What would it take for you to eat another human being just to keep yourself alive? Would it take just hunger? Would it take such pure hatred of another person that you’d want to eat them just to shit them out? Would you have to be in a survival situation where your soul had been destroyed to the point you no longer even had control of what you were doing because your primal instincts to stay alive had taken over and therefore, food was anything editable including but not limited to, another human being? (Yeah, that last question was a breath full.)
I’ve thought about this quite a lot recently. After having been pointed to the story of Tom Dudley, Edwin Stephens and Richard Parker, I thought about this a lot. The story entails a survival between three people who are adrift at sea and trying to figure out how to survive. One of them (Parker) gets too sick on sea water and is dying a little bit faster then the others. The other two decide that they will kill and eat the dying one, to preserve their own lives, making up whatever excuses they needed to (such as that they had family’s), to make things okay.
Now had I been any younger, I might have said it would depend on the situation. I of course would never kill and eat another human being for the sake of staying alive. It never occurred to me why I held that decision, but I did hold it.
But during this day and age, upon first thinking about it, the only reasons I could think of to consume another human being were these. First, if eating one meant keeping a thousand alive. There would be a consideration. I’m not saying I have made that decision at all. But there would be a greater good consideration there for sure and I’m not entirely sure when a situation would call for one being eaten to keep a thousand alive.
The second reason, would have been to save a child. If you think about it, the child would have zero ways of protecting and fending for themselves. And that would be the only reason to consume another human being so that the child didn’t have to endure that kind of painful and starving death.
However upon a deeper analysis of said situation in the case of Dudley, Stephens and Parker, and a deeper understanding of myself as a human being and how I’ve come to try and think about the good of the future of humanity, I would never ever kill another person to eat them. Ever.
You see in the process of doing that, regardless of the reason why, I would be destroying my own soul as I did it. There wouldn’t then be a reason for me to be alive anymore if I were to do something like that. And that is morally speaking. How long do you think a person could survive knowing that they killed and consumed another human being once they were back in the normal world. The whole point of survival would be to survive so that you can make it back the world you once knew and loved. Otherwise, you’d just let yourself die accepting your fate.
Even if it came down to saving the child from the example above, one horrible bad for another good? What would it do to the child to come to know that that had happened? And then for them to think that it had happened due to their existence? You can explain it to them all you want, but logic would eventually dictate that had they not been there, another person wouldn’t have had to do something horrible to another just to save them.
Even after Dudley and Stephens had survived, there wasn’t much left of them. I’m not entirely sure how their mental capacity was after the event, but their lives were definitely not the same after being rescued. They were honest about what they had done, but what else were they to do? They could have lied sure. But even with the best of intentions, and being forthcoming about what they had done, they felt compelled to be honest to try and right that wrong and it didn’t work. Which then resulted in court case after court case of trying to figure out if what they had done was wrong or not or made an exception to the circumstances.
And not only that, people would have never looked at them the same again. Almost as if they were no longer human. For when you eat another human having come to understand everything we have come to understand in the modern day, you also eat your own soul.
My biggest point I can pass on is this. When things get tough, and you can’t seem to see a way out. Accept your fate, but keep trying to look for alternatives. There will always be a way. And there will always be death, but giving up to death should never be the option. Doing something worse to make living just as bad as death should never be an option either.
Sometimes we are presented with options that might seem feasible in the short run. And we can create a barrage of reasons and or excuses as to why it should be done. Sometimes they will be purely selfish, and sometimes they might seem purely logical.
The most important thing to ask when you’re not sure about the lesser of two evils is this;
At what cost?