Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow

You ought to be recycled

Scientists and philosophers have advanced a few criteria that distinguish humans from animals. Among these are the fact that humans are bipeds (but also birds are and some mammals like kangaroos), that humans use hands for purposes other than moving the body or catching prey, that humans use tools with which they make other tools, that humans have developed speech that is unmatched by any system of communication that animals have, that humans can think abstractly, imagining or visualizing things that have never been or are yet to come or to be made, that humans have developed religious faith and so on, and so forth. One more threshold separating animals from humans is the fact that unlike animals humans take care of their dead: humans do not leave them behind; rather, they practise funeral rites (religious or non-religious, it doesn’t matter) and bury the dead in special places in a special way. Throughout centuries if not millennia the human body – usually regarded as a dwelling of human spirit, a soul, a divine spark – was accorded special respect. In Christianity it was even compared to or regarded as a temple, a temple of the Holy Spirit i.e. of God himself. Defilement of the body, including defilement of the dead body – even the body of a bitter enemy – has always been viewed as a repellent act of barbarism and primitivism.

Lo and behold the first quarter of the 21st century is taking steps towards regarding the human body as – first – a burden for the planet, for the earth, and – second – as a lump of biological material that can be put to good use. A new bill on natural organic reduction first signed in the state of Washington and recently in California allows dead human bodies to be composted rather than buried or cremated and then as a result of the process known as liquid cremation to be turned into fertilizer for soil. The composting will be done in licensed hydrolysis facilities using heat, pressure, water, and chemical agents.

If two American states have issued such a ruling, others are likely to follow. Bearing in mind the pervasive presence of the climate change and decarbonization clap-trap, the European Union’s countries are also likely to consider such a solution. Why not? After years of making people believe that they are a burden on the planet and that cremation of deceased bodies leaves a large carbon footprint, after years of suppressing any belief in the existence of the soul, humans have lost the due respect to their bodies, especially when those bodies are not alive.

It is interesting to remark that after the long-induced self-hate of white people of European descent who have been made to leave the space that they occupy for non-whites and who have been made to denigrate their own past, culture and heroes the time has arrived for the same people to be made to think low of their own bodies. Already when those bodies are alive you are encouraged to cover them with all sorts of tattoos, to pierce earlobes and lips and tongues, to misshape foreheads and earlobes – a sign of either cultural atavism or disrespect for the body – then why should you pay any respect to this misshaped something after it is of no use to you? You ought to be useful in a material sense of the word after your death, your body ought to be useful the way animal bodies are: you ought to be recycled.

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