So, I have had this semi-irregular thing over the last few years where I have tried to capture my ever evolving actions, practices, thinking and the many lessons they provide into a form of determined, eclectic and somewhat sesquipedalian life lessons. Mostly, I write these for me, as a reminder and intellectual anchor. If they prove to be useful to others, then all the better.
So, you know, I keep harking back on my lessons and thinking about them and trying, if needed, to address aspects and be a better, more balanced and (perhaps most importantly) confident person. This, funnily enough, brings me to this new iteration. How would my lessons cope in a walking dead world? Can I keep my humanity? Can I be proud of my actions? Will I still be able to look at myself in the mirror and be proud of who stares back at me?
It’s a difficult question to answer. In an apocalyptic world of extreme Darwinist survivability is there room for improvement? Can we still be civilised? Can we still learn to be better people? Does this hypothetical scenario offer us any insights that are useful today?
I went back and re-read my lessons, and I’m proud to say that most of them would still hold – assuming one wanted to – in a post-apocalyptic world.
The 11 lessons, whilst (admittedly) taking on a far more practical and immediate nature, would still hold in the world of the walking dead:
- Actively try and lessen the suffering of others
- The power of knowledge is the illumination it brings
- Make an effort to know more about the world today than you knew yesterday
- Remember: Work Hard, but Play Harder
- Recognise the gold that is in friendship
- Breath deep and take courage – express your feelings and share your thoughts
- Health brings a freedom you do not realise you possess … until you no longer have it
- The promise of an external reward – current, belated or in some eternal afterlife – is no reason to commit an act – good or otherwise
- Do well by doing good
- Be honest with yourself about how you feel about someone
- Have the courage to live a life true to yourself – not the life others expect of you.
The lessons and attitudes I listed in the 8 lessons and Mortality thoughts are, within the context of the apocolypse, more guidelines and ways to deal with the inner turmoil … but may be harder to keep in our sights in such an environment.
But How about being “nice”, “liked” or “popular”?
I don’t think this will matter to the zombies, and the reality is that the group of survivalists you end up with are not going to keep you around because of your charm alone – especially if you are becoming a burden. No one cares if you’re “nice” if you have nothing else to offer.
So I should get all nasty and be”Alpha” focused on ensuring i survive and getting what’s mine?
Sure, as long as you want to do it all yourself, because no matter how useful you might be as an army of one, it will never be enough to make others want you to be anywhere but the front-line. The reality is that people will want you around during the peaceful times as much as the “nice” one around during the conflicts.
Does this mean you need to change yourself? Should you become nicer or nastier? Should you become something others want you to be?
You should be you.
But no one likes extreme aggressiveness – neither the active nor passive variety.
Being nice is nice, but if that’s all you have (or are willing) to offer, then that’s not enough.
The answer? Be someone you are happy to be … and be someone who has something to offer others. In fact, you might find that having something to offer will make you feel wanted.
This is not a bad thing – as long as you don’t allow yourself to be used.
All relationships – platonic or amorous – rely on the seat of trust that rests above the three stool legs of communication, compromise and respect.
You need to offer something to others for them to find value in you as you indeed would seek something of value in them.
Would you accept nothing in exchange for something? Stating that you have the absence of something does not value make.
So, yeah … the 11 lessons still hold. The order may change, and the other lessons will help you focus on the inside and dealing with that, because who you are inside is everything in that it is what makes you do what you do and can help you be who you want to be … now and into the apocalypse.