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human sacrifices

Arkteia

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I read this article on yahoo about a male star who refused to fix his crooked teeth... and remembered a story about Sophia Loren. Many times producers offered her to do plastic surgery to make her nose smaller... and she refused because she said it made her what she was. In hindsight, movie critics agreed that she was right. Imperfect but beautiful face became her trademark. But this story also demonstrates how sure of herself she was.

So how does it relate to human sacrifices? I have read this articles in a very interesting compendium, "Encyclopedia of religion" (12 volumes, so they do not allow me to check it out from the library!). Of interest, the predominant majority of human sacrifices in the history of mankind, from prehistoric times to more recent ones, were women . Kids came next. Males were not sacrificed often, unless they were prisoners of war.

It has made something to women's mentality. It may be already ingrained in our genes. Women learned to view themselves as expendable. Sociologists and anthropologists now believe that such things as anorexia-bulimia, plastic surgery, cutting, high heels and many other things associated with pain but common are rudiments of ages of human sacrifices. It also explains characteristic behaviors of girls raised by abusive or aggressive men. To me it shed a new light on borderline personality disorder.

This is what sociologists think. I give one generation for things to change, but it is my personal opinion. I know I walk far away from gems by posting this, but I thought it could be interesting to some women...

So perhaps Sophia Loren who refused to sacrifice her big nose for the sake of becoming more photogenic was so successful because deep inside she did not view herself as a victim.
 

lyra

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Would you explain how you think this sheds light on borderline personality disorder? My sister is a borderline, and I haven't really figured out what socio-developmental issues she might have had. I keep hearing about BPD from the perspective (layman's terms) of it being "caused" by abuse. She did not have that to my knowledge, although she is 5 years older than me. Any thoughts would be interesting.
 

Imdanny

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Sociologists disagree, like any social scientists do. I'm not convinced that victims of human sacrifice have primarily been women. I'd have to see some proof of that.
 

JewelFreak

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I wonder how anybody would know -- archaeologists still argue about whether some ancient civilizations did or did not sacrifice people, so at best that would be a guess.

The women who were sacrificed, no differently from others (except captives), didn't see it as their being expendable. It was an honor & guaranteed them a reward wherever they expected to go. So I don't see a correlation.

It's been a while since I did much reading on personality disorders but I believe -- perhaps somebody with more knowledge will correct me if I'm wrong -- that the theory of abuse causing them is somewhat out of date. The thinking now seems to be that it's a combination of genetic makeup and experience -- not necessarily lurid abuse, but things that, acting on someone with different genes, wouldn't cause problems. Evidenced by killers with this or that p.d. whose mentally normal siblings grew up in the same environment without harm.

I do think women tend to turn their angers, resentments, emptinesses, inward & damage themselves more than men do. I wonder if that has diminished as girls & women have gained the freedoms & rewards (and stresses) that earlier women lacked. No way to know -- it certainly wouldn't have been spoken of in "olden times," a shameful, puzzling behavior then. Comparative statistics are impossible to find. The fact that more of this is reported now doesn't mean it happens more, just that it is reported & discussed more.

--- Laurie
 

Arkteia

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Imdanny|1310858940|2970560 said:
Sociologists disagree, like any social scientists do. I'm not convinced that victims of human sacrifice have primarily been women. I'd have to see some proof of that.
Just an example, during excavations of old Phoenician cities at sacrificial areas (I think they were called "melek" or "melech", hence the God Moloch in Flaubert's "Salambo") many urns with skeletons of burned women and children were found. I have to search in my library, if needed, but I have several books on Phoenicia so it will take a while.

I have no doubt that human sacrifices were widely practiced. In fact, Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, among other things, implies transition from human sacrifices to animal sacrifices. A similar story exists in Greek Mythology, (Agamemon's daughter Iphigenia, sacrificed at Artemis's altar, at the last moment is transferred far away by Artemis who replaces her by a deer). There are so many "parallel myths" indicating transitions from human to animal sacrifices that it would be difficult to dismiss the theory that human sacrifices existed.
 

Arkteia

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JewelFreak|1310861002|2970579 said:
I wonder how anybody would know -- archaeologists still argue about whether some ancient civilizations did or did not sacrifice people, so at best that would be a guess.

The women who were sacrificed, no differently from others (except captives), didn't see it as their being expendable. It was an honor & guaranteed them a reward wherever they expected to go. So I don't see a correlation.

It's been a while since I did much reading on personality disorders but I believe -- perhaps somebody with more knowledge will correct me if I'm wrong -- that the theory of abuse causing them is somewhat out of date. The thinking now seems to be that it's a combination of genetic makeup and experience -- not necessarily lurid abuse, but things that, acting on someone with different genes, wouldn't cause problems. Evidenced by killers with this or that p.d. whose mentally normal siblings grew up in the same environment without harm.

I do think women tend to turn their angers, resentments, emptinesses, inward & damage themselves more than men do. I wonder if that has diminished as girls & women have gained the freedoms & rewards (and stresses) that earlier women lacked. No way to know -- it certainly wouldn't have been spoken of in "olden times," a shameful, puzzling behavior then. Comparative statistics are impossible to find. The fact that more of this is reported now doesn't mean it happens more, just that it is reported & discussed more.

--- Laurie
Laurie - Plus, excavations of ancient graves give indications that women accompanying their husbands to the other world were sacrificed, judging by the way they were killed.

We do not know the feelings of a woman being sacrificed. Usually, a rich knight would be buried with his wife or members of his household (in many cases including his horse as well); certainly we are unaware of whether she viewed it as an honor, a routine or a personal tragedy.But for many centuries, women were more expendable than men, except for certain, very few, ethnic groups.
 

kelpie

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lyra|1310856836|2970554 said:
Would you explain how you think this sheds light on borderline personality disorder? My sister is a borderline, and I haven't really figured out what socio-developmental issues she might have had. I keep hearing about BPD from the perspective (layman's terms) of it being "caused" by abuse. She did not have that to my knowledge, although she is 5 years older than me. Any thoughts would be interesting.
I have an insightful friend who grew up dirt poor on a reservation and was constantly being beaten by his alcoholic dad. He is successful and well adjusted though he does care more about his image than the average guy. He told me people ask him how he overcame his harsh childhood and he said what people don't understand is pain is pain no matter where you find it. He knew people who were more emotionally damaged than him because their sister got a mercedes for college graduation while they only got a lexus. How we perceive inequities great or small determines how they impact us.
 

Arkteia

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I know a woman who was horribly abused in childhood and yet shows no signs of BPD or any dysfunction. Her two siblings are a mess. She said that the way she escaped (emotionally) was to tell herself after each beating that it was not her fault, but it was her dad who was wrong. She did it consistently, and escaped emotional trauma.

I started explaining BPD in the light of human development, and failed, because I am so sleepy... I shall try tomorrow.
 

JewelFreak

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Of course we don't know for certain what they thought, Crasru, & we can be sure not all of them got with the program when it was their turn. I agree that women were sacrificed far more than men, except for captives, and slaves or servants in some cultures who were "sent along" with their masters to the afterlife. (I'm not sure that qualifies as sacrifice, however -- it's not an offering to a god.)

One important element: they chose someone who mattered -- old literature is full of revenges taken by the gods for an insufficient sacrifice, so a lowly outcast wouldn't do. We shouldn't forget that life was not valued in those days as we value it now, possibly because it was, as Hobbes said, nasty, brutish & short. Being chosen -- precisely because it was a genuine sacrifice to lose her -- must have been an honor. The whole point was to offer someone it was painful to lose, who was NOT expendable: hence child sacrifice or the chief's daughter. I think I've read that the Aztecs used men too -- great athletes, e.g.

They genuinely believed sending a valued human to the gods was a worthwhile gesture -- it's impossible to put our heads where theirs were: they understood NOTHING about why things happen. Plagues, natural catastrophes, occurred without cause; therefore they must be due to some solecism mankind committed & giving up a valued person would fix things. The sacrifices as well as the sacrificers grew up in this belief -- and therefore, those chosen were saving their people. It made them special. They expected to remain so in whatever afterlife they expected.

He knew people who were more emotionally damaged than him because their sister got a mercedes for college graduation while they only got a lexus. How we perceive inequities great or small determines how they impact us.
Exactly. And that could be where genetics come in. Don't know if we'll ever solve the relationship.

--- Laurie
 

partgypsy

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As James Brown says, "it's a man's world". I think the proportion of man/woman sacrifices would depend on the culture and the circumstances, but I wouldn't be surprised if many women were sacrificed. Just think of the stories of the minotar or princesses being sacrificed to dragons.

I wouldn't necessarily related cosmetic surgery to human sacrifice (that practice is not really contemporary) except on the general terms of how an individual feels their worth is. Most cultures relate a woman's "value" in her appearance or desirability, while men, while they don't mind looking good, don't typically invest most of their self-worth in that area.

I'm surprised to hear that story because I think of Sophia Loren simply as strikingly beautiful and never noticed her nose being particularly big. Looking at film and theatre during that time and earlier there seemed more of a range of what was considered a beautiful face and body, with some people having bigger noses, bigger chins, bigger hips, what have you. I'm glad she didn't do it!
 

JewelFreak

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I've never thought Sophia Loren was even pretty -- more, um, lush looking, can't think of a better word.

I loved that Katherine Hepburn never had a facelift; that impressed me a lot. When I worked for Newsweek, one day I saw her sitting in a limo on Madison outside the Newsweek bldg. She was old by then. As I walked by, she was looking down at something in her lap -- jowels, saggy chin & all. Takes a lot of self-assurance in her business, what a girl all around.

As to human sacrifice, if we look at practices in the past through the prism of modern culture, we don't get the picture. Yes, women have through most of history been under- or unvalued, though there have been societies where they had full rights -- for short periods at least. The vast majority of women, though, expected nothing else & being resentful didn't occur to them. They grew up in the same culture, brought up their daughters (& sons) as they were raised. To them, things seemed right, since they didn't know an alternative existed. You could take the present-day niqab as an example: I would find intolerable the concept that I must be made essentially invisible in public but most women in countries that require them feel safe & appropriately "modest." Or look at women in the U.S. 150 yrs ago, who were appalled at early calls for female suffrage because it would "compromise our femininity, take us off our pedestal to be involved in rough & ready politics." It's all in what we're brought up to believe & what our particular culture believes.

I think a connection between plastic surgery and human sacrifice is a very tenuous thread. Sounds to me like it came from somebody modeling history to prove a point.

--- Laurie
 

Imdanny

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Madonna's had a lot of plastic surgery. Madonna views herself as a victim? I think it's a preposterous theory.
 

Indylady

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Imdanny|1311024481|2971687 said:
Madonna's had a lot of plastic surgery. Madonna views herself as a victim? I think it's a preposterous theory.
Victim is a strong word, but I understand the idea behind it. Most people have plastic surgery because they're insecure about a body feature and they'd like to change it--and, of course most people change themselves to 'fit' and conform to 'prized' standards of beauty. Some do have plastic surgery to be different and fit into what they imagine themselves to be, like getting forked lizard tongues, but if you are having plastic surgery (and going through the pain, effort, costs) to be more conventionally beautiful, I can see why some might make the argument that you are a 'victim' though I think that isn't the appropriate word.
 

Arkteia

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JewelFreak|1310900288|2970725 said:
Of course we don't know for certain what they thought, Crasru, & we can be sure not all of them got with the program when it was their turn. I agree that women were sacrificed far more than men, except for captives, and slaves or servants in some cultures who were "sent along" with their masters to the afterlife. (I'm not sure that qualifies as sacrifice, however -- it's not an offering to a god.)

One important element: they chose someone who mattered -- old literature is full of revenges taken by the gods for an insufficient sacrifice, so a lowly outcast wouldn't do. We shouldn't forget that life was not valued in those days as we value it now, possibly because it was, as Hobbes said, nasty, brutish & short. Being chosen -- precisely because it was a genuine sacrifice to lose her -- must have been an honor. The whole point was to offer someone it was painful to lose, who was NOT expendable: hence child sacrifice or the chief's daughter. I think I've read that the Aztecs used men too -- great athletes, e.g.

They genuinely believed sending a valued human to the gods was a worthwhile gesture -- it's impossible to put our heads where theirs were: they understood NOTHING about why things happen. Plagues, natural catastrophes, occurred without cause; therefore they must be due to some solecism mankind committed & giving up a valued person would fix things. The sacrifices as well as the sacrificers grew up in this belief -- and therefore, those chosen were saving their people. It made them special. They expected to remain so in whatever afterlife they expected.

He knew people who were more emotionally damaged than him because their sister got a mercedes for college graduation while they only got a lexus. How we perceive inequities great or small determines how they impact us.
Exactly. And that could be where genetics come in. Don't know if we'll ever solve the relationship.

--- Laurie
Came back to it... 11:30 pm, should be in bed by now.
If the sacrificed viewed this as an "honor", why would Perseus save Andromede? Why would she beg to be saved? Mythology is full of examples of a hero saving the ones chosen for sacrifice - apparently, they did not always welcome the idea. Theseus went as far as join the group of the ones sent to be devoured by Minotaur (and you are right, they were all of noble families) and together they planned and schemed how to escape...As to lowly outcasts, I think they were sacrificed, and in abundance, but the history did not keep their names or else they had no names.

As to the firstborn child - actually, they were not the most valued. I read it somewhere - due to marriage and pre-marriage customs of some cultures (such as Babylon), the chance of your firstborn child being not your biological child is higher, so it is easier to sacrifice him.

I agree, life was short and unpredictable those days and men had a higher chance to die young, of wounds, be it hunting or war. So women were in abundance which could probably explain the choice of sacrifice.
It is impossible to tell how much they understood because so much evidence is lost. In wars, and the fire that burned the Bibliotheca Alexandria. We can only assume.

Sophia Loren in Europe is viewed as a serious actress and in many serious movies she is seen at angles that do not favor her quite sizable nose. Her Hollywood movies are prettily made and I suspect that the advertisement was beautiful, too, so she was shot at most favorable angles.

Laurie, you like Katherine Hepburn, I have the same feelings towards the famous French actress Annie Girardot. She was not beautiful at all, and became successful when she was not too young but had a face that spoke volumes.
 

MissStepcut

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I agree that sacrifice doesn't really comport with expendability:
1) men are lost at war, so the death of a man might not have seemed particularly impactful
2) rights or no rights within society, women are always valuable: 100 women and a couple men could re-populate a city; the reverse isn't true. They're clearly highly valuable from a growth/strength point of view, so the sacrifice was likely more "valuable" to a god.

With regards to plastic surgery... why couldn't it simply be that a woman wants to take advantage of what's available to maximize her aesthetic potential? That's why I did it.
 

JewelFreak

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you like Katherine Hepburn, I have the same feelings towards the famous French actress Annie Girardot. She was not beautiful at all, and became successful when she was not too young but had a face that spoke volumes.
Yes, Crasru. And Simone Signoret -- a superb actress & actually ugly as a mud fence. But after a few minutes she is beautiful, even well past middle age, her facial expressions, the intelligence in her eyes & the way she moves. She always captivated me.

This is a good subject; I've thought about it a fair bit. I suppose we'll never know how the sacrificees felt about the matter. I'm sure they didn't go romping to the altar. From inscriptions, etc., it's apparent that some cultures used drugs to bring on a transcendental state. We have to put ourselves into the context of each society to understand & realize that citizens were raised immersed in the need & reasons for their practices. I don't think the norm was to use "lowly outcasts" for ritual sacrifice -- if the offering wasn't valuable to the offerers, the gods didn't want them either. Giving away something of no value to you is not a sacrifice. Even animals -- they didn't sacrifice the sickly goats nobody wanted to eat; they chose the best ones to give the gods -- a genuine loss in an era where nutrition was a constant battle.

I can't see any connection of plastic surgery w/human sacrifice; that's too far a reach for me. If an adult has it to conform to a societal idea of beauty, it seems reasonable to me -- as long as she or he doesn't expect it to magically fix anything about life. Men are doing it increasingly too -- & this guy's original point dealt w/women. Those who have it over & over have something else going on in the noggin. I think cutting, etc., comes from self-hatred & cries for help -- people did not sacrifice themselves in old times; somebody else did it to them.
 

diamondseeker2006

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I agree that any connection between human sacrifice and cosmetic surgery is absurd. So since I wear make-up, that makes me some kind of person with borderline personality disorder or an oppressed woman??? Come on! Women get cosmetic surgery for the same reason I wear make-up, and that is because I think it makes me look better and feel better about my appearance! I have never had cosmetic surgery and don't plan to, but I know many people who have had minor things done (mostly because of something that was understandable) and I say more power to them!
 

dragonfly411

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Imdanny|1311024481|2971687 said:
Madonna's had a lot of plastic surgery. Madonna views herself as a victim? I think it's a preposterous theory.

Not a victim, but insecure.
 
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