International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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3rd International Vegetarian Congress 1893
Chicago, USA

from the Vegetarian Messenger, Manchester, July 1893, pp.258-260:

By Dr. Paul Förster.
(A paper prepared for the International Vegetarian Congress, Chicago June, 1893)
Dr. Förster's paper is written in German, and for this translation we are indebted to Mrs. W. E. A. Axon.

WHAT do we wish? What do we promise? Modern life appears to us to be deeply unnatural, and is continually sinking deeper. The claims on life will ever increase, artificial wants awaken, attractions increase, ever new imaginary tastes and wants, bodily and mental, arise,
nerveless, and we see mankind shipwrecked, and neurotic. We perish in immoderation and error throughout the conduct of life. We do not seek happiness in nature's ways, nor learn from her as the great teacher, but in folly and mimicry of all sorts. We throw yearly thousands of millions away with which we might easily make true the words of man's salvation proclaimed by the angels who said, "Peace on earth." But simple as is the seal of truth - simplex sigillum veri - it would remove the artificialness of our life by a truer method, and would replace the caricature of mankind by a purer humanity. And who knows the way to this new life? Shall we, who have found it, and walk in it, leave wandering mankind to its course and fate? Shall we fold our hands in the hope that the present race will pass away, and that in its place, as by a miracle, a new and better one will come? No; it is necessary with strength and foresight to take hold and work on ourselves, and on mankind. The first reminder is: Be wise - sapere aude! - The second : Be willing. The third: Hope! Hope will not permit us to be brought to disgrace.

And so here, where all peoples are gathered together to see the results of progress and production of all kinds in every field of human eflort, and to gather new ideas, may the representatives of the true art of life meet and proclaim the joyous message, and strengthen themselves by unity of sentiment, thought, and effort What is the use of all these products of art and industry, these symbols of man's genius, if the inventive and thinking mind cannot also succeed in fashioning body and soul into a thing of beauty - into a noble individuality? Man is at the same time art-worker and art work, and he who has learned of practice on himself the royal art of pure manhood, let him go to all the world and teach all those that are still in the bonds of prejudice, and are still erring and sinning in the deceptively pleasant customs of the ordinary life. Each one who has the truth should make his life teach it. If we can succeed to draw men to our side and to give them a desire for another nature, which in its bounds would exclude not only mastery, but happiness and contentment. The higher our feelings are, the purer is our happiness; the loftier the flight of our spirits over the personality of the entire world, the further we place boundary mark of the I, the more and more do we enlarge the I of the universe. So can and so must the Vegetarian movement, which is more than a mere question of eating, become world embracing and world redressing. The philosophical or theosophical Vegetarianism as the true union of the real and the ideal, of the natural and the transcendental, calls men back again to the true way of humanity from that in which they so long wandered in error. It will bring to the world the long-desired peace. The movement has begun, and will progress further. Now it is like a tender shoot, but soon will grow to a great tree, under which there will be room for all the peoples of the earth. Surely, even though slowly - the natural law of higher things - will the triumph of idealism be accomplished. But let us remain true and faithful to this tree, young but full rich with hope; this tree of life for mankind, who are now ''sick even unto death." The teaching and methods of Vegetarianism will end the war between the poor and the rich; will pacify the struggle of all against all the riches of the supposed means of human happiness, and will solve the social problem, not by the strength of the law but by the peaceful agreement of the inwardly emancipated men. Without Vegetarianism - and by this a world embracing, and therefore world emancipating they must be understood - the social question will never have a satisfactory solution. With Vegetarianism the poor will be less poor, but the rich will not be richer than their fellow men, for as they need but little to be happy they will freely devote their superfluity to the service of all. Compassion would then be, for great and small, the fundamental law of the world's moral order. Mutual joy will be the watchword. The pleasure - that is, the enjoyment of pure life - we offer to the unhappy world. We hail every onward step of civilisation, but it is by the progress of morals that mankind is ennobled and crowned. Work, feverish activity, the unrest of creation, shall be united to contentment and purity of life - not the statistics of household values makes the happiness of man, but it lies in the balance-sheet of joy and sorrow in the ever decreasing Debit and in the increasing Credit of the collective household of mankind. Intellect and invention are not the measure of human civilisation; these would make only demons. It is necessary in order to have wise men that intellect should be the servant of the moral sense and so will Vegetarianism complete the work of religion. To have the lesson for ourselves alone is of no avail; it must in act and truth be transplanted. Vegetarianism is not a new truth, but it will help all religions. It will serve true freedom - that is, the individual moral duty. Only with it will these be for the common good, and the leadership for which the world is longing can only be arrived at by the road of a pure theoretical idealism.

Thus we see that Vegetarianism in every aspect - bodily, mentally, moral, economical, social, and political - is the right way to health, happiness, and true freedom. Hail then to all those who are journeying on the way in the light of the new teaching! Hail to those champions of the new and better time! Then in their sign will Idealism, Healing, Morals, and Religion conquer, and, at last, upraised mankind will joyfully exclaim "The old things have passed away, and all has become new."