ON ABSTINENCE FROM ANIMAL FOOD –Porphyry μερος H


(ΚΟΝΤΙΝΙΟΥΝΤ  ΦΡΟΜ  7/03/11)

BOOK THREE

1. In the two preceding books, O Firmus Castricius, we have demonstrated that animal food does not contribute either to temperance and frugality, or to the piety which especially gives completion to the theoretic life, but is rather hostile to it. Since, however, the most beautiful part of justice consists in piety to the Gods, and this is principally acquired through abstinence, there is no occasion to fear that we shall violate justice towards men, while we preserve piety towards the Gods. Socrates therefore says, in opposition to those who contend that pleasure is the supreme good, that though all swine and goats should accord in this opinion, yet he should never be persuaded that our felicity was placed in the enjoyment of corporeal delight, as long as intellect has dominion over all things. And we also say, that though all wolves and vultures should praise the eating of flesh, we should not admit that they spoke justly, as long as man is by nature innoxious, and ought to abstain from procuring pleasure for himself by injuring others. We shall pass on, therefore, to the discussion of justice; and since our opponents say that this ought only to be extended to those of similar species, and on this account deny that irrational animals can be injured by men, let us exhibit the true, and at the same time Pythagoric opinion, and demonstrate that every soul which participates of sense and memory is rational. For this being demonstrated, we may extend, as our opponents will also admit, justice to every animal. But we shall epitomize what has been said by the ancients on this subject.

2. Since, however, with respect to reason, one kind, according to the doctrine of the Stoics, is internal, but the other external, and again, one kind being right, but the other erroneous, it is requisite to explain of which of these two, animals, according to them, are deprived. Are they therefore deprived of right reason alone? or are they entirely destitute both of internal and externally proceeding reason? They appear, indeed, to ascribe to brutes an entire privation of reason, and not a privation of right reason alone. For if they merely denied that brutes possess right reason, animals would not be irrational, but rational beings, in the same manner as nearly all men are according to them. For, according to their opinion, one or two wise men may be found in whom alone right reason prevails, but all the rest of mankind are depraved; though some of these make a certain proficiency, but others are profoundly depraved, and yet, at the same time, all of them are similarly rational. Through the influence, therefore, of self-love, they say, that all other animals are irrational; wishing to indicate by irrationality, an entire privation of reason. If, however, it be requisite to speak the truth, not only reason may plainly be perceived in all animals, but in many of them it is so great as to approximate to perfection.

3. Since, therefore, reason is two-fold, one kind consisting in external speech, but the other in the disposition of the soul, we shall begin from that which is external, and which is arranged according to the voice. But if external reason is voice, which through the tongue is significant of the internal passions of the soul (for this is the most common definition of it, and is not adopted by one sect [of philosophers] only, and if it is alone indicative of the conception of [internal] reason)—if this be the case, in what pertaining to this are such animals as have a voice deficient? Do they not discursively perceive the manner in which they are inwardly affected, before it is vocally enunciated by them? By a discursive perception, however, I mean the perception produced by the silent discourse which takes place in the soul. Since, therefore, that which is vocally expressed by the tongue is reason, in whatever manner it may be expressed, whether in a barbarous or a Grecian, a canine or a bovine mode, other animals also participate of it that are vocal; men, indeed, speaking conformably to the human laws [of speech], but other animals conformably to the laws which they received from the Gods and nature. But if we do not understand what they say, what is this to the purpose? For the Greeks do not understand what is said by the Indians, nor those who are educated in Attica the language of the Scythians, or Thracians, or Syrians; but the sound of the one falls on the ears of the other like the clangor of cranes, though by others their vocal sounds can be written and articulated, in the same manner as ours can by us. Nevertheless, the vocal sounds of the Syrians, for instance, or the Persians, are to us inarticulate, and cannot be expressed by writing, just as the speech of animals is unintelligible to all men. For as we, when we hear the Scythians speak, apprehend, by the auditory sense, a noise only and a sound, but are ignorant of the meaning of what they say, because their language appears to us to be nothing but a clangor, to have no articulation, and to employ only one sound either longer or shorter, the variety of which is not at all significant to us, but to them the vocal sounds are intelligible, and have a great difference, in the same manner as our language has to us; the like also takes place in the vocal sounds of other animals. For the several species of these understand the language which is adapted to them, but we only hear a sound, of the signification of which we are ignorant, because no one who has learnt our language, is able to teach us through ours the meaning of what is said by brutes. If, however, it is requisite to believe in the ancients, and also in those who have lived in our times, and the times of our fathers, there are some among these who are said to have heard and to have understood the speech of animals. Thus, for instance, this is narrated of Melampus and Tiresias, and others of the like kind; and the same thing, not much prior to our time, is related of Apollonius Tyanaeus. For it is narrated of him, that once, when he was with his associates, a swallow happening to be present, and twittering, he said, that the swallow indicated to other birds, that an ass laden with corn had fallen down before the city, and that in consequence of the fall of the ass, the corn was spread on the ground. An associate, also, of mine informed me, that he once had a boy for a servant, who understood the meaning of all the sounds of birds, and who said, that all of them were prophetic, and declarative of what would shortly happen. He added, that he was deprived of this knowledge through his mother, who, fearing that he would be sent to the Emperor as a gift, poured urine into his ear when he was asleep.

4. Omitting, however, these things, through the passion of incredulity, which is connascent with us, I think there is no one who is ignorant, that there are some nations even now who understand the sounds of certain animals, through an alliance to those animals. Thus, the Arabians understand the language of crows, and the Tyrrhenians of eagles. And, perhaps, all men would understand the language of all animals, if a dragon were to lick their ears. Indeed, the variety and difference in the vocal sounds of animals, indicate that they are significant. Hence, we hear one sound when they are terrified, but another, of a different kind, when they call their associates, another when they summon their young to food, another when they lovingly embrace each other, and another when they incite to battle. And so great is the difference in their vocal sounds, that, even by those who have spent their whole life in the observation of them, it is found to be extremely difficult to ascertain their meaning, on account of their multitude. Diviners, therefore, who predict from ravens and crows, when they have noted the difference of the sounds, as far as to a certain multitude, omit the rest, as not easily to be apprehended by man. But when animals speak to each other, these sounds are manifest and significant to them, though they are not known to all of us. If, however, it appears that they imitate us, that they learn the Greek tongue, and understand their keepers, what man is so impudent as not to grant that they are rational, because he does not understand what they say? Crows, therefore, and magpies, the robin red-breast, and the parrot, imitate men, recollect what they have heard, are obedient to their preceptor while he is teaching them; and many of them, through what they have learnt, point out those that have acted wrong in the house. But the Indian hyaena, which the natives call crocotta, speaks in a manner so human, and this without a teacher, as to go to houses, and call that person whom he knows he can easily vanquish. He also imitates the voice of him who is most dear, and would most readily attend to the person whom he calls; so that, though the Indians know this, yet being deceived through the similitude, and obeying the call, they come forth, and are destroyed. If, however, all animals do not imitate, and all of them are not adapted to learn our language, what is this to the purpose? For neither is every man docile or imitative, I will not say of the vocal sounds of animals, but of the five dialects of the Greek tongue. To which may be added, that some animals, perhaps, do not speak, because they have not been taught, or because they are impeded by the ill conformation of the instruments of speech. We, therefore, when we were at Carthage, nurtured a tame partridge, which we caught flying, and which, in process of time, and by associating with us, became so exceedingly mild, that it was not only sedulously attentive to us, caressed and sported with us, but uttered a sound corresponding to the sound of our voice, and, as far as it was capable, answered us; and this in a manner different from that by which partridges are accustomed to call each other. For it did not utter a corresponding sound when we were silent, but when we spoke to it.

5. It is also narrated, that some dumb animals obey their masters with more readiness than any domestic servants. Hence, a lamprey was so accustomed to the Roman Crassus, as to come to him when he called it by its name; on which account Crassus was so affectionately disposed towards it, that he exceedingly lamented its death, though, prior to this, he had borne the loss of three of his children with moderation. Many likewise relate that the eels in Arethusa, and the shell-fish denominated saperdae, about Maeander, are obedient to those that call them. Is not the imagination, therefore, of an animal that speaks, the same, whether it proceeds as far as to the tongue, or does not? And if this be the case, is it not absurd to call the voice of man alone [external] reason, but refuse thus to denominate the voice of other animals? For this is just as if crows should think that their voice alone is external reason, but that we are irrational animals, because the meaning of the sounds which we utter is not obvious to them; or as if the inhabitants of Attica should thus denominate their speech alone, and should think that those are irrational who are ignorant of the Attic tongue, though the inhabitants of Attica would sooner understand the croaking of a crow, than the language of a Syrian or a Persian. But is it not absurd to judge of rationality and irrationality from apprehending or not apprehending the meaning of vocal sounds, or from silence and speech? For thus some one might say, that the God who is above all things, and likewise the other Gods are not rational, because they do not speak. The Gods, however, silently indicate their will, and birds apprehend their will more rapidly than men, and when they have apprehended it, they narrate it to men as much as they are able and different birds are the messengers to men of different Gods. Thus, the eagle is the messenger of Jupiter, the hawk and the crow of Apollo, the stork of Juno, the crex and the bird of night of Minerva, the crane of Ceres, and some other bird is the messenger of some other deity. Moreover, those among us that observe animals, and are nurtured together with them, know the meaning of their vocal sounds. The hunter, therefore, from the barking of his dog, perceives at one time, indeed, that the dog explores a hare, but at another, that the dog has found it; at one time, that he pursues the game, at another that he has caught it, and at another that he is in the wrong track, through having lost the scent of it. Thus, too, the cowherd knows, at one time, indeed, that a cow is hungry, or thirsty, or weary, and at another, that she is incited to venery, or seeks her calf, [from her different lowings]. A lion also manifests by his roaring that he threatens, a wolf by his howling that he is in a bad condition, and shepherds, from the bleating of sheep, know what the sheep want.

6. Neither, therefore, are animals ignorant of the meaning of the voice of men, when they are angry, or speak kindly to, or call them, or pursue them, or ask them to do something, or give something to them; nor, in short, are they ignorant of any thing that is usually said to them, but are aptly obedient to it; which it would be impossible for them to do, unless that which is similar to intellection energized, in consequence of being excited by its similar. The immoderation of their passions, also, is suppressed by certain modulations, and stags, bulls, and other animals, from being wild become tame. Those, too, who are decidedly of opinion that brutes are deprived of reason, yet admit that dogs have a knowledge of dialectic, and make use of the syllogism which consists of many disjunctive propositions, when, in searching for their game, they happen to come to a place where there are three roads. For they thus reason, the beast has either fled through this road, or through that, or through the remaining road; but it has not fled either through this, or through that, and therefore it must have fled through the remaining third of these roads. After which syllogistic process, they resume their pursuit in that road. It may, however, be readily said, that animals do these things naturally, because they were not taught by any one to do them; as if we also were not allotted reason by nature, though we likewise give names to things, because we are naturally adapted to do so. Besides, if it be requisite to believe in Aristotle, animals are seen to teach their offspring, not only something pertaining to other things, but also to utter vocal sounds; as the nightingale, for instance, teaches her young to sing. And as he likewise says, animals learn many things from each other, and many from men; and the truth of what he asserts is testified by all the tamers of colts, by every jockey, horseman, and charioteer, and by all hunters, herdsmen, keepers of elephants, and masters of wild beasts and birds. He, therefore, who estimates things rightly, will be led, from these instances, to ascribe intelligence to brutes; but he who is inconsiderate, and is ignorant of these things, will be induced to act rashly, through his inexhaustible avidity co­operating with him against them. For how is it possible that he should not defame and calumniate animals, who has determined to cut them in pieces, as if they were stones? Aristotle, however, Plato, Empedocles, Pythagoras, Democritus, and all such as endeavored to discover the truth concerning animals, have acknowledged that they participate of reason.

7. But it is now requisite to show that brutes have internal reason. The difference, indeed, between our reason and theirs, appears to consist, as Aristotle somewhere says, not in essence, but in the more and the less; just as many are of opinion, that the difference between the Gods and us is not essential, but consists in this, that in them there is a greater, and in us a less accuracy, of the reasoning power. And, indeed, so far as pertains to sense and the remaining organization, according to the sensoria and the flesh, every one nearly will grant that these are similarly disposed in us, as they are in brutes. For they not only similarly participate with us of natural passions, and the motions produced through these, but we may also survey in them such affections as are preternatural and morbid. No one, however, of a sound mind, will say that brutes are unreceptive of the reasoning power, on account of the difference between their habit of body and ours, when he sees that there is a great variety of habit in men, according to their race, and the nations to which they belong and yet, at the same time, it is granted that all of them are rational. An ass, therefore, is afflicted with a catarrh, and if the disease flows to his lungs, he dies in the same manner as a man. A horse, too, is subject to purulence, and wastes away through it, like a man. He is likewise attacked with rigor, the gout, fever, and fury, in which case he is also said to have a depressed countenance. A mare, when pregnant, if she happens to smell a lamp when it is just extinguished, becomes abortive, in the same manner as a woman. An ox, and likewise a camel, are subject to fever and insanity; a raven becomes scabby, and has the leprosy; and also a dog, who, besides this, is afflicted with the gout, and madness: but a hog is subject to hoarseness, and in a still greater degree a dog; whence this disease in a man is denominated from the dog, cynanche. And these things are known to us, because we are familiar with these animals; but of the diseases of other animals, we are ignorant, because we do not associate with them. Castrated animals also became more effeminate. Hence cocks, when they are castrated, no longer crow; but their voice becomes effeminate, like that of men who lose their testicles. It is not possible, likewise, to distinguish the bellowing and horns of a bull, when he is castrated, from those of a cow. But stags, when they are castrated, no longer cast off their horns, but retain them in the same manner as eunuchs do their hairs; and if, when they are castrated, they are without horns, they do not afterwards produce them, just as it happens to those who, before they have a beard, are made eunuchs. So that nearly the bodies of all animals are similarly affected with ours, with respect to the bodily calamities to which they are subject.

8. See, however, whether all the passions of the soul in brutes, are not similar to ours; for it is not the province of man alone to apprehend juices by the taste, colors by the sight, odors by the smell, sounds by the hearing, cold or heat, or other tangible objects, by the touch; but the senses of brutes are capable of the same perceptions. Nor are brutes deprived of sense because they are not men, as neither are we to be deprived of reason, because the Gods, if they possess it, are rational beings. With respect to the senses, however, other animals appear greatly to surpass us; for what man can see so acutely as a dragon? (for this is not the fabulous Lynceus). And hence the poets denominate ‘to see’ drakein: but an eagle, from a great height, sees a hare. What man hears more acutely than cranes, who are able to hear from an interval so great, as to be beyond the reach of human sight? And as to smell, almost all animals so much surpass us in this sense, that things which fall on it, and are obvious to them, are concealed from us; so that they know and smell the several kinds of animals by their footsteps. Hence, men employ dogs as their leaders, for the purpose of discovering the retreat of a boar, or a stag. And we, indeed, are slowly sensible of the constitution of the air; but this is immediately perceived by other animals, so that from them we derive indications of the future state of the weather. With respect to juices also, they so accurately know the distinction between them, that their knowledge of what are morbific, salubrious, and deleterious among these, surpasses that of physicians. But Aristotle says, that animals whose sensitive powers are more exquisite, are more prudent. And the diversities, indeed, of bodies are capable of producing a facility or difficulty of being passively affected, and of having reason, more or less prompt in its energies; but they are not capable of changing the essence of the soul, since neither are they able to change the senses, nor to alter the passions, nor to make them entirely abandon their proper nature. It must be granted, therefore, that animals participate more or less of reason, but not that they are perfectly deprived of it; as neither must it be admitted that one animal has reason, but another not. As, however, in one and the same species of animals, one body is more, but another less healthy; and, in a similar manner, in diseases, in a naturally good, and a naturally bad, disposition, there is a great difference; thus also in souls, one is naturally good, but another depraved: and of souls that are depraved, one has more, but another less, of depravity. In good men, likewise, there is not the same equality; for Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato, are not similarly good. Nor is there sameness in a concordance of opinions. Hence it does not follow, if we have more intelligence than other animals, that on this account they are to be deprived of intelligence; as neither must it be said, that partridges do not fly, because hawks fly higher; nor that other hawks do not fly, because the bird called phassophonos flies higher than these, and than all other birds. Some one, therefore, may admit that the soul is co-passive with the body, and that the former suffers something from the latter, when the latter is well or ill affected, but in this case it by no means changes it nature: but if the soul is only co-passive to, and uses the body as an instrument, she may be able to effect many things through it, which we cannot, even when it is organized differently from ours, and when it is affected in a certain manner, may sympathize with it, and yet may not change its proper nature.

9. It must be demonstrated, therefore, that there is a rational power in animals, and that they are not deprived of prudence. And in the first place, indeed, each of them knows whether it is imbecile or strong, and, in consequence of this, it defends some parts of itself, but attacks with others. Thus the panther uses its teeth, the lion its nails and teeth, the horse its hoofs, the ox its horns, the cock its spurs, and the scorpion its sting; but the serpents in Egypt use their spittle (whence also they are called ptuades, i.e. spitters,) and with this they blind the eyes of those that approach them: and thus a different animal uses a different part of itself for attack, in order to save itself. Again, some animals, viz. such as are robust, feed [and live] remote from men; but others, who are of an ignoble nature, live remote from stronger animals, and, on the contrary, dwell nearer men. And of these, some dwell at a greater distance from more robust animals, as sparrows and swallows, who build their nests in the roofs of houses; but others associate with men, as, for instance, dogs. They likewise change their places of abode at certain times, and know every thing which contributes to their advantage. In a similar manner, in fishes and in birds, a reasoning energy of this kind may be perceived; all which particulars are abundantly collected by the ancients, in their writings concerning the prudence of animals; and they are copiously discussed by Aristotle, who says, that by all animals an habitation subservient to their subsistence and their safety, is most exquisitely contrived.

10. But he who says that these things are naturally present with animals, is ignorant in asserting this, that they are by nature rational; or if this is not admitted, neither does reason subsist in us naturally, nor with the perfection of it receive an increase, so far as we are naturally adapted to receive it. A divine nature, indeed, does not become rational through learning, for there never was a time in which he was irrational; but rationality is consubsistent with his existence, and he is not prevented from being rational, because he did not receive reason through discipline: though, with respect to other animals, in the same manner as with respect to men, many things are taught them by nature, and some things are imparted by discipline. Brutes, however, learn some things from each other, but are taught others, as we have said, by men. They also have memory, which is a most principal thing in the resumption of reasoning and prudence. They likewise have vices, and are envious; though their bad qualities are not so widely extended as in men: for their vices are of a lighter nature than those of men: This, indeed, is evident; for the builder of a house will never be able to lay the foundation of it, unless he is sober; nor can a shipwright properly place the keel of a ship, unless he is in health; nor a husbandman plant a vine, unless he applies his mind to it; yet nearly all men, when they are intoxicated, can beget children. This, however, is not the case with other animals; for they propagate for the sake of offspring, and for the most part, when the males have made the female pregnant, they no longer attempt to be connected with her; nor, if they should attempt it, would the female permit them. But the magnitude of the lascivious insolence and intemperance of men in these things, is evident. In other animals, however, the male is conscious of the parturient throes of the female, and, for the most part, partakes of the same pains; as is evident in cocks. But others incubate together with the females; as the males of doves. They likewise provide a proper place for the delivery of their offspring; and after they have brought forth their offspring, they both purify them and themselves. And he who properly observes, will see that every thing proceeds with them in an orderly manner; that they fawn on him who nourishes them, and that they know their master, and give indications of him who acts insidiously.

11. Who likewise is ignorant how much gregarious animals preserve justice towards each other? for this is preserved by ants, by bees, and by other animals of the like kind. And who is ignorant of the chastity of female ring-doves towards the males with whom they associate? for they destroy those who are found by them to have committed adultery. Or who has not heard of the justice of storks towards their parents? For in the several species of animals, a peculiar virtue is eminent, to which each species is naturally adapted; nor because this virtue is natural and stable, is it fit to deny that they are rational? For it might be requisite to deprive them of rationality, if their works were not the proper effects of virtue and rational sagacity; but if we do not understand how these works are effected, because we are unable to penetrate into the reasoning which they use, we are not on this account to accuse them of irrationality; for neither is any one able to penetrate into the intellect of that divinity the sun, but from his works we assent to those who demonstrate him to be an intellectual and rational essence.

12. But some one may very properly wonder at those who admit that justice derives its subsistence from the rational part, and who call those animals that have no association with men, savage and unjust, and yet do not extend justice as far as to those that do associate with us; and which, in the same manner as men, would be deprived of life, if they were deprived of human society. Birds, therefore, and dogs, and many quadrupeds, such as goats, horses, sheep, asses, and mules, would perish, if deprived of an association with mankind. Nature, also, the fabricator of their frame, constituted them so as to be in want of men, and fashioned men so as to require their assistance; thus producing an innate justice in them towards us, and in us towards them. But it is not at all wonderful, if some of them are savage towards men; for what Aristotle says is true, that if all animals had an abundance of nutriment, they would not act ferociously, either towards each other, or towards men. For on account of food, though necessary and slender, enmities and friendships are produced among animals, and also on account of the places which they occupy; but if men were reduced to such straits as brutes are [with respect to food,] how much more savage would they become than those animals that appear to be wild? War and famine are indications of the truth of this; for then men do not abstain from eating each other; and even without war and famine, they eat animals that are nurtured with them, and are perfectly tame.

13. Some one, however, may say, that brutes are indeed rational animals, but have not a certain habitude, proximity, or alliance to us; but he who asserts this will, in the first place, make them to be irrational animals, in consequence of depriving them of an alliance to our nature. And, in the next place, he will make their association with us to depend on the utility which we derive from them, and not on the participation of reason. The thing proposed by us, however, is to show that brutes are rational animals, and not to inquire whether there is any compact between them and us. For, with respect to men, all of them do not league with us, and yet no one would say, that he who does not enter into a league with us is irrational. But many brutes are slaves to men, and, as someone rightly says, though they are in a state of servitude themselves, through the improbity of men, yet, at the same time, by wisdom and justice, they cause their masters to be their servants and curators. Moreover, the vices of brutes are manifest, from which especially their rationality is demonstrated. For they are envious, and the males are rivals of each other with respect to the favor of the females, and the females with respect to the regard of the males. There is one vice, however, which is not inherent in them, viz., acting insidiously towards their benefactors, but they are perfectly benevolent to those who are kind to them, and place so much confidence in them, as to follow wherever they may lead them, though it should even be to slaughter and manifest danger. And though some one should nourish them, not for their sake, but for his own, yet they will be benevolently disposed towards their possessor. But men [on the contrary] do not act with such hostility towards any one, as towards him who has nourished them; nor do they so much pray for the death of any one, as for his death.

14. Indeed, the operations of brutes are attended with so much consideration, that they frequently perceive, that the food which is placed for them is nothing else than a snare, though, either through intemperance or hunger, they approach to it. And some of them, indeed, do not approach to it immediately, but others slowly accede to it. They also try whether it is possible to take the food without falling into danger, and frequently in consequence of rationality vanquishing passion, they depart without being injured. Some of them too revile at, and discharge their urine on the stratagem of men; but others, through voracity, though they know that they shall be captured, yet no less than the associates of Ulysses, suffer themselves to die rather than not eat. Some persons, likewise, have not badly endeavored to show from the places which animals are allotted, that they are far more prudent than we are. For as those beings that dwell in aether are rational, so also, say they, are the animals which occupy the region proximate to aether, viz. the air; afterwards aquatic animals differ from these, and in the last place, the terrestrial differ from the aquatic [in degrees of rationality]. And we belong to the class of terrene animals dwelling in the sediment of the universe. For in the Gods, we must not infer that they possess a greater degree of excellence from the places [which they illuminate], though in mortal natures this may be admitted.

15. Since, also, brutes acquire a knowledge of the arts, and these such as are human, and learn to dance, to drive a chariot, to fight a duel, to walk on ropes, to write and read, to play on the pipe and the harp, to discharge arrows, and to ride,—this being the case, can you any longer doubt whether they possess that power which is receptive of art, since the recipient of these arts may be seen to exist in them? For where will they receive them, unless reason is inherent in them in which the arts subsist? For they do not hear our voice as if it was a mere sound only, but they also perceive the difference in the meaning of the words, which is the effect of rational intelligence. But our opponents say, that animals perform badly what is done by men. To this we reply, that neither do men perform all things well. For if this be not admitted, some men would be in vain victors in a contest, and other vanquished. They add, that brutes do not consult, nor form assemblies, nor act in a judicial capacity. But tell me whether all men do this? Do not actions in the multitude precede consultation? And whence can anyone demonstrate that brutes do not consult? For no one can adduce an argument sufficient to prove that they do not. For those show the contrary to this, who have written minutely about animals. As to other objections, which are adduced by our adversaries in a declamatory way, they are perfectly frivolous; such, for instance, as that brutes have no cities of their own. For neither have the Scythians, who live in carts, nor the Gods. Our opponents add, that neither have brutes any written laws. To this we reply, that neither had men while they were happy. For Apis is said to have been the first that promulgated laws for the Greeks, when they were in want of them.

16. To men, therefore, on account of their voracity, brutes do not appear to possess reason; but by the Gods and divine men, they are honored equally with sacred suppliants. Hence, the God said to Aristodicus, the Cumean, that sparrows were his suppliants. Socrates also, and prior to him, Rhadamanthus, swore by animals. But the Egyptians conceive them to be Gods, whether they, in reality, thought them to be so, or whether they intentionally represented the Gods in the forms of oxen, birds, and other animals, in order that these animals might be no less abstained from than from men, or whether they did this through other more mystical causes. Thus also the Greeks united a ram to the statue of Jupiter, but the horns of a bull to that of Bacchus. They likewise fashioned the statue of Pan from the form of a man and a goat; but they represented the Muses and the Sirens winged, and also Victory, Iris, Love, and Hermes. Pindar too, in his hymns, represents the Gods, when they were expelled by Typhon, not resembling men, but other animals. And Jupiter, when in love with Pasiphae, is said to have become a bull; but at another time, he is said to have been changed into an eagle and a swan; through all which the ancients indicated the honor which they paid to animals, and this in a still greater degree when they assert that Jupiter was nursed by a goat. The Cretans, from a law established by Rhadamanthus, swore by all animals. Nor was Socrates in jest when he swore by the dog and the goose; but in so doing, he swore conformably to the just son of Jupiter [Rhadamanthus] nor did he sportfully say that swans were his fellow-servants. But fables obscurely signify, that animals have souls similar to ours, when they say that the Gods in their anger changed men into brutes, and that, when they were so changed, they afterwards pitied and loved them. For things of this kind are asserted of Dolphins and halcyons, of nightingales and swallows.

17. Each of the ancients, likewise, who had been prosperously nursed by animals, boasted more of this than of their parents and educators. Thus, one boasted of having been nursed by a she-wolf, another by a hind, another by a she-goat, another by a bee. But Semiramis gloried in having been brought up by doves, Cyrus in being nursed by a dog, and a Thracian in having a swan for his nurse, who likewise bore the name of his nurse. Hence also, the Gods obtained their surnames, as Bacchus that of Hinnuleus, Apollo that of Lyceus, and, likewise, Delphinius, Neptune and Minerva that of Equestris. But Hecate, when invoked by the names of a bull, a dog, and a lioness, is more propitious. If, however, those who sacrifice animals and eat them, assert that they are irrational, in order that they may mitigate the crime of so doing, the Scythians also, who eat their parents, may in like manner say that their parents are destitute of reason.

18. Through these arguments, therefore, and others which we shall afterwards mention, in narrating the opinions of the ancients, it is demonstrated that brutes are rational animals, reason in most of them being indeed imperfect, of which, nevertheless, they are not entirely deprived. Since, however, justice pertains to rational beings, as our opponents say, how is it possible not to admit, that we should also act justly towards brutes? For we do not extend justice to plants, because there appears to be much in them which is unconnected with reason; though of these, we are accustomed to use the fruits, but not together with the fruits to cut off the trunks. We collect, however, corn and leguminous substances, when, being efflorescent, they have fallen on the earth, and are dead. But no one uses for food the flesh of dead animals, that of fish being excepted, unless they have been destroyed by violence. So that in these things there is much injustice. As Plutarch also says, it does not follow that because our nature is indigent of certain things, and we use these, we should therefore act unjustly towards all things. For we are allowed to injure other things to a certain extent, in order to procure the necessary means of subsistence (if to take any thing from plants, even while they are living, is an injury to them); but to destroy other things through luxury, and for the enjoyment of pleasure, is perfectly savage and unjust. And the abstinence from these neither diminishes our life nor our living happily. For if, indeed, the destruction of animals and the eating of flesh were as requisite as air and water, plants and fruits, without which it is impossible to live, this injustice would be necessarily connected with our nature. But if many priests of the Gods, and many kings of the barbarians, being attentive to purity, and if, likewise, infinite species of animals never taste food of this kind, yet live, and obtain their proper end according to nature, is not he absurd who orders us, because we are compelled to wage war with certain animals, not to live peaceably with those with whom it is possible to do so, but thinks, either that we ought to live without exercising justice towards any thing, or that, by exercising it towards all things, we should not continue in existence? As, therefore, among men, he who, for the sake of his own safety, or that of his children or country, either seizes the wealth of certain persons, or oppresses some region or city, has necessity for the pretext of his injustice; but he who acts in this manner through the acquisition of wealth, or through satiety or luxurious pleasure, and for the purpose of satisfying desires which are not necessary, appears to be inhospitable, intemperate, and depraved;—thus too, divinity pardons the injuries which are done to plants, the consumption of fire and water, the shearing of sheep, the milking of cows, and the taming of oxen, and subjugating them to the yoke, for the safety and continuance in life of those that use them. But to deliver animals to be slaughtered and cooked, and thus be filled with murder, not for the sake of nutriment and satisfying the wants of nature, but making pleasure and gluttony the end of such conduct, is transcendently iniquitous and dire. For it is sufficient that we use, for laborious purposes, though they have no occasion to labor themselves, the progeny of horses, and asses, and bulls, as AeschyIus says, as our substitutes, who, by being tamed and subjugated to the yoke, alleviate our toil.

19. But with respect to him who thinks that we should not use an ox for food, nor destroying and corrupting spirit and life, place things on the table which are only the allurements and elegances of satiety, of what does he deprive our life, which is either necessary to our safety, or subservient to virtue? To compare plants, however, with animals, is doing violence to the order of things. For the latter are naturally sensitive, and adapted to feel pain, to be terrified and hurt; on which account also they may be injured. But the former are entirely destitute of sensation, and in consequence of this, nothing foreign, or evil, or hurtful, or injurious, can befall them. For sensation is the principle of all alliance, and of every thing of a foreign nature. But Zeno and his followers assert, that alliance is the principle of justice. And is it not absurd, since we see that many of our own species live from sense alone, but do not possess intellect and reason, and since we also see, that many of them surpass the most terrible of wild beasts in cruelty, anger, and rapine, being murderous of their children and their parents, and also being tyrants, and the tools of kings [is it not, I say, absurd,] to fancy that we ought to act justly towards these, but that no justice is due from us to the ox that ploughs, the dog that is fed with us, and the animals that nourish us with their milk, and adorn our bodies with their wool? Is not such an opinion most irrational and absurd?

20. But, by Jupiter, the assertion of Chrysippus is considered by our opponents to be very probable, that the Gods made us for the sake of themselves, and for the sake of each other, and that they made animals for the sake of us; horses, indeed, in order that they might assist us in battle, dogs, that they might hunt with us, and leopards, bears, and lions, for the sake of exercising our fortitude. But the hog (for here the pleasantry of Chrysippus is most delightful) was not made for any other purpose than to be sacrificed; and God mingled soul, as if it were salt, with the flesh of this animal, that he might procure for us excellent food. In order, likewise, that we might have an abundance of broth, and luxurious suppers, divinity provided for us all-various kinds of shell-fish, the fishes called purples, sea-nettles, and the various kinds of winged animals; and this not from a certain other cause, but only that he might supply man with an exuberance of pleasure; in so doing, surpassing all nurses [in kindness], and thickly filling with pleasures and enjoyments the terrestrial place. Let him, however, to whom these assertions appear to possess a certain probability, and to participate of something worthy of deity, consider what he will reply to the saying of Carneades, that every thing which is produced by nature, is benefited when it obtains the end to which it is adapted, and for which it was generated. But benefitis to be understood in a more general way, as signifying what the Stoics call useful. The hog, however, [says he] was produced by nature for the purpose of being slaughtered and used for food; and when it suffers this, it obtains the end for which it is adapted, and is benefited. But if God fashioned animals for the use of men, in what do we use flies, lice, bats, beetles, scorpions, and vipers? of which some are odious to the sight, defile the touch, are intolerable to the smell, and in their voice dire and unpleasant; and others, on the contrary, are destructive to those that meet with them. And with respect to the balaenae, pistrices, and other species of whales, an infinite number of which, as Homer says, the loud-sounding Amphitrite nourishes, does not the Demiurgus teach us, that they were generated for the utility of the nature of things? And if our opponents should admit that all things were not generated for us, and with a view to our advantage, in addition to the distinction which they make being very confused and obscure, we shall not avoid acting unjustly, in attacking and noxiously using those animals which were not produced for our sake, but according to nature [i.e. for the sake of the universe], as we were. I omit to mention, that if we define, by utility, things which pertain to us, we shall not be prevented from admitting, that we were generated for the sake of the most destructive animals, such as crocodiles, balaenae, and dragons. For we are not in the least benefited by them; but they seize and destroy men that fall in their way, and use them for food; in so doing acting not at all more cruelly than we do, excepting that they commit this injustice through want and hunger, but we through insolent wantonness, and for the sake of luxury, frequently sporting in theaters, and in hunting slaughter the greater part of animals. And by thus acting, indeed, a murderous disposition and a brutal nature become strengthened in us, and render us insensible to pity: to which we may add, that those who first dared to do this, blunted the greatest part of lenity, and rendered it inefficacious. The Pythagoreans, however, made lenity towards beasts to be an exercise of philanthropy and commiseration. So that, how is it possible they should not in a greater degree excite us to justice, than those who assert that, by not slaughtering animals, the justice which is usually exercised towards men will be corrupted? For custom is most powerful in increasing those passions in man which were gradually introduced into his nature.

21. It is so, say our antagonists; but as the immortal is opposed to the mortal, the incorruptible to the corruptible, and the incorporeal to the corporeal, so to the rational essence which has an existence in the nature of things, the irrational essence must be opposed, which has a subsistence contrary to it; nor in so many conjugations of things, is this alone to be left imperfect and mutilated. [Our opponents, however, thus speak], as if we did not grant this, or as if we had not shown that there is much of the irrational among beings. For there is an abundance of it in all the natures that are destitute of soul, nor do we require any other opposition to that which is rational; but immediately every thing which is deprived of soul, being irrational and without intellect, is opposed to that which possesses reason and dianoia. If, however, some one should think fit to assert that not nature in common, but the animated nature, is divided into that which possesses and that which is without imagination, and into that which is sensitive, and that which is deprived of sensation, in order that these oppositions of habits and privations may subsist about the same genus, as being equiponderant;—he who says this speaks absurdly. For it would be absurd to investigate in the animated nature that which is sensitive, and that which is without sensation, that which employs, and that which is without imagination, because every thing animated is immediately adapted to be sensitive and imaginative. So that neither thus will he justly require, that one part of the animated nature should be rational, but another irrational, when he is speaking to men, who think that nothing participates of sense which does not also participate of intelligence, and that nothing is an animal in which opinion and reasoning are not inherent, in the same manner as with animals every sense and impulse are naturally present. For nature, which they rightly assert produced all things for the sake of a certain thing, and with reference to a certain end, did not make an animal sensitive merely that it might be passively affected, and possess sensible perception; but as there are many things which are allied and appropriate, and many which are foreign to it, it would not be able to exist for the shortest space of time, unless it learnt how to avoid some things, and to pursue others. The knowledge, therefore, of both these, sense similarly imparts to every animal; but the apprehension and pursuit of what is useful, and the depulsion and avoidance of what is destructive and painful, can by no possible contrivance be present with those animals that are incapable of reasoning, judging, and remembering, and that do not naturally possess an animadvertive power. For to those animals from whom you entirely take away expectation, memory, design, preparation, hope, fear, desire, and indignation, neither the eyes when present, nor the ears, nor sense, nor phantasy, will be beneficial, since they will be of no use; and it will be better to be deprived of them than to labor, be in pain, and be afflicted, without possessing the power of repelling these molestations. There is, however, a treatise of Strato, the physiologist, in which it is demonstrated, that it is not possible to have a sensible perception of anything without the energy of intellection. For frequently the letters of a book, which we cursorily consider by the sight, and words which fall on the auditory sense, are concealed from and escape us, when our intellect is attentive to other things; but afterwards, when it returns to the thing to which it was before inattentive, then, by recollection, it runs through and pursues each of the before-mentioned particulars. Hence also it is said [by Epicharmus],—

“‘Tis mind alone that sees and hears,
And all besides is deaf and blind.”

For the objects which fall on the eyes and the ears do not produce a sensible perception of themselves, unless that which is intellective is present. On which account, also, king Cleomenes, when something that was recited was applauded, being asked, if it did not also appear to him to be excellent, left this to the decision of those that asked him the question; for he said, that his intellect was at the time in Peloponnesus. Hence it is necessary that intellect should be present with all those with whom sensible perception is present.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

SOURCE  Project Gutenberg

About sooteris kyritsis

Job title: (f)PHELLOW OF SOPHIA Profession: RESEARCHER Company: ANTHROOPISMOS Favorite quote: "ITS TIME FOR KOSMOPOLITANS(=HELLINES) TO FLY IN SPACE." Interested in: Activity Partners, Friends Fashion: Classic Humor: Friendly Places lived: EN THE HIGHLANDS OF KOSMOS THROUGH THE DARKNESS OF AMENTHE
This entry was posted in Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.