The Real Zombies
B and I watched a video “Zombie Parasites” about parasites that were able to take over the brains of their hosts, and make them act in such a way that they were able to complete the incredibly complex sequence of events that constituted their life cycle. Many of the parasites seem to be the larva stage of different species of wasps. In one situation a wasp seems to be able to stick it's stinger into the “brain” of a cockroach and locate the motivation center of the brain, which it disables. Then it is able to lead the now passive cockroach around as though it were a dog on a leash. In another situation a wasp is able to get a spider to weave a very different kind of web than is usually does – one geared to provide it a place to hang its cocoon as it morphs into its next stage. There are fungi that do similar things.
No theology that I know of can incorporate this kind of reality into a coherent theory of creation, and no scientific theory comes close to explaining it. Certainly no reductionist materialist theory is even in the ball park. Between this and quantum theory we now have tangible proof that what Socrates affirmed so long ago is true: we know nothing.
What shall we do with this not-knowing?
Well, we can emote a lot about how Mystery is at the core of everything. And yes, that is certainly true. But what then? We can make no practical use of a map that is mostly huge empty areas labeled “Here there be dragons.” Without a map of reality that is at least to some extent reliable, how are we able to find our way out of this quagmire into which we have been dragged by the modern mind-set? I could elaborate on the nature of the quagmire, but lots of people have already done that. I simply refer to the fact that, while in the process of torturing and destroying much of the life around it, humanity appears to be self-destructing. Humanity's parasitic relationship to the rest of creation is not sustainable.
It seems to me that in theory at least there are four possibilities of a way out.
That we discard both the theology and the science that has preceded us, and start again with a new premise.
That we establish some principles of practical reason that are adequate to lead us to a better world – principles that are not dependent on ontological or scientific knowledge.
That we simply accept it that humanity was some sort of failed experiment, and that we participate in the demise of our species with as little pain as possible.
That we find some little niche where the creation of something beautiful, or the alleviation of a bit of pain seems worth doing, even though we do these things with no illusions about the final outcome of things.
Number four is basically what I am doing now. It works fairly well some of the time, but I frequently find myself without wind in my sails.
Number three may very well be true, but if so, there is nothing to be done about it.
Number two was Kant's solution in his Critique of Practical Reason. It seems weak to me. We must experience our reasons for living as being grounded in a Universe that supports them, or we lose enthusiasm.
That leaves number one. There are two main objections to my attempting this. One, I am not smart enough. Two, there is not enough time – either for me personally or for our species. But it can't hurt.
So this is my suggestion for a new start. What if the basic stuff of existence is neither “matter” nor “idea” in the usual sense of these terms. What if Reality is made up of conscious events that have nothing under or beyond them? That is the possibility I want to explore.
What then, makes up an event?