Better Off Undead?

Philosophy instructor Dien Ho engages in a thought experiment:

In some respects, the idea that becoming a zombie is a bad thing borders on a platitude. Zombies wander around in constant hunger in a semi-decomposed state. Their actions are guided entirely by impulses. They seem to lack the complex cognition that’s critical for most of the activities we consider worthwhile – social interactions, intellectual pursuits, personal projects, etc.

But in other respects, the life of a zombie has characteristics many of us strive mightily to achieve. Their lives are highly centralized and simplified, since their needs and wants often revolve around just a few things, like brains or human flesh. They are largely indifferent to pain and suffering. Short of severe head injuries, zombies enjoy a type of immortality. Zombies do not care about most of the pesky concerns that fill our daily lives: they do not care about the weather, their appearance, their social status, their retirement plan, their morning commute, and petty office politics. They are not concerned about the threat of terrorism, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. And they certainly do not become jealous, depressed, worrisome, or suffer the other anxieties that regularly plague our waking moments. Indeed, if we focus on just these qualities, the life of a zombie resembles the ideal state of a disciplined Zen Buddhist monk who has managed to let go of his earthly concerns.

(Hat tip: Omnivore)