Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Making of Zombies

A 78 year old grandmother was walking along a street. She caught the eye of a man on the other side who suddenly made a dash toward the woman with a piece of wood in his hand the kind used to support trees along the street. He hit the woman over the head.

After the woman fell to the ground the man brandishing the piece of wood continued walking as if nothing happened. At a crosswalk he spotted another younger woman and did the same.

This is not a scene from a movie but something that happened last year in Pusan. This man had no grudge or was not acting out of revenge; he knew neither of the victims. An article in the Kyeongyang magazine by a university psychology professor introduces the readers to the 'zombies' in our society.

He uses the word zombie, existences in our imagination which are not difficult to find in society, they live like the dead without consciousness. He connects them to crimes 'you don't talk about': crimes that have no reason, violence for violence sake. In his opinion the common element are persons who have desired work but have not found it and have been in that condition for some time.

Working is not only a means of supporting oneself and family but a way of interacting with society. We talk about going to work not only earning pay but interacting with those at the work place. Those without work are in financial difficulty but also lack the interaction of the workplace. We are social animals and one of our basic aspirations is to relate with others, for a person who needs and wants to work and doesn't have a job, this is a serious deprivation.

A person out of work feels mentally deprived of all his possessions and believes that society has ostracized him: a serious psychological shock. Members of society consider norms of society important. Those who feel excluded do not have that same feeling and the frustration that builds, often ends up with 'crimes you don't talk about'.

The so called 'zombies' are both victims and perpetrators. Lack of social concern is the making of 'zombies'. When we ignore the lack of work in society we are preparing the situation for more of these 'crimes you don't talk about'.

When you fall into difficult straits do you have family members or friends you can depend on? What are your response to a question of this type, asks the professor. Is it positive or negative? Korea has the weakest social support network in OECD.

The professor concludes the article with the statement that this situation is ripe for the making of 'zombies' and spreading the zombie virus. When the community bond disappears it's easy to become infected with the virus. Without help many will become 'zombies'. Efforts to increase the  opportunities for work and strengthening the fiber of our communities will decrease the number of 'zombies' in society.