Monday, March 9, 2015

On Forget does the Walking Dead ask is it human nature to be mad at those who haven't had to suffer?

The Walking Dead is masterful at the art of reinvention. This week's episode called Forget basically asks the question: is it human nature to be mad at those who haven't had to suffer? When Rick's group first went through the gates of Alexandria last week, they looked like feral animals. Every single one of them had been pushed to the point of exhaustion, and Glen even said, "I think we were almost out there too long."

Now this week the people in charge of Alexandria threw a party at their house, Carol made cookies, Michonne put on a dress, and Sasha completely lost it when a friendly neighbor asked her what her favorite dish was so that she could make it. "I'm worried that I'd get it wrong," she says to Sasha which causes the meltdown with her yelling, "THIS IS WHAT YOU WORRY ABOUT?!"

Then there's Carol breaking into the gun storage. Sure, the first thing she steals is more chocolate from the freezer, but then she gets down to business stealing guns for them to carry (because they don't have the ability to trust anymore). A small boy follows her through the window to the gun storage and surprises her. His motivation? He was hoping she'd bake him more cookies. Carol responds by threatening to remove him from the safety of his bed and leave him outside the wall, tied to a tree, and screaming while the dead come for him to eat him alive if he tells anyone. It was truly frightening and really shows how the zombie apocalypse has turned her in particular into a psychopath.

However, to get back to my original point (that being is it human nature to be mad at those who haven't had to suffer) I'd have to say yes. Who among us who has had a hard time at various stages of life doesn't experience some kind of jealousy or resentment for those who appear to have had it easy? How many times do you come across articles on Facebook where people disparage those coming from wealth or privilege? It's fascinating that five seasons into this show, we are now tackling this very modern question having to do with income inequality and society. To effect, it's incredibly creepy and awkward and contrasts so hard against the harshness of reality that even those in that world (a.k.a. Sasha) say, "This isn't real!" Why? Because life's too good, right? You're only alive if you're, there has to be some catch to it. And this is after facing communities of cannibals and communities where rape is institutionalized and communities where the living are in denial of the dead and just think of them as being sick and end up getting eaten.

It makes me wonder, can we put up our own psychological barriers that keep us from enjoying life? Can a hard life make us feel undeserving of something good when it comes our way. It's frightening to think that can be true, but with the financial success I've been having lately, I found myself realizing that it took some time to get used to the fact that I've earned my success and deserve it, rather than looking at it as if it somehow could evaporate or that it wasn't "real." Maybe I've looked at things so pessimistically with a "this has to fail" attitude that I've closed myself off from real opportunities. And it's so strange that it took an episode of a tv show to realize that I may be the feral human that's been invited into an Alexandria (of sorts) and have been suspicious of it ever since I moved in. Maybe all of us could take a moment and ask ourselves the question: am I truly ready for success when it comes or will I be terrified of it because it means it will change my life?

What do you guys think?


  1. Attitude might also have something to do with it. Someone who is really negative might always be suspicious. But I think we all have moments where we wonder why everyone else is doing so great when we are suffering.
    Can we enjoy life? I say yes.

  2. I do know that having grown up extremely poor, it is hard to adjust to a different life once you've managed to move up to middle class. You still pinch pennies and worry constantly about saving enough even when you don't truly need to anymore.

  3. I agree with you that the notion of success is hard to swallow, even as we strive for it in every way. Lately, I had a small taste of success, and I was startled by how frightening it was, not enough to make me alter course but enough to make me rethink what I'm doing.

  4. I have the George Costanza/Al Bundy philosophy that whenever something good happens, it means something terrible is just around the corner. Yes, I do look the gift horse in the mouth quite often.

  5. All people have jealous tendencies, but there is no use in letting anger get mixed in with it. If one feels jealous, it can be a message that there is something you want to do, but have held back.

    With success comes greater responsibility. Not everyone is ready.

  6. I agree it's human nature to feel that way about other's perceived "easy" life, and yet I wonder if it's a lazy assumption. No one gets a pass on pain.

  7. We have a choice when it comes to how we react to good things. It may be hard to accept that good things have come. We may feel like they may go away. So, the trick is to be thankful for them when they do occur.

    Did you ever see the documentary on Joan Rivers. There's this one scene that stuck with me. She said that every time she got into a limo, she thanked God for the limo. And she was able to still ride in limos until her death (I'm sure).

    It's when we resent those that have it good that we're showing off how little we are. It's hard, though. When things aren't going well, it's easy to take out your anger over not having it easy on those that do.

  8. I'm so glad you're having financial success. Me, I'm okay, but if things went very well for me now I'd enjoy it while simultaneously squirreling away money and looking over my shoulder because I've spent too many years struggling, treading water, or worrying about the future to ever fully relax.

    When really good people have good lives, I'm happy for them. And when good people have hard lives I seriously want them to have good fortune. It's the filthy rich jerks who do nothing good for others and even hurt people that make me angry. For them, I wish a zombie apocalypse.

    Very insightful and thoughtful post, Mike.