Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Because we do not eatrepparttar bodies of dead people - we ought not to eat them.

VIII. Arguments from Religious Ethics

The major monotheistic religions are curiously mute when it comes to cannibalism. Human sacrifice is denounced numerous times inrepparttar 132164 Old Testament - but man-eating goes virtually unmentioned. The Eucharist in Christianity - whenrepparttar 132165 believers consumerepparttar 132166 actual body and blood of Jesus - is an act of undisguised cannibalism:

"Thatrepparttar 132167 consequence of Transubstantiation, as a conversion ofrepparttar 132168 total substance, isrepparttar 132169 transition ofrepparttar 132170 entire substance ofrepparttar 132171 bread and wine intorepparttar 132172 Body and Blood of Christ, isrepparttar 132173 express doctrine ofrepparttar 132174 Church ...."

(Catholic Encyclopedia)

"CANON lI.-If any one saith, that, inrepparttar 132175 sacred and holy sacrament ofrepparttar 132176 Eucharist,repparttar 132177 substance ofrepparttar 132178 bread and wine remains conjointly withrepparttar 132179 body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion ofrepparttar 132180 whole substance ofrepparttar 132181 bread intorepparttar 132182 Body, and ofrepparttar 132183 whole substance ofrepparttar 132184 wine intorepparttar 132185 Blood-the species Only ofrepparttar 132186 bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeedrepparttar 132187 Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.

CANON VIII.-lf any one saith, that Christ, given inrepparttar 132188 Eucharist, is eaten spiritually only, and not also sacramentally and really; let him be anathema."

(The Council of Trent, The Thirteenth Session - The canons and decrees ofrepparttar 132189 sacred and oecumenical Council of Trent, Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 75-91.)

Still, most systems of morality and ethics impute to Man a privileged position inrepparttar 132190 scheme of things (having been created inrepparttar 132191 "image of God"). Men and women are supposed to transcend their animal roots and inhibit their baser instincts (an idea incorporated into Freud's tripartite model ofrepparttar 132192 human psyche). The anthropocentric chauvinistic view is that it is permissible to kill all other animals in order to consume their flesh. Man, in this respect, is sui generis.

Yet, it is impossible to rigorously derive a prohibition to eat human flesh from any known moral system. As Richard Routley-Silvan observes in his essay "In Defence of Cannibalism", that something is innately repugnant does not make it morally prohibited. Moreover, that we find cannibalism nauseating is probablyrepparttar 132193 outcome of upbringing and conditioning rather than anything innate.

According to Greek mythology, Man was created fromrepparttar 132194 ashes ofrepparttar 132195 Titans,repparttar 132196 children of Uranus and Gaea, whom Zeus struck with thunderbolts for murdering his son, Zagreus, and then devouring his body. Mankind, therefore, is directly descendant fromrepparttar 132197 Titans, who may well have beenrepparttar 132198 first cannibals.

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.

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.

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