Cruelty, very far from being a vice, is the first sentiment Nature injects in us all. The infant breaks his toy, bites his nurse's breast, strangles his canary long before he is able to reason; cruelty is stamped in animals, in whom, as I think I have said, Nature's laws are more emphatically to be read than in ourselves; cruelty exists amongst savages, so much nearer to Nature than civilized men are; absurd then to maintain cruelty is a consequence of depravity. . . . Cruelty is simply the energy in a man civilization has not yet altogether corrupted: therefore it is a virtue, not a vice.
Marquis de Sade
Tolerance of Cruelty in any form is a degraded state of mind and soul. When we freely allow the massacre and prolonged torture of defenseless creatures, it increases our receptivity to human cruelty and war and steals our humanity, peace and soul. Very little speeds and greases your way to Hell, like animal cruelty.
Do I need to argue to Your Honor that cruelty only breeds cruelty? That hatred only causes hatred; that if there is any way to soften this human heart which is hard enough at its best, if there is any way to kill evil and hatred and all that goes with it, it is not through evil and hatred and cruelty; it is through charity, and love, and understanding?
The Theatre of Cruelty has been created in order to restore to the theatre a passionate and convulsive conception of life, and it is in this sense of violent rigour and extreme condensation of scenic elements that the cruelty on which it is based must be understood. This cruelty, which will be bloody when necessary but not systematically so, can thus be identified with a kind of severe moral purity which is not afraid to pay life the price it must be paid.
As you become more conscious of your cruelty, of your violence, gross and subtle, you start becoming more and more compassionate. Not that you cultivate compassion. Just by becoming aware of your cruelty, violence, ugliness... the very awareness brings new changes in you. And the energy that was involved in cruelty, in violence, starts changing. The same energy becomes purified, the same energy becomes compassion.
Theater of Cruelty means a theater difficult and cruel for myself first of all. And, on the level of performance, it is not the cruelty we can exercise upon each other by hacking at each other's bodies, carving up our personal anatomies, or, like Assyrian emperors, sending parcels of human ears, noses, or neatly detached nostrils through the mail, but the much more terrible and necessary cruelty which things can exercise against us. We are not free. And the sky can still fall on our heads. And the theater has been created to teach us that first of all.
It's cruelty that gets to me. Still, it's important to read about cruelty. 'Why is it important?' Because when you read about it, it's easier to recognize. That was always the hardest thing in the refugee camps-to hear the stories of the people who had been raped or mutilated or forced to watch a parent or a sister or a child be raped or killed. It's very hard to come face-to-face with such cruelty. But people can be cruel in lots of ways, some very subtle. I think that's why we all need to read about it. I think that's one of the amazing things about Tennessee Williams's plays. He was so attuned to cruelty-the way Stanley treats Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. It starts with asides and looks and put-downs. There are so many great examples from Shakespeare-when Goneril torments King Lear or the way Iago speaks to Othello. And what I love about Dickens is the way he presents all types of cruelty. You need to learn to recognize these things right from the start. Evil almost always starts with small cruelties.
In the supposedly enlightened eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, parental indifference, child neglect, and raw cruelty appearedamong Europeans of all classes.... In mid-nineteenth- century France, families abandoned their children at the rate of thirty-three thousand a year.... It took sixty years after the criminalization of cruelty to animals for cruelty to children to be made punishable under English law.... Industrialized America added brutalizing child labor to the oppressions of the young.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Life is, you know, but an idea. You can fill it up with anything really and deceive yourself into believing that is what you need. You can be happy, sad, benevolent, crafty, unpleasant. That man filled it up with nastiness and it destroyed him in the end. I wonder what could have made him that way. Cruelty on the part of others or cruelty in his heart?" - Lady Cavendish
We are opposed to all cruelty, so as advocates of non-violence, opponents of oppression, people who abhor the cruelty inherent in slaughtering we say the only ethical way to consume flesh is to pick up the carcass of an animal who has died naturally or been killed accidentally, say by being hit by a car, and eat that.
It would be both foolish and cumbersome to continue our everyday existences in bliss without first denying to ourselves, for the sake of excusing our own repugnance, the inherent cruelty from which modern civilization was conceived... And there can be no other path by which a fiercely competitive, yet social species, as humanity, can afford its members the level of safety, prosperity and stability-such that we enjoy now- without its initial pangs of cannibalism, brutality, dominance and cruelty to forge the foundations, very much like the lava which formed the ground upon which we now stand. Lava still erupts from the core. Brutality, Dominance, and Cruelty similarly erupt from ours; and they are no less prevalent now than in early human history.
The children will come to no harm." "Except for the older ones. Like that poor kid down there." "Mr. Scoresby, that is the way this world works. And if you want to put an end to cruelty and injustice, you must take me farther on. I have a job to do." "Seems to me-" Lee said, feeling for the words, "seems to me the place you fight cruelty is where you find it, and the place you give help is where you see it needed.
What KFC does to 750 million chickens each year is not civilized or acceptable, and you can help change that. Cruelty is cruelty, and KFC is being cruel in the extreme. I am calling for a boycott of all KFC restaurants until my friends at PETA tell me that you have agreed to be kinder in your practices.
We manage to swallow flesh only because we do not think of the cruel and sinful thing that we do. Cruelty... is a fundamental sin, and admits of no arguments or nice distinctions. If only we do not allow our heart to grow callous, it protests against cruelty, is always clearly heard; and yet we go on perpetrating cruelties easily, merrily, all of us - in fact, anyone who does not join in is dubbed a crank.
In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.
Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come.
A kind Providence has placed in our breasts a hatred of the unjust and cruel, in order that we may preserve ourselves from cruelty and injustice. They who bear cruelty, are accomplices in it. The pretended gentleness which excludes that charitable rancour, produces an indifference which is half an approbation. They never will love where they ought to love, who do not hate where they ought to hate.
At no point did the [Burns] committee conclude, or even attempt to conclude, an assessment of cruelty. Yet many bodies have erroneously quoted the Burns report, stating that it clearly demonstrated that the practice of hunting wild animals with dogs caused cruelty. The report did not state that.
The tendency to cruelty should be watched in children and if they incline to any such cruelty, they should be taught the contrary usage. For the custom of tormenting and killing other animals will, by degrees, harden their hearts even toward man. Children should from the beginning, be brought up in an abhorrence of killing or tormenting living beings.
You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so called age of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burnt as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practised upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.
As far as criticism, I don't mind critics. I mean, I wrote for 'Rolling Stone' for a hot minute. I like criticism. I enjoy criticism. The thing I don't like is cruelty for cruelty's sake. You don't have to be a jerk to say something negative. You can say something in the negative sense and have class.
Hannah Arendt in her study of totalitarianism borrowed from Immanuel Kant the concept of radical evil, of evil that's so evil that in the end it destroys itself, it's so committed to evil and it's so committed to hatred and cruelty that it becomes suicidal. My definition of it is the surplus value that's generated by totalitarianism. It means you do more violence, more cruelty than you absolutely have to to stay in power.
History has different yardsticks for the cruelty of the Northerners and the cruelty of the Southerners in the Civil War. A slave-owner who through cunning and violence shackles a slave in chains, and a slave who through cunning or violence breaks the chains "" let not the contemptible eunuchs tell us that they are equals before a court of morality!