There should be, as far as we could bring it about, a general recognition of the meaning and consequences of certain things we permit and even foster in our midst in peace times and always: the cruelties, the upholdings of brute force as against decency and justice, the horror known as capital punishment, the vice our indifference allows to flourish, the unimaginable disgrace of vivisection.
A word or two as to that last: it is only the insanity of the age that makes us imagine we can save life by sinning against life, or achieve good by doing what is so obviously evil. The higher law is direct: you cannot play with or misuse it. The vivisector is sowing seeds in his nature whose ghastly harvest he will have to reap. He is hardening his inner and finer sensibilities, tearing down a part of the better structure of his being, misusing his mind and insulting the higher qualities of his nature, and losing something that he will never find again.
Consider what the thing means. Every function and organ of the animal is experimented on: if it is the brain, it is sliced and galvanized and plowed into with red-hot irons; if it is the spinal cord, it is explored most minutely with forceps and scalpel; if it is the blood, it is pumped out of the living struggling animal and pumped back again. The victims have been boiled alive and burned alive; poisonous gases are poured down their throats; they are shaven and bathed in icy water to see how long it will take for pneumonia to develop!
Conceive of the psychological influence of a physician who, however pure his motives may be, has hypnotized himself into a determination to carry on his work through such means as these. He does not realize that every time he makes such an experiment he is brutalizing his own nature, and therefore also that of his posterity, or that he is shutting the door against the higher knowledge which would come if his efforts were on higher lines. For here again there is reliance on nothing better than the brain-mind vision, and actually on the very lowest phases of that, to gain a knowledge that can only be won, really, through exercise of the spiritual side of the nature -- that very higher self which by the practice of vivisection a man insults, excludes, and sets back. Always the key to the higher self is compassion.
The more these fallacies of the age are followed, the more we shall have brute force enthroned, and wars, wrecked homes, broken lives, prisons and insane asylums, and new and unnameable forms of vice. Courageous souls must seek and discover the way or before many generations have gone by, because of its iniquities mankind must go down and be blotted out.