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AMC depicts a world overrun by the undead, the nations reduced to rubble and decay. In the aftermath of a world-wide pandemic, mindless zombies are the majority while the living are awkwardly the minority. Good men become desperate, forgetting their former compassions and goodwill. Survival is all the matters. A few cling to hope that perhaps some degree of meaningful existence could be possible, but their grim reality offers little reassurance. A new age has arrived, ushering in hell on earth. A hell that is here but dragging its feet, groaning, toying with them. To say this resembles present day America would be misleading, but the familiar smell of decomposition is in the air.

While the zombies of The Walking Dead are mindless killing machines, they did not choose to become monsters. They were victims. They cannot be blamed for their atrocities since they are already dead. They are also not to be pitied, for they feel no pain. They are simply a new force of nature, much like tornadoes, forest fires, tsunamis, or earthquakes. They are simply dealt with by a sniper's headshot instead of progressive climate change legislation (oh snap). The Walkers are an old threat in a new (and rotting) package.

While our society is safe (for now) from a zombie apocalypse, we mimic the ethical dilemmas involved. Do we have conditions for our humanity? If our fragile foundations of faith, belief, vocation, and perceived freedoms were shattered, would we then forget who we once were? If the answer is yes, were we ever truly human, or zombies simply lacking an appetite for flesh?

Is faith contingent upon blessings? If our worlds were to come to an end, would all our hopes be reduced to false promises? Would we become mindless cynics, fading into the background chaos of a burning world, not to be pitied but to be feared by those still naive enough to join the plight of the living? I fear that a new darkness is indeed emerging, but it has always been so.

Some of us find a certain transcendance, a connection with the divine spark of humanity. Some call it religion, or philosophy. Others call it God, Allah, or Vishnu. There are even a few who call it Oprah Winfrey. Regardless of the metaphysics involved, such hope and meaning is a valuable possession. But there does come a new age for us all, either an age of light or darkness. We are not bound to one or the other, and for some both may come and go as do the seasons. Yet come they shall. When the darkness emerges, many do not emerge from its grasp. But true death, or should I say un-death, comes when one welcomes such a day to find them.

Remove my faith, my cares, my dreams, my hopes, my ambitions, my memories of innocence and wonder. Take from me my optimism, for it only weighs me down. Do not pity me. I have become numb. I no longer feel the sting of my wounds. I am already dead.

To be human is to live. It is not merely not dying. If you look closely, you will see these Walkers at work, at church, in your own home, or even your own mirror. You've been trained not to pity them, since they are victims of life's cruelties. They are numb, you say. They are to be feared and envied, for they have found an escape from the vulnerable nature of hope. This is the lie that buries more than any other catastrophe. 

There is a reason to start over, to fight, to live again. The charlatans try to market it in the veil of materialism, yet these things decay as we all have witnessed. The false prophets stand on the corners, wielding fear by its name. Sappy movies form allegiances with holiday cards to sell you its cheap aroma. Politicians use its name to convince you of their morality, hiding their true motives. Of course I speak of love, that simple word with the elusive meaning. But this much is certain, that those who abandon love cease to live. Those who cling to love, even on their death bed, know the meaning of life.

And once you know the meaning of life, your brains are off the menu.  

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