I remember the story is a about a civilization of humans who have the tradition of selecting a god-emperor from among their population
They worship this god-emperor, and believe the emperor is so divine that the emperor's ties to the physical realm need to be removed. Therefore they amputate all four limbs, gouge out eyes, cut off nose and burn out the ears. Additionally they believe that proximity to the god-emperor brings strength and good luck, so they bring the god-emperor into battle to where the most fervent fighting is going on. This leads to the god-emperor's frequent death, and the subsequent promotion of a new god-emperor from among their ranks
I think I read this around 2010. I really thought it was a Borges short story, but have been unable to find it. I also read JG Ballard's complete short stories around that time, and it possibly could have been in there. Or somewhere totally different
This story left a big impression on me and I'd love to read it again and show it to some friends.