Oops, 7 Days. Hey look I don't update on weekends.

Romancing the corpse and being the sixth man

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2005/7/30/171132/882

When the case of the German cannibal came for hearing, I was disgusted. Treating a cannibal on par with other criminals was an insult to humankind. A cannibal is to be summarily obliterated. Pulverised and vapourised into the nothing that he deserves.

And now I come across the above. Where a glowing eulogy is published on man-eaters. Both Nietzsche's Zarathustra and Shaw's Methuselah will be ashamed to be in such 'Transhumanist' company.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
Just another cul de sac in the byways of human behaviour.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
"Treating a cannibal on par with other criminals was an insult to humankind."

Why? What exactly is it that distincts canibalism from "other crime"

"A cannibal is to be summarily obliterated. Pulverised and vapourised into the nothing that he deserves."

Are there any other kind of criminals that you think the current penal system does not suffice to handle? Where do you draw the line?

Just curious.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a cannibal nor do I endorse the practice
Permalink Geert-Jan Thomas 
August 3rd, 2005
I don't see that it's appreciably worse than plain ol' moider, really. They're already dead, so it's not like eating them causes them any additional inconvenience...

(And, to rehash the old Hawaii-Five-O/football* terminology joke, murder doesn't seem to be that much of a big deal; you don't even get sent off!)

* Soccer. You know, the one where you actually use your feet...
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
>> Why? What exactly is it that distincts canibalism from "other crime"

Why is paedophilia worse than picking pockets? Consuming human flesh is not a human actvity. One may argue that consuming flesh is a human actvity and therefore... But that tantamounts to "saying penis in vagina, therefore 6 year old."
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
Don't start that one up again... It was boring and futile last time. :)
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
Paedophilia and picking pockets is not a good example to explain why cannibilism is higher on the well-defined and catalogued Crime Badness Hierarchy.
Permalink Joel Goodwin 
August 3rd, 2005
Joel, precisely. I just cannot think of a worse enough analogy. Cannibalism is that high.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
Is it still as bad if they don't kill the food themselves?
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
Oui. That strawman is just that.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
But why? Unless you believe that the human body is somehow sacred and mustn't be "defiled" after death, what's the big deal? The murder was the worst part, surely?
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
"... cannibilism is higher on the well-defined and catalogued Crime Badness Hierarchy."

Agreed, but other than that it's "just a crime" so why the need to obliterate, pulverise and/or vaporise?

Why are people so surprised that other people are capable of things more horrendous than they could ever imagine.
That appears to be the case here as normal punishment doesn't seem enough for the OP.

What would makes a crime so bad that it justifies abandoning the legal system for it?
Permalink Geert-Jan Thomas 
August 3rd, 2005
It is impossible for any system to exist without an a priori. Sanctity of human life is the basis for humanity. Sanctity is incomplete without memory. By consuming the flesh of a deceased human is not respecting the memory of the life of the dead man. Hence the traditional burials/cremations/anniversary rituals across religions, geographies and food habits.

Of course, one may decide not to choose to respect life. In that case one becomes a-human, as the definition of a human is rooted in respecting life. Ceasing to be human is judged to be 'superior' by some standards, as the gentleman in the article I quoted seems to hold. By my standards ceasing to be human is vastly inferior.

In fact, thinkers who think/thought in terms of a Super-Human species, always had the current human persona as a subset of their hero's personality. It was _more_ of a human being they wanted/sought. Not less and certainly not non-human.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
+++as the definition of a human is rooted in respecting life+++

Actually the definition of a human is rooted in being a goofy looking, nearly hairless animal descended from monkeys, and with a serious superiority complex.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
s/Of course, one may decide not to choose to respect life/Of course, one may decide not to respect life

or

s/Of course, one may decide not to choose to respect life/Of course, one may choose not to respect life
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
Very true Muppet. It's a pity that most don't realise that and spend whole life times slogging to keep alive not only oneself, but even one's offsprings!
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
You're confusing "Respect for life" with "Survival Instinct".
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
Surely the "humanity" part, the memory of which one should respect, is independent of the fleshy bag that carts it around? I can't see that eating a person is really all that different from putting them in a box and burning it. (And if you *don't* burn it, the maggots get to have a nibble. Do you want to grind *them* into dust as well?)
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
Is survival a vicarious instinct? Else, to hell with wife & kids.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
KayJay -

Many animals will protect their mate and young. Do they have respect for life, too? Are they human?
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
No, he's confusing "respect for a carcass" with "survival instinct", which is even more ludicrous.
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
What about eating "The body of Christ".

Isn't this a Holy Act?
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
August 3rd, 2005
Mat, Akbar the Great was holding court. He was overseeing a deabte on the Prophet's (PBUH) teachings. Birbal, his court jester entered. Being a devout Hindu, Birbal was the right man to provide a non-dogmatice view to the debate. So, Akbar challenged him, "Hey! Idol worshipper! Don't you know that God is formless. How can you demean him by identifying him with rocks and stones?".

Birbal walked up to the emporer, went past him and spat on the portrait of Akbar's father Humayun on the wall behind the throne.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
That's great KayJay.

Are animals which protect their young human?
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
And your point is what? If it's that the guy was disrespectful to the memory of other guy's daddy, then yes, he was, but what of it? Do you want to grind *him* into powder as well?
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
I think I might have been misunderstood earlier. I thought the comparison between picking pockets and paedophilia was not a bad example to demonstrate KayJay's point, which I didn't agree with either. Picking pockets: a replaceable loss that we know from experience is not something that creates a lasting impact on our life. Paedophilia: an abuse of innocence and an emotional disaster that can last a lifetime.

Few people would have any issues with drawing this distinction.

Now bring up cannibilism, which is something that happens after death. The decision to make this "number one" on our imaginary list seems highly subjective. Where does terrorism go? Does a lack of respect for the human vessel count as higher than mass murder?

(N.B. Terrorism is the new Nazi salad cream. That's Goodwin's Law.)
Permalink Joel Goodwin 
August 3rd, 2005
I mean was "a really really bad example...."
Permalink Joel Goodwin 
August 3rd, 2005
Mat, you miss the point or you are teasing me. I hope it is the latter. My point is that a dead body is not food for humans.

Ok. I've got to wade through cars and scooters and buses to reach home. Will pick this up from there in about an hour or so.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
I like how KayJay won't answer my question. :-)
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
"My point is that a dead body is not food for humans."

I understand that that's your point. *My* point is *why* is this your point? It's just a carcass, and it's either going to rot or get burned to a cinder otherwise. Although I personally wouldn't like to feast on human flesh I can't see that it's *such* a heinous crime as you seem to be making out; it certainly ranks lower in my estimation than, say, murder or torture.
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
I think it's the idea of killing somebody SO you can eat them that is abhorrent.

And yes, we do try to treat the human body as sacred, as much as possible. Unlike all other sources of meat, the human was once a living, thinking person. Just as slavery (owning and selling people) is now considered abhorrent, so is killing people for food.

Shoot, we objectify people enough as it is. I certainly don't want to support objectifying people as cattle.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 3rd, 2005
Oh, but I did want to mention:

A legal system should treat everyone with the same process -- how else is it fair? How else is it legal? Presumption of innocence, rules of evidence, sentences for various crimes determined beforehand.

You certainly don't want the raw emotion of a trial to overcome rationality do you? We want justice here, not revenge. It's revenge that's motivated by pure emotion. Hopefully justice is based on reason -- what really happened, and by whom. Proof of guilt.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 3rd, 2005
PETA would take issue with your argument, Allan. A steak on your plate was once a living, feeling cow, too. Who's to say that they had no quality of life before they were dinner?

Why is a human body sacred? If you're a Christian, a body is a meat sack; a vehicle for your immortal soul. It's not some kind of temple or religious artifact.

In fact I think that making the body sacred is kin to idolatry.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
+++ I certainly don't want to support objectifying people as cattle.

You seem like a nice guy, Allan, except that you objectify cattle.
Permalink Moo 
August 3rd, 2005
"If you're a Christian, a body is a meat sack; a vehicle for your immortal soul. It's not some kind of temple or religious artifact."

Well that's a bit of a medieval point of view. I think that the more enlightened christians do tend to think of their body as "some kind of temple or religious artifact". Something to be cherished and cared for in honour of God.
Permalink Geert-Jan Thomas 
August 3rd, 2005
Why is that more enlightened? How do you figure?
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
"I think it's the idea of killing somebody SO you can eat them that is abhorrent."

Again, the plain idea of killing somebody is abhorrent in itself. What makes eating it so much worse?

That the murder was just the means to get to the actual goal: the eating?
Permalink Geert-Jan Thomas 
August 3rd, 2005
Maybe "enlightened" is not the correct word.
Help me out here, you native english speaker ;)
Permalink Geert-Jan Thomas 
August 3rd, 2005
I'd help you out if I had any idea at all what you're on about.

A dead body is a big meal for maggots, bacteria, and assorted worms and insects. It's not a religious artifact or a sacred object.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
MAN: (entering a shop) Um, excuse me, is this the undertaker's?
UNDERTAKER: Yup, that's right, what can I do for you, squire?
M: Um, well, I wonder if you can help me. My mother has just died and I'm not quite sure what I should do.
U: Ah, well, we can 'elp you. We deal with stiffs.
M: (aghast) Stiffs?
U: Yea. Now there's three things we can do with your mum. We can bury her, burn her, or dump her.
M: Dump her?
U: Dump her in the Thames.
M: (still aghast) What?
U: Oh, did you like her?
M: Yes!
U: Oh well, we won't dump her, then. Well, what do you think: burn her, or bury her?
M: Um, well, um, which would you recommend?
U: Well they're both nasty. If we burn her, she gets stuffed in the flames, crackle, crackle, crackle, which is a bit of a shock if she's not quite dead. But quick. And then you get a box of ashes, which you can pretend are hers.
M: (timidly) Oh.
U: Or, if you don't wanna fry her, you can bury her. And then she'll get eaten up by maggots and weevils, nibble, nibble, nibble, which isn't so hot if, as I said, she's not quite dead.
M: I see. Um. Well, I.. I.. I.. I'm not very sure. She's definitely dead.
U: Where is she?
M: In the sack.
U: Let's 'ave a look.

(FX: rustle of bag opening)

U: Umm, she looks quite young.
M: Yes, she was.
U: (over his shoulder) FRED!
F: (offstage) Yea!
U: I THINK WE'VE GOT AN EATER!
F: (offstage) I'll get the oven on!
M: Um, er...excuse me, um, are you... are you suggesting we should eat my mother?
(pause)
U: Yeah. Not raw, not raw. We cook her. She'd be delicious with a few french fries, a bit of stuffing. Delicious! (smacks his lips)
M: What! (he stammers)
(pause)
M: Actually, I do feel a bit peckish - No! NO, I can't!
U: Look, we'll eat your mum. Then, if you feel a bit guilty about it afterwards, we can dig a grave and you can throw up into it.
M: All right.
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
uh...what's that from?
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album, and the TV series.
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
Muppet, I agree with you (hmmm, feeling weird)

I just don't think it's specifically a christian point of view.
Permalink Geert-Jan Thomas 
August 3rd, 2005
What's wrong with treating people as food? (muppet asks).

Well, up there with the PETA person -- do you know how we treat animals that are going to be our food? It's not pretty.

And the cannibalism thing is NOT what you do with the dead body after it's dead. The cannibalism thing is a person who can look at you, and think "you know, that left arm has got some meat on it!".

Personally, if I had been with the Donner party, marooned in a snow-storm, starving to death, and somebody died before me, I might have made the same choice they did.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 3rd, 2005
To give muppet some credit, I actually agree with him regarding a dead body. The person left when they died. The body left behind is just clay.

I think the whole "human body should be treated with respect" thing is because it USED to be a person. If you start treating something that USED to be a person badly, the concern is that you would transfer that to people who aren't quite dead yet, and then to people who are completely alive.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 3rd, 2005
Muppet, to answer your question. Are animals human? No.

I am glad that none of you folks have had to attend a funeral in the past week, let alone that of a loved one. I really am serious when I say that I hope and pray none of you ever learn why it is anti-humman to eat a dead human being. It is one thing to intellectualise the human condition in all objectivity and in the true spirit of "scientifc enquiry". It is totally another to have a dead human beneath your feet in all its stinking glory. The latter makes one realise a heck of a lot of things in too bloody short a time. I sincerely hope none of you realise those things. I do not wish death on anyone.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
I stumbled across a website (from del.icio.us, ironically) advocating cannibalism. It was odd, but the really creepy fucked up bit was the page detailing (and I do mean in detail) how to take apart a body for consumption, using the same methods as you would any other animal.

I don't remember the URL, but it gives you the crawly-skin feeling that the people behind the site not only have done this, but do it somewhat regularly.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
KayJay -

Not in this last week, but in the last few years I have been to several funerals of loved ones. I understand.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
The original linked article is a strawman argument. It uses the Frankenstein myth to attack transhumanism (whatever transhumanism is) by claiming that "post-humanity will eat us." He is vaguely claiming that transhumans won't be human and won't think of humans as people, and then wanders off into some history of books written by one author. Well, he is projecting human foibles onto someone else. We humans don't treat other humans as people. We are quite willing to bomb them into the stone age, and murder them thousands at a time because they are different somehow (oh, brown skin, or jewish or sitting on our oil. So if the mythical Frankensteinian Transhumanists ever do exist, and they do hunt down and kill humans, then they will be acting *very* human.

"the definition of a human is rooted in respecting life"
No it isn't. Your definition is the key of a strawman fallacy.

"My point is that a dead body is not food for humans."
You forget that Soylent Green is made of people.

In seriousness, I recommend reading the following:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1577660153/
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/067972849X/
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0679724680/

Arguing that cannibalism is bad because you think it is ikky isn't a logical argument. Marvin Harris (not to be confused with Thomas Harris, author of Silence of the Lambs and the other books in the kuro5hin link), in the above books does describe in a logical manner, why peoples behave in manners that seem strange to others, and why peoples eat things that other people think are ikky. There are many people in the world who would no more drink a cold glass of milk than they would a cold glass of cow saliva. I've eaten insects, and I don't like to: the chitin gets stuck between my teeth worse than corn hulls do when eating popcorn.

As Marvin Harris shows, there are very few cultures that practice cannibalism, and for most, it is a ritual. "I am more powerful than you because my football team beat yours" maps to the equivalent "I am more powerful than you because my ancestor ate your ancestor." They are both ways for men to pound their chests and prove how big and stiff their wieners are.

"But [Thomas] Harris shows us a view of Transhumanism so revolting that one might expect the entire human race to rise up en masse and divert every effort to stamping it out if it should ever become more than an occasional curiosity."
This could be written as "But [$name] shows us a view of [$race_creed_ethnic_origin] so revolting that one might expect the entire human race to rise up en masse and divert every effort to stamping it out if it should ever become more than an occasional curiosity." Feel free to insert values for $name and $race_creed_ethnic_origin to get some madlibs that could have come from historical genocidal personalities. Or we could watch FoxNews for the latest versions.
Permalink Peter 
August 3rd, 2005
I also lost my mother in the last few years. It was hard to see her dead body with nobody home. I completely sympathize.

All the intellectual arguments in the world can become meaningless noise if they don't have some connection to reality.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 3rd, 2005
+++I think the whole "human body should be treated with respect" thing is because it USED to be a person. If you start treating something that USED to be a person badly, the concern is that you would transfer that to people who aren't quite dead yet, and then to people who are completely alive.+++

This is the slippery slope argument and it's, of course, BS.

KayJay -

I've been to plenty of funerals and wakes. Personally, I think it's disrespectful to put the dead body of a loved one in the front of a big room and have everybody gawk at it, including people the deceased probably didn't even like.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
I've given quite reasonably detailed instructions as to what happens at my funeral. It largely involves feasting, drinking and, so long as children aren't present, sexual excess. The climax will be my setting sail on a fireship down the River Severn.

There will be no viewing of the body or embalming, dead on Tuesday greasy ashes by Thursday.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
Muppet, a wake is an occasion for the living. Not the dead.

Oh! Ah! Duh!

So I miscommunicated again. Sorry!

The memory I was speaking of was the memory of the living. One must not desecrate a sacrophagus, because that is the last point of contact between the dead and those living now. Out of respect for the _living_ and _their_ memories.

You see Muppet, you _think_ you want to be an automaton. You don't. You can't.

Oh! And for an amoralitic (morals are for weenies), scientific (belief, you say? bah!), modern (tradition? So effing what? Just because it has been done so for 10000 years, there is no reason I should do so now, is there?) reason as to why cannibalism is wrong, it is because it is unhealthy for humans. Proof? I can provide only web resources here and that too only a couple, but I sure with your tenacious capacity to be Lucifer's Lawyer you should be able to come up with more, if only to prove me wrong.

1) http://www.drugs.com/enc/kuru.html

2) http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISW/is_244/ai_111271875/pg_1

Aaron, the how-to you mentioned, http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/butcher.html
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
+++You see Muppet, you _think_ you want to be an automaton. You don't. You can't.+++

There is a severe disconnect here, KayJay. I do not want to be an automaton. For you to pull this conclusion from my words shows an incredible amount of projection and bias on your part.

I live here on Earth in a terrible, diseased, malfunctioning body that tears itself apart on a daily basis despite my best efforts to cajole it into some sort of truce. It's hard to regard a body as holy and sacred when there's blood pouring out of your asshole three or four times a day, to be quite frank.

I don't see how my "lack of respect" for the meat sack I'm currently contained in, in favor of my own immortal soul, indicates a desire to be a mindless animal, or a statistic. Maybe you'd like to explain that ridiculous position?
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
I'm not arguing in favor of cannabalism, by the way, I'm arguing against your assertion that the human body is some sort of fucking shrine.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
Actually, the site I found refers to the Church of Euthanasia as an older site. I must be blocking the name of the one I looked at.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
This guy thought of his as a shrine, too holy to be clothed:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4740403.stm

Telling quote:
"Brenda Loete said she never spoke to Norton despite living next door to him for more than a decade. "
"'We didn't really know him. We just had him arrested,' she said."
"Normally, if we had him arrested in the spring he'd be gone for the summer and we wouldn't have to worry about him until the next spring."
Permalink Peter 
August 3rd, 2005
Yes, Muppet. The human body is a shrine. A shrine you spend so much time on its upkeep. And the adjective too is valid <g>.

Post-mortem, it matters not to you nor I, it can't, but it sure will to your daughter and my son.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
Hey, if you believe like the Egyptians used to, it matters very much what happens to your body after you die. You'd better have everything in the right jar, or it's gonna be a real bitch putting yourself back together again when you wake up.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
Nope. It won't matter to her at all. I can be cremated, or donated to science, or whatever. Maybe I'll be a cadaver in a medical school.

She'll know that my body is meat and hair and bone, just like I do.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
"The climax will be my setting sail on a fireship down the River Severn."

You'll be lucky. You get three choices: burning, burying, or medical research. I don't even think burial at sea is allowed any more, much less being set adrift on a burning raft...

And (scarily) I'm with muppet. Whatever the merits or otherwise of cannibalism, saying it's bad because there's something sacred about the corpse just because it was once a person is a non-argument. It effectively boils down to "it's special because, er, it's special" and then a bunch of hand-waving, doesn't explain why burying the body in a hole to decompose and be eaten by bugs is in any way respecting the person any more than making a tasty snack out of them is, and makes out that cultural bias is somehow equivalent to a universal and absolute truth.
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
Come to think of it, it's funny you used the term 'shrine', Muppet. I thought nothing was sacred in your world.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
You're projecting again, KayJay.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
Nah! If I were I would have said nothing was profane! <g>
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
Wrong Mat, though you're right about the River Severn and I'm leaving my wife to work out the negotiations on that, but there are Hindu burials allowed on a stretch of the River Soar in Leicestershire, its a qualified holy river alternative to the Ganges.

Ok, I'm not Hindu and I'm not overly bothered which river it will be but the Severn is just down the road and to the right, about a mile away by crow.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
I used to think it'd be cool to be planted with a fistful of acorns in my chest cavity so a huge oak tree sprouts from my ribcage.

Lets see future archaeologists figure that one out.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
I believe that human's have something of a supernatural condition. Never the less, I think pretty objectively about the human corpse. Any time I hear a story about death and subsequent mutilation, the mutilation part never bothers me (it always bothers my wife). I didn't find Jeffrey Dahmer any more disturbing than similar killers who don't eat their victims.

But some stories, especially in which the "victim" is actually a willing participant, literally make me want to throw up. If I dwell on them too long, they affect me badly for hours.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
"It was odd, but the really creepy fucked up bit was the page detailing (and I do mean in detail) how to take apart a body for consumption, using the same methods as you would any other animal."

I've seen one of these sites. In that case it was a parody hoping to cause a bit of reflection about meat consumption. e.g. If you think this is gross, then why is it so acceptable that you head to your grocery store and pick up a pork shoulder and some hamburgers.

Other than that I'm entirely with muppet et. all. I have no desire to eat a human, and I find it disgusting that it has or has ever happened, but that's at an emotional and cultural level. Logically there is little to defend it, and if there were a group of individuals caught in the wilderness with only a plump deceased compatriot to eat, well I wouldn't judge them if they chowed down.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
August 3rd, 2005
+++But some stories, especially in which the "victim" is actually a willing participant, literally make me want to throw up. If I dwell on them too long, they affect me badly for hours.+++

Yep. The sadism/masochism bothers me a lot more than the actual physical logistics of the whole thing.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
I would find it terribly troubling if all the cows whistled and hummed happy tunes as the marched into the slaughterhouse, joyfully anticipating their transformation into people food.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
I wondered when this thread would segue into a stretch where people redo the 'vile and disgusting things in my fridge' routine of Ben Elton.

Oh, it was me, I did it. But only because our freezer in the garage has failed and it had begun to form its own experiment in evolutionary development.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
Dennis:

Why "plump"? What are you implying? Are you implying that those of us who are overweight are somehow more desirable as people-fodder? Well? Are you?
Permalink AllanL5 
August 3rd, 2005
Voluntary sadomasochism doesn't bother me. Snuff, voluntary or not, does.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
> Voluntary sadomasochism doesn't bother me. Snuff, voluntary or not, does.

Well they both bother me a little. But it's snuff that crosses over into throw up territory.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
It's ok I'll ease the restraints before coma and death take place.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
Yep, they both bother me too. In both cases the participants have psychological issues that ought to be addressed.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
If you don't do it (S&M etc), why does it bother you and why would you think they have psychological issues?
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
Need we go over the gagless girlfriend bit again?
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
Nothing like a bit of spanking to get the blood flowing...
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
Simon -

I don't go around killing and eating people either, but that bothers me, too.

The "you don't do it so shut up about it" argument is weak.
Permalink muppet 
August 3rd, 2005
>>...but that's at an emotional and cultural level. Logically there is little to defend it,...

I see no reason to discount emotional and cultural levels. After all the logical level exists to cater to our emotions and culture.

Then again, this thread has crossed 75 posts & Muppet has made an appearance. So, not much more here.
Permalink KayJay 
August 3rd, 2005
Have you ever seen boys play fighting? It's completely normal and healthy. Have you ever seen one of the kids start to channel his angers and frustrations into the fight and try to dominate the other kid? It's a scary and sad moment, cause you know this kid isn't handling life well, and you can completely relate. It doesn't make the behavior acceptable.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
Ummm, that'e entirely normal behaviour. The idea of fighting and not trying to win seems mutually exclusive. Not that I fought that much at all as a small boy or at any other developmental stage.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
We think we are above animals, and even (most?) animals won't eat the corpse of its own species.
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 3rd, 2005
Someone needs to read Stranger in a Strange Land. In it you shall find discussion on why eating people is not necessarily bad but killing people is (unless it's necessary).
Permalink RAH's Love Child 
August 3rd, 2005
Hey, Heinlein screwed up my adolescence. The stuff he writes in his books are the theoretical ramblings of a wishful thinker. Modified just enough to make a good story.

That includes his views on sexuality, the proper relationship of man and woman, macho, and cannibalism. Please don't use Stranger in a Strange Land as anything but a fictional exploration of ideas. They certainly do NOT apply in the real world.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 3rd, 2005
"They certainly do NOT apply in the real world"

Why?
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 3rd, 2005
I'm a littel surprised to find no one pointing out that the most popular religion on the planet practices ritual cannibalism as a critically important part of its worship.
Permalink Mongo 
August 3rd, 2005
"...no one pointing out that the most popular religion on the planet..."

You mean *apart* from when Erik said "What about eating "The body of Christ". Isn't this a Holy Act?" :)
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 3rd, 2005
Ritual.

I think it's real until Luther's time :)
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 3rd, 2005
Simon are you pretending that you can't see there is a point in which the kid stops seeing his friend (or even opponent), and starts desperately and emotionally trying to hurt and dominate an 'object', as a means of feeling some sort of control in life? We hope we agree we shouldn't encourage these kids to take out their aggressions violently on others.

Now I am a fan of Fight Club. I am one who thinks that our culture has destracted us from many things that we *should* feel some outrage about. But objectifying other people for control is sociopathic.

I haven't demonized S&M behaviour as evil itself. Just said that it bothers me. Some people use it as their coping mechanism. But clearly, it stems from pyscological issues.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
>> You mean *apart* from when Erik said "What about eating "The body of Christ". Isn't this a Holy Act?" :)

Rats -- busted again.

This discussion is intersting though, inasmuch as it represents another good example of people with apparently indubitable beliefs unable to easily express just _why_ those beliefs are indubitable. Yet they have to try to wrap these in a rational framework, however rationalistic such justifications appear others who do in fact doubt them.
Permalink Mongo 
August 3rd, 2005
Rick, pigs will eat anything that doesn't move. The term "hog tieing someone" referred to an old method of killing someone by tieing them up so they can't move, and tossing them into a pen full of hungry pigs. They will even eat their own dead. As opposed to rats, who, if they see a dead rat near some food, will never ever touch that food again.
Permalink Peter 
August 3rd, 2005
There should be a line drawn between consensual Dom/sub and nonconsensual - which is the kid beating up on someone and making them do something truly against their will.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
Peter -

On the other hand, a lot of rodents eat their own young (alive) when they are stressed, and they even eat other adults of the same species when population density is too high.

I've seen it happen.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
"Please don't use Stranger in a Strange Land as anything but a fictional exploration of ideas. They certainly do NOT apply in the real world." - AllanL5

I find that the real world is usuallly a fictional exploration of ideas. Never said that his ideas were valid/invalid I'm just saying if you ever take the time to think about things outside what is normal and usual you might find something useful.

If you can't find any justification for why something is considered wrong except "Just because it is", you are just another sheep and a hungry wolf that has considered the options will eat ya even if said wolf is also a sheep.

Boy my personal BS meter is hitting 11.
Permalink RAH's Love Child 
August 3rd, 2005
> There should be a line drawn between consensual Dom/sub and nonconsensual - which is the kid beating up on someone and making them do something truly against their will.

Absolutely. One is a violation of personal rights and the other is not. I agree with you 100%. That doesn't mean there aren't psychological issues at play.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
Of course there are. Then again, there always are. Everyone has baggage.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 3rd, 2005
No argument from me. As I said, it's a coping mechanism, I can relate to the need for that. But this particular method happens to personally bother muppet and I.

It was Simon who asked the silly question of why we thought there were psych issues involved. I guess the shorter answer to that part would be "there always are".

As for the question of why it bothers us: because of hte objectification and violent acts directed at real people in an attempt at some emotional/psychological catharsis. If it doesn't bother you, that's fine I guess, as no one's rights are being violated.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
Hence my question, as psychological issues are always involved why bring it up?

Because its judgemental, for whatever reason you happen to think that those psychological issues (issues I don't actually like lets say motivations perhaps or conditioning), are wrong.

Now S&M might be an extreme form in a generally sexual context for dominant/submissive behaviour but its a psychodynamic that exists in all relationships whether sexual or not and labelling it as bad is to avoid acknowledging that.

I'm not placing a good or bad value on that if someone gets off on that sexual dynamic that's entirely up to them but for me not to recognise similarities at least is to not accept general human behaviour.

It might be distasteful to some that we jockey for position that we attempt to manipulate others and situations for our own advantage or that we recognise the social, moral or legal authority of someone else for a time and for a purpose that suits our own but whether distasteful or not and any excess of any trait can be ruinous, that trait is within all of us.

Not recognising that trait, not understanding that we can be groomed and manipulated by others for their own ends at the very least puts us in danger of buying any clunker from the next car salesman. Perhaps it is bizarre to notice the similarities in process between a long sales cycle and the preparation of a pre-pubertal child for sex. If so then I'm undoubtedly bizarre.


So, yes, an individual could manipulate another into sacrificing their life so that the other could treat them as food and that is wrong on so many levels and in so many ways that it must take a severely socially disconnected individual to follow through on it.

I can conceive, however dimly and without interest, a fantasy around such an event but in a similar way as I'd conceive of child abuse it is such a dim and distant view that it is nigh impossible to understand the world view that enables that to appear not only normal but good.

But if I were starving, if my family were starving would I reevaluate the notion of a stranger and consume them in order to survive? I'm not entirely sure, I'm less sure that I could refuse a meal prepared by someone else in that kind of situation. It would be a lot easier if they were a stranger.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
Great Simon, I didn't know that guy was starving. Changes the whole thing doesn't it?

And another thing. I repeatedly stated that I can relate to this kind of relationship. I know it transcends violence in sex.

BUT, I'm not willing, as you are, to cease labeling things as bad or good. (More aptly healthy and unhealthy.) Indeed I continuously attempt to label my own traits as such.

Perhaps this is root of our disagreement.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 3rd, 2005
I didn't say anything about 'him' which is, I think, entirely clear.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
August 3rd, 2005
Regarding the OP: Who is the "sixth man"? What is that a reference to?
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
August 3rd, 2005
Dennis, the author of the article I linked to claims that there are only six people in the world who have neither read the books nor seen the movies.

Back to the discussion, why are you folks scared to make moral judgments? Eating human flesh is bad, wrong, inhuman. It is a moral judgement I make against a value I do not share.
Permalink KayJay 
August 4th, 2005
I'm not *scared* to make a moral judegment, I just don't see why you think it's quite so awful. I'm not condoning the practice, but making out that it deserves a ludicrously over-the-top punishment seems a little bizarre.
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 4th, 2005
"You get three choices: burning, burying, or medical research."

No, the two choices are you can be burned or you can be buried you. In the first you are set on fire and burn up, in the second worms eat your body. If you don't like either of those options there is a third, eating. If your family changes their mind afterwards, they can dig a hole and throw up in it, and that's the same as the burying.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
August 4th, 2005
Well, I _am_ scared to make moral judgements. Particularly generalized moral judgements. It doesn't follow I don't make them, and just because I don't agree with your moral intuitions doesn't mean I'm scared to examine the justificatory framework you're trying to erect.

The reason I'm scared about making moral judgements is simple: historically, many moral judgements, including mine, have been mistaken. Mistaken moral judements often have severe and unpleasant moral and practical consequences.

The point is, you should be scared to make moral judgements, but you shouldn't let that stop you. On the other hand, if other people don't agree with your moral judgements, that's a sign that there's a much higer liklihood you are making a moral error.
Permalink Mongo 
August 4th, 2005
> Particularly generalized moral judgements.

It isn't moral judgements in general IMO, but more particularly trying to apply/impose *your* moral judgements to/on other people ... other people seem willing to have their own morals, whatever they are.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
August 4th, 2005
Christopher, we agree. That's what I mean by generalized.
Permalink Mongo 
August 4th, 2005
> Christopher, we agree. That's what I mean by generalized.

Yes, but there's another meaning of 'generalized':

* An example of a 'specific' moral judgement might be "it would be wrong of me to hurt you now"

* An example of a more 'general' moral judgement might be "it would be wrong of me to hurt anyone ever"

Generalizing in this way too is often problematic: exceptions test the rules, and so on.

In fact I read once in a book of quotes collected by someone, a phrase that was titled "A pagan prayer":

"Faites que je me contredises souvent, afin d'etre simple et vrais"

Tr.: "Please, let me contradict myself frequently: so that I can remain simple and true."
Permalink Christopher Wells 
August 4th, 2005
Why be scared of making moral judgements?

You should not be afraid to judge for yourself whether something is healthy or unhealthy. But, most of your judgements will be strictly subject to your condition and culture at the time, and thus are not absolute. IE, it is wrong to eat a human corpse, but then again the Donner party...

And, as others have said, it is far too often that these subjective judgements become the basis for infringing upon the rights of others.

Now, this is not to say I do not believe in absolutes. I do, but they almost always have to do with intent rather than behaviour, and that is something that I cannot absolutely judge in another person (it's hard enough to judge in myself). One area of behaviour that appears easy to draw a line across is the violation of another persons rights (murder, assault, theft, opression, etc). Unfortunately, this gets complicated when viewing societies on a macroscopic scale (war, legislation, etc).

In short, making judgements is healthy and helpful, but nearly always subjective.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 4th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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