Zombie Hunting Tactics — Part 1, The Fallacy of the Other

Image credit: Wil Stewart, Unsplash.com

There’s a fundamental divide between the world we want and the collective path we’re choosing. Naming this divide is the first step. But it is not enough to just shine a small light against a rampaging zombie horde.

Napoleon said “imagination rules the world.” ‘Zombie ideas’ linger long after they have served any useful purpose, instead becoming powerful unchecked assumptions that snuff the life from any nascent would be replacements. Their power hides in an effortless and ever-present omnipotence, always ready, always influencing. We don’t need to think, we don’t need to imagine. Our unthought mind masters rule supreme.

Initially, what are now zombies offered protection, freed us, or at least enticed us with a vision of greater freedom. But unless we unimagine our zombie ideas and replace them with fit-for-purpose contemporaries, they will be our prison and our ruin. We perpetuate and reinforce a growing divide between darkness and light every time we fail to see and name them.

But unimagining doesn’t come easily. Zombie ideas rule our minds through the fabric of our daily lives, shaping our thoughts; our rules; our organisations; our stories; our cultures. And even when zombie ideas so obviously fail us, they seem to bounce back stronger, generously rewarding their faithful high priests. The paradox here is that in a crisis, we often reach for what worked in the past, which tends to be the very thing that caused the crisis.

What worked in the past also worked out particularly well for a few. Our ruling elite have many times the power and influence we have and they’re quite comfortable just the way things are thank you.

Make no mistake, our survival is at stake and culture war is perhaps an appropriate term, however, there really is no other. The battle for territory starts in our own minds, and against our own reticence. If we are meek, the earth we inherit will be a wreck. War is something we reached for in the past, and a war of ideas between competing factions only perpetuates the divide.

Image credit: Jerry Kiesewetter, Unsplash.com

We must become masters of going on together. Let’s name our first zombie by noticing the fallacy of otherness. There is no other. Yes we have inherited a suspicion of people who look different to our own tribe. But we can see our suspicion as the evolutionary relic it is. Far better to recognise it, strike up a conversation with an ‘other’ by asking after their story: empowering both of you against otherness while also generating and spreading new ideas.

Another tactic is to circumvent otherness by conforming in our language and appearance as much as possible with people we need to work with. Let’s not let looking different get in the way of rich zombie hunting.

The antidote against ‘othering’ is embracing diversity and difference. Take it. Make a conscious choice to recognise ‘othering’ when it shows up. Name this deep and irrational fear now. Begin to notice it when it shows up. Build your immunity by empowering yourself to embrace diversity and difference instead. This lingering zombie no longer serves you. Give life instead to an abundance of difference and cultivate your ability to value and appreciate this rich commons as an endless source of human creativity.

Be more free. Cultivate your ability to notice difference and harness this source of abundance.