THEOSOPHY, Vol. 21, No. 8, June, 1933
(Pages 369-373; Size: 15K)


THE Brest (France) daily, La Dépeche of March 13, 1933, contains a leading article signed by Dr. Serge Voronoff giving details of his "ape farm" in the Riviera, established to facilitate Dr. Voronoff's theories and practices in "gland transplantation."

In the course of his remarks Dr. Voronoff speaks of the physiological and biological resemblances and affinities between apes and men, making experimentation far more useful than with other animals. Thence he discusses the possibilities of blood transfusion; of the utilization of the various glands and of extracts from them; finally, of the rejuvenating potentialities in transplanting the reproductive organs of anthropoids to human bodies.

There is no faintest suggestion in Dr. Voronoff's article of any perception of possible moral obliquity in vivisection; of any crime against nature in mixing the blood-strains of men and animals; of anything degraded or debasing in refitting degenerate or impotent human beings so that they may resume the atavistic practices arrested by premature senility; or of anything abnormal, unnatural, and abominable in thus taking steps which may eventuate in miscegenation and in the production of an intermediate race of monsters, neither men nor animals. On the contrary, the article is as calm, as dispassionate, as scientifically considerate of facts and their practical utilization as would be a discussion of facts and factors in electrical, mechanical, and industrial problems of waste and repair. The idea of ethical, moral, psychical and spiritual elements in the problem enters not at all into his experiments and calculations. They simply do not exist for him. He can no more be said to be unethical or immoral than could the apes which occupy him. From all these points of view the Doctor is neither more nor less than an animal himself, only with capacities infinitely transcending these other animals, thus enabling him to utilize them merely as so much raw material for his own purposes. That he holds the same fundamental views in regard to human beings as a still more desirable source of supply is clearly indicated, for he says, literally translated:

"If we were living under the regime of the Roman Empire, there is no manner of doubt that slaves would be utilized by the savants for their experiments. This possibility is at present denied us, but nature has provided us another. Have we the right to neglect to avail ourselves of our biological similarity to the apes? ...

"May the established authorities take stock of the value to all mankind in increasing the breeding of apes, if they are put at the service of science."

Dr. Voronoff, now 67 years of age, is a Russian by birth, but educated at Paris where, after a distinguished career, he was in charge of the Military Hospital during the World War. Since then he has been director in charge of noted French biological and physiological institutions. His career closely follows that of Dr. Brown-Sequard, who preceded him as Director in some of the same institutions, and who was the original experimenter in glandular preparations derived from the reproductive organs of sheep -- the notorious "Brown-Sequard 'Elixir.'"

Since the discovery, or rather re-discovery, of the circulation of the blood by Dr. Harvey three centuries ago, an incredible amount of experiment has been going on. None of the host of medical and other experimenters seems ever to have taken into account the cumulative tendencies inevitably accompanying any course of conduct in which great numbers of human beings engage with concentrated fervor. Nor have students of "Social Trends" given the subject serious consideration; yet it is such trends which determine the destinies of mankind, the rise and fall of whole civilizations and races.

Dr. Harvey's discovery opened the door to the extensive and orthodox practices of phlebotomy and blood transfusion as universal remedies -- now happily fallen into desuetude except in extreme cases, but which were the direct and indirect causes of numberless known and unknown ill results. In due sequence came Dr. Jenner's experiments in vaccination which is still regarded as a "blessing to mankind" and is not only very widely practiced by the medical profession but is compulsory in many communities. Everyone is aware of the immense vogue of serums and drugs, both by oral administration and by injection -- a vogue undreamt of a short generation ago. Necessary to all these experiments and all these practices has been vivisection in all its forms.

Equally necessary to the existing state of affairs has been a complacent public, a tolerant educated opinion, the credulity of the sick and the unfit, the prestige quickly attainable by those who trade upon or cater to the afflicted of body or mind or circumstances, and the hardships inflicted on those who see and oppose false trends in any direction. The doctor who has fought openly against these dangerous trends in medicine and surgery has had to face as unenviable a career as those doctors of divinity in past centuries who have fought against the same trends in religious experiment and practice.

With such a state of mind in the public at large, and in the patient who pays, what wonder that the doctor who is paid should at length come to experimenting on the patients themselves under the guise of treating them for their ailments? No observant and thoughtful man can doubt that a large and increasing proportion of the surgery and medical practice of today is nothing less than disguised human vivisection. What with "birth control," "contraceptives," "serumization," "surgery," "sterilization of the unfit," and their accompaniments, how far are we from condemning criminals and defectives to be "put at the service of science" instead of in the penitentiary or other institutions for life's misfits? How strong and effective opposition would be raised today in the wide world against some new "technocracy" which could breed a race of man-animals to do all our physical tasks for us, so that with machines on the one hand and human animals on the other to attend to them, all our earthly requirements would be as free and as freely available as air and water? Would not most men hail such an eventuality as the millennium, as the return of heaven on earth?

In recent years press and other publications have carried notices of such efforts at breeding a cross between men and anthropoids. Within the year, according to apparently authentic information, the existing Russian Government has provided the means for an "ape farm" in which precisely these experimental attempts are now going on. If persisted in, they are bound to succeed in the course of time -- for they will be but the return of what has been before. The cycle of the "return of impressions" precedes and is the cause of all physical and all human cycles, for the creative, preservative and regenerative power of concentrated thought is both the divine and the infernal characteristic in Man.

Those who have opposed, singly and in organized efforts, these cumulative tendencies and practices in science and in medical science particularly, have rarely pondered the psychological significance of the phenomena they combat. Too often they have been moved by the intensity of their feelings into conduct as open to dispassionate criticism as the practices they condemned, with the result that public opinion has regarded them as fanatics. This has served to put the whole issue on partisan grounds. Both proponents and opponents have made the matter either a personal or a controversial, rather than a scientific or human problem to be studied and adjudged on its actual merits or demerits.

Neither side to the issues, any more than the public at large, has ever approached the problem from the viewpoint provided by the Theosophical teachings of Karma and Reincarnation. Knowing nothing of the past of the human race, or of the actual origin of the anthropoids, believers in "science" or "religion" as these exist today -- how could any of them dream that their good and evil tendencies in no matter what direction manifested, are the cyclic return of impressions from the days of the mythical Atlantis?

Theosophists know that the "sin of the mindless," later on repeated by the Atlanteans in full consciousness, was the cause of the woes and destruction of that Race and of that Continent; know that those same sins and their brood of evil consequences still remain unrepented, unatoned for and in all too many Reincarnating Egos, once Atlantean "giants in the earth," now the men and women of today and of the generations to come. They see in the ever changing and ever cumulative outcrop of tendency and practice in our civilization the recrudescence of old spiritual and psychical iniquities which will, if uncurbed and uncorrected, result in another appalling ruin of a whole civilization.

Surely with all that is before their eyes, Theosophists of all men should be aroused to a deeper, higher, nobler and more energizing sense of duty and responsibility; to individual and united efforts so to embody, so to preserve and promulgate the Philosophy entrusted to them, that thoughtful and inquiring minds shall not be left in ignorance of their Soul-history. Theosophists should not forget that they, too, were once Atlanteans, and that the dissensions, the mistakes, the corruptions and corrupt practices of today among them, are the Karma of their own failures in that far past -- failures which, if repeated and increased, must in the end overwhelm them in a sense far more desperate and irremediable than the vices and evil practices of those who "know still less than they." If Theosophy is to reform the world which so desperately needs reformation, Theosophists must first and foremost reform themselves.

Nowhere is reform more urgently required among Theosophists than in their personal attitude and conduct toward those atavistic tendencies and practices which, often in the name of religious, social, medical, and scientific progress, do in fact betoken the resurgence of the very worst of Atlantean iniquities. Opposed in theory to vivisection and miscegenation, how many Theosophists there are who, in case of sickness or threatened epidemic, themselves make use of the very doctors and the very treatments which their philosophy shows to be the heritage of conscious or unconscious black magic. How many more Theosophists who condone or ignore these iniquities on the specious pleas of tolerance, of necessity, of that jesuitry which would seek a private good from a racial evil. What is any Theosophist but a professed pioneer in the great war between the good and evil tendencies in human nature and human conduct? Never was the need greater, never the duty more pressing, for Theosophists of every degree to be simply true to their own convictions on the great dividing moral issues which must inevitably rebuild or ruin our civilization. What claim has any man to the name Theosophist who would compromise between Black and White; whose convictions are not inspiring enough to make him fight, and suffer, and die in the cause of human progression and perfection -- no matter what the prevailing environment of thought and action?

COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:


As to the "elemental atoms," so called, the Occultists refer to them by that name with a meaning analogous to that which is given by the Hindu to Brahmâ when he calls him ANU, the "Atom." Every elemental atom, in search of which more than one Chemist has followed the path indicated by the Alchemists, is, in their firm belief (when not knowledge), a SOUL; not necessarily a disembodied soul, but a jiva, as the Hindus call it, a centre of POTENTIAL VITALITY, with latent intelligence in it, and, in the case of compound Souls -- an intelligent active EXISTENCE, from the highest to the lowest order, a form composed of more or less differentiations. It requires a metaphysician -- and an Eastern metaphysician -- to understand our meaning. All those atom-Souls are differentiations from the ONE, and in the same relation to it as the divine Soul -- the Buddhi -- to its informing and inseparable Spirit, or Atman. --S.D. I, p. 567.

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