15. THE HIGHEST ASPECT OF VEGETARIANISM (1)
WHILE fully recognising the value of the vegetarian regimen in its hygienic, economic, aesthetic, and other social aspects, I propose in this essay to take these as granted or leave to others the advocacy of it on such grounds, and to treat it from a standpoint which transcends and crowns them all, but which has yet to receive – from the modern world at least – the recognition it deserves.
This is the standpoint in which it concerns man considered not merely as a social being and in relation to his fellows, human or animal, but as an individual and in relation to himself as a permanent and perfectible being endowed with potentialities the realisation of which is at once his highest interest and his highest duty, and involves the satisfaction of that which is necessarily the supreme desire of every sane
and intelligent being: namely, the turning of his existence to the utmost account in the long run, by making of himself the best that he has it in his nature to become.
It is obvious that, in order to work intelligently to this supreme end, man must know how and of what he is made. And it is also obvious that, in order to be able to know this, he must have, or must be, an organon of knowledge competent for the comprehension of the truths upon which his highest welfare depends, and therefore not merely of truths belonging to the material and phenomenal world, but of truths belonging to the spiritual and substantial world.
From which it follows that the supreme question for man, in regard to diet, is the question what best ministers to the unfoldment of his faculties of perception and reflection, and thereby to his perfectionment as an organon of knowledge and understanding.
While that which I have to say on this head has the fullest confirmation of my own experience, it is not upon the strength of any individual testimony that it will be rested here, but upon the universal testimony of all who have been gratified to bear witness in the matter, as well also as upon the intrinsic nature of the case. The testimony thus represented is that of the world's foremost men of all times and places. These are not the men who have been renowned as kings, conquerors, legislators, discoverers, authors, or founders or reformers of institutions. They are those who, having first perfected themselves to the utmost, have made it their aim to show others how also to perfect themselves, and who, having thus been reformers of men, have gained the love and veneration of mankind as its redeemers and regenerators. That, therefore, which I have to propound represents the doctrine and practice of all those earnest seekers after perfection whose devotion to the highest ideals has made them, each in his degree, the saviours of men, by showing to others that which they likewise have it in them to become, and how to become it.
With all of these – whose order I will call "the Wise of Old" – the first step to this end was the unfoldment of the understanding by means of that which is the secret of perfection in all things, namely, Purity, and this on all planes of man's nature. Purity of life, purity of heart, and purity of thought: these were the three steps of the ladder to the desired perfection, first, of the faculty of understanding, and next, of
the individual himself. (1) For purity was the means only, not the end. The end was the perfection, first of faculty, and next, through this, of character. This was because, for the wise of old, it was the character, and not the form, that made the man. Lacking the faculty of understanding, and being, therefore, agnostic, man, for them, was not really man, but man rudimentary only. For they would not allow him to be man until he had developed man's distinctive attribute, an organon of knowledge, and become capable of understanding, and this in respect of the highest objects of cognition. (2)
To say that for such perfection of faculty they recognised as absolutely indispensable the equal unfoldment of the mind in respect of its two factors or modes, the intellect and the intuition, is to come to the central theme of this essay. Stated as briefly as may be, the doctrine is as follows.
In correspondence with the analogy of universal Nature, the law of duality as the condition of productivity obtains in the domain of the mind; and the co-operation of the two modes of the mind, the intellect and the intuition, are no less essential to the mental system than that of the corresponding modes of force and sex to the solar and the reproductive system. (3) And the attempt to construct a system of thought
by means of the intellect alone is an act of insanity every whit as flagrant as would be the attempt to construct the solar system by means of the centrifugal mode only of force, or the reproductive system by means of the masculine mode only of sex. That is no organon of knowledge which lacks either of these two faculties, but only something mutilate and unsound, of which the product is necessarily also unsound, and this no matter what may be the extent and capacity of the one factor actually possessed and employed. The mind can no more complete the system of its thought and attain to certitude of truth by means of one only of its two modes, than a bird can fly with a single wing, be that wing large or powerful as it may. The sparrow with two wings can laugh to scorn the eagle with one wing. Only by means of the intuition can the mind rise from the "ground" of the sense-nature. Man as intellectualist only is necessarily materialist and agnostic. He is similarly disqualified as intuitionalist only, since without the balance of the intellect he falls inevitably into superstition.
Hence the disastrous failure of modern science to solve the problem of existence. Instead of seeing in the intuition the supplement, complement, and indispensable mate of the intellect, and cherishing it accordingly, science has contemned, denied, and rejected the intuition, with the inevitable result of paralysing the intellect. It is true that the intuition had gained an evil repute from the misuse made of it in connection with religion. But the fact that the priests of religion had corrupted the intuition – thus compassing what, mystically, is called the "Fall" – was no justification for its total suppression by the priests of science. As representing the revolt against the state of things thus induced, they ought to have purified it, and restored it to its proper place beside the intellect. Doing which, they would have restored to man his organon of knowledge, making him once more whole, sound, and sane; instead of phenomenalist, realist; instead of materialist, substantialist; instead of agnostic, gnostic; competent to complete the system of his thought, and able to work intelligently for the realisation of those divine potentialities of which he has lost the consciousness, first, through
the depravation, and, next, through the deprivation, of the intuition.
It follows from the very nature of the intuition that it should require, as the condition of its exercise, a pure and bloodless regimen, and this on grounds both physical and moral. Man can be his best, physically, only when his system is built up of the materials indicated by his structure as his proper food – materials derived at first hand from Nature, undeteriorated by passing through other organisms and, so far as may be, unimpaired in respect of their vitality by fire. And he can be at his best, morally, only when he orders his manner of living in accordance with, the dictates of his moral nature. And he does the reverse of this when he so orders his life as to require for his sustenance, amusement, or health the slaughter or torture of sentient creatures. For by so doing he dulls his conscience and hardens his heart to the obscuration and even destruction of his powers of perception.
The seat of the intuition is the Soul. And by it man obtains access to his inmost, true, and permanent self, and learns that which in the long ages of her past, as an individuated entity, the Soul has acquired by experience of sure knowledges concerning the nature of existence. For all knowledge is by experience, and intuition is inborn experience, the perceptions and recollections of the Soul. And only in such measure as man cherishes the sentiments which, being of her, are alone those of humanity, are her knowledges accessible to him. Every limitation of the love-principle operates to cut him off from such source of information by disqualifying him for the exercise of the intuition. And, contrary-wise, every enhancement of the love-principle ministers to the fulness of the intuition. This follows from the nature itself of the faculty. As the centripetal mode of the mind, the intuition is the force whereby the mind's perceptive point is withdrawn from engrossment by the outer and lower region of the material and phenomenal to the inner and higher region of the substantial and real. Hence its accordance with the principle which, as the centripetal force of the universe, binds it together, redeeming and perpetuating it, namely, LOVE. "There is no enlightenment from without; the secret of things is revealed from within." (1) And only by thus retiring inwards and upwards
to his central and radiant point can man find the substantial idea which informs and interprets his phenomenal fact. For the idea is not of the senses, but of the Spirit; and the kingdom of the Spirit is Within, whose immediate residence is the Soul. Wherefore, only by love can man exercise the intuition and reap the harvest of his soul's dearly-bought knowledges.
But more than this. In such measure as man becomes thus vitalised and sensitised in his inmost consciousness, he becomes able to hold commune with those souls, his elders, who have accomplished their evolution and preceded him to the spheres for which he is bound, having transcended alike the material and astral – as the intermediate sphere is called – and attained to the celestial and divine, and who in virtue thereof are able to speak positively from their own experience concerning the nature of existence and the way of perfection. Wherefore, to deny the intuition is to reject the experiences at once of one's own soul and of those who have attained the summit of their evolution, and who, therefore, "know as they are known." The wise of old but enunciated a truth which present experience has fully verified when they affirmed the reality and accessibility of a world invisible and celestial, and ascribed the failure of men in general to come into open relations with it to the atrophy of their spiritual part induced by their gross-ness of life and thought. Men are themselves the makers of the barrier which separates them from the upper world, as they are themselves the makers of the nether world.
It is absurd to suppose that affirmations of experiences of this order are in any way invalidated by the denials of the science so-called of the day. Being densely materialistic, that science neither has nor can have cognisance of spiritual things. And its chief aim has been, not to discover truth, but to sustain its own hypothesis. And to this end it has turned a deaf ear to all relations of experience which transcend that hypothesis. This is to say that, while claiming to be nothing if not experiential, modern science has, on the strength of its own non-experience, denied affirmations based on experience, simply and solely because they contradicted its hypothesis, thus stultifying itself by making non-experience instead of experience its basis of conclusion. This is a course which constitutes a breach of logic so grave as to indicate radical unsoundness not only of method but of faculty. The intuitionalist
knows that such is the case, and also wherein the unsoundness consists, and the cause of as well as the cure for it. For he knows that it consists in the voluntary mutilation of the organon of knowledge, by the suppression of the mind's intuitive mode; through the indulgence in habits of life and thought totally incompatible with the exercise of the mind in its proper integrity. This is to say that those who pose as the official truth-seekers and instructors of the age have failed to fulfil the very first condition of knowledge, namely, the qualification of themselves for their office by the adoption of a regimen indispensable to their perfectionment as instruments of perception and reflection.
The inevitable result has followed. Through their suppression of the mind's intuitive mode, they have not only failed to discern the real nature of existence, but they have propounded a doctrine of existence at once false and so revoltingly hideous as to drive men wholesale into madness, despair, and suicide. And, as is no secret, the formulators and propagandists of that doctrine are, one and all, ardent patrons of the shambles and the physiological laboratory. (1) The pessimism now so prevalent is due to men of pronounced carnivorous propensities. Now, the sole corrective of pessimism is the intuition. By means of it, and of it alone, man gets to the back of the phenomenal and discerns the real, with the result of knowing positively that the doctrine of the supremacy of evil – which is what pessimism means – is a lie, and the blackest of lies. But to do this, and obtain demonstration of the truth, is not given to the man flesh-fed.
That which first and foremost the intuition reveals is the falsity of the hypothesis which, assuming matter to be the substance of existence, limits evolution to the apparent capacities of matter, and denies to man any permanent conscious being after the dissolution of his phenomenal capsule.
In defining evolution as the integration of matter, science has committed the stupendous blunder of mistaking the appearance for the reality, and building its system on the shadow instead of on the substance. And so consistent in unreason are its exponents, that even while admitting – as they are compelled to admit – their total ignorance of the nature of the force by which evolution occurs, of the substance in which it occurs, and of the impulsion through which it occurs, they have not scrupled to assign limits to its process by restricting it to their conceptions of matter. At the same time, moreover, by denying the existence of any permanent Ego to retain and evolve by means of the experiences undergone while in connection with matter, they have excluded that which alone makes evolution possible.
To say that sins against reason so flagrant as these are due to defect of faculty, is not to say that the defect is constitutional and irremediable. Such an allegation is resented by the intuitionalist as a libel at once against God and man. For he knows by himself that the defect is conditional only, and is therefore remediable, being due to the causes already specified, namely, defective nutrition of the mental apparatus such that one moiety of its dualism cannot function at all, and the other can but function imperfectly, the former being the intuition and the latter the intellect. And in the vain imagination that it is the whole mind, this latter has rejected the collaboration of its indispensable mate, and insisted on working alone. Of this dissociation of the centrifugal from the centripetal mode of the mind, the inevitable result has been the mind's complete submergence in the objects presented to it by the bodily senses, and its utter helplessness to transcend them, for want of the faculty whereby to return inwards and upwards from the apparent to the real. Nevertheless, while thus crippled and confined to the lowest planes of its consciousness, and reduced to the humiliating confession of impotency implied in its designation of "Agnostic," it has dared, by calling itself "Free Thinker," to assume man's noblest title – a piece of effrontery matched only by that of the body when, ignoring the soul, it claims to be the whole man, or of the man when, ignoring the woman, he claims to be the whole humanity.
It has now to be shown what is the conception of existence and what the definition of evolution at which man arrives when, purifying his system and sustaining it by means truly
human, because humane, he adds to intellect intuition, and, having thus perfected himself as an organon of knowledge, works with a whole instead of with a mutilate organon. It will be seen that, thus equipped, the conception and definition arrived at are at once logically inexpugnable and absolutely satisfactory to man's highest needs and aspirations, intellectual, moral, and spiritual. And they are, moreover, experientially verifiable by the means already indicated. They are in this wise.
Evolution is the manifestation of inherency. The Force and Substance of existence – being self-subsistent in and proceeding from the divine Original Being – are divine. And in virtue of the divinity of these its constituent principles, the inherency of existence is divine. Wherefore, as the manifestation of a divine inherency, evolution is accomplished only by the attainment of Divinity. The impulsion whereby evolution occurs is in this wise. Although the Substance itself of existence is, like the Force, divine – both being Spirit – it quits its divine state when projected into the conditions and limitations requisite for creation, becoming thereby Matter. But, being essentially Spirit and divine, Substance tends ever to revert to its lost divine condition, ceasing to be as matter. And the tendency thus to revert is the cause of evolution. Force of itself is diffuse, and the naked flame is liable to mix with other flame. But, enclosed in Substance, it becomes an indiffusible personality. Wherefore, fully defined, evolution is the method of the individuation of Divinity, the integration of matter being but the sensible part of the process. And the outer personality, or physical body, is the matrix in which this substantial and divine individuality is engendered, nourished, unfolded, trained, and tested, as in a chamber of ordeal, until sufficiently elaborated and matured to be able to dispense with material conditions. For it has then put on the body which, being substantial and indissoluble, is called the "resurrection," or raised, body. And such is the nature of the Force and Substance of existence, that there is no limit to its unfoldment, whether within man or without him. For, when once generated – an event which takes place in the lowest forms of organic life – the Soul is by its nature immortal, and survives all changes of form and condition, until finally perfected. Nevertheless, it can disintegrate and perish; but only through its own persistent
perverse will to the outer and lower, exercised in defiance of its own intuitions.
Such is the doctrine of existence which, from the world's spiritual beginning, has been recognised as surely true by all who, in virtue of their due unfoldment in respect of the mind's two modes, the intellect and the intuition, have succeeded in penetrating to the centre of their system, and have learnt from the Soul herself her nature, history, and destiny. And to say that such knowledge, thus derived, constitutes divine revelation, is only to say – what is perfectly true – that divine revelation is a prerogative of man, and belongs not to the superhuman, but to the higher human, namely, man's own divine part, being the communication of truth from the within to the without of his own system. And that modern science has so disastrously failed in its quest for the solution of the problem of existence is solely because, in its blind idolatry of the sense-nature, it has despised and rejected the one faculty whereby that nature can be transcended and the reality of things discerned through the appearance.
Recovering its organon of knowledge, it will understand that the appearance can by no possibility be the reality, inasmuch as matter is phenomenon, and phenomenon is the resultant of Force and Substance, being generated of their mutual interaction. Hence, the axiom of the spiritual science of old – product of a whole mind – "Every entity which is manifest, is manifest by the evolution of its trinity"; and these three, force, substance, and phenomenon, are not three entities, but one entity.
But – and here the true theme
of this essay intervenes – to this end, Science must require of her votaries
that they order the manner of their lives accordingly, and eschew whatever
ministers to obscuration of vision, mental or moral. "They," and they only, it
is divinely written, "who do the Will, shall know of the Doctrine"; and "The
Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom." For the condition of admission to
but by sympathy. Wherefore, in the ascent of man to the innermost and highest sphere of his microcosmic system, whose symbol is the Sun, Venus precedes the planet of Hermes. And that she is called, as by Isaiah, the "Spirit of Counsel," is because "Love is the counsellor of heaven."
If the effect of such treatment of the subject be to approximate Science to Religion and in a measure to blend them together, making Science the handmaid of Religion and Religion the crown and completion of Science, let not this be accounted any derogation of the treatment. Representing, as they do, two aspects of one and the same Existence, Religion and Science are indissolubly joined together, and cannot be put asunder without disaster both to themselves and to man. For neither is that true science which is irreligious, nor is that true religion which is unscientific. And that Science has become irreligious and Religion unscientific, is precisely through the want of the faculty of which, by gross living and thinking, man has lost the use, and of which, therefore, by pure living and thinking he will recover the use. And such is precisely the doctrine which the religion and sacred books of Christendom, when apprehended in their intuitional and intended sense – upon which they themselves emphatically insist – are designed to illustrate and enforce. So that herein lies a further and omnipotent argument for our cause.
For, thus apprehended, the Mystic Woman of Holy Writ, she by whose corruption comes man's fall, and by whose restoration man's redemption, is no other than the mind's feminine mode, the Intuition. And the Bible is, in respect of all that portion of it which, being mystical, constitutes it a Bible or Book of the Soul, a history, both actual and symbolical, on the one hand, of the endeavour of the Intuition to obtain recognition as the sole means whereby man can transcend the sense-nature and attain to certitude of knowledge concerning the things which belong to his perfection and peace. And it is a history, on the other hand, of the counter-endeavour of the sense-nature, leagued with the Intellect, when divorced from the Intuition, to thwart and suppress the latter, her promptings and aspirations. And whereas her champions are ever those who, in virtue of their endowment with her, are called prophets
– the chief of them being for his possession of her in plenitude called emphatically the "Son of the Woman," and she for her exemption from taint of materiality a "Virgin" – the champions of the fallen Intellect and the sense-nature are called priests, and exhibited as systematically conspiring against the Intuition, and killing her Sons the prophets, even the greatest of them, in order to substitute for the pure ideals of faith and practice insisted on by them the diabolical doctrine of a blood-loving deity and a ritual of carnage. And so successful has been this dire conspiracy against the soul of man, that – as was foretold at the outset would be the case – the "Woman" has never yet been able to establish the divine kingdom, even though once, by her chiefest Son, she inflicted a "deadly wound" on her enemy's head. For he recovered from it to work to man worse woes than ever, as that most frightful chapter in the world's history – the annals of priestcraft in Christendom – bears witness.
Nevertheless, it has never
ceased to be declared that the time will come when she shall effectually "crush
But – and herein lies the point of the present contention – the condition of such blessed restoration to man of his organon of understanding and, therein, of his proper sanity, was to be a return to the pure and bloodless regimen of the "garden" of his primal perfection. For of that time it is said, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain"; but "he that killeth an ox shall be as if he slew a man." For "when He," the fully unfolded, equilibrated Humanity, "is come, He shall save both man and beast."
Now, this "holy mountain," which is called also the "hill of the Lord " and "Mount of Regeneration," is – like that on which the Ark of Noah rested – the spiritual elevation to
which man attains when, following a pure intuition, he transcends the level of the sense-nature, upborne on the Waters of the Soul, the mystic Maria of holy writ. And the era of such attainment is, also mystically, called the "Woman's Age," the "Kingdom of the Mother of God," and the "Coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven," the heaven within man of his own regenerated understanding. And when it is further said of that time that then "Mercy and Truth are met together, Righteousness and Peace kiss each other," it is implied that the recovery by man of his mental balance – through the loss of which, after being "made upright," he fell – will be the reconciliation of religion and science. And it is this same recovery that is signified in the announcement of the reign then to commence of "that great prince which standeth for the children of God's people." For, as the principle of equilibrium in things spiritual, Michael, like Melchizedec, represents the balance of the factors masculine and feminine of man's mental system, and the reign of Equity to proceed therefrom.
Thus stupendous and manifold are the advantages divinely promised to accrue to
the world when, reverting to the regimen of his unfallen
state, man shall restore the "Woman," Intuition, to her proper throne beside the
"Man," Intellect. For they, as God's "Two Witnesses" in man, shall rise from the
death ever inflicted on them in "that great city wherein the divinity in
humanity is ever crucified" – the world as hitherto it has been – and ascend
into the heaven of their rightful supremacy. With the "Fall"
thus reversed, and the "Curse of Eve" removed, the lost "garden" will be
replaced by the "New Jerusalem" or "
Such, in brief, is the argument concerning the "Highest Aspect of Vegetarianism." And that the exposition of it has been reserved for the present epoch in the world's history may reasonably be ascribed to the fact that only in out day has the need for a new presentment of doctrine and life, such as that which it constitutes, come to be so sorely felt as to be everywhere recognised by thoughtful and percipient persons as the most urgent of all the world's needs.
And that the occasion of this exposition should be the World's Congress at the forthcoming Columbian
may also reasonably be ascribed to the facts, first, that at no other time or
place in prospect would there be for it an audience comparable to that which
will be there assembled; and, next, that the scene of the gathering is the chiefest headquarters in the world, past or present, of the
practice of animal slaughter. That this deliverance should first find voice at
the City of
article was written by Edward Maitland, in 1893, at the request of the
Vegetarian Society, to be read at the Vegetarian Congress at the World's
Columbian Exhibition, which was held in
(183:1) See A.K.'s Illumination Concerning the Three Veils between Man and God, C.W.S.,
(183:2) On another occasion, when speaking of the wise of old and vegetarianism, Edward Maitland said they "were not abstainers from flesh-food by accident, caprice, or custom. They were grave, studious, earnest men, of vast knowledge, understanding, and faculty, who deliberately adopted this regimen in pursuance of that which they regarded as the supreme object of ambition of rational beings. This object, they held, is to turn existence to the best possible account in the long run. This, they held, involved the making of ourselves the best that we have it in us to be. And this, again, they held, can be done only by developing to the utmost all the higher faculties and capacities of our nature. It was in pursuance of these ends that the wise of old (...) insisted on the [vegetarian] diet, (...) the diet which all seekers after perfection have followed, and the principle of which is that which alone is consistent with perfection, namely, Purity. The first step towards perfection is to build up one's organism of the purest and most suitable materials. And so perfect is the harmony of nature, that that which is best for man on one plane of his system is best for him on all planes, This is to say, that whatever diet best ministers to the health and strength of his physical part, best ministers to those of his intellectual, his moral, and his spiritual part.
(183:3) On another occasion, Edward Maitland said: "The first and most obvious fact about Humanity is its duality – its duality, not of form only, but also of qualities. From this duality it follows that in order to be fully man, and, so, to represent humanity in its integrity, it is necessary to possess, not the outer forms, but the essential qualities of both sexes of man – the qualities of man male and of man female. It is necessary, that is, to combine in oneself the force, intellect, and courage of the man with the love, intuition, and fortitude of the woman. Only by the combination of these two halves of humanity do we obtain a whole man. And a pure and bloodless regimen alone is consistent with all the qualities belonging to these two divisions, and especially with those which belong to the better half" (Lecture on Man's Best Food).
(185:1) See A.K.'s
Illumination Concerning Inspiration and
(187:1) On another occasion Edward Maitland said: "The recognised science of the day – being wholly occupied with forms, and believing that the form makes the man – is doing its utmost to extinguish the true idea of man by insisting that he is so evilly constituted as to be able to maintain his health and strength only by a system of slaughter and torture! This is to say that such is its ignorance of the nature of humanity, that it claims to be able to benefit humanity by means which are in themselves subversive of humanity" (Lecture on Man's Best Food).
(192:1) See A.K.'s
Illumination Concerning the Interpretation
of the Mystical Scriptures, C.W.S.,
(194:1) The World's Columbian Exhibition, at