Some Instinct towards Inhumanity

‘I hardly ever capture an animal alive that I do not set it free in the fields. Pythagoras would buy them from fisherman and fowlers, to do the same. Natures that are bloodthirsty towards animals show a native propensity towards cruelty. At Rome after the people had inured themselves to watching the slaughter of animals, they went on to men and gladiators. Nature herself, I fear, implants in men some instinct towards inhumanity.’

Montaigne, ‘On Cruelty’, Essays, translated by J. M. Cohen.

‘Overall, it must be said that those who kill or harm living creatures, or set them up to fight each other for their own pleasure, are no better than wild beasts themselves… If you can look on any sentient being without compassion, you are less than human.’

Kenko, Essays in Idleness, translated by Meredith McKinney.


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