Meat Eating and Fur Wearing

LETTER NO. 90 - MAY, 1918

A student who confesses that he is still addicted to flesh eating in some degree has occasionally an urge to speak to others on the Rosicrucian teachings, but always feels as if he were a hypocrite when he advocates vegetarianism. He asks us how he may overcome this habit and whether he should give up teaching others until he has himself attained.

This query has general interest, for though th students of the Rosicrucian teachings are sincere and earnest, they have the same imperfections as all other human beings or they would not be here; hence a letter on this subject may prove helpful to many.

It needs no argument to prove that you cannot effectively discourse on spirituality over a cocktail, nor advocate the harmless life while eating a steak. Furthermore, those who know your habits in daily life are always quick to notice the difference between what you preach and what you live. Therefore it is of course best to be able to live up to the teachings before commencing to convert others. At the same time it is too strong language to call any one a hypocrite because he advocates an ideal to which he has not yet attained. So long as one sincerely believes that the fleshless diet is right and tries to live accordingly, he is justified in advocating it even though occasionally he breaks the rule. The north star guides the mariner safely to his desired haven even though he never reaches the star itself. Similarly, if we set our ideals as high as the stars, we may not attain them in this life, but we shall always be the better for having them.

At the same time it would seem that with a little will power brought to bear it should not be very difficult for any one to abstain from tobacco, liquor, and flesh food. Surely the thought of the suffering that is caused the poor animals in the trains on their way to the slaughterhouse, and the agony which precedes the time when the blow is struck that ends their life or the time when the knife goes into their throat, ought to move any one who aspires to live the higher life and fill him with compassion for these poor dumb creatures which cannot defend themselves. For similar reasons the wearing of furs and feathers as ornaments should be dispensed with by the gentler sex among our ranks. It is equally inconsistent, and would doubtless cause adverse comments if any one should preach the gospel of harmlessness while thus arrayed.

Unfortunately the complexity of our civilization forces us to use leather for many things because no other material is available on the market to take its place; for example, for shoes, straps, etc. But nevertheless we ought to do all we possibly can to avoid making use of any material which comes from the body of an animal that requires its death. One of the blessings of this present war is that man is find out that meat is not an indispensable article of diet, and that we are far better off without alcohol. Let us hope that this is but the beginning of the end, and that man will soon cease to breed or hunt animals for their flesh and fur. Meanwhile let us all set the example and apply our will power to this end.