The Crown of Creation
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason
how infinite in faculties, in form and moving
how express and admirable in action
how like an angel in apprehension
how like a god!
Are we truly the Crown of Creation, God’s masterpiece?
If so, why don’t we act like it toward those at our mercy?
I’m of course interpreting the “Crown of Creation” as being that in which God is most well pleased, and if God is love, then his ultimate creation must be made of love, too.
We might be the Crown of Creation, but we’re not often acting like it.
Although man is certainly capable of love and often shows it to those he deems worthy, he has managed to convince himself that the “lower” animals aren’t worthy of his concern and it is his natural right to imprison, torture and kill them at will.
This makes me think that man is rather a lot more like a dictator or a despot than a being wearing a crown of nobility representing intelligence, wisdom and mercy.
In our attitudes and actions towards the animals we exploit, we aren’t King Arthur, we are much more like Pol Pot or Hitler.
I was reading an article by Dr. Theodore Dalrymple in Psychology Today in which he argued that man can have too much self-esteem when it’s not a reflection of his actions, citing that “the Nazi criminals tried at Nuremberg, in whom existed no fundament of goodness, were invincible in their self-esteem. After the deaths of untold millions, they still believed they had a right to a pre-eminent roll in society based on their special qualities. Their grotesquely inflated self-esteem prevented them from understanding the evil that they had perpetrated.”
Now, I’m not saying that humans in general are as evil as the Nazis, but I am suggesting that in our desire to see ourselves as basically good and in wanting to have self-esteem at all times without any guilty feelings, we’re actually fooling ourselves, and in so doing we’re causing unnecessary suffering and death to innocent animals.
People are resistant to the message of veganism because it means self-examination and they don’t want to feel bad about themselves or to feel guilty, and they are loathe to admit to themselves that they may be behaving in ways that don’t reflect their true good nature.
But every vegan I know, including myself, has had to point a finger at himself/herself and admit that perhaps his goodness wasn’t quite as complete as he thought it was, and that his behavior when hiring others to torture/mercilessly kill innocent and helpless animals for his meals (without ever having to watch the suffering/slaughter) was in fact not just cowardly but in violation of love.
If it sounds harsh, it is, but truth often is.
It’s only when we truly look at how our actions fit in with our beliefs do we in fact begin to face that truth, and making adjustments to align the two is liberating.
Of course, all humans, vegan or not, are imperfect, and I don’t think any of us are living up to our Crown of Creation mantle.
But hopefully, each new day brings us closer to truly expressing the fullness of love, mercy and wisdom that that mantle represents.