This violence of landscape, this cruelty of climate, this continual tension in everything, and even these monuments of the past, magnificent yet incomprehensible because not built by us and yet standing round us like lovely mute ghosts; all those rulers who landed by main force from every direction who were at once obeyed, soon detested, and always misunderstood, their only expressions works of art we couldn't understand and taxes which we understood only too well and which they spent elsewhere: all these things have formed our character, which is thus conditioned by events outside our control as well as by a terrifying insularity of mind.
To insult someone we call him "bestial." For deliberate cruelty and nature, "human" might be the greater insult.
Religious discord has lost her sting; the cumbrous weapons of theological warfare are antiquated: the field of politics supplies the alchymists of our times with materials of more fatal explosion, and the butchers of mankind no longer travel to another world for instruments of cruelty and destruction. Our age is too enlightened to contend upon topics, which concern only the interests of eternity; and men who hold in proper contempt all controversies about trifles, except such as inflame their own passions, have made it a common-place censure against your ancestors, that their zeal was enkindled by subjects of trivial importance; and that however aggrieved by the intolerance of others, they were alike intolerant themselves.
No baseness or cruelty of treason so deep or so tragic shall enter our human world, but that loyal love shall be able in due time to oppose to just that deed of treason its fitting deed of atonement.
I see that the path of progress has never taken a straight line, but has always been a zigzag course amid the conflicting forces of right and wrong, truth and error, justice and injustice, cruelty and mercy.
It is possible that the contemplation of cruelty will not make us humane but cruel; that the reiteration of the badness of our spiritual condition will make us consent to it.
To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. The more helpless the creature, the more that it is entitled to protection by man from the cruelty of man.
As long as man eats animals how can cruelty to animals be removed.
My nightmares relate all of man's inhumanity to man---to our willing acceptance of cruelty to the other animals.
Cruelty towards others is always also cruelty towards ourselves.
In the manner of good-for-nothing and haughty servants, we cry out against the
face of God and say, ‘It is hard, it is difficult, we cannot do it, we are but men, we are
encompassed by frail flesh!’ [The argument of the Gnostics] What blind madness! What
unholy foolhardiness! We accuse God of a twofold lack of knowledge, so that he appears
not to know what he has done, and not to know what he has commanded; as if, forgetful
of the human frailty of which he is himself the author, he has imposed on man commands
which he cannot bear. And, at the same time, oh horror!, we ascribe iniquity to the
righteous and cruelty to the holy, while complaining, first, that he has commanded
something impossible, secondly, that man is to be damned by him for doing things which
he was unable to avoid, so that God – and this is something which even to suspect is
sacrilege – seems to have sought not so much our salvation as our punishment.
Habits of thought lead us to brush aside descriptions of cruelty to animals as emotional, for "animal-lovers only"; or if not that, then anyway the problem is so trivial in comparison to the problems of human beings that no sensible person could give it time and attention. This too is a prejudice - for how can one know that a problem is trivial until one has taken the time to examine its extent?
The cemetery of the victims of human cruelty in our century is extended to include yet another vast cemetery, that of the unborn.
Above all is every thought and feeling in these poems touched by the light
of the great revolutionary truth that man, unfolded through vast stretches
of time out of lowly antecedents, is a rising, not a fallen creature;
emerging slowly from purely animal life; as slowly as the strata are piled
and the ocean beds hollowed; whole races still barely emerged, countless
individuals in the foremost races barely emerged: "the wolf, the snake,
the hog" yet lingering in the best; but new ideals achieved, and others
come in sight, so that what once seemed fit is fit no longer, is adhered
to uneasily and with shame; the conflicts and antagonisms between what we
call good and evil, at once the sign and the means of emergence, and
needing to account for them no supposed primeval disaster, no outside
power thwarting and marring the Divine handiwork, the perfect fitness to
its time and place of all that has proceeded from the Great Source. In a
word that Evil is relative; is that which the slowly developing reason and
conscience bid us leave behind. The prowess of the lion, the subtlety of
the fox, are cruelty and duplicity in man.
Sanctions deriving from it could take the form of parents being obligated to internalize information on the consequences of corporal punishment, in much the same way as drivers of motor vehicles are required by state law to be familiar with the highway code. In the case of our children, the point at issue is not only the welfare of individual families-- the vital interests of society as a whole are at stake. Physical cruelty and emotional humiliation not only leave their marks on children, they also inflict a disastrous imprint of the future of our society. Information on the effects of the well-meant smack should therefore be part and parcel of courses for expectant mothers and of counseling for parents. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and other dictators were exposed to severe physical mistreatment in childhood and refused to face up to the fact later. Instead of seeing and feeling what had happened to them, they avenged themselves vicariously by killing millions of people. And millions of others helped them to do so. If the legislation we are advocating had existed the time, those millions would simply have refused to perpetrate acts of cruelty at the command of crazed political leaders.
The following points are intended to amplify my meaning: 1. All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection. 2. For their development, children need to the respect and protection of adults who take them seriously, love them, and honestly help them to become oriented in the world. 3. When these vital needs are frustrated and children are, instead, abused for the sake of the adults' needs by being exploited, beaten, punished, taken advantage of, manipulated neglected, or deceived without the intervention of any witness, then their integrity will be lastingly impaired. 4. The normal reactions to such injury should be anger and pain. Since children in this hurtful kind of environment are forbidden to express their anger, however, and since it would be unbearable to experience their pain all alone, they are compelled to suppress their feelings, repress all memory of the trauma, and idealize those guilty of the abuse. Later they will have no memory of what was done to them. 5. Disassociated from the original cause, their feelings of anger, helplessness, despair, longing, anxiety, and pain will find expression in destructive acts against others (criminal behavior, mass murder) or against themselves (drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, psychic disorders, suicide). 6. If these people become parents, they will then often direct acts of revenge for their mistreatment in childhood against their own children, whom they use as scapegoats. Child abuse is still sanctioned -- indeed, held in high regard -- in our society as long as it is defined as child-rearing. It is a tragic fact that parents beat their children in order to escape the emotions from how they were treated by their own parents. 7. If mistreated children are not to become criminals or mentally ill, it is essential that at least once in their life they come in contact with a person who knows without any doubt that the environment, not the helpless, battered child, is at fault. In this regard, knowledge or ignorance on the part of society can be instrumental in either saving or destroying a life. Here lies the great opportunity for relatives, social workers, therapists, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists, officials and nurses to support the child and believe in her or him. 8. Till now, society has protected the adult and blamed the victim. It has been abetted in its blindness by theories, still in keeping with the pedagogical principles of our great-grandparents, according to which children are viewed as crafty creatures, dominated by wicked drives, who invent stories and attack innocent parents or desire them sexually. In reality, children tend to blame themselves for their parents' cruelty and to absolve their parents, whom they invariably love [I would say 'need' - SH] of all responsibility. 9. For some years now, it has been possible to prove, through new therapeutic methods, that repressed traumatic experiences of childhood are stored up in the body and, though unconscious, exert an influence even in adulthood. In addition, electronic testing of the fetus has revealed a fact previously unknown to most adults -- that a child responds to and learns both tenderness and cruelty from the very beginning. 10. In the light of this new knowledge, even the most absurd behavior reveals its formerly hidden logic once the traumatic experiences of childhood need no longer remain shrouded in darkness. 11. Our sensitization to the cruelty with which children are treated, until now commonly denied, and to the consequences of such treatment will as a matter of course bring an end to the perpetuation of violence from generation to generation. 12. People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be -- both in their youth and in adulthood -- intelligent, responsive, empathic and highly sensitive. They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their own children, because this is what they have learned from their own experience, and because it is this knowledge (and not the experience of cruelty) that has been stored up inside them from the beginning. It will be inconceivable to such people that earlier generations had to build up a gigantic war industry in order to feel comfortable and safe in this world. Since it will not be their unconscious drive in life to ward off intimidation experienced at a very early age, they will be able to deal with attempts at intimidation in their adult life more rationally and creatively.
My pacifism is an instinctive feeling, a feeling that possesses me because the murder of men is disgusting. My attitude is not derived from any intellectual theory but is based on my deepest antipathy to every kind of cruelty and hatred.
From the time of Aristotle it had been said that man is a social animal: that human beings naturally form communities. I couldn't accept it. The whole of history and pre-history is against it. The two dreadful world wars we have recently been through, and the gearing of our entire economy today for defensive war belie it. Man's loathsome cruelty to man is his most outstanding characteristic; it is explicable only in terms of his carnivorous and cannibalistic origin. Robert Hartmann pointed out that both rude and civilised peoples show unspeakable cruelty to one another. We call it inhuman cruelty; but these dreadful things are unhappily truly human, because there is nothing like them in the animal world. A lion or tiger kills to eat, but the indiscriminate slaughter and calculated cruelty of human beings is quite unexampled in nature, especially among the apes. They display no hostility to man or other animals unless attacked. Even then their first reaction is to run away.
Until we have the courage to recognize cruelty for what it is -- whether its victim is human or animal -- we cannot expect things to be much better in this world. We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic
When I've heard all I need to make a decision, I don't take a vote. I make a decision.