Meat as a factor in diet has its value or non-value in the condition and quantity in which it is consumed. It may be used as medicine, as stimulant and as food. Used in moderation, and without the usual disturbing admixtures, meat may even be a remedy for the very ailment which its excess or wrong combination has caused. Hence while an immoderate consumption of heat, or meat taken in connection with fat gravies, milk, pastry or fruit, by generating a series of toxic acids, such as carbonic, uric and oxy-acids, etc., will give rise to rheumatism; so on the other hand a moderate use of meat, rightly combined, or not combined at all, may succeed in neutralizing the effect of those very poisons mentioned, and thus affect a cure for rheumatism. What meat will do when enjoyed under true health conditions, is manifested in the boundless virility, agility and power of the lion and tiger; while on the other hand in the diseased, fermenting, rheumatic bundle of beast-hood so often represented by man, we have the effect of meat, when indulged promiscously, and in excess. For both aspects have in the human being a perfect representation: according to his understanding and self-control, he may convert meat, either into a valuable nourishment or into a source of poison.
As to the relation of the future man to the consumption of meat, we have every reason for the belief that as soon as the individual succeeds in growing harmonious to life and nature in other aspects, he will also grow harmonious and poised in regard to the consumption of meat. The pure, balanced, refined and healthy mind, other things being equal, will soon arrive at a state of bodily evolution when meat will no longer serve as a source or condition for health and power. The future of the earth undoubtedly belongs to the vegetarians.
On the other hand, there is no scientific value in the argument, so frequently used by our vegetarians, that because the monkey is a vegetarian - subsisting on nuts and fruits only - man, in his turn, as a supposed descendant of the monkey, must have his historical and biological basis in a vegetarian mode of living. The theory of a human origin in the pithicoid ape, however, is no longer taken seriously by advanced scientists. Ernest Heackel as long as eight years ago, disproved the theory on a purely geological and paleontalogical basis. So far from man being a descendant of the monkey, it is the latter that has continued and continues to descend from a degenerate branch of prehistoric man. Hence in place of the monkey setting an example for man in the system of diet, he merely demonstrates the correspondence between his individual needs, and the world's evolutionary development.
Historically and biologically considered, man springs from a carnivorous basis, working his way upwards, along lines of physical, mental and moral refinement, towards a state of existence, more or less remote, when meat shall no longer be needed as a condition or expediency for the attainment of health, strength and usefulness.
Generalizations, however, with regard to meat as a factor of construction or destruction in human evolution, are meaningless and useless. Races have been meat-eaters or vegetarians not in consequence of their biological or anthropological position, but in accordance with their physical, mental, moral and spiritual needs. The same evolutionary principle which demanded a meat-free diet for the mental needs, represented in the metaphysical abstractions of the Hindoo system of thought and living - and later demanded the beginning of a meat-diet with their fruits and vegetables, to sustain the more concretely poised and intellectually organized minds of the Greeks - manifested in an increasing need of meat to comply with the grosser, not only secular, but sensual development of the Roman mind and morals - a dietetic departure, which lastly in the adventurous, materially and sensuously permeated life of the early Saxon, created a necessity for the grossest form of meat indulgence.
But out of this gross, animal-saturated mentality, with its corresponding brutish form of living, we are making progress into a new zone of consciousness, borne by a conception of higher moral and spiritual motives - the realization of which calls for a purer form of food. Hence our present interest in matters of diet with its manifest tendency towards elemental purity and refinement of food, has its basis and force in the general elevation of our civic and religious ideals, and the subsequent rise in the scale of our physical evolution.
This brings us to the practical aspect of meat as a factor in diet. For if it is admitted that the necessities for a certain system of food-element are due, directly or indirectly, to the position, disposition and indisposition of each individual, it follows that the character of his mind should be recognized as a very important factor in the selection of his diet. Hence to the extent a person possesses the mental refinement, moral poise and spiritual power of the ancient Greeks, his nature will be able to respond to the dietetic restrictions of those high-minded, frugal people; while if his constitution is animated by the uncouth force of the later Romans and the early Saxons, and his ideals correspondingly gross, his dietetic reforms, to be safe and permanent, must be modified in accordance with these conditions.
Just as in the larger processes of life, evolution, to sustain its vital processes, must proceed without shock, so in matters of food, the individual should inaugurate his dietetic changes gradually, well informed and well prepared. His change of diet, to be permanent, must be preceded by a change of mind - as a vegetarian diet has very little value to the body as long as the mind is still reveling in carnivorous desires. Realizing, however, that meat, by its very state of being charged with animal magnetism, affects a modifying influence on an over-strung and too highly ten-sioned nervous system - it is readily seen why meat can be beneficial to one person and the very opposite to another. The stolid, submissive element, characteristic to the meat, with its constitutional tendency to subdue the mental strain of the super-nervous - if applied to the self-possessed, slow-moving and self-sufficient individual - will manifest as a dead weight, smothering into inertia his mental and moral activities.
By extending this argument to its logical limits we shall find three classes of eaters, which each in his line, holds claim to our unbiased consideration: those who are absorbed in the purely vegetative interests of an instinctive, uncultured nature-life - the coolies of all times and ages; - those who have reached a stage of abstract development in the course of a moral and spiritual evolution, when their system has passed out of the needs and necessities of meat; - and those who are engaged in the great intermediary zone of existence, seriously aspiring to the abstract heights of ideal perfection, yet wrestling with the problems of an unredeemed but not unredeemable animal-human nature.
Thus adjusting himself to the needs of his nature - indulging or not indulging in meat as the exigencies of his environments and temperament may determine, while unceasingly aiming at health and usefulness as the guiding and impelling motives for his diet, the individual will safely and unfailingly advance toward the ideal of perfection, and sooner or later find the attitude, conducive to his safest and truest evolution. This may exclude or include meat as a factory in diet - not by chance or guesswork, but by a rigid, scientific observation with regard to subjective and objective facts as determining elements in the needs of human nature.