Several months back my friend Els asked me to come up with a talk for her “Death Jam”, an evening of death themed talks, chit chat, tea and cake. I did this Cannibalism talk first at New Unity and then for my department where I recorded the video below. I cover a lot of topics including filial cannibalism, sexual cannibalism, cannibalism in Neanderthals and Hominids, gastronomic cannibalism, survival cannibalism, allegations of cannibalism used to malign groups of people (including the blood libel) and eating babies (e.g. “A Modest Proposal“). Please excuse the copious ums and ers!
Today I’m going on a Vipassana meditation retreat at Dhamma Dipa. It’s 10 days of silent meditation without reading, writing, internet, phone calls etc. I have less spiritual and more utilitarian reasons for embarking on this course than many people. It will certainly be uncomfortable but I’m interested in exercising my prefrontal cortex and learning techniques of self discipline and avoiding distraction that may help me be more effective. Also, I’m just quite a sensation seeking person generally and even if this doesn’t reboot my life it will be a deeply interesting experience (even if what’s interesting about it is how boring it is). Anyway, I won’t be on the blog, twitter or Facebook until late August. Hopefully when I get back I can make a video about the experience to post here.
“Good evening,” it lowed and sat back heavily on its haunches, “I am the main Dish of the Day. May I interest you in parts of my body?” -Douglas Adams “The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
Nonhuman animals raised for meat have been domesticated for thousands of years. Some characteristics that have been artificially selected for are earlier maturation, tolerance for crowding, reduced exploratory behavior and docility including an almost across the board decrease in brain size (and arguably intelligence, compared to their wild cousins).
As much as we have changed the behavior and responses of animals bred to be eaten we have not been able to breed out of them the desire to carry on living. What if animals could be bred who had no preferences about existing and who wanted to be eaten?