The Walking Dead is Based On Reality
It’s a Story All About Us
I was an avid follower of The Walking Dead series. In fact, recently, I discovered that I’d missed a couple seasons. Yippee! I’ve been immersed in the story line for several weeks now.
Why do I love this series so much?
Well. to be honest, I was never a zombie fan prior to this series. I did, however, indulge in apocalypse movies. The Walking Dead deserves a medal for delving below the surface of the unlimited end-of-the-world scenarios. Someone must have a degree in psychology because the secondary story is always about human behaviors.
There’s no one that does it better.
The writers are amazing. So good as a matter of fact that I continually find parallels in modern-day society to this fictional series. After all, real life is always stranger than fiction. Fiction is merely a way to call the reader’s attention to what plays out every day all around them. But reality is the real deal and far scarier than any storyteller is capable of replicating.
I soon noticed that the zombies, as creepy as they are, were not the biggest problem that the characters faced in The Walking Dead.
Once they learned how to better deal with the zombies and accepted that these creatures of the undead were indeed here to stay, they were then forced to alter their reality and sharpen new skills. Change never comes easy but organic change speeds up the process. When our hand is forced, we bend, whether we want to or not.
So, suddenly the survivors were forced to form packs and tight knit tribes because they soon realized that there was power in numbers.
Something that prior to the zombie apocalypse they really didn’t appreciate. Humans can be delusional to some extent. Modern life led them to believe that they were managing their lives on their own without much help from others. That fallacy was dispelled very quickly once the zombies walked among them.
The series touches on multiple group issues in an impressive fashion.
Killing became normalized. Oh, and how quickly they morphed from a society with rules to keep the violence at bay to a tribe that killed zombies right and left, slaughter style, and eventually a tribe that killed other survivors with very little preliminary soul searching.
They became the judge and jury in a split second.
Revenge and justice were meted out in equal amounts. The division between different tribes was exacerbated by lack of trust, fear of revenge, and limited resources. The “others”, whoever they might be, weren’t easily accepted no matter what skills they might bring to the table.
In all fairness, the zombies became a secondary problem after a while.
I compare the zombies to natural disasters. Things like pandemics, drought, devastating floods, poisonous spiders, spoiled food, or ice storms. Humans don’t cause them, and humans can’t stop them. They are always a threat, and we must plan accordingly, but we learn to live with them because we are powerless to change when, where, and how these disasters might occur.
As if the zombies aren’t bad enough, however, we create our own disasters, manmade catastrophes, and threats that make it unsafe to lie in our beds at night.
The division between our tribe and the other tribes always ends up in death and destruction. Always. It’s inevitable because deep inside, we know that we’re not safe. Our instincts to survive are strong but our emotions cloud our judgement. We’re cavemen with cell phones. We’re not highly evolved when it comes to solving problems. We inevitably resort to violence and destruction.
So, we build something amazing and then tear it down, over and over again.
That’s what the survivors keep doing in the series. They have learned to deal with the zombies, but they can’t seem to deal with each other. Humanity has endured a strange and brutal existence from the beginning of time. We don’t seem to be able to help ourselves. War and the destruction of everything that we worked so hard to create are all too common.
In fact, as bloody as The Walking Dead series is, it can’t compare to the slaughter, torture, destruction, and mindless brutality found in the history of humanity. That’s a story to give you nightmares. We have literally eaten each other alive to survive. Even though our societies have achieved unprecedented growth in the areas of technology and modern conveniences, we are still driven by the same brutal, heartless ambitions as our ancestors.
In the last couple of seasons, the main tribe of survivors was beginning to understand what was important to a better life.
They were living behind walls but within the walls life was improving. Different members shared their skills with the tribe. Everyone was working to grow food, create comforts, and raise the standard of living from sheer survival to something more artistic and beautiful.
They were trying to agree on a set of rules or standards for the community to live by.
They were dealing with issues like capital punishment, how to support other neighboring tribes, trade, and increased strength in numbers rather than division. Trust was still difficult because they were traumatized, but they saw the benefit of working together and solving problems without always resorting to violence.
Life was better and hope was beginning to flourish. Their children were safer in their beds at night.
But it didn’t last. Little by little they began to disagree about how things should be done, who should be the leader, and how much to share with other tribes. Eventually, when they came under threat from a particularly savage tribe, the confidence and security began to wane. Over time it destroyed their community and everything they had worked toward. They were once again watching their dreams slip from their fingers.
Why must humanity lose ground and regress over and over again? We clearly have promise and a creative spirit, but we can’t seem to keep moving forward. Eventually, we always tear it all down. Knowledge is lost as we lose our grip and slide back into the Dark Ages.
It can take decades and decades, even centuries, to regain what we lost. Most likely there are things that we never regain.
We aren’t The Walking Dead. We are the desperate tribes driven by our emotions. Fear dominates. We have potential, but will we ever reach our full potential? I don’t know. I honestly can’t say. Yet, if we do, I doubt I’ll live long enough to see it happen.
Maybe the children we insist on bringing into this world will save the day.
Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.