What do zombies, mad scientists, human identity, and dualism have in common? Why, they are all themes of the movie the Empire of Corpses. This thought-provoking movie, as I explained in my previous post, has many excellent philosophical concepts woven through its fantastical plot line and setting. But while I touched on the surface of human identity and dualism, there are still more topics. In this post, I will discuss identity, human nature, and society.
One thing that never changes is human nature. On the contrary, our societies are constantly changing around us, evolving to fit our needs. Luckily, we can call to the great minds of the Renaissance, the Age of Enlightenment, and Postmodernism to help dissect Man. One of the main antagonists of EoC is Sherlock Holmes strangely enough. Holmes is a corrupt government agent that wishes to create the “perfect society.” In translation, he wishes to rid mankind of all emotions to obviate violence and conflict. After his plans are foiled the secondary antagonist, the One, will use Frankenstein’s notes to link the dead and living under a single consciousness. We can split this up easily by comparing the One to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Sherlock to Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes’ most influential idea was the Leviathan. He explained that humans are selfish and will do whatever benefits them most. To keep everything in order, a collective society would have to be made. Thomas called this society the Leviathan. Perhaps the One is trying to create a single society that would get rid of inequality. Jean-Jacques Rousseau thought the opposite of his British contemporary saying that man was naturally peaceful and able to exist in harmony. It was only when we formed societies that conflict arose. Our strict morals and laws limited our say and freedom. By removing conflict, Sherlock promises equality. Now that we are looking at this in a brighter light, we must further unravel human nature to find out who the real antagonist is. Niccolo Machiavelli, synonymous with deceit and treachery, was a political philosopher who could be described as cynical, for his views certainly were. In the Prince, Machiavelli describes Man as, “They are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely.” Obviously, we can see some rationale for both Holmes and the One. Let us go even deeper by examining Habermas, Heidegger, and Foucault. Jürgen Habermas’ public spheres were conducive to progressions in technology in communication in society. The classes of a society would allow changes and freedom. In addition, Michael Foucault urged the idea that humanity was a social construct and purely of our creation. Our ancestors would not be able to communicate with us, he corroborated. With these two philosophers, we now know that if these two bad guys in the movie were to alter humanity, it would most likely be for the worst. Not only would society retrograde, but it would no longer be able to produce a meaning. Lastly, we must look at Martin Heidegger. Heidegger was an existentialist and expanded upon the meaning of being human. Pretty much, like any existentialist, Martin conceived the state of being as the ability to question ourselves. He also said that as soon as we are born, we have the innate instinct to set goals.
The third and final part of this trilogy will come out soon. The question remains: Who is truly the villain here? John Watson for pursuing his unachievable ambitions and sacrificing the lives of innocents? Sherlock Holmes for wanting to rid humanity of fear and hatred? Or the One for wanting to bring society together?
For further reading: Philosophy: An Illustrated History of Thought by Tom Jackson (2014)