I am no Luddite. I love my gadgets, though I want to believe that I am not enslaved to any. Others, like my family, may think otherwise. Of recent I have been irritated with the numerous people wearing headphones and always glued to some screen, be it ipads, iphones (among other gadgets), and laptops. The image that springs to mind is “zombie”. Even more irritating is the fact that I have to be extra vigilant as to where I walk, as I have last count of the number of occasions that these zombie-like people would just walk into me, even continuing their texting or speaking, in spite of the collision or near miss, without a word of apology.
Zombification of our lives goes well beyond the controlling powers of our gadgets and our inability to be off-line and out of contact for a few hours. Zombifying can come in subtle and overt forms and may include the glorification of misnamed “reality” TV shows, of addiction, of propaganda-filled education, and of course the mind-hooking programming of the media and advertisement, which our children and youth view and use for numerous hours per day. Zombification is there crawling into our political processes – from the budget to immigration policies to the rationalising of “cuts”. The classroom is not exempted from the reach of zombification. Teachers are constantly frustrated with a general sense of apathy and passivity in the classroom and among students. And here we are being led back to an “only exams” (for secondary schools) system, rather than more creative forms of assessment and pedagogical instruction.
Crass consumerism and the lure or uncontrollable urge to “shop till we drop” reach beyond the limitations of death. Our entire financial system is being zombified, with an increase in “functional stupidity” by so-called intelligent people, as foolish and dangerous practices are saved and sanctified by bailouts. With every zombie blow-up or revelation there is the necessity for more ways to save broken industries, broken institutions, and a broken system – effectively more moral hazard and zombification. And, what of our religious institutions (Churches) wrapped up in decline narratives, scarcity stories, conserving the faith, and closing down conversations on dissenting by re-inscribing “right” doctrines?
The zombification of the population serves the interest of politicians, advertising agencies and all those of the elite class who desire a population that can be easily managed. It does seem that Britain will have a long wait for its own revolution to be born. Ironically, the small and varying groups that are currently dissenting, protesting and daring to sing “a different tune” are often labelled anarchists. Yet, the place of the Church must be on the side of those labelled “anarchists” – after all, we are a strange and counter-cultural lot walking the way of the One who was nailed to a cross for being different and taking on the zombification of lives, by offering full and flourishing life for all!