The human race, in general, is not such a great thing ("My name is Mob, for there are many of us"). I certainly don't believe in the myth of Noah as literal, but I do understand the lesson: humans got so disgusting God offed them and rebooted the human race.
One of the more repulsive things people do is murder, mutilate and dismember and then justify and rationalize it as something good. Take human sacrifice, which is ancient. By ancient I don't mean it happened long ago. I mean it started thousands of years ago, if not longer, and still goes on today.
We may think the Aztecs were primitive and insane when they cuts the hearts out of children, slaves and captured warriors and rolled their corpses down the stairs of their pyramids, but modern man is a lot worse than they were.
These sacrifices were done by rulers, priests and certain classes of warriors...just like today.
Today we have mass, total war, which is human sacrifice, but we call it necessary. We say our soldiers (always young) make the "ultimate sacrifice." Their parents even sacrifice them, and are proud of it. But what they are sacrificed to? Think about that.
Human sacrifice is about murdering people for what is considered the greater good. It's based on sacrifices to keep "evil" at bay so it doesn't destroy society. That's pretty much what it's about, in one sentence. And it's a fertility rite, to save/renew society.
Has it worked? No. If it worked, we wouldn't have to do it anymore. And if we have to do it, don't pretend it's good, and don't pretend it isn't anything but human sacrifice.
The reason the Aztecs sacrificed people is so the sun wouldn't stop in the sky and so the crops would grow. That's why in Mel Gibson's Apocalypto it showed scenes of dying corn. "If we offer blood to the gods they will be satisfied and our crops will grow again."
We think the same thing even today, but we are worse. We sacrifice our young in war (and sometimes they are willing sacrifices, which shows how deluded they are) and these sacrifices are to save/renew society. The Insane Evil Homocidal Monsters on the other side of the world are drooling with their desire to kill us, so we have to sacrifice our young to kill those monsters and to save/renew society. And sacrifice the young of the Evil Monsters, too. Pregnant women? Children? Babies? Collateral damage. And all to save/renew.
Save/renew what? Democracy? Democracy isn't just doomed: it is doom itself. Our fascist/socialist society, where one percent of the people own over one-third of the wealth? What we are really sacrificing to is the false idol of Moloch. The Golden Calf. Corporations. Money and power. Freedom? I don't think so.
The Greeks understood this, which is why they made Dionysus a fertility god, one of rioting and dismemberment. Look at how many people who have parties when the U.S. kills some Evil Genius on the other side of the world. The Greeks knew a lot more about the truth than we do.
This introduction is because of a movie I recently saw. The Cabin in the Woods. Less than halfway through I figured out what was going on...since I've read a lot of H.P. Lovecraft.
In the movie, which is set in the modern day, the Ancient Evil Gods really do exist, and every year five young people are chosen to be murdered in horrible bloody ways, so the AEGs will stay asleep under the earth.
It's telling that the "scientists" who set the kids up and are monitoring the whole thing, are partying in the control room. Remember? Dionysus is a fertility god, the one of partying, death and dismemberment. Again, the Greeks knew. And again, more than we know.
And, perhaps, their watching everything on a monitor might be a dig at our being desensitized by TV and video games. And if you read descriptions of the gladiators in Rome, those who watched them didn't feel the fighters were quite human. It was the Roman's version of TV.
Partying, death and dismemberment, human sacrifice of the young and innocent (sacrifices are always innocent, hence the jokes about throwing virgins into volcanoes)...that's what this movie is about.
The movie is funny/horrible. And, tellingly, the only one of the young people who rapidly figures out what is going on illustrates the archetype of the Wise Fool...and in society the ones who quickly see through the ruses are considered Fools by most of society...but in the long-run they are the Wise Ones. (At the beginning, he even says, "I see farther than they do," meaning those who uncritically support society. He also suggests society has turned into a Machine and tells his friends, "You will come to see things my way.")
There is a curious, symbolic scene in the movie where a man is skewered by a unicorn. The unicorn is a symbol of purity and innocence, and the fact that it turns into a murderous monster means the purity and innocence of humanity is gone, corrupted, and cannot be regained.
These teenagers are murdered in the most humiliating ways possible, and in public - on TV screens watched by many. That makes sense, because to humiliate people in public was the original definition of Hubris. Which is followed by Nemesis - revenge.
Human sacrifice isn't going to end anytime soon. The people who support it, who are sleepwalkers, don't even see it as human sacrifice. I'm sure the Aztecs didn't, either.
“There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus, extending its hands, palms up and sloping towards the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.” - the Roman historian Diodorus