World War Z: Human Nature and Survival

World War Z does a great deal to show different aspects of humanity during times of plight. I really appreciated the fact that the story highlighted the experiences of different people of diverse backgrounds from different countries, rather than focusing on one character who resolves the story with a neat and tidy (or not) end. It shows the raw emotions behind human motives, the selfishness as shown by Breckinridge “Breck” Scott, the desperation to be unaffected by the outbreak as shown in Sharon’s story, and how people are able to overcome their shortcomings in times of difficulty as evidenced by Kondo Tatsumi and Tomonaga Ijiro with shut-in lifestyles and blindness, respectively.

During our discussion yesterday, we questioned whether humanity would ever be able to come together during times of crises and what that would look like. Who would lead the new order? Would humanity even survive this kind of onslaught? I’m going to preface my opinion with the fact that I tend to think the worst of people. I think that people are often self-centered and are mostly in it for themselves; not to mention that in any given apocalyptic show, there’s bound to be some selfish character that ruins it for everyone because they’re okay with the status quo, are too weak and unwilling to do anything, or both. This tends to show up in this genre, be it about zombies, monsters, titans, disease, or anything else. I really think these people are based on the fact that there are those kinds of selfish people in the world. We might even be those selfish people.

Yet, despite all of this, I still think that humanity would be able to survive this kind of calamity, mostly because Kondo Tatsumi’s story reminds me of the fact that people do have survival instincts, no matter lazy or how much of a shut in they are. Granted, I was first very frustrated with him when he stated that he hadn’t questioned the fact that his parents disappeared when he stated that  “the only reason that I cared was because of the precious minutes that I was wasting having to feed myself,” on page 204 on the Kindle version. Still, I found his story relatable because of the fact that I can be like this character, an otaku who lives in a world away from the real world. The greatest moment, for me, in this book was when he “awakened.” “My mind was finally clear, maybe for the first time in years, and I suddenly realized that I could smell smoke and hear faint screams. I went over to the window and threw the curtains open” on page 206. These were the greatest lines in the book, at least in my opinion.

I think that line would reflect the manner in which humans regain the sense that they would need to survive, that their lives before would not matter as much as the desire the survive. I’m not sure about how well people would group up and work together or even which nation would lead the world after recovering from such trauma. After all that talk about how the US is used to being leaders in the world, who knows if those people would even survive? I highly doubt the rest of the world would be willing to listen to some person from, let’s say, Wisconsin, or even if that person has the knowledge to begin to communicate with people in other cultures. All in all, humanity has made it this far, survived other calamities, I think we should be able to survive this one somehow.

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