The Internet nowadays is full of irrational hate against vegetarians and vegans. People hate them. It’s weird. You wouldn’t think that avoiding chicken nuggets would warrant the abuse. Vegans and Vegetarians are one of the last remaining minorities that can be made fun of, marginalized and ridiculed publicly and have it be socially acceptable.
The history of vegetarianism has its roots in the civilizations of ancient India and ancient Greece. Vegetarianism is the theory and practice of voluntary non-consumption of the flesh of any animal (including sea animals), with or without also eschewing other animal derivatives (such as dairy products or eggs). The earliest records of vegetarianism as a concept and practice amongst a significant number of people concern ancient India and the ancient Greek civilizations in southern Italy and Greece. In both instances, the diet was closely connected with the idea of nonviolence toward animals. In Greece, during classical antiquity, the vegetarian diet was called abstinence from beings with a soul…
Throughout history, many of the world's greatest philosophers, writers, scientists, artists, spiritual leaders, and teachers have been adherents and/or enthusiastic supporters of vegetarianism. The World's Greatest Geniuses are Vegetarians. Did haters know that?
22 Famous Vegetarians In History
1. Albert Einstein
“Although I have been prevented by outward circumstances from observing a strictly vegetarian diet, I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence a lot of mankind.”
2. Nikola Tesla
“A thousand other evils might be mentioned, but all put together, in their bearing upon the problem under discussion, they could not equal a single one, the want of food, brought on by poverty, destitution, and famine. Millions of individuals die yearly for want of food, thus keeping down the mass. Even in our enlightened communities, and not withstanding the many charitable efforts, this is still, in all probability, the chief evil. I do not mean here absolute want of food but want of healthful nutriment. How to provide good and plentiful food is, therefore, a most important question of the day. On the general principles the raising of cattle as a means of providing food is objectionable, because, in the sense interpreted above, it must undoubtedly tend to the addition of the mass of a “smaller velocity.” It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarous habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well-demonstrated fact.
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Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength. There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat, and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance. Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and, in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficult to estimate. In view of these facts, every effort should be made to stop the wanton and cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals. To free ourselves from animal instincts and appetites, which keep us down, we should begin at the very root from which we spring: we should effect a radical reform in the character of the food. There seems to be no philosophical necessity for food. We can conceive of organized beings living without nourishment, and be deriving all the energy they need for the performance of their life-functions from the ambient medium. In a crystal, we have clear evidence of the existence of a formative life-principle, and though we cannot understand the life of a crystal, it is none the less a living being.”
”If we are to be nonviolent, we must then not wish for anything on this earth which even the meanest or the lowest of human beings cannot have.”
4. Vincent Van Gogh
“In the afternoon, at the table, the three of us would eat with the appetite of famished wolves; not he, he would not eat meat, only a little morsel on Sundays, and then only after being urged by our landlady for a long time. Four potatoes with a suspicion of gravy and a mouthful of vegetables constituted his whole dinner. To our insistence that he make a hearty dinner and eat meat, he would answer, To a human being physical life ought to be a paltry detail; vegetable food is sufficient, all the rest is a luxury.”
“A human body in no way resembles those that were born for ravenousness; it hath no Hawk's bill, no sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, no such strength of stomach or heat of digestion, as can be sufficient to convert or alter such heavy and fleshy fare. But if you will contend that you were born with an inclination to such food as you have now a mind to eat, do you then yourself kill what you would eat. But do it yourself, without the help of a chopping-knife, mallet or ax, as wolves, bears, and lions do, who kill and eat at once. Rend an ox with thy teeth, worry a hog with thy mouth, tear a lamb or a hare in pieces, and fall on and eat it alive as they do. But if thou had rather stay until what thou eat is to become dead, and if thou art loath to force a soul out of its body, why then dost thou against Nature eat an animate thing? There is nobody that is willing to eat even a lifeless and a dead thing even as it is; so they boil it, and roast it, and alter it by fire and medicines, as it were, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with thousands of sweet sauces, that the palate being thereby deceived may admit of such uncouth fare.”
Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh?
“Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hide flayed and limbs were torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?”
“Alas, what wickedness to swallow flesh into our own flesh, to fatten our greedy bodies by cramming in other bodies, to have one living creature fed by the death of another. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seeds of murder and pain cannot reap the joy of love.”
7. Mark Twain
“I believe I am not interested to know whether Vivisection produces results that are profitable to the human race or doesn’t. To know that the results are profitable to the race would not remove my hostility to it. The pains which it inflicts upon unconsenting animals is the basis of my enmity towards it, and it is to me sufficient justification of the enmity without looking further.”
8. Franz Kafka
“Now at least I can look at you in peace. I don’t eat you anymore.”
9. Leo Tolstoy
“If a man's aspirations towards a righteous life are serious… if he earnestly and sincerely seeks a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from animal food, because, not to mention the excitement of the passions produced by such food, it is plainly immoral, as it requires an act contrary to moral feeling, i. e., killing – and is called forth only by greed.”
“It is horrible! It is not the suffering and the death of the animals that is horrible, but the fact that the man without any need for so doing crushes his lofty feeling of sympathy and mercy for living creatures and does violence to himself that he may be cruel. The first element of moral life is abstinence.”
Tolstoy himself tells how he became a vegetarian:
“Not long ago I had a talk with a retired soldier,” writes Tolstoy in Recollections and Essays, “and he was surprised at my assertion that it was a pity to kill animals for food, and said the usual things about its being ordained. But afterward, he agreed with me: ‘Especially when they are quiet, tame cattle. They come, poor things trusting You. It is very pitiful.’
“Such a situation is dreadful. Not the suffering and death of the animals, but that man suppresses in himself unnecessarily, the highest spiritual capacity – that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures – and by violating his own feelings, becomes cruel. And how deeply seated in the human heart is the injunction not to take life. But by the assertion that God ordained the slaughter of animals, and above all as a result of habit, people entirely lose their natural feeling.
“Some time ago I decided to visit the slaughter-house at Tula, and meeting a meek, kind acquaintance of mine, I invited him to accompany rue. My friend refused; he could not, he told me to bear to witness the slaughter of animals. It is worth remarking that this man is a sportsman and himself kills animals and birds …
“And… a kind refined lady will devour the carcasses of these animals with full assurance that she is doing right, at the same time asserting two contradictory propositions:
“First that she is so delicate that she cannot be sustained by vegetable food alone; and secondly, that she is so sensitive that she is unable. not only herself to inflict suffering on animals, but even to bear the sight of the suffering.
“Whereas the poor lady is weak precisely because she has been taught to live upon food unnatural to man; she cannot avoid causing suffering to animals – for she eats them.
The answer is
“The wrongfulness, the immorality of eating animal food has been recognized by all mankind during all the conscious life of humanity. Why then have people generally not come to acknowledge this law? The answer is that the moral progress of humanity is always slow; but that the sign of true, not casual Progress, is in uninterruptedness and its continual acceleration. And one cannot doubt that vegetarianism has been progressing in this manner.
“The progress of the movement should cause special joy to those whose life lies in the effort to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth, not because vegetarianism is in itself an important step towards that kingdom, but because it is a sign that the aspiration of mankind towards moral perfection is serious and sincere.”
10. Leonardo Da Vinci
“One day the world will look upon research upon animals as it now looks upon research on human beings”
11. Neal D. Barnard, M.D., President Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
“The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of ‘real food for real people,’ you'd better live real close to a real good hospital.”
“To become vegetarian is to step into the stream which leads to nirvana.”
13. Benjamin Franklin
“My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chided for my singularity, but, with this lighter repast, I made the greater progress, for greater clearness of head and quicker comprehension. Flesh-eating is unprovoked murder.”
14. Rabindranath Tagore
“We manage to swallow flesh only because we do not think of the cruel and sinful thing that we do. Cruelty… is a fundamental sin, and admits of no arguments or nice distinctions. If only we do not allow our heart to grow callous, it protests against cruelty, is always clearly heard; and yet we go on perpetrating cruelties easily, merrily, all of us – in fact, anyone who does not join in is dubbed a crank.“
15. Martin Luther King Jr.
“One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.”
“Men fed upon carnage, and drinking strong drinks, have all an imprisoned and acrid blood which drives them mad in a hundred different ways. “
17. Ralph Waldo Emerson
You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
18. Sigmund Freud
19. Dr. Albert Schweitzer
“Late on the third day, at the very moment when, at sunset… there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase ‘Reverence for Life’.”
“A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as well as that of his fellowman, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help.”
“The man who has become a thinking being felt a compulsion to give every will-to-live the reverence for life that he gives his own.”
“Any religion or philosophy which is not based on a respect for life is not a true religion or philosophy.”
“The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.”
21. John Harris
“Suppose that tomorrow a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth, beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals. Would they have the right to treat you as you treat the animals you breed, keep and kill for food?”
Three things cannot be long hidden: the Sun, the Moon, and the TRUTH!
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