Daniil Andreev. «The Rose of the World»
Book V. The Structure of Shadanakar: Elementals

V. Chapter 3. Perspective on the Animal World

We are often unaware that our utilitarian view on all living beings has become almost second nature to us. Everything is valued strictly according to the degree it is useful to humans. But if we have long considered barbaric that historical-cultural parochialism, elevated to the status of political theory known as nationalism, then humanity's cosmic parochialism will appear just as ridiculous to our descendants. The myth of «the crowning glory of Creation,» a legacy of medieval ignorance and primitive egoism, should in time dissipate like smoke, together with the supremacy of the materialist doctrine that endorses it.

We are witnessing the emergence of a new worldview, in which humans are one link in a great chain of living beings. We are higher than many, but we are also lower than a great many more. And every one of these beings has an autonomous value independent of its usefulness to humanity. But how do we determine that value in every specific case? What criteria do we use? On which standard of values should we base our judgements?

We can, first of all, state that the material or spiritual value of anything, whether it be material or spiritual, increases in direct proportion to the total efforts expended on its becoming what it is now. Of course, when we try to apply that principle to the valuation of living beings, we soon arrive at the conclusion that it is impossible for us to ascertain the exact amount of those efforts. But it is possible to realize that the higher the being on the cosmic staircase, the greater the amount of efforts (its own efforts, those of Nature, or those of the Providential powers) expended on it. The development of intellect and of all the faculties that distinguish humanity from animals demanded an incredible amount of work – by humanity itself and by the Providential powers – an amount greater than was needed earlier to raise animals from lower to higher life forms. That is the basis, as best as we can grasp it, of the cosmic standard of values. It thus follows that the value of a protozoan is less than that of an insect, the value of an insect is less than that of a mammal, the value of a nonhuman mammal is far less than that of a human, the value of a human is tiny compared with that of an archangel or national demiurge, while the value of the latter, notwithstanding all its grandeur, pales next to the value of the Elite of Light, the demiurges of the Universe.

If we examine that principle in isolation, we might draw the conclusion that humans bear practically no responsibility toward anything below them: if the value of humans is higher, it must mean that Nature itself dictates that humans utilize beings lower than them in a way useful for the race.

But no moral principle should be examined in isolation, for they are not sufficient unto themselves. Rather, they enter into a general system of principles that currently define the reality of Shadanakar. The principle of moral duty could be considered a counterweight to the principle of spiritual value. It has not yet been intuited at levels below humanity; nor was it even intuited at the early stages of the human race. But it can now be given a fairly accurate formulation as follows: beginning at the level of humans, the duty of a being toward beings below it increases in direct proportion to the level of the higher being's ascent.

A duty toward domesticated animals had been laid on humans as early as prehistoric times. This was not merely because humans had to feed and protect them. This was but a simple exchange, a duty in the lowest, material (not moral) sense. In return for providing the animal with food and shelter, people either put the animal to work or took its milk or wool or even its life (in the latter case, of course, they violated the natural rate of exchange). The moral duty of early humans was to love the animal they had domesticated and put it to use. Riders of ancient times who felt a deep bond to their horses, shepherds who displayed not only solicitude but also affection for their flocks, peasants or hunters who loved their cow or dog – all of them performed their moral duty.

That elementary duty has remained the norm for all humanity to this day. It is true that higher individual souls – those we call saints and to whom Hindus refer using the more precise word mahatma, «great soul» – intuited a new, much higher level of duty that issued naturally from their spiritual greatness. The Lives of the Saints is full of stories of friendships between monks or hermits and bears, wolves, or lions. In some cases, these may be mere legends, but in other cases, such as that of St. Francis of Assisi or St. Seraphim of Sarov, facts of that nature have been verified by eyewitness accounts.

Of course, only sainthood is capable of such a level of duty toward animals. It is not the lot of the greater part of humanity now, just as it was not three thousand years ago. But three thousand years is a long time. And there is no justification for the claim that we are doomed to remain at the same level of primitive duty as our distant ancestors. If people, groping their way through a finite and mist-shrouded animistic world, could find it within themselves to love their horse or dog, then for us that is no longer sufficient. Does the lengthy road that we have traveled since then not oblige us to strive for more? Is it not within us to love those other, wild animals – at least those that do us no harm – from whom we receive no direct benefit?

All living beings, including protozoa, possess what we have provisionally termed “shelts”, or, if the reader prefers, souls – that is to say, a fine variomaterial coating that the immortal monad fashions for itself. Material existence is impossible without a shelt, just as any existence whatsoever is impossible without a monad. The monads of animals abide in Kaermis, one of the worlds of the Higher Purpose, while their souls complete a lengthy journey up an ascending spiral through a special sakwala of several planes. They incarnate here, in Enrof, but many of them do not undergo a descent after death. They, too, live under the law of karma, but it works differently for them. It is only in Enrof that they unravel their knots at an extremely slow pace during journeys of countless incarnations within the limits of their class.

The Providential powers had originally intended Enrof to be the exclusive abode of the animal realm – that is, of the host of monads that had descended here in shelts to undertake the great creative task of enlightening the materiality of the three-dimensional plane. Gagtungr's meddling wrecked that original design, increased the complexity of the task, twisted fates, and lengthened timeframes to a horrifying degree. That was all accomplished primarily by subjecting organic life in Enrof from its very beginnings to the law of the jungle.

Why are almost all baby animals so endearing and cute? Why do even piglets and baby hyenas, let alone wolf or lion cubs, evoke such warmth and tenderness? Because the demonic in animals only begins to make its presence known the minute they are forced to enter into the struggle for survival – that is, when they fall under the law of the jungle. Baby animals in Enrof resemble animals as they appeared in the adjacent world they left when they first came to Enrof. Even snakes were beautiful, vibrant, and extremely playful beings on that plane. They danced, giving glory to God. If not for Gagtungr, in Enrof they would have become even more beautiful, intelligent, and wiser.

Gagtungr's activities caused a sharp line to be drawn between two halves of the animal world. He demonized one half very strongly, placing a low ceiling on their spiritual growth by having them live exclusively off their fellow animals. Predation is, generally speaking, demonic in nature, and in whatever being we encounter it, it means that the demonic powers have already transformed it in a fundamental way. The other half of the animal world was earmarked as victims of the first half. The predatory seed was not sown in them, so those species limited themselves to plant food. But the struggle for survival in conditions of almost constant flight and concealment from danger has been a terrible hindrance to the development of their intelligence.

The Providential powers continued to be faced with the task of enlightening three-dimensional materiality. As the animal world had been incapacitated in that respect, at least for the foreseeable future, preconditions were created for one species to be singled out, a species that could perform the task successfully in a shorter period of time. The species was singled out in a manner that resembled a giant leap forward. At the same time, the parent species, from which the new, progressive species separated, served as a kind of trampoline for it. The more humanity leaped forward, the farther back the parent species that had served as a trampoline recoiled. Later, that species evolved into the order of primates – a tragic example of regression. Thus, our leap from animal to human took place at the cost of a halt in the development of a great many other beings.

The more predatory an animal, the more demonized it is. That demonization is, of course, restricted to their shelts and denser material coatings. It cannot affect the monad. But the demonization of the shelt can attain horrifying degrees and give rise to terrible consequences. It is enough to recall what happened to many species of the reptile class. The Mesozoic era was marked by the fact that the reptile class, some of whose members had by that time grown to colossal size, was split into two. The half that remained herbivorous was given the opportunity to continue their development on other planes, and there now exists a material world, Zhimeira, where such beings as brontosaurs and iguanodons, which have undergone countless incarnations, now abide in the form of fully intelligent, kindly, and extremely affectionate beings. As for the other half of the giant lizards, the predators, they evolved on other planes in the opposite direction. For a long time now, they have had karrokh instead of physical bodies, and it is none other than they who rampage in the shrastrs in the form of raruggs.

Zhimeira, the present abode of the better half of prehistoric animals, has already begun to disappear, for they are moving on to higher planes. Two other planes are full of a myriad of beings: Isolde – the world of the souls of most animals in existence today, through which they flash very quickly in the intervals between incarnations, and Ermastig – the world of the souls of the higher animals. The representatives of only a few species ascend to Ermastig after death, and only some members even of those species do so. They remain in that world much longer than the others remain in Isong.
That all brings to mind the words of Zosima the Elder in The Brothers Karamazov, words remarkable for their wisdom:

«Look at the horse... or the lowly, pensive ox... Look at their visages, what meekness, what devotion to man, who often beats them mercilessly. What gentleness, what confidence, and what beauty in their visages!»

To refer to a horse or a cow as having a visage – now that requires the power of a true insight. The customary surface of things revealed its depths to the prophetic eye of Dostoyevsky, and he saw what the future holds for animals. For a world already exists where the mature souls of many of them, coated in enlightened bodies, are beautiful, wise in spirit, and highly intelligent. All of them will, in time, reach that world, Hangvilla, the highest in the sakwala, and then rise higher, to Faer, Usnorm, and Kaermis.

Oh, the vile marks of Gagtungr's claws can be seen on much else in the animal world! For example, by squeezing together, the shelts of some animals, he was able to do them harm in a way for which it is hard to find an analogy on our plane. He did not exactly press or graft them together, but he turned them from individual into collective shelts. The individual shelts of many lower life forms are but short-lived manifestations of that one collective shelt. Such, for example, are most insects, not to mention protozoa. The individual shelt of a fly or a bee, for example, is, in a manner of speaking, only a tiny swelling on the surface of the collective soul. If a bee or fly dies here in Enrof, the swelling disappears back into the communal shelt of the swarm of bees or flies.

The world of the collective souls of insects and protozoa is called Nigoyda. There, the collective souls, especially those of bees and ants, are endowed with intelligence. In external appearance they resemble the beings that embody them in Enrof, but they are larger and more imbued with Light. Some of them – at present, only a few – ascend higher, to Hangvilla, and there become beautiful and wise, even acquiring a certain magnificence and nobility. Hangvilla is a great zatomis common to the entire animal world. From there, the animals' enlightened souls ascend through Faer directly to Usnorm itself where they take part in the eternal liturgy of Shadanakar.

What will seem even stranger concerns not live animals but some children's toys. I am referring to the teddy bears, stuffed rabbits, and other toy animals everyone knows and loves. Each one of us loved them in childhood, and we all experienced the same sadness and pain when we began to understand that they were only the work of human hands and not really alive. But happily, children who cling faithfully to the belief that their toys are alive and can even speak are closer to the truth than we are. Using our higher faculties, we could in such cases witness a singular creative process. At first, such a toy has neither an etheric nor astral body nor a shelt nor, of course, a monad. But the more a teddy bear is loved, the more a child's soul showers it with tenderness, warmth, affection, pity, and trust, the denser and more concentrated becomes the fine matter within it, of which a shelt is made. A genuine shelt gradually forms, but it has neither astral nor etheric body, and therefore the physical body – the toy – cannot come to life. But when the toy, permeated throughout with an immortal shelt, perishes in Enrof, a divine act takes place, and the newly created shelt is paired with a young monad entering Shadanakar from the heart of God. Among the souls of the higher animals that are coated in astral and ether, an astonishing being makes its appearance in Ermastig, a being for whom those same coatings are to be fashioned there. They are striking not for their beauty or grandeur but, rather, for that inexpressible something that softens our hard hearts at the sight of a baby rabbit or fawn. In Ermastig those beings are even more wonderful, because their respective toys have never had a drop of evil in them. There, together with the souls of real bears and deer, they live a delightful life, receive an astral body, and then ascend to Hangvilla like the rest.

I can give here only a bare outline of a method for solving problems associated with the transphysics and eschatology of the animal world. But even that will be enough to realize how much more complex the matter is than the thinkers of the older religions believed. The simplistic formula “Animals know no sin” does not do the least justice to the essence of the matter. If, in the given case, “sin” refers to the state of sexual consciousness in which a feeling of shame and the idea of a prohibition on certain kinds of sexual activity are lacking, then animals truly do not know sin. But it would be better to say that for them these activities are not prohibited, not punishable by karma, and not a sin. On the other hand, the concept of sin encompasses an area infinitely broader than just sex. Malice, cruelty, unfounded and unbridled anger, bloodthirstiness, and jealousy are the sins of the animal world, and we are not in the possession of any facts on the basis of which we could judge the extent that one or another animal is conscious of the wrongness of such actions. In addition, that does not resolve the question of whether or not such a prohibition exists for them. It is absurd to assume that a law comes into effect only when it is cognized. No one before Newton knew of the law of gravity, but everyone and everything has always been subject to it. It matters not whether animals are conscious of a higher law or not, whether they have a vague intuition of it or no intuition at all: causality remains causality, and karma remains karma.

As far as I understand, a hungry lion that kills an antelope does not incur individual guilt, as the killing was a necessity for it, but it does incur the guilt of its species or class – the ancient guilt of all predators. But a tiger with a full belly that attacks an antelope out of excessive bloodthirstiness and malice incurs individual guilt as well as the guilt common to the species, for it was not driven by necessity to kill its victim. A wolf that, in defending itself from dogs, kills one in the fight is not guilty individually, but it is guilty as a member of a predatory species whose ancestors, at one time, elected to evolve in that direction.

We are dealing here with a kind of original sin. But a plump, well-fed cat that amuses itself by playing with a mouse is guilty of both original and individual sins, because there is no call for its actions. Some will say I am applying human, even legalistic, concepts to the animal world. But the concept of guilt is not only a legal concept; it is a transphysical, metahistorical, and ontological concept as well. The nature of guilt can vary between natural realms and hierarchies, but that in no way means that the concept itself and the reality of karma behind it is applicable to humankind alone.

The secular era of thought also has failed to introduce any new ideas to the question. To the contrary, the dominant attitude toward animals in modern times began to form from two opposing principles – the utilitarian and the emotional. The animal world has been divided into categories in concordance with the relationship a given species has to humans. First of all, of course, come pets and domesticated animals. People take care of them and, sometimes, even love them. If a cow falls sick, they shed tears over it. But if it stops giving milk, they take it away, with deep sighs, to a certain place where their beloved animal is converted into so many kilos of beef. With childlike innocence farmers then feed off the meat themselves and feed it to their households. The second category includes a large segment of wild animals, as well as fish. People do not domesticate them; they do not lavish care on them, but they simply trap or hunt them down. The matter is simple with the third group, predators and parasites. People kill them whenever and however they can. A fourth group comprises wild animals, birds in particular, that show their usefulness by killing harmful insects and rodents. That category is permitted to live and multiply, and in certain cases – for example, starlings or storks – they are even protected by law. As for all the other animals, from lizards and frogs to jackdaws and magpies, they are sometimes caught for scientific purposes or simply for the sport of it. Children may throw rocks at them, but it is more common for people, from the heights of their greatness, simply not to notice them.

That is an outline, albeit very rough, of the utilitarian attitude toward animals. The emotional attitude of most of us consists of the feeling of sympathy, real attachment, or aesthetic pleasure toward one or another species, or toward individual animals. In addition, many humans are also endowed (thank heavens!) with a general feeling of compassion for animals. That compassion is largely responsible for the laws in many countries concerned with the treatment of animals and the operation of a network of volunteer associations devoted specifically to promoting the humane treatment of animals. The emotional attitude, in conjunction with such a powerful ally as the utilitarian concern that commercially valuable species not be completely exterminated, has made the establishment of wildlife parks possible. And certain exceptional parks have no utilitarian purpose whatsoever – for example, the feeding stations for pigeons that can be found in many places.

I have been speaking, of course, about the attitude toward animals in Europe, North America, and many countries in the East. But India presents an altogether different picture. Brahmanism, as we know, has long forbidden the consumption of various kinds of meat, has practically reduced the human diet to dairy and vegetable products, has declared work in leather and fur sinful and impure, and has proclaimed the cow and certain other species holy animals. And they should be applauded for it.

Europeans, of course, are at turns amused and exasperated by the spectacle of cows wandering freely through bazaars, helping themselves to anything that catches their eye in the stalls. I do not dispute the fact that the religious worship of the cow is a specific feature of the Indian worldview alone and cannot be an object of imitation in our century. But the feeling that underlies that worship is so pure, so lofty, and so holy that it itself deserves our respect. Gandhi did a fine job explaining the psychological roots of the worship of the cow. He pointed out that in the given case the cow represents all living beings below humanity. A humble reverence for the cow and service of it in the form of disinterested care, affection, and decoration are an expression of the religious idea and moral sense of our duty toward the world of living beings, of the idea of helping and protecting all that is weak or below us, all that has not yet succeeded in developing into higher forms. Not only that, it is also an expression of a mystical sense of the profound guilt shared by all humanity toward the animal world, for humanity was singled out from animals at the cost of the retardation and regression of those weaker than us. We were singled out and, having been singled out, compounded our guilt by mercilessly exploiting those weaker than us. Over the centuries our shared human guilt has snowballed and has lately assumed vast proportions.

Glory to that people who have been able to rise to such understanding, not just in the minds of a few but in the conscience of millions!

What idea or ethic can we, who boast of our centuries-long profession of Christianity, put forward to match that ethic?

There was an incident in my life that I must speak of here. It is a painful memory, but I would not want anyone to form, on the basis of this chapter about animals, an image of the author that he does not deserve. It so happened that once, several decades ago, I consciously, even purposely, committed a vile, loathsome crime against an animal that belonged to the category of “friends of humanity.” It all happened because I was at that time going through a phase, or rather, an inner detour, that was most dark. I decided to enter into, as I then put it, «the service of Evil» – an idea so naive as to be stupid. But because of the romantic air that I cloaked it in, it took hold of my imagination and resulted in a chain of actions, each more appalling than the previous one. I was seized by the desire to find out if there really was an action so base, petty, and inhumane that I would not dare to venture to. I do not even have the excuse that I was a thick-headed child or had fallen in with a bad crowd. There was no such crowd in my social circle, I was an overage scallywag and a university student at that. How and on what exact animal the act was done is here immaterial, but done it was. The compunction I felt, however, was so strong that a revolution of terrific force took place in my attitude toward animals, an attitude that I have had ever since. It also served as the overall turning point in my inner life. If that shameful stain were not on my conscience I might not now experience such aversion, sometimes even to the point of a complete loss of self-control, toward any torture or murder of animals. It is for me now axiomatic that in the overwhelming majority of cases (excepting only self-defense from predators or parasites or the lack of any other food source) the killing or torture of animals is loathsome, unacceptable, and unworthy of humans. To do so is to violate one of those moral foundations on which we must firmly stand in order to retain the right to call ourselves human.
Of course, hunting, when it is the principal means of livelihood for certain primitive tribes, cannot be condemned morally. One would have to be a vegetarian Pharisee to censure Hottentots or Goldi, for whom abandonment of the hunt would be tantamount to death. And all who find themselves in similar circumstances can and should support their own lives and the lives of others through hunting, for the life of a human is more valuable than the life of any animal.

For the very same reason, people have the right to defend themselves from predators and parasites. It is known that many Jains and some followers of extreme Buddhist sects do not drink water except through gauze and, while walking, sweep the path in front of them before every step. I seem to recall there even being ascetics in India who let parasites feed on them. What better example is there to show how any idea can be carried to absurd extremes! The mistake being made here is that humans, for the sake of saving the lives of insects and even protozoa – that is, beings of much less value – place themselves in conditions where both social and technological progress become impossible. All forms of transport would have to be abandoned, as they cause the death of multitudes of tiny beings. A ban would even have to be laid on agriculture and the tilling of the soil in general, as it results in the death of billions of tiny creatures. In modern India, Jains are primarily engaged in liberal professions and commerce. But what would they do if the majority of humanity adopted their outlook on life? Of course, such an outlook, whereby a low ceiling is placed on the ascent of humanity, cannot be right.

But what, from the transphysical, not materialist, point of view, are parasites and protozoa? Like the majority of insects, they possess collective souls, but they lag far behind in spiritual growth. Properly speaking, we are not dealing here with a simple lag, but with Gagtungr's active demonization of their collective shelt. The shelts have the status of slaves in Nigoyda, possess only partial intelligence, and face a journey of spiritual growth exceptional for its slowness and duration. Only at the moment of our planet's passage into the third eon will they attain enlightenment. For the present, parasites – that is, beings of much lesser value – live on and get fat off of animals and humans, beings of comparatively higher value. We are, therefore, right to exterminate them, as we have no other alternative at the given stage.

Predators live at the expense of animals, beings of the same value, or of humans, beings of higher value. Those species of predators whose predatory nature we are incapable of altering should be gradually exterminated in Enrof. I say gradually not only because it cannot be done in any other manner but also because the means to alter even their nature might be discovered in the meantime. There is every reason to hope that the nature of many predatory species, especially among the higher mammals, can be changed at a fundamental level. It is enough to recall that the dog, that one-time wolf, is now capable of doing entirely without meat, and this despite the fact that humans have never set themselves the goal of turning dogs into vegetarians. Dogs were weaned away from meat out of purely economic considerations, but the success of these measures points to the excellent prospects in that area, prospects that are only now revealing themselves. Thus, hunting predators is the second kind of hunting that should not be condemned at the present stage of humanity. But another set of measures will be necessary alongside it. I will speak of them further on.

What will be subject to unconditional abolition, even a strict ban, is hunting for sport. I know full well what a howl of protest will be raised by the lovers of deer- and pheasant-shooting were this demand to gain widespread support in society and from a utopian dream of individual eccentrics turn into the insistent appeal of all progressive humanity. It is not difficult to foresee the arguments they will use in their defense. They will enlist the aid of every rationalization a crafty mind is capable of concocting when it is called on to assist a twisted instinct. They will scream, for example, about the benefits of hunting, about how it tempers one's body (as if it could not be tempered in some other fashion), how it builds character, will, resourcefulness, courage (as if humans faced some kind of danger hunting wild game). They will shower us with assurances that hunting is essentially a pretext, a mere means to the genuine end of enjoying the great outdoors, as if it couldn't be enjoyed without the additional pleasure of seeing a hare run down by a dog. They will arm themselves with brilliant psychological concoctions a la Knut Hamsun to prove that the hunting instinct is an inalienable human attribute, and that the joy of hunting originates from a combination of the satisfaction of that instinct and a sense of being a part of Nature. From their perspective, they do not view Nature through the eyes of idle city slickers in the woods, not from the outside looking in; they become part of Nature when they wait in ambush behind a tree. But no matter how much they imagine themselves part of Nature, all their feelings are not worth one glance from the dying eyes of a goose they have shot. All the twists and turns a cunning mind may make are refuted by one short statement by Turgenev. Himself a passionate hunter, he was honest both with the reader and himself. He knew and said firmly and plainly that hunting has no relation whatsoever to a love of Nature:

I can't enjoy nature while I'm hunting – all that is nonsense: you enjoy it when you're lying down or resting after the hunt. Hunting is a passion, and I don't, nor can I see anything except some pheasant hiding in a bush. No true hunter goes into the wild to enjoy nature.

Turgenev speaks openly and plainly. Why do others deceive themselves and those around them by justifying hunting as love of Nature?

Oh, I know their kind well enough: courage, honesty, simplicity, a keen eye, broad shoulders, a weather-beaten face, a clipped manner of speech, a racy joke from time to time – what more could be asked for in a real man? They are held in respect by those around them, and they hold themselves in respect – for their strong nerves (which they mistake for a strong spirit), for their sober view of things (which they mistake for intelligence), for the bulge of their biceps (worthy, they think, of the “lord of nature”), for what seems to them an eagle-like gaze. But if you look at them closely, if you peek behind their imposing facade, you will find only a tangle of every possible kind of egoism. They are courageous and brave, because they are physically strong males, and because their infatuation with their own greatness does not permit them to exhibit cowardice. They are straightforward and honest because their awareness of these virtues permits them to rationalize self-worship. And if their eyes, having witnessed so many death agonies of the beings they have killed, remain as clear and bright as a cloudless sky, then it is not to their credit, but to their shame.

Oh, you will not find their kind among the inhabitants of the taiga or the pampas whom they wish to resemble. They want everyone to admire how they have succeeded so well in harmonizing within themselves the cultivated European and the proud child of Nature. But the truth is that they are a product of urban civilization, just as rational, self-centered, cruel, and sensual as that civilization. But one half of their being yields to the atavistic pull of long-past stages of civilization. You encounter such people, more than you would wish to, among physicists, biologists, journalists, businesspeople, government officials, artists, and even great scholars. There is a powerful current in world literature that has been created by such people or by those who are of kindred spirit. It weaves through the novels of Knut Hamsun, it surges into the stories of Jack London, it seethes without restraint in the poetry and writing of Kipling, and in a poisonous rivulet it spoils the genuine love for Nature in the otherwise delightful essays of Prishvin. The justification of cruelty as a so-called unavoidable law of Nature, the cult of anthropocentrism, the ideal of the strong predator, the heartless attitude toward all living beings that is masked with a romantic spirit of adventure and travel and sweetened with poetic descriptions of the natural surroundings – it is high time to call such things by their rightful names!

We have no right, absolutely no right, to purchase our pleasure at the cost of the suffering and death of other living beings. If you do not know any other way to feel a part of Nature, then do not try. It is better to remain completely “outside of Nature” than to be a monster within it. For in entering Nature with a gun and amusing yourself by sowing death all around, you become a pitiful pawn in the hands of the one who invented death, who invented the law of survival, and who grows fat and swollen on the suffering of living beings.

There will be others who will say, “Ha! What are animals? People are dying by the millions in our century – from wars, from starvation, from political tyranny – what a time to weep over squirrels and grouses!” Yes, it is time. And I am simply incapable of understanding what world wars, tyranny, and other human atrocities have to do with animals. Why must animals die for the amusement of heartless vacationers until humanity finally irons out its social problems and takes up the softening of hearts in its free time? What is the link between the two? Could it only be that, as long as humanity afflicts itself with wars and tyranny, the public conscience will be too muffled, overwhelmed, and preoccupied to feel all the vileness of hunting and fishing?

Yes, fishing, too. That same fishing that we so love to indulge in against an idyllic backdrop of summer sunrises and sunsets, almost moved to tears by a feeling of deep inner peace. But, at the same time, that we pick up a squirming worm with our fingers and run a hook through its body, in our thoughtlessness we fail to realize that it is now feeling what we would feel if a monster the size of a mountain grabbed us by the leg, stuck an iron spike through our stomach, and threw us into the water to a waiting shark.

People will say, “Fine. But you do not have to fish using worms – you can use bread, lures, and so on.” Yes, you can. And it will no doubt be a great comfort for the caught fish to know that it will die having been fooled by a shiny piece of metal and not a worm.

One can also still come across relics from the distant past who continue to believe in all seriousness that a fish or lobster does not experience suffering because they are cold-blooded. And, in actual fact, there was a time long ago when humanity, ignorant of animal anatomy, imagined that sensitivity was a function of blood temperature. Incidentally, it was because of this fallacy that the Semitic religions included fish in the list of their permitted dishes, and even saints did not shrink from indulging in it. Heaven forbid that we should condemn them for it. Religious experience, no matter how great and high it may be, cannot entirely take the place of scientific knowledge (and vice versa). Science was at that time in its infancy, and no one – not even saints – is to blame for the delusion that cold-blooded animals feel no pain. But we now know what nonsense that is! We now realize, after all, that a fish dangling from a hook or squirming on the sand is writhing in pain and nothing else! What are we to conclude then? The white raiment of poetic contemplation that we clothe ourselves in during bucolic hours of sitting with fishing rod in hand – are they not spattered to the point of revulsion with blood, mucus, and the guts of living beings, the same beings that frolicked in the crystal clear water and could have lived even longer if not for our supposed love of Nature?

One is also confronted with the rationalization that, as everything in the animal world is founded on the law of the jungle, why should humans be an exception? That everything in the animal world is founded on the law of the jungle is simply not true. Or, are there too few herbivores? Or have the Providential powers not wrested hundreds of species from Gagtungr's clutches in that single respect alone? Are there really too few completely harmless beings in Nature that are not even physically equipped to consume meat? What is more important, wherever did the human brain come up with the idea that the morality of animals should serve as a model for our behavior? If our hunters admire the “courage” of predators (incidentally, this is not so much courage as simple confidence in their physical strength and impunity), then why not imitate predators – the wolf, for example – in other ways, say, in killing a wounded or weakened member of one's own pack? And how can we justify confining ourselves to imitating only mammal predators? Why not take an even more striking example as a model? For instance, among spiders, is not the male devoured by the female right after fertilization? I think that such a brilliant idea will not occur to apologists of our “animal nature” only because they, as a rule, belong to the male half of humanity. If it were the female spider that was devoured by the male spider after giving birth, proponents of such a courageous mode of action would no doubt turn up among us.

But with all its grotesqueness, hunting for sport does not cause as much evil as another source, one that has arisen, unfortunately, in connection with recent progress in science and mass education.

I pick up a book from the series «A Practical Guide for High School Teachers,» by a certain Y. A. Zinger and published by Uchpedgiz in 1947 under the title “Protozoa”. I open it to page 60 and read the directions on how an experiment dealing with the extraction of gregarine parasites from the intestines of a flour worm should be conducted during a biology class: “Slice open the back side of the worm and detach a section of the intestines. One can also simply cut off the head and end of the worm and then pull out the intestines from behind with tweezers. Squeeze the contents of the intestines onto a slide and, moistening it with water, look at it under low magnification.”

Do you mean to say that students won't throw up watching that? Are they already inured to it? Have they already learned, with the aid of the teacher, to suppress their horror and disgust? Do they already know enough to label natural pity sentimentality? Have they learned to call a boy a “sissy” because his hands shake or his eyes display pain, revulsion, and shame during such an experiment?

I turn two pages: “Ether is used to put the frog to sleep.... There is also a simpler method: take the frog by its hind legs and, holding it belly-up, strike its head hard and quickly against the end of the desk. Then slice open the belly of the frog.”

In that manner, children may very well receive a graphic lesson about parasites in a frog's intestines – something of vital necessity for everyone, I am sure, for life would be impossible without it. But the pedagogue and lover of “simpler methods” no less graphically demonstrates human vileness as well.

I have not yet addressed the essential question of whether the natural sciences can manage without experiments on live material. But even if those experiments were a sad necessity, what arguments can there be for inuring all high school students to them? No more than 20 percent of those children go on to a postsecondary course of study in the natural sciences or medicine. Why stifle a basic feeling of pity and cripple the very foundations of conscience in the remaining 80 percent? For the sake of what fabricated “good of humanity” do we kill hundreds of thousands of experimental animals? Why and for what? What right do we have to turn high school biology classes into lessons in the murder and torture of defenseless beings? Certainly, it is not impossible to replace that bloodbath with slides, large-scale models, or diagrams. And if we want to keep to the tried and true method, then having said A we must say B. If we are to adopt the hands-on method of teaching, then why should not a history teacher who is discussing the Inquisition stage an instructive demonstration that familiarizes students in a concrete manner with the use of Spanish boots, garrotes, the rack, and other scientific and technological achievements of the day?

And now a few more words about “live material” in general. Scientists have become so accustomed to their own terminology that they no longer notice what moral sterility, what petrifaction of conscience resounds in the stilted, crudely utilitarian phrase “live material.” Regarding the subject of live material in scientific laboratories, and the use of that method in science in general, what is done is done, the dead cannot be brought back to life, and it is pointless to argue whether scientific progress in previous centuries would have been possible without it. But is it possible now? It is the desire to economize one's efforts that is to blame for scientists focusing their attention on that method as the cheapest and easiest way to their goal. Having become legalized, it now appears to many to be irreplaceable, the only feasible method. Nonsense! It is laziness that prevents them from spending time and energy on developing a different method, that and the stinginess of the public and private sectors, nothing more. Laziness and stinginess are, generally speaking, disreputable traits, and when they prove to be responsible for such mounds of victims, how are we properly to view them?

Of course, to seek out single-handedly a new methodology is a hopeless task. Thousands of young doctors, teachers, and laboratory assistants, on beginning their careers, experience a natural feeling of revulsion for the scientific techniques associated with the torture and killing of living beings. But as things stand, every such person faces a dilemma: either stifle their compassion with rationalizations about the good of humanity or abandon a career in science, as there is no other methodology. The overwhelming majority, of course, choose the former and gradually become more and more inured in the practice of inhumane methods. The discovery of a new methodology is realistically possible only as the result of a long-term commitment by a large collective body – an association made up of people working in various branches of science – devoted to that goal. Such an undertaking can be realized only if it is funded by a wealthy body in the public or private sector.

But the victims of our “love of Nature” and the victims of our “thirst for knowledge” are but hillocks or knolls next to the Mont Blancs, the Everests of fish netted on the open sea, of the corpses of cattle and pigs piled high in slaughterhouses – in short, the corpses we buy in stores and consume at finely set tables. Even worse, the utilitarianism of technological progress has at last reached the peak where it has been proved cheaper to can crabs, for example, without killing them first, but instead ripping their shells off while they are alive, cutting off their claws, and throwing what's left of the half-alive crab back into the sea to be eaten by some passing fish. It would be a good idea to give the inventor of that crab-canning apparatus a few years holiday in solitary confinement. Let the inventor spend time pondering the question of whether he or she is a human being or not. And it would be even more gratifying to have the enterprising industrial manager, thanks to whose zealousness those torture devices for crabs and lobsters were adopted by the industry, on the other side of the wall, in the next cell, on vacation from money-saving concerns.

Let's suppose such abominations are extreme cases and will soon be eliminated. How are we to regard meat and fish as products of mass consumption? Or the manufacture of leather? Or the processing of animal fur? Even if all this is not very moral, is it not a necessity?

True, we are still faced with an element of necessity in this respect, but, if the truth be stated, it is already much less than is thought. It can be said that we are approaching a level of scientific and social progress – thank heavens – where nothing will remain of that necessity but painful memories.

Every year, applied chemistry is improving the quality of leather substitutes. Artificial fur is becoming cheaper and more readily available than the natural variety, and if it is still inferior to it in quality, in time that defect will be rectified. The time is thus approaching when the processing of animal skins or furs for commercial purposes could be banned. What is truly the most difficult question is the problem of fish and meat, which many people consider necessary for their health.

But why, in truth, are they necessary? It is not meat or fish per se that are necessary, but a definite quantity of carbohydrates, proteins, and calories. But we can supply our body with them through other kinds of food: dairy products, cereals, fruits, and vegetables. It is ridiculous to pretend that we are unaware of the existence of millions of vegetarians who live healthy lives. All of us are also well aware that for thousands of years a nation of millions has existed that consumes hardly any meat – a fact that is unpleasant for our conscience but true. More nutritional substitutes will no doubt be required to make up for fish and meat dishes in a northern climate than in tropical India. It is also true that, at present, such nutritional substitutes cost more and are, therefore, not within everyone's budget. The solution of the problem thus consists in raising the overall standard of living. But it has become a truism, after all, that humanity's prosperity increases along with progress. And the time is not far off when such nutritional substitutes will be affordable for everyone.
A program, a chain of step-by-step measures thus begins to take shape, a program that will become realizable after the Rose of the World's ascension to power. The first set of measures will be implemented without delay:

1. A ban on painful methods of killing animals, whether in industry or anywhere else.
2. A ban on experiments on “live material” in schools or anywhere else, with the exception of specially designated scientific institutions.
3. A total ban on experiments on animals without the use of soporifics or anesthetics.
4. The establishment and funding of large scientific bodies for research into and development of a new experimental method in science.
5. The restriction of sport hunting and fishing to the extermination of predators.
6. A revamping of the educational system that would ingrain a love for animals in primary and secondary school students, an unselfish love born not of an awareness of a given species' usefulness but of an organic need to love and help all beings weaker and less developed than humans.
7. Widespread promotion of the new attitude toward animals.

But the core of the new attitude will not only entail protecting animals from torture and murder by humans. That is only its negative side, and there is nothing new there. Its positive side, which is indeed new, entails providing active assistance to the animal world in its evolution and reducing the number of stages and the time span needed for that evolution.

But what does that mean? It means the establishment of “peace” between humans and animals, excluding predators; research into methods for the reorientation of certain predatory species; renunciation of the use of any animal for the purposes of security; and the artificial acceleration of the intellectual and spiritual development of certain higher species in the animal world.

Enormous funds will have to be invested in the development of “zoopsychology.” Fine! No amount of funds can make amends for the evil we have done to the animal world over these thousands of years. A new branch of knowledge will appear: zoopedagogy, the pedagogy of animals. Careful study will lead to the singling out of some species of predators that, like the dog and cat, can be reoriented. Did I not already mention that the one-time wolf has before our very eyes become capable of digesting plant food? And that is in spite of the fact that humans did not try to curb but, to the contrary, cultivated its instinct for blood in the interests of hunting and security. If not for that, what playfulness, what meekness, what goodness would we now witness in dogs in addition to their loyalty, courage, and intelligence! And who can doubt that such work on many predatory species, work done by people equipped with a knowledge of animal psychology, physiology, pedagogy, and more importantly, love, can reorient them, help them to evolve physically and intellectually, soften their hearts, and transform them?

Even now, dogs are capable of remembering as many as two hundred words, and not mechanically, like a parrot, but with full awareness of their meaning. They are beings with truly immense potential. Their development has reached the point where the species can make a giant leap forward. It is up to us to ensure that that radical transformation takes place in our lifetime, to see that the inadaptability of some of the dog's organs do not retard its evolution for centuries to come. The emergence of speech in dogs is not impeded by their overall level of intelligence but by a purely mechanical barrier in the form of the unsuitable structure of those organs necessary for speech. Its overall development is also impeded by another barrier: the absence of extremities for grasping, or rather, the inability of their paws to perform those functions performed by our hands. Yet another branch of animal physiology will develop: a science concerned with biochemical engineering of the embryo to effect the structural changes necessary for the accelerated development of speech organs and the transformation of its forepaws into hands. Dogs' mastery of speech, even if only a few dozen words, will have a trickle-down effect on the rate of their overall growth in intelligence. In one hundred years people will have extraordinary friends who, thanks to human help, will have shortened their allotted path to the span of a few generations instead of a hundred thousand years.

The next candidates for accelerated development will probably be cats, elephants, bears, and, perhaps, some species of rodents. Horses, which have progressed very far intellectually and are indubitably morally superior to cats and dogs, are endowed with an unfortunate feature, hooves, that prevents them from entering onto that path any time soon. The same is true of deer and buffalo. Elephants, which are endowed with a marvelous trunk for grasping, face a different impediment: their size, which requires an inordinate amount of food. It is possible, however, that science will discover a way to shrink their size and thus remove the chief obstacle to the rapid development of their intellect. It is reasonable to suppose that elephants will not lose any of their extraordinary charm if, while endowed with the gift of speech, they do not surpass a modern-day baby elephant in size.

Thus, after a certain period of time, the Rose of the World will be able to implement a second set of measures.

1. A ban on the murder of animals for any kind of commercial or scientific purpose.
2. Tight restrictions on animal slaughter for the purpose of consumption.
3. The designation of large tracts of land as wildlife parks in all countries, so that animals that are not domesticated may live in their natural habitat.
4. Freedom of movement – both in Nature and in populated areas – for both traditionally and recently domesticated species.
5. The coordination of the work of zoopedagogical institutes on a global scale, the prioritization of that work, and research into endowing the higher animals with the gift of speech.
6. Particularly careful research into artificially weakening the predatory nature of certain animals.

This is how the creative work of elevating animals will proceed – work that is selfless, not prompted by narrow material interests but by feelings of guilt and love. It will be a growing love that will be too broad in scope to confine itself to humans alone.

It will be a love that will find solutions to problems that now appear insoluble. For instance, where will we find room for all those animals if humans stop killing them en masse? Will not the same thing happen on a global scale that happened with rabbits in Australia, where they multiplied at an alarming rate and became the scourge of agriculture? But those fears resemble Malthusianism extrapolated to the animal world. It is impossible at present, of course, to envision the measures that will be discovered and undertaken in that regard by our descendants. At the very worst, specific quotas will have to be set. If they are surpassed then society at the end of the twenty-first century will be forced to resort to the artificial regulation of animal birth rates. There is, however, reason to hope that the problem will be solved differently, in a manner that is impossible to foresee at the current level of science, technology, economics, and morality. But even were there to be quotas, it would still be an infinitely lesser evil than what is taking place now. The sum of suffering caused by humans would be greatly reduced, and that is, after all, our goal.

The sum of good done will correspondingly increase, becoming what the Hindus speak of as “prema sagar” – an ocean of love. The proverbial image of the lion lying down with the lamb or child is not at all utopian. That will come to pass. It was an intuition granted to great prophets who knew the heart of humanity. The descendants of modern-day hares and tapirs, leopards and squirrels, bears and crows, giraffes and lizards will not dwell in cages, or even in wildlife preserves, but in our cities, parks, groves, and meadows. They will not fear people but will show them affection and play with them, working together with them on improving the natural and cultural environment and on fostering their own self-development. By the next century, economic prosperity will reach almost incredible levels, and feeding those gentle, peaceful, affectionate, and intelligent beings will pose no problems. And generations to come will read with a shudder of how, not so long before, humans used not only to eat the corpses of animals they themselves had killed but even took pleasure in hunting them down and cold-heartedly murdering them.

to the next part: 6.1. Up to the World Salvaterra
to the previous part: 5.2. Elementals of Light
to the beginning: «The Rose of the World». Table of contents
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