I’ve been watching that show Vikings lately and I find it impossible not to wonder how so many diverse cultures individually came up with the idea of human sacrifice. Because: really. What was even the thought process that led up to that?
In order to figure out where these people were coming from I have devised a little thought exercise in the form of a very short play to imagine the origins of human sacrifice, especially in the case of the Aztecs who appear to have descended into a veritable extended blood orgy on a scale not often seen. Here is my Aztec play.
Brock (a surprisingly common Aztec name): Guys, we’ve all noticed that the weather has been dry around here lately. I’m thinking it’s time to put our heads together and come up with a plan.
Pierre (also a surprisingly common Aztec name): Well…………..okay, this is gonna sound crazy, but hear me out. What if we did some kind of dance? Like, a dance to the Gods asking them for rain?
(The group considers.)
Kanye (at least a million Aztecs were named that): That does sound crazy.
Brock: You’re such an idiot, Pierre. This is why nobody takes you seriously. I’m just sayin’.
Pierre: You can’t just call someone an idiot and make fun of their legitimate idea and then say “I’m just sayin’” and make it better.
Pierre: Okay. Let’s think of something else.
(The group considers.)
Kanye: I think I’ve got it.
Brock, Pierre: Yeah?
Kanye: Yes. I was remembering this one time that somebody died and how, by apparent coincidence, the sun came up the next morning. But I’m thinking: what if that wasn’t a coincidence?
Brock: No way.
Kanye: Yes way. I mean, seriously, this lady died and the next morning the sun just comes up? What are the odds of that?
(Brock and Pierre exchange looks and nod.)
Pierre: But we don’t need the sun to come up. We need rain. How did you say that lady died?
Kanye: I cut her heart out.
Pierre: Huh. So cutting the heart out raises the sun.
Brock: What do you think causes rain?
Pierre: Yeah, what causes rain? Something less violent? More violent?
Kanye: I’m thinking blood. If we could murder someone in, like, a really violent way with the maximum possible amount of blood, that seems like it would somehow be connected to raining.
Brock: What would we do with the blood we take out? Like, roll around in it? Make someone drink it?
Kanye: I don’t know, but what if we took the blood of, like, a hundred people?
Pierre: Or a thousand!
Kanye: Yes, we’ll take the blood of a thousand people and just, like, pour it down the steps of the temple until observers start vomiting from the smell!
Pierre: So much blood!
Brock: Ha! Yes! Blood! Blood for everyone!
Pierre: So who do we start with?
(Brock and Kanye exchange looks and then both look at Pierre.)