Montaigne and Machiavelli on Zombies

Friday, April 1, AD 2011

I thought I had read all of Montaigne’s essays!  Apparently not.  Withywindle at the blog Athens and Jerusalem reveals one I am unfamiliar with:

There are many sorts of zombies, and what means are efficacious against one are not against another. For some are fast and some are slow; some have the spark of life and others are revenant corpses; some savor brains while others will seize hold of what they can. Further, what we know generally of zombies is unreliable; for what Romeros says, Pliny contradicts; and Galen says first to do no harm, which does not appear to me to be of any use whatever. So the means to resist the undead are all uncertain.

I prefer to take no settled action. Some will flee zombies, others run toward them to decapitate them, but I will merely go about my daily round. If fortune dictates that I be bit by a zombie, or even eaten entire, I will attempt to compose myself in the interval before I begin to decompose; but there is no reason to be alarmed unduly before the event. Yet while I hold that philosophy should train us to be equable generally before the threat of the undead, yet may we scream as they approach, particularly if they are fast zombies, for it is not the job of philosophy to make us pretend a terror we feel not; and it is no weakness to be afraid of zombies at the moment. The weakness is only in the anticipation.

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3 Responses to Montaigne and Machiavelli on Zombies

  • Make the world a better place. Shoot a zombie in the face.

  • 0.o
    You listen to Coast to Coast, too?

    (Last Sat’s episode was a three hour meditation on the international and political response to zombies. Not bad, other than the guy 1] assumed movie-people were accurate representations of individual action, and 2] political groups would always do what he characterized them as doing before. Pretty obvious he was an “international realist” [who would have the ego to call their political philosophy ‘realist’?])

    Found the book:
    Theories of International Politics and Zombies

  • Well Foxfier I do believe that the “realists”, and I do agree that is a presumptuous title, claim Thucydides as their guru and I think it was Thucydides who wrote:

    “The secret of happiness is freedom from Zombies. The secret of freedom from Zombies is courage.” 🙂