Archive for April, 2012

Today, numerous news outlets reported of the potential for a new law in Egypt called the “farewell intercourse” law.  Although the validity of the law has come into question, and it seems that the law may never come to pass, the very mention of such a law speaks to the most destructive plight that mankind faces in the dawn of the technological era or the 21st century. As the 19th and 20th centuries were ages of mass production and individualism, the 21st century will readily go down as the age of technology, but it might as well also be remembered as the age of man. Perhaps Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was quite prophetic in its discussion of the loss of God, a similar idea to Nietzsche’s death of God.

The “farewell intercourse” law would allow either husband or wife to have sex with his or her deceased spouse up to six hours after death. What would happen to someone after six hours is yet unknown, but the arbitrary six-hour time limit seems to be of some importance. Even though such a law seems that it could be attached to some fictional book or film, it is important to realize that necrophilia (sexual intercourse with a corpse) must have been an important part of ancient societies for it to be a taboo.

No taboo can become a taboo unless it was once, to some extent, widely practiced. If people weren’t prone to killing one another, there would be no need for a law against murder. Thus, sleeping with corpses must’ve had its roots in our distant past. The reason for its decline into taboo might’ve come from a wide variety of sources, anything ranging from health reasons to religious ones. (One should note that the story of Achilles involves an act of necrophilia with a dead Amazon named Penthesilea.)

If this law is based on religious reasons, or social reasons, or whatever the reasons may be it cannot be overstated that the recent push for freedom and equality lessens the strength of taboos. What taboo of today might be the next to crumble?