Greek historian, biographer, and essayist
But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a
soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time she
had been born into the world to enjoy.
When we clog and cloy our body with flesh, we also render our mind
and intellect coarse. When the body’s clogged with unnatural food, the
mind becomes confused and dull and loses its cheerfulness. Such minds
engage in trivial pursuits, because they lack the clearness and vigor
for higher thinking.
We ought not to treat living
creatures like shoes or household belongings, which when worn with use
we throw away.
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 little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived.
How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides
flayed and limbs 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
It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of
self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless,
tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I
swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and
grace. But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like like tinting of the
flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the
cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be
found in the poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we
deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are
entitled by birth and being.
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