Zombies, Feelings, Brains

“There would be no living dead if there were no ‘rational homunculi’ (de Sousa’s term for ‘simplified models of rational agent[s]”].”

(Rei Terada, Feeling in Theory, 156)

Let’s start with the question of values. Who has them? Does such a thing truly remain on the face of the Earth? Values exist for the hopeful. Values are action figures for adults. They are mechanisms of virtual renewal. Toys for the godless and god-fearing alike. We believe in values like we believe in tomorrow. A tomorrow may come, a sun may rise. Again. Maybe. What a sad and shameful fact that some of us are insidious. That some of are insidiously sad, insidiously shameful, insidiously shamed, sadly. What a sad and shameful fact. If I could rewrite the script of the World, I have no idea what I’d say. I’d probably stare at its promise with fear and trembling.

***

Such a statement reminds me of the question, “What is your message?” May I offer something I consider sane? May I offer that my offering is nothing more than a muscular tension? An explosion of actions and reactions on the flesh? There is no hope here, see? I offer myself. With all of what that bears as flesh, mask and skin. Neither to live nor die. But to be, as a Zombie, convulsing with the desires of many, of the undivided. I do not see an afterlife, I see a life permeated by death at every level, a death-life, a death-world, a deathscape. The floor is shaking. The Earth is moving. There is an affinity between the Earth’s movement, my death-life, and the shaking ground beneath me. The movie (and the book series it’s named after) “Warm Bodies” posits the possibility that Zombies might love too. On the basis of the conceivability of the Zombie-in-Love, we may consider the transition from life to death, from a kind of existence without conscious experience, a falling into the void of one’s nothingness but a warmth of body, as a revelation of emotion after the death of the subject. “To put it another way, the abundance of zombies and dead subjects in philosophy and theory could not exist without an equal abundance of pineal glands, sovereign powers, ‘Oval Office[s] of the brain’ (Consciousness Explained, 106) and so on.” (Rei Terada, Feeling in Theory, 156) Therefore I’d like to suggest following Rei Terada’s Feeling in Theory in the vein of David Chalmers’ Zombie argument that a Zombie that loves is conceivable. The philosopher never imagines what it feels like to be a Zombie. Pardon, if I barter myself one. This is what it is like to be living at the end already. This is death-life from the position of those who “waver physiologically – as though their nervous systems had trouble working – but not intentionally.” (Rei Terada, Feeling in Theory, 156) I made a vow to myself long ago to never: “think twice about anything,” to be “pure intentionality, directional in one direction at a time.” To trust my gut. Luckily, the enteric nervous system is “anatomically and biochemically more similar to the central nervous system than it is to any other part of the peripheral nervous system to which it belongs,” and, “for this reason, the ENS has been variously named  ‘the brain of the gut,’ ‘the enteric minibrain,’ and ‘the second brain.’” (Elizabeth A. Wilson, Psychosomatics, 34) It is with/in this wavering physiology that this bodyflesh of mind and brain can be said to be half alive. Against the order of reason, an inordinate reasonability becomes harrowing embodiment when one feels the Zombie in theory.

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