Eating other people in survival situations

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  • #1
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Is it okay for people to eat each other in survival situations such as on rafts at sea, or should we be willing to die instead of stooping so low?
My own personal thought on this is that when the human body gets desperate for nutrition and water the brain (in most people) shuts down its morality circuits and "squeamishness" circuits and says; "Hey! I don't wanna suffer no more - get munching!" Maybe the prefrontal cortex gets damaged
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa003&articleID=76613503-E7F2-99DF-3E772052740833A2&ref=rss

What do you think?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Rade
Are they first dead ? If yes, then yes, if no, then no.
 
  • #3
radou
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Are they first dead ? If yes, then yes, if no, then no.

Blah, if you can eat them dead, you can eat them alive as well. "Hey, gimme that arm, will you!!" :tongue2:
 
  • #4
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I think it's "nicer" to eat something(one) after they die rather than chew on them and listen to the screaming. (Farm stuff)....BUT if I was REALLY starving, I would break their neck first, then chow down...it comes down to a situation that most of us have never been in (nor will ever be).
How can you know what you would do? You do not.
You might consider your morality and your convictions, but if it boils down to eat or be eaten, I'd be EATING...
 
  • #5
baywax
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Say you're drifting alone for too many days. Which part of your own body are you going to start eating?
 
  • #6
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Even reading this thread is nauseating. :yuck:
 
  • #7
arildno
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If you accept the dictum that in all situations there exists at least one option that it is morally permissible for an individual to make in order to heighten his chances for physical survival, it follows that yes, there may be extreme cases in which it is permissible to eat another person.
(Of course, that other person will have the same right to eat you).
 
  • #8
radou
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Say you're drifting alone for too many days. Which part of your own body are you going to start eating?

If we start answering this questions, I think this thread will get out of control and end up locked. :tongue:
 
  • #9
arildno
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Say you're drifting alone for too many days. Which part of your own body are you going to start eating?
My left earlobe.
I have never liked it much.
 
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  • #11
radou
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My left earlobe.
I have never liked it much.

How on earth would you do that?

I'd eat a piece of my bottom, but I don't know how on earth I'd do that.

(Assume, of course, you don't posess any cutting device.)
 
  • #12
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Blah, if you can eat them dead, you can eat them alive as well. "Hey, gimme that arm, will you!!" :tongue2:
Hey radou,do you have any recollections of certain thread yesterday mentioning some "primitive tribes" that inhabit region of Balkan ? :uhh:
 
  • #13
radou
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Hey radou,do you have any recollections of certain thread yesterday mentioning some "primitive tribes" that inhabit region of Balkan ? :uhh:

You can't be serious. :tongue:
 
  • #14
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I know one thing for sure:I haven't eaten human meat (raw / roasted/cooked) for nutrition purposes yet.Fortunately.
BTW,few years back I read this book describing true true story of plane crashers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alive:_The_Story_of_the_Andes_Survivors

Frightening and fascinating.
There is a translation of it in Croatian you can get in libraries/bookstores.
 
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  • #15
radou
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Well,I know one thing for sure:I haven't eaten human meat (raw / roasted/cooked) for nutrition purposes yet.
Fortunately.

Really? That's interesting. :biggrin:
 
  • #16
arildno
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The only reason why we regard eating others as "morally difficult", even when it is our sole chance of physical survival, is that such situations happen to be so rare that our habituation mechanism hasn't been set in motion.

If it were a common-place situation we found ourselves in, we wouldn't think it morally difficult to do so at all. And, we would still have the right to call ourselves moral individuals with a conscience.
 
  • #17
baywax
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If we start answering this questions, I think this thread will get out of control and end up locked. :tongue:

Actually, your body would be eating it's self. Your whole body would be your kidney pie, so to speak:yuck:
 
  • #18
arildno
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Perhaps it is better to have a kidney pie than a meat loaf..
 
  • #19
How on earth would you do that?

I'd eat a piece of my bottom, but I don't know how on earth I'd do that.

(Assume, of course, you don't posess any cutting device.)

You could feed yourself and do crude "plastic" surgery at the same time!
 
  • #20
radou
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You could feed yourself and do crude "plastic" surgery at the same time!

Perhaps that's the beginning of a whole new era of plastic surgery.
 
  • #21
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You cant ask a question like that. The first question you have to ask is if you would eat human as delicacy. If so, you would have no problem eating a man if you were starving. On the other hand you would be very afraid to eat another man if you never given it any thought. Both questions create very interesting investigation.
 
  • #22
radou
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You cant ask a question like that. The first question you have to ask is if you would eat human as delicacy. If so, you would have no problem eating a man if you were starving. On the other hand you would be very afraid to eat another man if you never given it any thought. Both questions create very interesting investigation.

Well, I guess that the "delicacy-issue" most definitely wouldn't create an interesting investigation.
 
  • #23
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I forgot to mention that I love Nietzsche. So.. Would a noble man eat another man in any circumstance? or.. Would a surviver of things resort to their last chance like they always do? Examples of 2 very different lifestyles and mindsets.
 
  • #24
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Is it okay for people to eat each other in survival situations such as on rafts at sea, or should we be willing to die instead of stooping so low... What do you think?

if above question can be rephrased to "would you rather eat someone or starve to death", I say I would eat someone.

our Mother Nature is the greatest judge of all things; She would punish me for not eating with death, and reward for eating with another few moments of life, so She probably thinks eating others for your own survival is good thing. you might say, such an extreme cannibalism is naturally selected.
 
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  • #25
baywax
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Perhaps it is better to have a kidney pie than a meat loaf..

So the criteria for a large majority of the members of the team (that gets lost and starving) would only be those people with lean muscle, no trans fatty acids, eat a lot of garlic and are already partially marinated in wine or beer.
 
  • #26
radou
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So the criteria for a large majority of the members of the team (that gets lost and starving) would only be those people with lean muscle, no trans fatty acids, eat a lot of garlic and are already partially marinated in wine or beer.

:rofl: :rofl:
 
  • #27
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to add to my above opinion, if our morals allow us to kill people in wars for the sake of making some other people richer, there should be no problem with killing for the sake of your own life. if you morals says otherwise, it works against you - get rid of it.
 
  • #28
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Why wouldn't you embrace death then? Are you so afraid of death that you have to resort to eating your friends and family? Why are you so greedy? Why wouldnt you allow your friends and family to eat you?
 
  • #29
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I can answer this with words of Sunny from "I, Robot": I think it would be better not to die.
 
  • #30
arildno
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Why wouldn't you embrace death then? Are you so afraid of death that you have to resort to eating your friends and family? Why are you so greedy? Why wouldnt you allow your friends and family to eat you?
Eeh, which individuals have a moral OBLIGATION to lay down their own lives in order to let others get food?
 
  • #31
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This goes back to being self serving or not. The only obligation you have is to a requirement for living - eating. This is all very human.. Saying most animals eat when they starve.
The act of choosing to overcome your bodies need for food by starving your self would ultimately prove to how strong your mind is or how weak your body is. If you allowed your friends/family to eat you then one could conclude that you were a "hero". You have no obligation to let them consume you and you certainly don't have to let your life fade away. You do have the choice to stay true to principle. If you are an individual who contemplates eating people or if you had vivid dreams of where you were given the choice to eat another person, you don’t not appear to share the same character values that I have.
There is no way to say weather that act is right or wrong because the act is satisfying one of the two needs that are necessary to survive - food and shelter. Since "food" is a bland word and it seems possible to survive by eating a fellow man then you are justified. But if your just having a taste, make it the brain.
 
  • #32
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as for "hero" thing... there was a real story I once read in some book. mother gives her under-5-years-old son a pack of cakes and says "share it with your brother like brothers do", he replies "how's that", and she explains "give him more, keep less to yourself". boy does not think a minute and returns the package, saying "you better give it to my brother".
 
  • #33
arildno
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The hero is heroic precisely because he makes a non-obligatory self-sacrifice.
That is another dimension to human life than the dimension that has to do with what is morally obligatory or not (of course, acts of heroic self-sacrifice are morally permissible, which is not relevant in this context)

In particular, you cannot fault anyone for not being heroes.
Nor can you fault anyone for performing the sole act that seems to secure their own physical survival.
 
  • #34
turbo
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Do you want an example of self-sacrifice under the most dire circumstances? Google on "Owen Coffin" and perhaps on the ship's name "Essex". The whale who precipitated the disaster was Mocha Dick, the inspiration for Melville's murderous white whale.
 
  • #35
baywax
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The hero is heroic precisely because he makes a non-obligatory self-sacrifice.
That is another dimension to human life than the dimension that has to do with what is morally obligatory or not (of course, acts of heroic self-sacrifice are morally permissible, which is not relevant in this context)

In particular, you cannot fault anyone for not being heroes.
Nor can you fault anyone for performing the sole act that seems to secure their own physical survival.

The true hero of the team was found frozen in an ice cave just metres from the camp. We were hungry so we started to peel his parka from his rock hard long johns and blue skin. We found a pepper grinder and a nice bottle of Chianti in one of his pockets and a note that simply said "gutten apéritif" which means "good eats" in Luxembourgish.

Luxembourgish is the local language of Luxembourg. Its a form of German with a strong admixture of French. Its also known as Letzeburgesch but this designation seems heavily influenced by the Deutch.

The man in the frozen long johns is a hero because he prepared himself for a dinner where he might be the main course. He alleviated his team member's hesitations about eating him by leaving an "AOK" to their sense of moral inhibitions with one, final, truely selfless act. In fact, once the parka was off, they found that his long johns had a red checker pattern to them, like a French table clothe.
 
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