“Of Cannibalism” by Michel de Montaigne

cannibals

Of Cannibals

I knew a guy who lived in Brazil for about 10 years or so. He was far to simple to be a liar and I had confidence that he wasn’t making anything up.

Most people would describe the people he was telling me about as barbarians or savages but I think of them as just closer to nature than us, with simpler minds that weren’t clouded with things like letters, numbers, jobs, family, property, clothes, traffic, agriculture, booze, greed, treachery or honor.

They fight between many tribes with bows and arrows and wooden swords. There was usually a lot of blood. Nobody ran away from a losing battle and men would often bring home heads as trophies. Those who survived the battle on the losing side were taken prisoner, healed and made to eat their fellow prisoners. It was more about revenge than food.

When you think about it, it’s not any worse than when our soldiers torture their prisoners for information, revenge or just fun. But we get sick to our stomachs at the thought of cannibalism. Yet, we don’t bat an eye at what our boys do. Their warfare is every bit as noble as ours, perhaps even more so. Our battles are over conquest and getting luxuries. Their battles are over resources and survival.

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