I've been fascinated with the predominance of vampires and zombies in entertainment over the last several years. I discount the current trendy vampire (aka Twilight) that began with Anne Rice many years ago. It is the zombie that has held to its original imagery of the undead with cannibal eating habits. During the last years, zombie movies moved from B films to the upcoming movie that stars Brad Pitt.
So, zombies either put into image a reflection of current society or functions as a compensatory image of today's society. I believe the continuing presence of the image means that it has transcended the duality. We now have an unfeeling (compensatory) who eats everything alive (reflection of modern capitalism). Our post-modern world believes that anything held passionately reveals truth, at least for the individual. I remember teaching a history class when a high school student raised her hand and said she disagreed with a fact given in the text. When asked why she disagreed hoping that she was going to bring something unique into the discussion, she stated that she disagreed because she "just didn't believe it." This was supposed to be a sufficient answer. To discount this exchange as representative of her age, just fact check the past election. Emotional "truth" is one thing but emotional truth held as intellectual truth is a falsehood.
So, back to zombies. They have no emotions except a frustration when blocked from getting their flesh meal. No ethics, no reflection, just a draw to eat what is living and leaving it for dead. Such eating of what is alive also, apparently, does not satisfy. Rarely have I seen a zombie after a good meal, sit down like a satiated lion to nap and digest. I believe I remember that there was a line in zombie tradition that showed they prefer living brains over any other part of the person. Once emotionless the next target is to eat reason as well. Once reason and emotion are consumed (read consumer society) power supported by the last vestige of emotion, fear, dominates societal interaction. We all become food for a zombie economics.
It just occurred to me that shark movies used to provide this emotionless eating of all life but back then it was all "underwater" and broke the surface from time to time. Zombies are pictured as the majority in number and threatening to rule the world but for some few who resist.
What do you think?
Hello, Ed. This sounds right to me. Vampires used to work for our projected fears of countries or companies run by evil humans conspiring (assumedly with glee) against us. Vampires are too emotional, too romantic (re passion, power, & eternal life), to hold our Shadow for big corporations. And The Blob, aliens, & monster machines (e.g., Teminator) are too far away from human; humans still run the companies, after all. (Monster machines could come close; like corporations, they were at least created by humans before they got out of control. They don't seem to be that popular nowadays, though.)
It'll be interesting to see when vampires crest back into popularity, or what the next incarnation of zombies will hold.
Vampires for me, as well. My guess would be that might be true for most of the Depth Therapy folks?
I'm thinking that the motivator of the image is a sense of living a meaningless existence. No creativity or unique enjoyment, just grey semi-life. Could be a good image for that time of transition beginning the move from accumulation to meaning, collective identification to individuation. Just going through the motions with no meaningful telos or expectation - reminds me of your machine image.
Combating Emotional Vampires
From the Combating Emotional Vampires On-Line Course
by Dr. Judith Orloff
The following is an excerpt from the "Combating Emotional Vampires" on-line course. If you would like to take the entire course, click here.
Relationships are always an energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who saps it? It's important to be surrounded by supportive, heart-centered people who make us feel safe and secure. It's equally important to pinpoint the emotional vampires, who, whether they intend to or not, leech our energy.
To protect your sensitivity, it's imperative to name and combat these emotional vampires. They're everywhere: coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. In Energy Psychiatry I've treated a revolving door of patients who've been hard-hit by drainers--truly a mental health epidemic that conventional medicine doesn't see. I'm horrified by how many of these "emotionally walking wounded" (ordinarily perceptive, intelligent individuals) have become resigned to chronic anxiety or depression. Why the blind spot? Most of us haven't been educated about draining people or how to emancipate ourselves from their clutches, requisite social skills for everyone desiring freedom. Emotional draining is a touchy subject. We don't know how to tactfully address our needs without alienating others. The result: We get tongue-tied, or destructively passive. We ignore the SOS from our gut that screams, "Beware!" Or, quaking in our boots, we're so afraid of the faux pas of appearing "impolite" that w! e become martyrs in lieu of being respectfully assertive. We don't speak out because we don't want to be seen as "difficult" or uncaring.
Vampires do more than drain our physical energy. The super-malignant ones can make you believe you're an unworthy, unlovable wretch who doesn't deserve better. The subtler species inflict damage that's more of a slow burn. Smaller digs here and there can make you feel bad about yourself such as, "Dear, I see you've put on a few pounds" or "It's not lady-like to interrupt." In a flash, they've zapped you by prodding areas of shaky self-worth.
This is my credo for vampires: Their antics are unacceptable; you must develop a successful plan for coping with them. I deeply believe in the merciful message of The Lord's Prayer to "forgive people their trespasses," but I'm also a proponent of preventing the unconscious or mean-spirited from trespassing against us. Taking a stand against draining people is a form of self-care and canny communication that you must practice to give your freedom legs.
What turns someone into an emotional vampire? First, a psychological reason: children often reflexively mimic their parents' most unflattering traits. A self-absorbed father can turn you into a self-absorbed son. Early modeling has impact. Studies of Holocaust survivors reveal that many became abusive parents themselves. The second explanation involves subtle energy. I've observed that childhood trauma--mistreatment, loss, parental alcoholism, illness--can weaken a person's energy field. This energy leakage may condition those with such early wounds to draw on the vitality of others to compensate; it's not something most are aware of. Nevertheless, the effects can be extreme. Visualize an octopus-like tendril extending from their energy field and glomming onto yours. Your intuition may register this as sadness, anger, fatigue, or a cloying, squirrelly feeling. The degree of mood change or physical reaction may vary. A vampire's effects can stun like a sonic blast or make you! slowly wilt. But it's the rare drainer that sets out to purposely enervate you. The majority act unconsciously, oblivious to being an emotional drain.
Let me tell you the secret of how a vampire operates so you can outsmart one. A vampire goes in for the kill by stirring up your emotions. Pushing your buttons throws you off center, which renders you easier to drain. Of all the emotional types, empaths are often the most devastated. However, certain emotional states increase everyone's vulnerability. I myself am most susceptible to emotional vampires when I feel desperate, tired, or disempowered. Here are some others:
A victim mentality
Fear of asserting yourself
Addiction to people-pleasing
When encountering emotional vampires, see what you can learn too. It's your choice. You can simply feel tortured, resentful, and impotent. Or, as I try to do, ask yourself, "How can this interchange help me grow?" Every nanosecond of life, good, bad, or indifferent, is a chance to become emotionally freer, enlarge the heart. If we're to have any hope of breaking war-mongering patterns, we must each play a part. As freedom fighters, strive to view vampires as opportunities to enlist your highest self and not be a sucker for negativity. Then you'll leave smelling like a rose, even with Major-League Draculas.
You might find the Sundance Channel show Love Lust episode on the undead to be interesting. It talks about society's need for different monsters (e.g., vampires, zombies, etc.) based on historical periods of time. It also talks about the evolution of these monsters, for example vampires once being scary creatures to now beautiful romantic objects of attraction.