This current events essay is not about turkeys or Thanksgiving but cannibalism. Is cannibalism still happening on some remote island in the Pacific? Oh it’s much more widespread than that. We are indebted to George Romero (Night of the Living Dead -1968), his undead zombies and the more recent Santa Clarita Diet for inspiration. We are talking about cannibalism as a metaphor which allows us to indict most of the world’s population and to charge them with feeding on each other.
The Santa Clarita Diet (2017) on Netflix is about a suburban real estate agent who turns into a zombie and—while killing and eating people on the side—still wants a normal life. This describes most of the people on our planet if, that is, we can embrace the reality of our self-destructive behavior while admitting that cannibalism is a good metaphor.
The creators of films, television and legitimate theatre have for centuries used metaphors to reveal the deeper truths of human behavior. A metaphor is a figure of speech which refers to one thing by mentioning another for rhetorical effect, that is to say, to clarify or identify otherwise hidden similarities. In poetry, literature or films the creator can use metaphor to add some color to their images (in the Santa Clarita Diet that color is red).
The tip of the tongue that laps up the cream of the commerce of a continent. This was how Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. described New York City and Wall Street. We find New York City to be a vivid metaphor for the universal human behavior associated with the energy we expend in accumulating material wealth, behavior that is ultimately self-destructive.
There can be little doubt that our species is a violent, hungry and bloodthirsty lot. “The United Nations estimates that 80 percent of its humanitarian funding needs are now driven by conflict. The U.N. World Food Program says conflict causes 60 percent of life-threatening hunger.” (1)
The Simple Reality Project offers a solution to the world’s problems but the world as it turns out is not much interested. Perhaps an attention-getting metaphor will help us get focused.
Insight # 29: Because the people of the Global Village have a dualistic worldview rather than a worldview of Oneness, they tend to be mistrustful and afraid of the other, their fellow human beings. Some of us become predators, some become prey. Gobble, gobble!
- See Eeeek!!! Zombies Inside in Who Am I, in print and also found on this blog, by Roy Charles Henry.
- Kristof, Nicholas. “Conflict Is More Profitable Than Peace.” The New York Times. March 25, 2018, page 10.