that transforms people you know, love, work with instantly, into mindless human-flesh eating creatures. A disease that can be transmitted with something as innocuous as a scratch. A disease that has no incubation period. The interval from bite or scratch to “undeadness” is zilch. Instant zombification.
This is what scared me; the fact that as improbable as it seems, as far fetched as it sounds, there are scientists who dedicate their lives to creating biological weapons targeted at humans for tactical advantage in warfare means that someone out there could be messing around with something like this or something even more improbable. A vaccine mutates, from something as innocent as the virus causes common cold to a virus that resets the brain. After all vaccines are essentially viruses that have been mutated to boost the human immune system. It’s a scientific fact that living things adjust, mutate under different conditions, artificial and man made.
Am I trying to cause panic? No. Neither am I some conspiracy nut railing against the government. I’m just saying, scientifically it’s not as impossible as it sounds. See it as a scarier version of the Bubonic Plague or the Black Death of 1347 that wiped out a third of the earth’s population.
I read somewhere that for a lie to be readily accepted, there has to be some element of truth in it. Zombie movies are so scary because we know that deep down, it’s not impossible.
I Hope you guys are sufficiently scared.
Ariel Ugorji identifies himself as a mild insomniac, geek, nerd, an audiophile, an avid music lover, Liverpool Fan and an unashamed Christian; with more often than not a completely different point of view on the world and a love for sensible arguments. He Resides in Warri, Nigeria; the land of the sharp and the brave.
To view more of his write ups, please visit his BLOG. You can also share your views with him on twitter @arielugorji.
Do a biological weapon that ‘Zombifies’ can be developed and threaten our existence or do you disagree with the author and argue in favor of the improbable? Please share your thoughts.