Thursday, October 2, 2014

Random thoughts on the

Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle. -Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)"

Mahatma Gandhi, together with a few other precious souls, tried to change the way we deal with the world, the poor, the downtrodden, the wealthy, the soulless and I would subscribe to his « seven blunders ».  First of all it would be interesting to find out why he called them « blunders » as this implies a lack of knowledge in the process and I feel that all too often the knowledge is there and that the violence is meant. That aside.

  • « Wealth without work », totally agree, the idea that one can simply do nothing and amass more money is behind a lot of our current troubles. That being said, having worked for it hard, then having saved it or wisely invested it (sometimes depriving oneself of immediate gratification), I believe that it should also bring some interest of its own. But reasonable interest. I also believe that those who are lucky enough to be able to do this also have a moral obligation to help where they can.
  • « Pleasure without conscience »: one takes one’s pleasures without thinking of how it affects the other person, society as a whole or even ones self. A total lack of a feeling of right or wrong in ones’ dealings.
  • « knowledge without character » One could philosophize at length on this very simple phrase.
  • « commerce without morality » we are unfortunately seeing way too much of that in the world currently : never mind the companies that take their profits to other countries so that they won’t have to pay taxes, there is the commerce of charging too much and many other ways in which most of today’s companies maintain commerce without morality.
  • « science without humanity » cold facts are necessary, but in their use and in their interpretation humanity as a whole needs to be considered
  • « worship without sacrifice » - a difficult phrase, one for which I am not sure that I totally understand, did he mean that one shouldn’t worship someone or something without sacrificing one’s own comfort ? What type of "sacrifice" is meant?
  • « politics without principle » at this particular moment in time I don’t feel that any of the politicians have any principles – and it is very true that this is leading to violence. Killing someone based upon your own beliefs or understanding of the situation doesn’t solve anything, it just teaches those who are present that they too should kill to impose their own standards or sets of beliefs – religious or otherwise.

An interesting exercise on interpretation – not at all sure that I have understood half of this phrase : it gives food for thought.

One thing that I am sure is not a blunder: loving and enjoyment of the natural beauties of this world. I leave you with tonight's sunset.

Dents de Morcles, Valais, Switzerland October 2, 2014