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In the conclusion of his book The Buried Soul, archeologist Timothy Taylor coins the term "visceral insulation" to describe the detachment of western life from actuality of death. He expands upon this idea by identifying the commercial services that modern society interpolates between the individual and the corporeal. Hospitals and mortuaries impose a clean break between the living and the dead; he observes that most people in the developed west will not even experience an open casket funeral. Further, the progression of groceries to supermarkets has reduced the number of butchers as proprietors of their own stores and contributed to a public that cannot readily identify cuts of meat.

His assertion is that this detachment from the splanchnic has resulted in a fascination with the gory. He refers to the success of the Hannibal Lechter films and books, as well as ER as evidence of an increase in the collective imagination of the visceral.


The Buried Soul: how humans invented death, Timothy Taylor. London : Fourth Estate, 2002.
Interview with Timothy Taylor, New Scientist, vol.175 issue 2362, September 28, 2002, pg 46.
Interview with Timothy, The Believer, issue 4, <www.believermag.com/issues/june_2003/tim_taylor.htm>

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