THE ZOMBIE REALM (poem)

For the sake
of their important
thought experiments,
philosophers like to sometimes
contemplate a realm,
parallel to ours,
which contains
all of the same stuff,
but in which the people
have no self-consciousness
whatsoever.

They refer to it
as “The Zombie Realm”,
where “zombie”,
in this sense,
means a human being
without the capacity
to become conscious
of its thoughts,
feelings or actions.

Everything there
is programmed,
reflexive and automatic.

Even scepticism exists
in the Zombie Realm,
because they have adopted it
as just another dogma
among many.

There are also artists,
musicians and poets.

In fact,
come to think of it,
there must be a dude
who looks just like I do,
sitting at his desk,
waxing lyrical about the beauty
of such a fine autumn afternoon,
and who will, likewise,
on a rainy day,
predictably write
of sadness and solitude.

Having learnt the rules
of aesthetics and proper technique,
his paintings will no doubt,
receive mostly positive responses
from the zombie audiences
and fair reviews
from most of the zombie critics,
except for those
whose dogma it is
to set themselves
apart from the rest,
and knock the work
just due to its having been
largely well received
(unsurprising really,
since they have learnt
to do so by rote.)

It’s at this point
in the thought experiment
where I realise
the appropriateness
of the term “Zombie Realm”,
since its frightening similarity
makes me start to wonder
which realm,
human or zombie,
that I actually exist in.

Loath to unravel
this ball of string,
I leave it alone,
take a deep breath,
shrug, smile,
and write that lament
for the departing sun

regardless.

~

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