Monday, February 7, 2011

Bertrand Russell once said...

"The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible. There is no impersonal reason for regarding the interests of human beings as more important than those of animals. We can destroy animals more easily than they can destroy us; that is the only solid basis of our claim to superiority."

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) Humanitarian, Author, Nobel Prize for Literature 1950


Another Nobel Laureate, Albert Schweitzer, once said:

"The quiet conscience is the invention of the devil. No one of us may permit any preventable pain to be inflicted even though the responsibility for that pain is not ours. No one may shut his eyes and think that the pain which is therefore not visible, is nonexistent. Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time will come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come. A man is ethical only when life is sacred to him, that of animals as well as that of his fellowman, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help."

Albert Schweitzer; Physician, Missionary, Theologian and Nobel Laureate for Peace 1952

Following the way of ethical veganism seems very much consistent with these wise words.

5 comments:

Krissa said...

One day the human race is going to be crushed under the weight of the consequences of our actions. These quotes are wonderful, but it's scary to think of the dramatic rise in the population of humans on this earth with the knowledge that our species has not changed one bit as far as our actions/beliefs/attitudes/etc. about our fellow beings. Of course we can't give up trying to make this world a better place for the ones who suffer. And who knows, maybe a miracle will happen. Maybe humans will get it together one day and take their correct place in this world.

veganelder said...

Thank you Krissa for commenting.

Indeed, it does seem daunting at times, Schweitzer, I think, seems to be onto something when he notes that the basis of the destructiveness is not so deep as it is widespread...due to custom.

I would venture to say...at least in the US...veganism has never been more widely known about than it is now and awareness about vegan practices seems to be spreading. Whether this translates into a major change in widespread behavior...who knows...but the awareness is a new thing and, if nothing else, interesting.

So I'm Thinking Of Going Vegan said...

Being silent is being complicit, but there are so many voices now helping to spread the message, that hopefully the vegan "choir" will successfully chop away at the roots of widespread cruelty.

veganelder said...

Thank you SITOGV for commenting. It was important, during the push for civil rights and the drive for womens liberation, to "spread the message" and generate discussion and thought and debate. Unconscious or silent assumptions have to be brought out in the open and examined or they will continue to guide and influence behavior.

Bea Elliott said...

Although not a life-long vegetarian, Mary Baker Eddy said almost 100 years ago "All that error asks is to be let alone..."

I'm very happy to be living now when we can openly and en mass question the foolish and arrogant doctrines that place "might" above all else. In time, that wrong thinking will be shown for the evil that it is...