The Zombie Apocalypse: Where We Are Right Now

Barely contained zombie arms extending out from behind two large wooden doors that read "keep clear" and "do not block doorway", photo by digitalstorm
Dara Burwell, Coffee Shop

Dara Burwell

I understand why people are afraid of zombies.  I am afraid of zombies.

But, no supernatural/superhuman element or condition need be present for people to be that kind of terrifying.  We, on our own, without the aid of morphing into zombies, vampires, werewolves, or any other altered form, are a truly and remarkably terrifying species.

Just being as we are, mindlessly conducting ourselves, we wreak an engulfing havoc upon one another, and as it is, the entire natural world.  Going about our lives thoughtlessly enough, cruelly enough, frozen and self-involved enough that we are, in our current state of living, indeed zombies.

Profoundly dangerous.  Generation after generation after generation.

The only other point of convergence I share with zombie enthusiasts is that we need a cure.  Or, more precisely, we must remedy ourselves.  For the spiritual reasons that called us into human existence, I believe we began this way by design.  But for the shot term.  We were always meant to achieve freedom, healing, and transcendence – for ourselves and for the infinite entwinement of All Existence, whose pulse we share.  We are overdue.  And we cannot continue on this way.  There is no need – not the slightest cause – for this suffering.

The solution we seek is here – is now.  Has been here – has been now.  Over the centuries of human existence, through the efforts of our ancestors extending back and back and up and up through and beyond us, we have constructed that solution.  Continue to construct it as we construct this world.  There is a completely different paradigm.  A different, zombieless way of life.  Like a parallel universe.  No mirror image to this one, but real.  And we must learn how to be powerful enough, whole enough, complete enough to step into it, or to bring it spilling into and over our existence.

This does not require being superhuman, though we can be that.  It requires only, so far as I can tell, that we bring our whole and integrated selves.  Be willing to give up the scraps, the anchors, the things we use to squeeze out pleasure and get by for something much larger and more transformative.  This is no easy task for a species created and mired in a preoccupation for survival at all costs, even when much more is available to us.  But our sense of powerlessness is so great that we persist on this way.  Surviving.  And our survival mechanisms focus on the immediate – often brilliant for a flash or a momentary stretch – then increasingly deadly as we use them exhaustively for all the wrong occasions and all the wrong reasons.  And instead of protecting us, instead of helping us to survive – they produce the very poison we seek to escape.  Becoming a key source that undermines our survival and wellbeing, personally, familially, globally – impacting All Existence.

Oppression’s Essential Guide to Nowhere: Poking Holes in the Roadmap to Success, Part 2

A weathered wooden ladder extending into the sky, but connecting to nothing, photo by Yury Shirokov
Dara Burwell, Coffee Shop

Dara Burwell

Models promoting the guarantee of middle class success (including the middle class’ guide to upper class status) typically work as follows:  You are in a boat with 100 other people trying to reach the same island.  They are your enemies.  Or, at the very least, they are your human, but not as human as you, competitors who may or may not serve as stepping-stones during this process.  Remember: if you must work with others, do so during the beginning of the journey, not the end, and at the lowest possible rate.  The island is so far away and such a treacherous and under-resourced journey that only one or two of you will probably get there.  In the case of especially staunch work ethics and rule following, perhaps up to five will arrive.  But- don’t worry- there is something about you, something about YOU in particular, that is exceptional.  So even as you watch people by the dozens fall and be pulled over the edge of the boat by systemic and preventable snares, people who will subsequently flail and drown in the water, you have to keep your eye on the ball!  Your determination must be intact, and you have to concentrate on getting to that island.  Nothing else matters.  Resources are scarce, so it doesn’t make sense to share, and it can’t be helped if other people are knocked out of the game.  Negotiate friends, partners, children, love, spirituality, self-care, and health so that they do not interfere with your objective.  And don’t worry.  When it’s all said and done, this is for them, too, even if it doesn’t appear that way.  Once you get to the island, you will have the chance to become your best self (maybe), and will be in a much better position to help others (so long as it doesn’t threaten what you perceive to be your own interests).  No matter your circumstances, if you work hard enough and follow the rules, you will arrive.  Work, work, work.  And, then worked harder.  Make sure you don’t deviate from the course.  You’ll get there!  Perhaps alone.  But, you will get there!

Fine print: This boat is operated by Privilege Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Invisiblized Privilege and Dominance Holdings.  First and business class seating are available at an extra cost.  Insurance option booklets are available.  If you are aware of our specialty menu, you already know how to proceed.  All participants are required to sign the Hold Harmless and Indemnification Agreement (known as the “Agreement”), which protects our company even in instances of extreme negligence or assault.  Privilege Inc. may refuse anyone service at any time, and is not responsible for disillusionment or displacement experienced by participants who arrive on our island (which, incidentally, is undergoing massive erosion due to military testing). Read More

Oppression’s Essential Guide to Nowhere: Poking Holes in the Roadmap to Success, Part 1

White business man giving a thumbs up in a classic depiction of dominant culture, photo by Sandra Dragojlovic
Dara Burwell, Coffee Shop

Dara Burwell

I am lectured by my internalized oppression: “A writer?  Fool.  Do you honestly believe that what you have to say matters or carries any importance in the world?  That anyone will want to hear it?  You speck.  You nothing.  The Universe doesn’t want you, arrogant Black girl.  Play with your writing circle- they will be kind to you.  Don’t even consider something so absurd as publishing.  It’s folly.”

I sit and listen.  The tapes play again and again in different forms.  They are ultimately shared tapes- echoed in the minds of millions of people around the world at this very moment.  Mass produced with the appearance of specificity- slight tweaks and variations to better capture each individual listener.  The most popular song in the world could never get half as many hits.  And the tapes block connection to myself.

I sit down and open The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, anyway.  It is one of my conscious efforts to poke at the internalized oppression, to try and unseat it.  Checking this book out, along with eight more like it, was another conscious effort.  A slow moving one because they have been sitting in my apartment, untouched, for the past four or five months as I have checked them out, been cut off from more renewals, put them on hold, checked them out again, and cycled on through.  Until today. Read More