Dehumanization in Utopia

Vector illustration. Hierarchy of human needs by Abraham Maslow“We use a lot of spices because they can hide the taste of anything. Gaber explained. They hide the taste of spoiled chicken, sour beans and rotten eggs. Spices are the one commodity whose price hasn’t hone up, because we need them to stay alive”

This section of Utopia made me wonder of the different struggles people go through in their daily lives. Truth be told, every single human faces some form of struggle in their lives whether it be economics, basic survival or even social acceptance from people close to them. The dehumanization aspect of Utopia specifically the quote above made me think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for one simple reason: food.

An example of how dehumanization it is to eat scraps, scraps that are rotten will be wild animals. Wild animals like a lion could easily go hunt for a gazelle or a zebra and will be content with their fresh prey.  Lions are seen as the kings of the jungle therefore it would seem rather ironic if they acted like vultures who normally are seen eating rotting carcasses of animals that were killed in some form of way in the wild.

“Sometimes we eat these things of course for variety’s sake, but not like this, they were almost spoiled leftovers from several earlier meals, which she (Safiya) mixed together and heated on the stove. Then she poured oil over the mixture, took a handful of spices and scattered them over the pan”.

Gaber had to compromise on having to survive by eating spoiled food just to meet his physiological needs. He could have fished or hunted but even then , that is dehumanizing too especially to a modern perspective where we can easily go to a market or restaurant and get food with minimal effort.

Gaber represents the lower class where in most cases especially in developing countries are desperate enough to eat many questionable things. Populations in Latin America and South East Asia for example often eat insects like grasshoppers, worms, crickets and etc which to many of Westernized people would never dream of doing. The people subjected to eating insects do so just for survival, just to met that physiological need of their daily lives just to survive, even if it dehumanizes them.



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