Zombies, okay. The living dead. Chew-the-face. Once upon a time in Russia, this guy Viktor Schlevosky had a theory for writing called “defamiliarization” that all this talk of the “walking dead” reminded me of.
He starts with an anecdote: a guy is dusting his living room like he does once a week. He dusts every surface and then looks back at the one end table and can’t remember if he’s already dusted it or not. It’s as if that action had never been, Schlevosky writes, even if he did dust it.
The way we perceive the things that we do and see every day can become a habit, something unconsciously automatic. If we don’t recover that consciousness, we become, literally, the walking dead.
There is a solution, Ol’ Sclevy’ says: “art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony.” The way to do this is to defamiliarize the world, too look at it as if you’re a martian, or through the eyes of a dog, etc. Imagine explaining the color “blue” to an alien.
Have you ever seen a light show through a sheet of rain?
Here’s how to avoid the Zombie Apocalypse: Take a step outside of your own little world. Find a different lens. And live.