28 April 2011
The concept of Cannibalism
“Food or no food, I was going to get out of there…I had to think about which miner was going to collapse first and then I started thinking about how I was going to eat him…I wasn’t embarrassed, I wasn’t scared”, Mario Sepulveda, one of the survivors of the collapsed Chilean mine which caved-in on August 5, 2010. The 33 miners whom were rescued last year after 69 days inside a Chilean mine at times pondered suicide and cannibalism (Usborn 1). This demonstrates cannibalism for survival or necessity. Merriam-Webster defines cannibalism as: 1) The usual ritualistic eating of human flesh by a human being; 2) the ...view middle of the document...
When reading about these types of cannibalism, it will give a whole new meaning about this practice that has been happening for hundreds of years.
Survival cannibalism takes place when someone who has no means of actual food consumption must choose eating another individual (should there be anybody around) and help prevent them from starving to death. The distinctive trait unique to survival cannibalism is that the person being eaten is usually dead before the decision to eat them is made. The story involving the Andes plane crash is an example of cannibalism for survival. The 32 survivors of the Andes plane crash that occurred on October 12, 1972, were only left with some alcohol, candy and a few miscellaneous items such as crackers and jam. The idea of eating flesh for the remaining survivors was repugnant, but as they grew weaker and weaker they came to the realization that this would be the only way for them to survive (Donner Party 4).
Dietary cannibalism occurs when humans are captured or otherwise obtained with the intent to be eaten. Unlike survival cannibalism, in which human flesh is eaten as a last resort after a person had died, in dietary cannibalism humans are purchased or trapped for food and then eaten as a part of a culture’s tradition. This form of cannibalism is believed to be rarer and is usually considered to be a sub-motivation of other forms of cannibalism, such as survival cannibalism.
The third type of cannibalism is religious or ritual cannibalism. Religious or ritual cannibalism occurs when the victim is sacrificed then eaten in a ceremonial fashion. This can occur with one victim or many victims at one time. This type of cannibalism is different from survival or dietary cannibalism in that it has a ceremonial purpose rather than one of nourishment. Cannibalism is a well known and widespread custom going back into early human history and has been found among peoples from peoples on most continents. In some regions, human flesh was looked upon as a form of food. For others, the consumption of certain portions or organs of the body was ritual for which powers of witchcraft might be employed (“Cannibalism” Encyclopedia Britannica 1).
One of the most well known examples of a serial killer to perform ritual cannibalism is Jeffrey Dahmer. Dahmer believed that by eating his victims, they would be with him forever. He claimed to be extremely lonely and had been all his life and he did not know how to get close to people. This case labels cannibalism as a mental disorder. His crimes were particularly gruesome because they...