Pythagorus the Mathematician was a Vegetarian
You know what the Pythagorean Theorem is, right? Who doesn’t? It practically gets hammered into our brains by the time we reach grade school. “a^2 + b^2 = c^2” and its inventor, Pythagorus, practically live with us until we don’t need math anymore, which is-well-never! Greek mathematician and renowned philosopher Pythagorus is known for his widespread contributions to the studies of mathematics, the sciences, and philosophies which still hold true in practice today (just like the Pythagorean Theorem.)
But did you know that Pythagorus, a celebrity in the sphere of Greek mathematics, was in fact a vegetarian? In fact, he came to claim his own “Pythagorean Diet,” which is the modern day vegetarian diet, converted in the mid-1800s when the movement for rejecting animals as a form of sustenance began to grow. While his contributions in the space of geometry have been remembered and cited over and over again in textbooks, encyclopedias, and even showcased on the internet, his philosophical ideas on those of animal well-being and spirituality, sadly, have failed to gain the same distinction today.
Pythagorus’ rejection for eating meat came out of a place of ethical considerations and spiritual value. He, like many of his later successors, believed that all life was life regardless of whether it was human or animal. After all, he saw that, humans are animals too. Eating one another would simply cause more harm than good because eating another life, or soul, is morally wrong. In fact, he saw that consuming meat was a fundamental element in the waging of easily avoidable wars between different factions.
At its core, consequently, Pythagorus saw all life revolving around the soul. He believed that there was a higher reality in which the soul could transcend into if it was pure enough. He saw that consuming animal flesh was repeatedly aggravating humans and putting them against one another, dismantling the balance of peace on earth and hence hindering their souls from reaching this ulterior zone.
This transmigration of souls, which Pythagrous believed in, is known as metempsychosis. In further detail, this process is described as the repeated shift of souls going interchangeably between humans and animals in every single rebirth. It is a concept argued for in many religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, where reincarnation is a factor in the present life itself. For Pythagorus, in order to avoid the risk of having a great ancestor appear on his plate as a hefty piece of steak, he decided to skip the dish all together and opt for a diet consisting solely of bread, honey, and vegetables; his disciples continued to carry on this diet even after his passing. More than what harming an animal does for their well-being, Pythagorus was concerned with what it did to the human morale and psyche-it simply disrupted its peace and balance. Today, there is still a lot for us to learn and follow from the principles of Pythagorus!
Veganism is not a new concept. Contrary to what pop culture may say, vegan diets have persisted, it’s safe to say, since the beginning of human existence, while their counterparts, the meat-consuming, carnivorous diets, not so much. Think about it for a second: is it easier to eat a stationary plant or a moving, walking, breathing being? Probably the former. And the early humans were certainly not trying to make their lives any harder by chasing after these animals. So a plant-based diet was one that was best suited for their needs and day-to-day activities. Though we can’t do much about the media-facade that meat was made for humans, we can take actions to promote the beliefs of veganism, both spiritually and physically. Think like Pyathagorus-put the world at peace not at war. Thank you for joining me today. Namaste.