One of the tracks from the film The Dark Knight Rises composed by Hans Zimmer goes by the title Why Do We Fall? Not only does the title serve as a great prompt for this week’s Monday Mayhem article, but also provides a perfect lead-in to promoting the film. If you haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises, what are you waiting for? I recommend it without a quibble.
Getting back to the question, why do we fall? I’ve watched many zombie movies while asking the same question, always scratching my head wondering why none of the film characters listens to that still small voice in each of them that tells them not to do something they shouldn’t.
Reason #1: Stupidity/Ignorance
A good example is in the film 28 Days Later. The audience wants the zombie apocalypse to happen, yet they cringe whenever they see it happen due to human frailty. The audience repeats the telltale phrases: Leave the monkeys alone. Don’t touch the cages. Don’t open them; you don’t know what you’re doing. In spite of common sense screaming at the characters to do the right thing, and the audience tossing verbal insults at them as well, they ignore the obvious and do the worst.
Reason #2: Accidents/Fear
Another example happens in countless other zombie movies, especially the ones where viruses are the focus and scientists are working in a lab. One of the workers always shatters a vial tainted with an unknown disease, breaks protocol and infects others by not reporting it. The other side of the spectrum happens when all the lab’s fail-safes collapse and releases the pathogen into the atmosphere unintentionally producing another undead abomination.
Reason #3: Malice/Rebellion
The last example is my favorite because it has nothing to do with humanity’s ignorance or accident-prone traits. It is the defeat of the heart.
The Walking Dead is great when it comes to showing this. Throughout the series, we meet leaders of groups who think society would be better off following their direction. Only, their direction is—most often than not—twisted. They serve themselves and judge others as rebels who do not follow their lead. One so-called leader kept trophies of his victims’ heads in glass tanks to view at his leisure.
Why do we fall? Can it be we humans have a proclivity to annihilate each other regardless of our incredible potential? Or is it we’re so daft in not realizing whatever action we take has an equal and opposite reaction? Or is the human heart so cunning as to even fool us into believing what we do, no matter how well-intentioned, will always result in good things?
Why do you think civilizations are prone to failing miserably?