Why do people fear cannibalism

From cannibalism

Treatise on the horror of eating

"Perceiving inarticulate forms creates an aesthetic pleasure." Only cool-thinking ethnologists like Mary Douglas are allowed to write so cynically about outlandish forms of human behavior. Cannibalism is one of the last real taboos, but it can be broken. In all cultures consuming a person is considered the ultimate attack on the person. Only the privileged are allowed to kill and have a monopoly on it. Whoever breaks the last taboos becomes "holy" in the religious sense - translated: "apart". The saint stands beyond the norm and, if he deviates from the norm by way of example, transforms himself into a symbol of the morally forbidden. The social discourse resembles a shamanistic ritual. He first conjures up evil in symbolic form, stages the appropriate feelings in front of the audience, tells the moral of the story and thus banishes it. The taboo belongs to the permitted behavior like the shadow to the light.

The fairy tale of someone who set out to learn to fear, discusses why someone does not have certain feelings that are generally taken for granted. The hero states at the beginning: "I don't shudder: it will probably be an art that I don't understand anything about either."

The problem is as old as mankind and the taboos it gives itself, and it will always remain unsolved. Why should there be one in front of Dr. Are you scared of Hannibal Lecter? Its attribute "serial killer" shows that it is an arduous undertaking to define a superlative of evil that avoids inappropriate comparisons such as the mass murder of the Shoah. Anthony Hopkins, however, can top Adolf Eichmann because his attributes demonstrate that traditional methods of disciplining someone do not always work: the tied up lecter with a leather mask symbolically shows the "inarticulate". The cannibal is a doctor, and behind the socially accepted facade horror can break out at any time and unexpectedly. This dissonance is aesthetically demanding - and scary. Evil is not banal, as with Adolf Eichmann, but takes on its real and recognizable form.

Shuddering is not an individual emotion, it only exists against the backdrop of collective experiences. Scary is part of everyday secular religion that channels feelings and allows them to take only certain forms. What counts as "uncontrolled" or "inarticulate" is the product of centuries of collective upbringing. Their results are stored in the unconscious through cultural practices. Norbert Elias' work of the century, The Process of Civilization, discusses in detail when which behavior is considered "modest", "moderate", "noble" - that is, as "suitable" or "unsuitable". Medically speaking, however, there is just as much or as little medically speaking against the consumption of human flesh as there is against eating pork. So why the fuss?

Fairy tales should shudder with relish. It would never occur to anyone to forbid children from fairy tales, although cannibalism is often casually described there, as if it were normal to have young children on the menu. In the story "Von dem Machandelboom" (Juniper) the (step-) mother slaughters a boy and processes him into Schwarzsauer. The father, who knows nothing about it, likes the meal. However, the killed boy has turned into a bird and reveals everything:

"My mother who slaughtered me
My father who ate me
My sister of the Marleenichen
Find all of my areas
And tie them in a silk cloth
Legts under the almond boom
Kywitt! Kywitt! oh watt een schoin fugel bin ik. "

The body reaction that is part of the creep is goose bumps (lat: "Cutis anserina" or "Reactio pilomotorica"), a mixture of defense and adrenaline rush. Both have emerged as typical and appropriate responses to danger in the human revolution. Goosebumps, as Elias Cannetti would put it, are related to eating and batting teeth:

"The most conspicuous instrument of power that humans and many animals carry are the teeth."

Consumption as well as laughter are two forms of staging social hierarchies: "Everything that is eaten is an object of power." Eating together creates society: the mother of all evening meals by Leonardo da Vinci, eating a loaf of bread together, demonstrates peace. And Canetti deciphered the secret group dynamic message in "Mass and Power" in a grim and cool analysis:

"You sit together, you bare your teeth, you eat, and even at this critical moment you don't have an appetite for the other. You respect yourself for it."

Also in the current case - not a doctor, but an engineer eats, supposedly by mutual agreement, a sysop the dramaturgy of the individual act follows unconscious collective rules (evil is always and everywhere).

"Those who eat for themselves are foregoing the reputation that this procedure gives them with others."

This enigmatic formulation by Canettis brings the matter to the point. If you want to kill yourself, you can do it alone. But there is more to it. An evolution of the relevant cultural practices during the meal would dictate the following sequence: Blotting of teeth as a form of aggression, laughing as a symbolic statement not to want to behave "uncontrollably", to incorporate - what is eaten becomes part of the self and is therefore common to all. Canetti's treatise on the psychology of food is appropriately titled "The Guts of Power."

"You laugh instead of eating it. It is the escaped food that makes you laugh; the sudden feeling of superiority, as Hobbes said ... It seems that the movements that emanate from the diaphragm are characteristic of laughing to replace, in summary, a series of internal looping movements of the body. "

The victim is lost and lost by becoming part of the other in an act of will.

The cannibalism discourse is ultimately moral theology: a defensive spell that conjures up collective mental and physical reactions and insists on the subsequent moral impetus to do what is good and not to do evil. Laughing is part of the magic defense like blotting your teeth. The test to the example: what is macabre, what makes you laugh anyway or because of it?

The word "barbecue" has an interesting history. It comes from the Carib word barbricot (www.zompist.com/indianwd.html). The Caribs - while the word "cannibal" - used the barbricot, a grill made of green boughs, to prepare their cannibal feasts.

Marvin Harris

Anthropophagy, cannibalism because one is simply hungry, has been part of Internet folklore for a long time anyway - and no one will succeed in using the animal that offers itself for consumption in Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" not to smile: "The tail is very good, I moved it a lot," growled the dairy animal, "that's why I have a lot of good meat there."

Only those who take rituals really seriously can no longer laugh here: "There are people like the Christian Jehovah's Witnesses who consider all human-to-human transplants as cannibalism. Isn't it cannibalism to use someone else's meat to do that? to maintain your own life? " (Awake !, September 8, 1968) (Burkhard Schröder)

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