Thursday, September 18, 2014

On cannibalism and why, under perfect circumstances, we should consider eating our fellow man

Let us begin by condemning the purposeful harm of another human being in any manner with the intention of eating him afterward. This condemnation, however, has not to do with the cannibalistic act itself, but rather with the way in which it was perpetrated. This is a crucial distinction, between cannibalism and its perpetration, and it must be a caveat to the remainder of my argument which, in some light, suggests the legitimacy of a cannibalistic society.

It seems nonsensical, as humans, to not eat the meat of our fellow man. We are animals, after all, and cannibalism is extensive throughout the animal kingdom. Why should our standard natural evolution change the fact that we are still animals? What animal, besides humans, lets meat of any kind go to waste? Concedingly, we are indeed unique in that we have evolved culture and industry, and therein have we developed moral standards, and that is why it is wrong to kill a man with, or without, the intention of eating him. As a result of all this, it is critical to describe the following rule: The death of the cannibalized must be an unrelated precursor to, not a function of, the cannibalistic act. The demonization of cannibalism in modern society, almost universally, falls upon this function of cannibalism, the desire of one human to eat another. Such desire, at least in documented cases of cannibalism, leads to obsession, premeditation, and murder, none of which can be considered legitimate means through which to eat a man.

But then why, as a society, do we still so intimately tie the act of gaining nourishment from human flesh with immorality? Why is nutrition gained from a man any different than that from a cow, pig, or chicken? What comes of this man, who has died of natural or uncontrollable causes? Do we simply bury him in the ground in reverence to some derived, strictly human, means of "paying respect?" What respect do we owe a nonexistent soul, besides to make sure his body is profitably disposed of? Do we leave his body to be slowly devoured by maggots? Is this the "respect" we aim for? Perhaps, the best form of reverence we can give to a deceased human is to use his body for the benefit of his own species.

Consider the amount of consumable meat that one human offers. An average man weighs 136 pounds. Of this, excluding indigestibles  such as bones and tendons, about 109 pounds of this man is edible material. If prepared and stored correctly, this amount of meat can feed a living, modern day human for a year, or a family of four for three months. Now consider accumulating all the meat of the deceased in a particular community over even one month. This amount of meat could nutritionally supplement, if not majorly sustain, said community for years. In additional benefit, supplementing our diet with human meat would curtail harmful agricultural and livestock practices, all of which have garnered attention and disdain from the public, all at once distracting us from naturally deceasing human meat that is going to waste on a daily, even minute-by-minute, basis.

Throughout history, how many millions have died from famine? How many have starved to death, all the while surrounded by the flesh of those who have already perished of the same malady? Is this not irrational? Do we not have to, at some juncture, stand up to an illogical social dogma that has cast a shadow over cannibalism and designated it as a depraved act when, in fact, it is the perpetration of cannibalism that should, in fact, be scrutinized? Can cannibalism, on its own, not easily stand as an act of conservation, of nutrition, of acknowledging deceased human flesh for who it can help, not what it represents? Do we care more for a social construct of the dead, or for its potential benefit to the living? It is time we reconsider cannibalism as a potentially profitable way of utilizing human meat.            

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