Re: META: barfsome terminology

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 05 Oct 1999 01:31:49 -0400

Damien Broderick wrote:
> I'd like to suggest that people stop using the term `meat' about human beings.
> I know there's a tradition behind this usage. I realise it's partially
> meant to wean us off our enculturated regard for the contingent fact that
> minds are currently instantiated in flesh rather than on other substrates.
> But it's an unnecessarily offensive term, when you stop and look at it for
> a moment.
> `Meat' is dead flesh intended for eating. Few of us eat human remains. Most
> people are revolted by the idea. Conflating healthy, alert living people
> with slabs of stuff at the butcher's counter is... well, it's
> counter-productive.
> I'd like to suggest a moratorium on this usage, not because I'm squeamish
> but because a vast number of the people we'd like to guide to a better
> understanding of the coming world *are*. I'm not sure what term to offer in
> replacement, but perhaps *protein body* might do? That's also a tad
> dehumanised, but it doesn't have the swaggering adolescent taint of *meat*.
> I don't mean to offend anyone who has used this term, certainly not the two
> excellent people cited above. But we need to be careful about the
> side-consequences of the words we allow to shape the reception of our
> ideas, which have a sufficiently uphill battle already.

Now this makes for another one of those 'only in extropia' type pardoxical questions: If you are cryo'ed, then uploaded and then downloaded into a freshly cloned body, and you eat your own frozen flesh for dinner afterwards, is that cannibalism, since its really just you anyways? If it is, that means that everytime you taste your own blood you are a cannibal. Kind of gives new meaning to the saying 'go eat yourself.' ;-P

Mike Lorrey