9. EVOLUTION AND FLESH-EATING (1)
I HOLD that Darwin's theory of development is right in principle, even though it may be a little inaccurate in detail; and I am therefore prepared to admit a priori, in accord with his views and with the inspired declaration of Genesis, that "creation" has been, and still is, a process of evolution, proceeding from a lower to a higher grade.
Man, then, having developed from the Ape-Men (of Haeckel), and those Ape-Men being themselves the product of a lower type, all having, as have the Simian tribes to-day, the teeth and alimentary canal of frugivorous creatures, it is clear that Man became Man by means of fruit-eating. He did not, and could not develop out of the Carnivora. Humanity, therefore, is the product, not of flesh-eating, but of fruit-eating; and it is certain from history and from internal evidence that the "Golden Age," which was distinguished by the familiar intercourse of Man with God, or with "the gods," was an age of innocence and of abstinence from blood. Therefore, the more our mode of life removes us from the possibility of the privileges and spiritual powers which Man then enjoyed, the more it tends to degrade us; and the more, on the other hand, our diet accords with that of the Golden Age, the more it tends to develop our faculties and to redeem us. For there has been a Fall, and that Fall has lost to us, for the time being, the Perfect Humanity (the subject is a vast one, and I can only indicate its bearings here).
You must not overlook the fact that not all the races of Man have become habitual eaters of flesh. There are whole nations and tribes, especially in the East, who have adhered, and who still adhere, by religious tradition to fruit and herb-eating, and the structure of their internal organs differs in no way from that of the European flesh-eating nations. But there is in this question of "adaptation" an element which I venture to
suspect you equally overlook. A man's physical organism is made by his Spirit, and the spirits of many men are of such a nature and of such a pedigree that they oblige the body they control to nourish itself upon grosser particles than are necessary to the sustenance of bodies inhabited and controlled by higher and more advanced spirits. Perhaps I fail to make my meaning clear to you, for it is probable the idea may be a wholly new one to you. Observation of individuals, however, will convince you that I am right. In fact, a particular system of diet is not hereditary in many cases, and we often hear it affirmed with truth, "What suits one does not suit another"; or, in more homely phrase, "One man's meat is another man's poison." We adapt ourselves to our food – it is not our food which is adapted to us. If the inner and true Man be pure, his dietary will necessarily befit him, for he will be unable to assimilate gross and carnivorous modes of life to the purposes of and the nourishment of his finer organism. If a man should tell me that he has convinced himself by trial that his "internal organs are adapted only for a mixed diet," I should not wish to contradict him, but he would be wholly unable to convince Me that my organs are in a similar condition. It is my belief that there are among men as many different species, races, types, and orders as there are among the various kinds of animals. One man is a lion or a fox, while another is a dove or a gazelle. In this respect, one may cite Plato in the Phaedrus, when he says: "Rather do I inquire about myself, whether I happen to be a beast with more folds and more furious than Typhon, or whether I am not a gentler and more simple animal naturally partaking of a modest and divine condition."
You will gather, madam, from what I have written that your question appears to me to involve other considerations than a merely material mode of looking at Humanity. But, as regards the simply material view, you may rest assured that there exists nothing in the anatomical structure of Man to warrant the supposition that he has become transformed into a carnivorous animal, seeing how distinctly comparative anatomy declares to the contrary.
(151:1) From a letter written by A.K. to Miss C–.