Why is cannibalism not acceptable in humans?

Amphibian tadpoles often have to eat their “brothers” to increase their ability to develop. Gulls and pelicans are two of many birds that use their young for food or to prevent the spread of disease. For the mantis or Australian redback spider, the male after mating will become an attractive food for the female.

Indeed, cannibalism is not uncommon in the animal kingdom – and it happens even more frequently in mammals. Many species of rodents can turn their young into a meal in the event of starvation, illness, dead chicks, or “unplanned births” and the mother’s inability to nourish them. More evolved species such as male bears and lions sometimes kill and eat the young of adult females so that they can more easily mate, creating a new generation of their offspring. Higher animals closely resembling humans such as chimpanzees sometimes eat unlucky individuals – usually juveniles – for unknown purposes, possibly to add some protein to their bodies.

However, for humans, cannibalism is a truly disgusting act , considered against the laws of nature, contrary to human evolution. In fact, our aversion to cannibalism is so strong that survival and moral justifications are hard to come by.

Theconversation conducted a survey, hypothesized whether a man is allowed to eat the body parts of his friend, when he has died of natural causes or not. At the same time, the survey also assumes that cannibalism occurs in a civilization that allows it, as a way of honoring the deceased, and that the meat is cooked to ensure there is no risk. infection. The results showed that, although the note assumed that cannibalism was a humane act, more than half of the participating readers considered it completely unacceptable.

Why is cannibalism not acceptable in humans?
The image of the Andes plane crash victims had to eat cannibals to survive.

Even in life-and-death situations, cannibalism is almost unforgivable for humans. For example, the famous Andes plane crash in 1972, when the survivors were facing the brink of death, they made an extremely difficult decision: Eat the dead to continue living. Although these actions are the last step to survival in the face of harsh nature, and even some of the crew voluntarily donate their bodies for food after death, in the end, they are still socialized. strongly condemned.

One of the disaster survivors, Roberto Canessa, blamed himself that eating passengers to survive was ” infringing on friends’ memories, and stealing their souls” . Although soon after, he asserted that at that time, if unfortunately he died, he would not hesitate to allow the survivors to eat his flesh in order to survive.

The dark period mentioned above is clear evidence of why humans are the only possible exception to the circle of carnivorous animals. The nature between the living and the dead cannot be compared. The extremely close connection between the human side and the flesh is the only reason that in certain situations the advantages of cannibalism are overlooked – by the disgusting, horrible feeling inside. the mind of every living individual.

Another question arises, why do we loathe human flesh, while the meat of other animals does not? Philosopher William Irvine has made the hypothetical case that there exists a farm that raises infants to serve human food, similar to a cattle ranch where we fatten, slaughter, and slaughter. and take their meat. Irvine suggests that the arguments for killing livestock also apply to infants, such as “they won’t object” and “they are not yet capable of thinking like an adult”.

Although this is only a hypothesis, it is nevertheless useful if we want to shed light on human prejudice when it comes to the ethical aspects of cannibalism. From an early age, we form in our brains a sense of species, such as humans and animals, as a basic truth or to have become ‘essence’, although not observable. directly, but that gives the first glimpses. For example, what is man? Beings with intelligent and rational thinking, personality and desire to live, and at the same time between individuals form bonds with each other.

Why is cannibalism not acceptable in humans?
Humans evolved not to eat cannibals. (Image: Shutterstock).

The above psychologism is a useful shortcut that directs our expectations and judgments on members of the species, human society – but this really doesn’t work when those characteristics are not. typical of the species mentioned above is no longer relevant, e.g. after death. And this is the reason why cannibalism after death makes us feel so disgusted. Even if humans can justify morally acceptable reasons, we cannot stop our minds from thinking about who ate the meat—or who was eaten.

Specific studies have shown that the way we interact with animals partly shapes the way we categorize them. The more we think about an animal with human characteristics – like a dog – the more we feel that their meat is really unlikely to become food.

Although accusations of cannibalism are often falsely made to demonize or deify extremist, monstrous groups, in human history this heinous act has not been the case. rare. The Papua New Guinean tribe has a cannibalistic culture, believing that it is much better for those who love the dead to eat them than to be decomposed by worms and maggots. Or in the Renaissance era, eating corpses took place regularly for the purpose of medical research.

There’s no denying that we can adapt to human flesh if need be. Many people are really disgusted with all types of meat and turn to vegetarianism, while funeral workers or surgeons, animal butchers very quickly adapt to the initial difficulties of handling them. dead body. Studies carried out with animal slaughterhouses in the UK show that they easily adapt to frequent contact with animal parts – while the average consumer finds them disgusted.

However, humans will not necessarily ‘evolve backward’ in the near future. Although some philosophers have perplexedly argued that burying the dead is a waste in the context of the world facing the risk of global hunger, we do have plenty of alternatives. much more palatable than the flesh of a human. Now that vegetarianism is increasingly being proven to be healthy, and we can switch to eating more plants and less meat to conserve our dwindling resources. Insects can meet our daily protein needs, and the future holds great promise for the development of culture technology.

Up to now, we are really happy because we have not fallen into such a difficult situation that we have to ‘taste’ our fellow human flesh. Human flesh, despite its biochemical similarities to other mammals, any use of it as food, regardless of circumstances and ethics, still horrible and unacceptable.