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Martinus answers

About vermin, public opinion, pangs of conscience and morality, the lesser evil

“Thou shalt not kill”. Can anyone exempt themselves? We all naturally understand that we must not kill our fellow human beings and preferably not mammals either. But what about insects? They are also cosmic beings undergoing evolution. Can we avoid being mass murderers here? What about gardeners who spray poison on greenfly, grubs and maggots? Rats and mice must also be kept down in our struggle for existence; otherwise they would eat all the grain, wouldn't they?

In the daily life of terrestrial man situations very often arise in which the human being feels obliged to act in a way that is blatantly against his nature and conscience, a way that is therefore unpleasant, something “evil”. But if he does not carry out these actions he will suffer pangs making it evil not to carry out these actions. In such situations it is always so that whatever the being does will be experienced or perceived as something evil. This fact has it root in terrestrial mankind's still immature and, from a cosmic point of view, primitive level of consciousness. Mankind (with its laws, ceremonies, customs, conventions and public opinion, indeed, even with its religious views) is infiltrated to such an extent with false notions and authorised violations of the real truth (and the law of love based on this) that when someone at long last tries, in one area or another, to comply with a real truth or piece of knowledge that has come to light or tries to make his behaviour more perfect in this field he, through his observance of the law, sometimes comes into conflict with people in his surroundings. He can even make his spouse, family, friends and acquaintances irritated and angry since they are still bound to the traditions of public opinion. These traditions are in turn based on either unintellectualised emotions or strictly intellectual, materilistic or godless considerations. None of these religious or materialistic views are rooted as absolute truth in life's real, cosmic logic and structure. A human being born to these, from a cosmic point of view, unintellectual or spiritless suppositions and traditions based on fantasy experiences of course a disparity between himself and these traditions to the same extent as his thoughts and will are captured by real spiritual science or absolute truth. If the general public represented the absolute truth in morality, religion, thinking, use of the will, customs, conventions and public opinion the above-mentioned situation, where doing what is the right is evil, would never arise. But for the moment the general public's morality and view of life is not a direct revelation of the absolute truth or reality in its purest form. And anyone who therefore in the given situations acts in accordance with the real truth in a particular field can easily cause sorrow and concern in those around him who are still dependent on the old authorised traditions. Divorces, rejection of kinship and dissolution of faithful friendship can occur at the same time as one can become a favourite object for gossip and slander, which in turn lead to an even lower estimation in public opinion. As one can see one should not at first expect exaltation and a golden, radiant halo from the general public and those closest to one by following the absolute truth or spiritual science.

So following the truth within terrestrial mankind's sphere of consciousness can be “evil”. As he who sees that the traditional views of the general public are in conflict with the truth and therefore inevitably something evil, the situation arises for him that, whether or not he follows the absolute truth and does what is right, the result in both cases is evil. If he does what is right evil results, in that he gets into conflict with those around him because of their leaning towards the established, outdated and untrue traditions. If he does what is wrong, that is what the general public regard as right, he comes into conflict with himself and suffers pangs of conscience. But one cannot base one's happiness on pangs of conscience. The question then for the spiritually developed human being who has grown a little beyond the mentality of the flock is to find out what is the least evil, since only this solution can be in accordance with neighbourly love. The least evil can in turn consist only of the manifestation of thought and behaviour that creates the least possible irritation, intolerance, animosity, sorrow and suffering around its source. Such a manifestation is the most loving and is therefore at the same time the least evil. Whether one should kill rats and mice, spray fruit trees, wipe out insects, vermin or other forms of life or beings that damage human existence and the building up of civilisation is likewise a question of love. If these beings represent a rampant, dangerous attempt at the destruction of the possibility for human existence, in brief an extinction of the human being, it would be more loving to put an end to this life, which undermines human existence, civilisation and humane creation, than to let it flourish unhindered thereby promoting the destruction of mankind. Here, by slavishly following the commandment of truth, “Thou shalt not kill”, a life that promotes less love would come to dominate at the expense of a life that promotes greater love. Lack of love would thus come to dominate over love. This cannot be the least evil and must therefore be fought. These fights against undermining life forms and forces is thus necessary at the present stage of the earth and of mankind. But at later stages in the evolution of mankind these fights will no longer be of interest, indeed, they will not occur at all since at that time there will not be any forms of life dangerous to people to fight. These harmful life forms will gradually be overcome; they will degenerate and become extinct to the extent that the true atmosphere of love around mankind increases. The world will then have become the perfect kingdom of love or the kingdom of heaven on earth. This evolution is seen to be a fact since fewer and fewer people are needed to promote terrestrial mankind's fight for existence against undermining forms of life. Thousands upon thousands of people have in certain areas already left this fight. They can, for example, no longer kill people or animals. They cannot become soldiers, butchers or hunters. They eat vegetarian food because it is based on a lesser manifestation of the principle of killing or murder than animal food. These beings are already aspirants to the great initiation or birth.

Since the initiated being cannot of course cause any form of murder or killing whatsoever his kingdom is not yet of this world. If such a being is born in this world he must, like other people, keep himself more or less free from illness, vermin and other forms Of life that are a health-hazard undermining one's general well-being. This cannot be done without killing to a greater or lesser extent. So in order to exist in the physical sphere of terrestrial mankind the initiated being has, in certain cases, only the choice between manifesting a greater or a lesser evil. The cosmic consciousness of this being is, however, always able to choose the lesser evil; so he does not break the law of love.

First published in Contact Letter no. 14/1950
Translation: Mary McGovern,1992
Published in the English edition of Kosmos no 1/1992

© Martinus Institut 1981,
May be reproduced stating the copyright and the source of the material.