Mmm… Brains!


With Halloween just around the bend, this time of year brings to mind crisp cold weather, pumpkins and of course – ghosts, goblins and zombies!  As a rather sensitive person, I never really got too into scary movies or monsters.  I was (and still am a little) afraid of zombies –  It’s a completely irrational fear of course, but a lot of fears are irrational.  I was terrified of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video (turns out that fear is somewhat justified).   But there was something about Zombies that seemed plausible to the young mind.  The fact that all human beings die and our bodies decompose, that was a striking image as a child.  Zombies were the souless undead evil version of humans.  But the scariest thing about Zombies that got me hiding under the sheets was the fact that they EAT BRAINS.  In theory – can you blame them?  I’m sure our brains are dense with protein; animal brains are considered a delicacy in some nations, so perhaps Zombies are more cultured than we think.

This morning I came across this lovely little article this morning on The Invisible Pink Unicorn that discusses the Boston Globe’s interview with Paul Bloom, a psychologist and Yale researcher.  Bloom primarily studies why people are religious and has an interesting theory with regard to brain science, dualism and the concept of the human “soul.”  He claims that the human brain naturally tends toward dualistic thinking, especially when it comes to see our mind as a separate entity from our body.  However, all the things that are functions of the soul or mind, are actually being controlled by the brain – things like memory and self-control.  “Your mental life is a product of your brain,” says Bloom.

So I am having a change of heart regarding Zombies; perhaps they have known all along that the brain is where it’s at.  It’s what holds our consciousness, our memory, even our morals.  Perhaps they just long for the days when they had self-control, rather than a hunger for your temporal lobe.  Then again, perhaps they are much smarter than I originally gave them credit for – they know our greatest weakness, our Achilles’ heal.  Perhaps my childhood fears were more justified than I thought… (*wink*)

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3 Responses to Mmm… Brains!

  1. Andrei Rublev says:

    Laura – doesn’t the whole of human history and our own experience tell us in a jillion ways that the human is more than the sum of its parts? will you banish us forever to Plato’s cave?
    Andrei

  2. Laura says:

    JessicaB – So glad to hear that someone else had such a fear. Sometimes I feel like such a softy.

    You are right about how “zombies” can be a good name for people who feed off the brains of others without thinking. Its a good way to think about how being a skeptic and having doubt is a positive trait – admitting that you don’t know everything and keeping an open mind (while also being careful not to just accept any new info as truth) – those are qualities to be admired. Blind faith? Irrational fear tactics? These are things that turn humans into the figurative “zombies” you describe.

  3. JessicaB says:

    SO I just have to leave a comment on this , I too as a child was terrified by Zombies, in fact I blame my mother for my irrational ( or so I thought) fear. Zombies are real, just not in the way that they are portrayed, I believe that zombies are closeminded people, who spout out the same things over and over essentially regurgitationg the bile that the closeminded person before them spewed. Zombies do eat brains, rational, normal forward thinking brains ..in the figurative sense.

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