Vegetarian Era


Eminent Scientists and Inventors on Vegetarianism

By the Florida News Group, USA (Originally in English)


In order to help preserve our planet’s natural resources, many of the world’s greatest thinkers and scientists throughout history have observed a vegetarian diet and affirmed its necessity from the standpoints of both morality and logic.

For example, Sir Isacc Newton, “the father of physics,” and Leonardo Da Vinci, a part-time physicist who made major discoveries in hydraulics, optics and mechanics were both vegetarians. In fact, Da Vinci was so fervent about vegetarianism that he would buy caged chickens and set them free. In addition, Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920), considered the greatest mathematician of the last 1000 years, was also vegetarian.

Another ardent vegetarian, the great inventor, physicist and engineer Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) who helped devise the AC (alternating current) electrical system used to power modern civilization, lived on sumptuous, custom-ordered meals at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Regarding the physical and moral benefits of vegetarianism, Tesla wrote:

On general principles the raising of cattle as a means of providing food is objectionable. It is certainly preferable to raise vegetables, and I think, therefore, that vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarian habit. That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory but a well-demonstrated fact. Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength. There is no doubt that some plant food, such as oatmeal, is more economical than meat, and superior to it in regard to both mechanical and mental performance. Such food, moreover, taxes our digestive organs decidedly less, and in making us more contented and sociable, produces an amount of good difficult to estimate. In view of these facts every effort should be made to stop the wanton, cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals.

The forward-looking Tesla also theorized that one day humanity would learn to sustain itself directly by making use of the universal energy field. In addition, Thomas Edison (1847-1931), the greatest inventor in history and also a vegetarian wrote “[Vegetarianism has a] powerful influence upon the mind and its action, as well as upon the health and vigor of the body. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”

Another eminent vegetarian was Albert Einstein (1879-1955), widely regarded as the greatest scientist of the 20th century and a lifelong promoter of peace, who said, “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” On a similar note he stated, “Our task must be to [widen] our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” And on the day he became a vegetarian, Einstein wrote in his diary, “So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore.”

Since Einstein presented his groundbreaking theory of relativity a hundred years ago, the world has not seen an equal to his genius; however, one contemporary physicist, Edward Witten, is viewed by many as his successor and is also known as the world’s foremost string theorist* and mathematician. Besides his scientific prowess, Witten is similar to Einstein in that he is a vegetarian and works on the same physics problems in the same Princeton University building as Einstein did.

Witten’s most famous protégé is Brian Greene, who has refuted Einstein’s theory that space can stretch but not tear. By the age of nine Greene could multiply thirty-digit numbers in his head, and of course, he is also a vegetarian. Below are excerpts from an exclusive interview on science, morality and vegetarianism that Mr. Greene conducted for The Supreme Master Ching Hai News.

Q: Why do you think so many of the greatest geniuses have been vegetarian?

B: From my limited experience, vegetarians typically are people who are willing to challenge the usual, accepted order of things. Moreover, they’re often people willing to sacrifice their own pleasures in pursuit of what they believe is right. These same qualities are often what’s needed to make great breakthroughs in the arts and sciences.

Q: Why do you think other scientists are still not vegetarian?

B: I would ask, more generally, why the vast majority of people are not vegetarian. I think the answer is that most people don’t question the practice of eating meat since they always have. Many of these people care about animals and the environment, some deeply. But for some reason—force of habit, cultural norms, resistance to change—there is a fundamental disconnect whereby these feelings don’t translate into changes of behavior.

Q: What inspired you to become a vegetarian?

B: Quite literally, it was a dish—spare ribs—that my mother cooked when I was nine years old. The ribs made the connection between the meat and the animal from which it came direct; I was horrified and declared I’d never eat meat again. And I never have. Going vegan happened later. I visited an animal rescue farm in upstate New York and learned much about the dairy industry which was so disturbing that I could not continue to support it. Within days I gave up all dairy.

Nowadays, even non-vegetarian scientists also understand the physical bases for vegetarianism and how it can contribute to the Earth’s environmental well-being. For example, UK physicist Alan Calverd recently made headlines with the following statement about global warming and the vegetarian lifestyle: “Adopting a vegetarian diet would do more for the environment than burning less oil and gas.”

From the examples above we can see that eminent scientists throughout history have affirmed the advantages of a vegetarian diet from the standpoint of morality and compassion and also from the perspective that it is necessary to ensure the welfare of our planet. So, merely by changing our eating habits we can bring infinite benefits to humankind.

Note: String theory is a model of fundamental physics whose building blocks are one-dimensional extended objects (strings) rather than the zero-dimensional points (particles) that are the basis of the Standard Model of particle physics. It is the leading candidate for a “theory of everything” stating that the universe is ultimately composed of vibrations.

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