Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
Zachary Smith wrote:
I have, on the other hand, hatched a personal theory on the source of the reanimation of the dead and I'm currently writing a short book/report on the subject. So far, it's been a lot of fun! And, yes, it is TRUE reanimation of an otherwise dead host which is continuing to "function" based on a system other than biochemical reactions.
Do you believe that the zombies we typically see onscreen are still conscious?
I'll assume you're referring to the zombies of the Romero-universe, in which case I would say no. There is no consciousness, self-awareness or concept of identity. Personality, intellect and memory are gone, though certain behaviors and habits "hard-wired" by long-term rote repetition may manifest. Their behavior is "instinctive", for lack of a better term and they react and respond to stimuli rather than act with reason, consideration or deliberation. The complex neural structures which compose the frame-work for consciousness, mind and identity are physically too fragile to survive the transition from the "living" to the "undead" state and are mostly or completely destroyed (varies to a slight degree in some circumstances--temperature of environment being one variable) by the time the reanimation process occurs. When the brain stops getting oxygenated blood, the neurons of the cerebral cortex immediately begin to deteriorate and they and their synaptic connections are physically disrupted, thus rendering consciousness and higher brain function impossible. Even if those structures were somehow able to remain physically intact through the period of transition, the energy level in the reanimated state is a fraction of the energy generated by normal biochemical processes of living systems and at a threshold below the demands of higher brain function. This low energy state also is, in large part, why the reanimation process must be considered at best incomplete and why the Walking Dead are generally slow moving, physically weaker and somewhat clumsier in their movements than the living.
And, while they ARE "reanimated" the Walking Dead are not returned to any kind of "living" state because the living state is dependent upon a complex series of interactions among biological systems that result in metabolic activity producing biochemical energy via the intake of nutrients and the excretion of wastes.
In the case of the Walking Dead, continued physical activity of the organism is not "system-dependent" but each individual cell of the the body is reactivated and powered by an alternative source of energy different from biochemical processes and not based in any way on metabolic activity. Yet, neither can these cells be considered "alive" BECAUSE of the fact that the process and method of their continued function are no longer depended on metabolic activity, the intake of nutrients and the excretion of waste product or the use of biochemical energy--which are among the defining traits of a living organism. For the Walking Dead, heart, lungs, liver, circulatory system etc upon which the survival of the systems which create and sustain the metabolic actions thus manufacturing the biochemical energy are irrelevant.
A lot more details will appear in my short book, which I hope to have finished by mid-to-late September. I'm not sure if yet if I'll self-publish it or seek a publisher but I'm having a lot of fun working on it!