A Zombie is Not a Vampire
A Vampire is Not a Zombie
Hormesis has started to make its way into mainstream culture in new ways over the last few months. And it has done so with the same vehicle that brought it to the forefront back in 2012. Author Nassim Nicholas Taleb is famous for, among many other things, his Incerto non-fiction book series; a series that focuses on risk analysis and management throughout the world. While the book series was popular on its own, it was discussed at great length after the election of Donald Trump. President Trump named Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist. Bannon, according to a featurette by the New York Times, is known as “the most well-read man in Washington.” The New York Times also included a list of books that he’s read as well as books he made his entire staff read. The most recent piece being Antifragile by Taleb, which is the fourth and final installment of Incerto.
A key component and major feature of anti-fragile is the biological phenomenon known as Hormesis. This is where a small amount of a normally toxic substance can strengthen the host. Arguably, the substance which garners the most notoriety for this is alcohol. Alcohol in large quantities can and will kill the consumer. However, in small doses, alcohol is said to have beneficial effects on the heart. More specifically, wine is said to have many redeeming qualities for the human body and has been proven time and time again through studies with lab rats.
And it is perhaps Hormesis that is the determining factor and/or biggest difference between a Vampire and Zombie. While they share a similar requisite of human flesh and blood, they similarities essentially end there. According to Max Brooks, ““Other monsters may threaten individual humans, but the living dead threaten the entire human race . . . Zombies are slate wipers.” Simply put, zombies represent the end of life as we know it and vampires don’t.
You can see Hormesis in our creation and consumption of the two players. Vampires, traditionally, are good-looking, well dressed and spoken, live in the big house, and feature the characteristics that women lust for. A vampire is synonymous with sex, although to varying degrees depending on which decade or generation the vampire was created in and/or for. Women even lust for vampires knowing full well where it could lead them. However, it does not lead them to death, necessarily. Death is not a feature of the vampire victim. As a matter of fact, it’s the opposite, where lives run parallel to eternity.
A zombie on the other hand is opposite in every way. There is no sexual nature or even connotation to a zombie. Sex is rendered insignificant when a human is transformed to a zombie. The only instinct of the zombie is to kill and eat. Procreation is a feature that has devolved with the zombie causing agent. There is no desire to spend time with the zombie. A zombie is the fatal dose of mankind, the opiates of the masses if you will. The vampire is a much smaller and more recreational dose of monster. A vampire is even said to be turned back into a human with ancient elixir-which one knows if they watch the Vampire Diaries. The zombie is the apocalyptic disease for which there is no cure. But, there is a way to keep the zombies away, at least in the film World War Z. At the end of the film, the main character, Gerry, discovers that zombies won’t attack humans that are ill. So, in order to combat the zombie the human body is infected with a disease, which is a new take on a vaccine. And, a vaccine, and this specific act itself, both represent a form of Hormesis.