Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

The Aztecs willingly volunteered to serve as human sacrifices (and to be tucked into afterwards). They firmly believed that they were offerings, chosen byrepparttar gods themselves, thus being rendered immortal.

Dutiful sons and daughters in China made their amputated organs and sliced tissues (mainlyrepparttar 132162 liver) available to their sick parents (practices known as Ko Ku and Ko Kan). Such donation were considered remedial. Princess Miao Chuang who surrendered her severed hands to her ailing father was henceforth deified.

Non-consensual cannibalism is murder, pure and simple. The attendant act of cannibalism, though aesthetically and ethically reprehensible, cannot aggravate this supreme assault on all that we hold sacred.

But consensual cannibalism is a lot trickier. Modern medicine, for instance, has blurredrepparttar 132163 already thin line between right and wrong.

What isrepparttar 132164 ethical difference between consensual, post-mortem, organ harvesting and consensual, post-mortem cannibalism?

Why is stem cell harvesting (from aborted fetuses) morally superior to consensual post-mortem cannibalism?

When members of a plane-wrecked rugby team, stranded on an inaccessible, snow-piled, mountain range resort to eating each other in order to survive, we turn a blind eye to their repeated acts of cannibalism - but we condemnrepparttar 132165 very same deed inrepparttar 132166 harshest terms if it takes place between two consenting, and even eager adults in Germany. Surely, we don't treat murder, pedophilia, and incestrepparttar 132167 same way!

Asrepparttar 132168 Auxiliary Bishop of Montevideo said afterrepparttar 132169 crash:

"... Eating someone who has died in order to survive is incorporating their substance, and it is quite possible to compare this with a graft. Flesh survives when assimilated by someone in extreme need, just as it does when an eye or heart of a dead man is grafted onto a living man..."

(Read, P.P. 1974. Alive. Avon, New York)

Complex ethical issues are involved inrepparttar 132170 apparently straightforward practice of consensual cannibalism.

Consensual, in vivo, cannibalism (a-la Messrs. Meiwes and Brandes) resembles suicide. The cannibal is merelyrepparttar 132171 instrument of voluntary self-destruction. Why would we treat it different torepparttar 132172 way we treat any other form of suicide pact?

Consensual cannibalism is notrepparttar 132173 equivalent of drug abuse because it has no social costs. Unlike junkies,repparttar 132174 cannibal and his meal are unlikely to harm others. What gives societyrepparttar 132175 right to intervene, therefore?

If we own our bodies and, thus, haverepparttar 132176 right to smoke, drink, have an abortion, commit suicide, and will our organs to science after we die - why don't we possessrepparttar 132177 inalienable right to will our delectable tissues to a discerning cannibal post-mortem (or to victims of famine in Africa)?

When does our right to dispose of our organs in any way we see fit crystallize? Is it when we die? Or after we are dead? If so, what isrepparttar 132178 meaning and legal validity of a living will? And why can't we make a living will and bequeath our cadaverous selves torepparttar 132179 nearest cannibal?

Do dead people have rights and can they claim and invoke them while they are still alive? Isrepparttar 132180 live personrepparttar 132181 same as his dead body, does he "own" it, doesrepparttar 132182 state have any rights in it? Doesrepparttar 132183 corpse still retain its previous occupant's "personhood"? Are cadavers still human, in any sense ofrepparttar 132184 word?

We find all three culinary variants abhorrent. Yet, this instinctive repulsion is a curious matter. The onerous demands of survival should have encouraged cannibalism rather than make it a taboo. Human flesh is protein-rich. Most societies, past and present (withrepparttar 132185 exception ofrepparttar 132186 industrialized West), need to make efficient use of rare protein-intensive resources.

If cannibalism enhancesrepparttar 132187 chances of survival - why is it universally prohibited? For many a reason.

I. The Sanctity of Life

Historically, cannibalism preceded, followed, or precipitated an act of murder or extreme deprivation (such as torture). It habitually clashed withrepparttar 132188 principle ofrepparttar 132189 sanctity of life. Once allowed, even underrepparttar 132190 strictest guidelines, cannibalism tended to debase and devalue human life and foster homicide, propelling its practitioners down a slippery ethical slope towards bloodlust and orgiastic massacres.

II. The Afterlife

Moreover, in life,repparttar 132191 human body and form are considered by most religions (and philosophers) to berepparttar 132192 abode ofrepparttar 132193 soul,repparttar 132194 divine spark that animates us all. The post-mortem integrity of this shrine is widely thought to guarantee a faster, unhindered access torepparttar 132195 afterlife, to immortality, and eventual reincarnation (or karmic cycle in eastern religions).

For this reason, to this very day, orthodox Jews refuse to subject their relatives to a post-mortem autopsy and organ harvesting. Fijians and Cook Islanders used to consume their enemies' carcasses in order to prevent their souls from joining hostile ancestors in heaven.


Sam Vaknin ( ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

The Five Most Deplorable Wastes of Human Life

Written by Terry Mitchell

Continued from page 1
I can understand any country wanting to show its displeasure with certain types of crimes, even though they may not involve violence. I can also appreciaterepparttar fact that even some types of non-violent crimes are particularly heinous and that there are requirements for strong deterrents to them. However, committing any act of violence (execution, torture, etc.) against a non-violent offender is completely unethical and immoral and never justified. Non-violent offenders, unlike many of their violent counterparts, can usually be rehabilitated. If justice, not rehabilitation, isrepparttar 132160 goal, then they can be sufficiently punished with prison time. (4) HIV/AIDS. Deaths from this disease are so regrettable because they are so preventable. The extremely sad part is that there are innocent victims like children and those receiving blood transfusions, who contract this pernicious disease through no fault of their own. While those who get it as a result of their own risky behavior deserve our sympathy, they are not innocent victims, despite whatrepparttar 132161 liberal media might have us think. No one has to get HIV/AIDS. The spread ofrepparttar 132162 disease could be completely halted if people would only start makingrepparttar 132163 correct decisions, i.e., to not do illegal drugs and to postpone sexual activity until marriage. Yes, for those who cannot control their own desires, "safe sex" should be emphasized. However, it is never as foolproof as abstinence. Now, granted, in some third world countries, many people lackrepparttar 132164 education required to make these decisions. We should be willing to spendrepparttar 132165 necessary money to make sure they get that education, if it will help abolishrepparttar 132166 scourge of this disease from our world. However, I can't help believing that most people know better, but just don't care. The fleeting pleasure of immoral sexual activity and illicit drugs is more important to them than their own health andrepparttar 132167 health ofrepparttar 132168 world community. (5) Drunk/irresponsible driving. Everyone makes mistakes while driving (or doing anything else). People will occasionally become distracted, momentarily look away fromrepparttar 132169 road, fail to properly monitor their mirrors, etc. Sometimes those mistakes have deadly consequences. However, I don't consider deaths fromrepparttar 132170 occasional and inevitable mistake to be amongrepparttar 132171 most shameful wastes of human life. What I'm talking about here is intentional and/or habitual behavior that leadsrepparttar 132172 loss of life. People continue to get behindrepparttar 132173 wheel after drinking too much, despite being warned over and over again aboutrepparttar 132174 dangers. Others just have to drive at least ten miles per hour overrepparttar 132175 posted speed limit, no matter what. They don't seem to understandrepparttar 132176 fact that how they arrive at their destination is more important than when they get there. Still others feelrepparttar 132177 need to constantly drive aggressively and take unnecessary risks. People who practice those kinds of behavior are accidents waiting to happen. Deaths resulting from those accidents are so lamentable because they could all be avoided with a little patience and common sense.

Terry Mitchell is a software engineer, freelance writer, and trivia buff from Hopewell, VA. He also serves as a political columnist for American Daily and operates his own website - - on which he posts commentaries on various subjects such as politics, technology, religion, health and well-being, personal finance, and sports. His commentaries offer a unique point of view that is not often found in mainstream media.

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