I was caught in an argument today about the morality of necrophilia and I started asking myself: what’s the whole ordeal with death and corpses in today’s society?
To begin with, we have to set some boundaries. If a being has life and an object has no life, corpses are objects.
No matter if they are very old (Egyptian mummies) or very fresh (a dead aquarium fish), corpses are still objects. For centuries, they have been used for scientific research, especially in the field of medicine.
We teach our kids to be curious about corpses, we use them in schools, museums, art galleries or vintage shops as pedagogical materials or fancy souvenirs. We treat most animals and plants as being disposable after death, either flushing them down the drain or eating them in a fancy restaurant. Why is it that our own bodies scare us so much?
There is no “if I will die”, there is just a “when I will die”.
So… when I will die, who will own my corpse? If I have no life left in it, why does it matter if I rot underground, burn to ashes or become part of somebody’s sexual fantasy. Why is being eaten by worms in a cemetery full of rotting bodies considered “moral”, but people having a romantic interest in dead bodies considered unacceptable?
This is all due to society’s brainwashing abilities. We propagate ideas we don’t own to generations who don’t need them. Let’s be honest for a second: you might be completely outraged by a necrophile in some remote village, but bored to death by the news of thousands dying from famine and war in Syria, Somalia or Bangladesh.
We don’t really care about the corpses, we simply cling to the idea that there is something alive left in them, that they have some kind of value. That is why some are “pretty”, some are “priceless” and some are just “appetizers”.
Why is it commonplace nowadays to use plastic objects for sexual arousal, when masturbation was frowned upon by religious fanatics for centuries? Because times change! Maybe in a few decades, talking about necrophilia will not be such a tabu topic.
Even so, you might say: ohh wait, necrophiles will kill you so they can have sex with you. Well, based on that faulty logic, people will kill you for so many other reasons besides sex.
You might also say: ohh wait, grave robbing is illegal and immoral, but who actually owns those objects in the grave? The family that paid for a patch of ground in the cemetery? What if the dead body has no living relatives? Does the state own the remains? Why would the state care about the dead and not the living?
What I find fascinating is how chill people are about exhumation: in most countries, citizens can demand this unearthing procedure when moving from one place to another. They literally want to take the corpse with them on the trip! Most of the times, it is just bones in a coffin, but still, how is this perfectly “normal”? What about keeping your grandma’s ashes in an urn next to the family photos? Still “normal”!
Why do we make commerce with dead cows and blame people on the spot for commercializing human bones? Why do we praise individuals enrolling in the army that live to kill, yet look down upon organ donors who save lives after death?
Why do we only value some lives? Is the saying “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” correct? As far as I understand, there are laws protecting the integrity and memory of human corpses, but why don’t we also protect the integrity of the millions of animals we kill yearly? Are we that hypocritical?
The next time you want to blame somebody for having sex with corpses, think about the ones you wear, eat and even kiss during religious ceremonies. 😀