Friday, November 05, 2004

Understanding our adversaries – a post election thought from Mahatma Gandhi

I read the following passage yesterday morning in my book The Essential Gandhi and wanted to share it. Gandhi wrote it in his newspaper, Young India, in the March 19 1925 Number.

Three fourths of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world will disappear if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their standpoint. We will then agree with our adversaries quickly or think of them charitably. In our case, there is no question of our agreeing with them quickly as our ideas are radically different (Gandhi was speaking of the British, then ruling India and denying Indians independence). But we may be charitable to them and believe that they actually mean what they say….

Our business, therefore is to show them that they are in the wrong and we should do so by our suffering. I have found that mere appear to reason does not answer where prejudices are age long and based on supposed religious authority. Reason has to be strengthened by suffering and suffering opens the eyes of understanding,

Many of you - and me too - will have difficulty with the notion that we should show our adversaries we are in the wrong by our suffering. Gandhi really believed this, however, and put his principles on the line several times by fasting. If you have seen the film Ghandi you will recall this.

My appreciation to Eagle Staff Writer Kate Oczpok for a great article on my life in Anderson Hall and my blog in the November 4th number. Thanks to the Eagle photography department for the first picture of me in either the Eagle or the American Weekly in which I did not appear wearing and apron.
Have you heard about University College? This was an idea put forth in President Ladner's Fifteen Points several years ago. A task force completed a report, developing the idea in somewhat broad-brush strokes last year. Now a second group is looking seriously an implementing the idea as a pilot project. I met with one of the group members over breakfast this morning. I think there is information about university college somewhere on AU's web site - no time check that right now. If you have thoughts on this idea, don't hestitate to share them.
Have a good weekend.


Post a Comment

<< Home