The attitude of Richard Wagner to Vivisection

The attitude of Richard Wagner to  Vivisection According to Wagner, the science is on the wrong path if it wants to give the universe ...

The attitude of Richard Wagner to  Vivisection

According to Wagner, the science is on the wrong path if it wants to give the universe "rational"=materialistic interpretation..; if it reduces the world mistery to a simple puzzle  in physics or chemistry; if it gives an excessive and arbitrary development of hypotheses, expressed with wise caution by  great Darwin, or if with Buchner in the whole universe sees only the "force and matter." By acting in this way,  persisting in an effort to solve by one's own means the tasks, to which a person can successfully come only through intuition, religious feelings, it leads to barren and empty theories, the sheer audacity of which, fools ignorant and can wreak havoc in the minds or alarm awareness of simple , whose vanity has long been recognized by  thinkers, including Schopenhauer. Then, the scientist has a regrettable tendency to deny everything that goes beyond the sphere in which he moves. He very often tends to look at the philosophy and religion as at the remains of the past - to see them as something analogous to the rudimentary, useless organs, which can be observed in some animals or humans and which can be viewed as purely decorative memories of organs , having important  development and a special  role in the lower species. He always wants to delete "the concept of spontaneity" everywhere,  denies genius and laughs in a rule way at  metaphysical expressions that escape from every interpretation with the help of physics. He never suspects  that the truth of higher order, the truth, that have a real impact on the fate of mankind, can be found only through intuition - if he wanted to take the advantage of it - with the help of "feeling", on which he prefers to mock .

Science is positively harmful, when takes the place of religion, it hopes with the help of advances in physics and chemistry to save the world and preaches the theory of "continuous progress", which as an inevitable evolution should lead a man to happiness. In fact, the scientist is completely powerless to liberate humanity from its scourge. Immersed in his book or in laboratory experiments, he had lost all contacts with people, who do not understand its needs, and whose aspirations he  doesn’t know. All he can – is to skillfully forge the food we eat, to invent a horrible selection of machines, apparatus, disposal of which requires impoverishment and dullness of everything  made by vital work of the people, to provide powerful lords with  more sophisticated means to carry war and kill people. But he can not put an end to the real suffering that enslave mankind; he does not know the method to solve the social question: how to achieve that, in order to prevent their fellow citizens from starvation; he knows nothing, can do nothing and by his  insane claims, his ridiculous pride only slows the  coming of  liberating wisdom of the consciousness of our rebirth, which  can lead to changing of egoistic will and  the redemption of fallen humanity.

Science becomes even  clearly criminal, when, under the pretext of improvement in the art of treating, it assigns  itself the right to kill animals in the slow and terrible agony. Wagner, without fear of ridicule, joins the opponents of vivisection. However, for its expulsion he uses arguments, which are very different from those, which for the most part are exposed by them. They all have an  utilitarian point of view and tend to prove, that vivisection is superfluous for the prosperity of science; they are protesting against the useless sacrifice of animals, more precisely, they would have made a vivisection, reduced to a minimum, and under state supervision, if it was proved that it is necessary for a success in medicine. Wagner clearly rejects such utilitarian considerations: if he condemns vivisection, it's because it is lawless, and, consequently, he certainly condemns it. Wisdom, in his opinion, teaches us compassion for all suffering; the suffering of animals seems particularly cruel, because it makes no sense. The grief is like a teacher for a person, which may lead him to redemption; for animals it is just a useless torture, that remains without any result. Therefore, in the presence of their suffering, we must increasingly feel the instinctive, elemental, indifferent to all utilitarian considerations, pity, which is the foundation of any kind of morality, and which alone can lead us to salvation. If we are not capable of the spontaneous impulse of the heart in the presence of torture imposed on an unconscious animal, we can bet that we are not able at all to the true pity, and that kind of human suffering, the miserable situation of the disadvantaged in life, leaves us indifferent, or gives us a feeling of invalid and essentially selfish condolences. If the pity to everything, that suffers, alone can  lead to the revival, our urgent duty: by all means to spare animals from torture of vivisection and boldly denounce the vile cruelty of their tormentors, not allowing to deceive ourselves by philanthropic and humanitarian theories, which they give to justify their cruel customs.

From the book by Henri Lishtanberzhe "Richard Wagner as a poet and thinker"

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