No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid. There is an obvious retort to this, but one should be wary about making. In this yogi-ridden age, it is too readily assumed that non-attachment is not only better than a full acceptance of earthly life, but that the ordinary man only rejects it because it is too difficult: in other words, that the average human being. It is doubtful whether this is true. Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. If one could follow it to its psychological roots, one would, i believe, find that the main motive for non-attachment is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work. But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is higher.
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And finally — this is the cardinal point — for the seeker after goodness there must be no close friendships and no exclusive loves whatever. Close friendships, gandhi says, are dangerous, because friends react toronto on one another and through loyalty to a friend one can be led into wrong-doing. This is unquestionably true. Moreover, if one is to love god, or to love humanity as a whole, one cannot give one's preference to any individual person. This again is true, and it marks the point at which the humanistic and the religious attitude cease to be reconcilable. To an ordinary human being, love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people more than others. The autobiography leaves it uncertain whether Gandhi behaved in an inconsiderate way to his wife and children, but at any rate it makes clear that on three occasions he was willing to let his wife or a child die rather than administer the animal food. It is true that the threatened death never actually occurred, and also that Gandhi — with, one gathers, a good deal of moral pressure in the opposite direction — always gave the patient the choice of staying alive at the price of committing a sin. There must, he says, be some limit to what we will do in order to remain alive, and the limit is well on this side of chicken broth. This attitude is perhaps a noble one, but, in the sense which — i think — most people would give to the word, it is inhuman. The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared.
It is worth considering the disciplines which Gandhi imposed on himself and which — though he might not insist on every one of his followers observing every detail — he considered indispensable if one wanted to serve either God or humanity. First of all, no writings meat-eating, and if possible no animal food in any form. (Gandhi himself, for the sake of his health, had to compromise on milk, but seems to have felt this to be a backsliding.) no alcohol or tobacco, and no spices or condiments even of a vegetable kind, since food should be taken not for its. Secondly, if possible, no sexual intercourse. If sexual intercourse must happen, then it should be for the sole purpose of begetting children and presumably at long intervals. Gandhi himself, in his middle thirties, took the vow of brahmacharya, which means not only complete chastity but the elimination of sexual desire. This condition, it seems, is difficult to attain without a special diet and frequent fasting. One of the dangers of milk-drinking is that it is apt to arouse sexual desire.
His first entry into anything describable as public life was made by way of vegetarianism. Underneath his less ordinary qualities one feels all the time the solid middle-class businessmen who were his ancestors. One feels that even after he had abandoned personal ambition he must have been a resourceful, energetic lawyer and assignment a hard-headed political organizer, careful in keeping down expenses, an adroit handler of committees and an indefatigable chaser of subscriptions. His character was an extraordinarily mixed one, but there was almost nothing in it that you can put your finger on and call bad, and I believe that even Gandhi's worst enemies would admit that he was an interesting and unusual man who enriched the. Whether he was also a lovable man, and whether his teachings can have much for those who do not accept the religious beliefs on which they are founded, i have never felt fully certain. Of late years it has been the fashion to talk about Gandhi as though he were not only sympathetic to the western Left-wing movement, but were integrally part. Anarchists and pacifists, in particular, have claimed him for their own, noticing only that he was opposed to centralism and State violence and ignoring the other-worldly, anti-humanist tendency of his doctrines. But one should, i think, realize that Gandhi's teachings cannot be squared with the belief that Man is the measure of all things and that our job is to make life worth living on this earth, which is the only earth we have. They make sense only on the assumption that God exists and that the world of solid objects is an illusion to be escaped from.
Written in short lengths for newspaper serialization, the autobiography is not a literary masterpiece, but it is the more impressive because of the commonplaceness of much of its material. It is well to be reminded that Gandhi started out with the normal ambitions of a young Indian student and only adopted his extremist opinions by degrees and, in some cases, rather unwillingly. There was a time, it is interesting to learn, when he wore a top hat, took dancing lessons, studied French and Latin, went up the eiffel Tower and even tried to learn the violin — all this was the idea of assimilating European civilization. He was not one of those saints who are marked out by their phenomenal piety from childhood onwards, nor one of the other kind who forsake the world after sensational debaucheries. He makes full confession of the misdeeds of his youth, but in fact there is not much to confess. As a frontispiece to the book there is a photograph of Gandhi's possessions at the time of his death. The whole outfit could be purchased for about 5 pounds and Gandhi's sins, at least his fleshly sins, would make the same sort of appearance if placed all in one heap. A few cigarettes, a few mouthfuls of meat, a few annas pilfered in childhood from the maidservant, two visits to a brothel (on each occasion he got away without doing anything one narrowly escaped lapse with his landlady in Plymouth, one outburst of temper —. Almost from childhood onwards he had a deep earnestness, an attitude ethical rather than religious, but, until he was about thirty, no very definite sense of direction.
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But I could see even then that the British book officials who spoke of him with a mixture of amusement and disapproval also genuinely liked and admired him, after a fashion. Nobody ever suggested that he was corrupt, or ambitious in any vulgar way, or that anything he did was actuated by fear or malice. In judging a man like gandhi one seems instinctively to apply high standards, so that some of his virtues have passed almost unnoticed. For instance, it is clear even from the autobiography that his natural physical courage was quite outstanding: the manner of his death was a later illustration of this, for a public man who attached any value to his own skin would have been more adequately. Again, he seems to have been quite free from that maniacal suspiciousness which,. Forster rightly says in a passage to India, is the besetting Indian vice, as hypocrisy is the British vice.
Although no doubt he was shrewd enough in detecting dishonesty, he seems wherever possible to have believed that other people were acting in good faith and had a better nature through which they could be approached. And though he came of a poor paper middle-class family, started life rather unfavorably, and was probably of unimpressive physical appearance, he was not afflicted by envy or by the feeling of inferiority. Color feeling when he first met it in its worst form in south Africa, seems rather to have astonished him. Even when he was fighting what was in effect a color war, he did not think of people in terms of race or status. The governor of a province, a cotton millionaire, a half-starved Dravidian coolie, a british private soldier were all equally human beings, to be approached in much the same way. It is noticeable that even in the worst possible circumstances, as in south Africa when he was making himself unpopular as the champion of the Indian community, he did not lack european friends.
To give a definite answer one would have to study gandhi's acts and writings in immense detail, for his whole life was a sort of pilgrimage in which every act was significant. But this partial autobiography, which ends in the nineteen-twenties, is strong evidence in his favor, all the more because it covers what he would have called the unregenerate part of his life and reminds one that inside the saint, or near-saint, there was a very. At about the time when the autobiography first appeared I remember reading its opening chapters in the ill-printed pages of some Indian newspaper. They made a good impression on me, which Gandhi himself at that time did not. The things that one associated with him — home-spun cloth, soul forces and vegetarianism — were unappealing, and his medievalist program was obviously not viable in a backward, starving, over-populated country.
It was also apparent that the British were making use of him, or thought they were making use of him. Strictly speaking, as a nationalist, he was an enemy, but since in every crisis he would exert himself to prevent violence — which, from the British point of view, meant preventing any effective action whatever — he could be regarded as our man. In private this was sometimes cynically admitted. The attitude of the Indian millionaires was similar. Gandhi called upon them to repent, and naturally they preferred him to the socialists and Communists who, given the chance, would actually have taken their money away. How reliable such calculations are in the long run is doubtful; as Gandhi himself says, in the end deceivers deceive only themselves; but at any rate the gentleness with which he was nearly always handled was due partly to the feeling that he was useful. The British Conservatives only became really angry with him when, as in 1942, he was in effect turning his non-violence against a different conqueror.
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5 carlyle, thomas (1849). "Occasional Discourse on the negro question", fraser's Magazine for Town and country, vol. Occasional Discourse on the nigger question. goldberg, david Theo (2008). "Liberalism's Limits: Carlyle and Mill on "the negro question nineteenth-Century contexts, vol. mill, john Stuart (1850). Fraser's Magazine for Town and country.
as awful as the worst reported, and that many countries aside from Britain were involved in the slave trade, so that trying to stop it would be impossible. Additionally, he proposes that rather than simply setting slaves free, into a world of which they have little understanding, slave owners should be obliged to look after them like members of their families, by caring for them into old age. Throughout the delivery of the speech to the public, m'quirk reports that members of the audience got up and left in disgust, suggesting how Carlyle expected the essay would be received. Just as he had expected, the work met with widespread disapproval, and in the minds of many people, carlyle's reputation was forever tarnished. Carlyle's closest friends criticized him for his stand, but rather than back down he grew contrary and isolated. In later publications, the m'quirk framework was entirely omitted, and Carlyle expressed the opinions as if they were his own. Citation needed, debate with John Stuart Mill edit john Stuart Mill 's reply, in the next issue of Fraser's Magazine, under the title, "The negro question" was also published anonymously.
3, it was in this essay that Carlyle first introduced the phrase " the dismal science " to characterize the field of economics. 4, contents, origins edit, the article began as a devil's advocate work with the aim of challenging what Carlyle perceived to be a hypocritical philanthropic movement for the emancipation of West Indian slaves. Although the slave trade had been abolished in the British colonies by 1807, and in the, british Empire by 1833, the usa, cuba and Brazil continued to use slaves for economic advantage after 1838. In its original publication, carlyle presented it as a speech "delivered by we know not whom" book written down by an unreliable reporter by the name of "Phelin m'quirk" (the fictitious "Absconded Reporter. The manuscript was supposedly sold to the publisher by m'quirk's landlady in lieu of unpaid rent she found it lying in his room after he ran off. In its 1849 publication, a fictitious speaker makes various controversial points ranging from insults about the appearance and intelligence of black Africans to radical alternative solutions to the slavery problem. These are probably opinions that Carlyle had gathered from the British under-class and from upper-class plantation owners, such as his friend. John Sterling, and some of the other supporters of slavery he met in London, all fused into one.
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From wikipedia, the presentation free encyclopedia, jump to navigation, jump to search. The essay occasional Discourse on the negro question " was written by the Scottish essayist. Thomas Carlyle about the acceptability of using black slaves and indentured servants. It was first anonymously published as an article. Fraser's Magazine for Town and country of London in December, 1849, 1 and was reprinted as a pamphlet four years later with the title, ". Occasional Discourse on the nigger question ". 2, the essay was the spark of a debate between Carlyle and.