I wonder why there is a cultural implication that this quote of his is absolutely a bad thing… I base this supposition on the means in which I came upon this quote today… as it it were a call to action for mankind to stop hurting itself and other carbon based life forms. I would link to that place that I saw the quote, but it just does not feel appropriate to do so as they really were not trying to engage in a conversation about this matter I am putting forth.
As I understand it, Pythagoras belonged (heck, he started it) to what we would now probably call a cult… mainly because there were lots of secret stuff, giving money and goods away to a “collective pot” and a hierarchy of participation.
Some think that the group, who are referred to as the Pythagoreans, advocated vegetarianism while others think it was limited animal products… I don’t know that it makes a difference.
Nature is inherently cruel. From the mean girls in high school, college, and beyond to the complete concept of the food chain. I wish I could read this quote in its original language, pay attention to the subtle nuances of the translation… “massacre” is an ugly word and I am curios if that was Pythagoeas’ intent. Perhaps, it was more of an observation than that of a judgmental call to quit killing other animals. Based on the extremely little amount of experience I have with ancient Greek and more upon the lifetime of translating that I have lived… I am skeptical.
The rational scientist part of me really thinks that as an observation it is rather keen, there is a simple statement that looks at this idea that as long as men kill animals they (and who is the they in this concept) will keep at it… that there is a continuity of death and destruction in our world. Things die so that they can become part of the process… I think that there might be something to this as it is believed in the transmigration of the soul (aka reincarnation)… so it follows, in a logical sense, that destruction breeds destruction as there is a process that has to happen. I am not aware if Pythagoras believed in a concept like karma which might temper this acknowledgement that death happens (both violently and not), I don’t get a sense of that part of our current cultural concepts of reincarnation and karma… so, I remain skeptical.
Now, keep in mind that I am referring to the meaning that Pythagoras had in mind in the quote above. I am too much of a simpleton to make any harsh overarching pronouncements on the way that anyone should feel. I do think that animal abuse it horrid and do so with my own reality. I am sure that the discussion would lie in what constitutes abuse. However, that is not something I want to discuss at this time.
Again, these are my own personal musings and as such I extend an invitation to enter into dialog about what the intent of that quote was. Do you live and breathe Pythagoras, do you deeply understand his philosophies, do you understand ancient Greek and are familiar with this quote and its context… please, enlighten me… because I don’t…