Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gandhi's logic of ahimsa

* ... a steady progress with discipline.

Discipline is auspicious, we get more from it which gives us -more- reasons to go on.

* The power of the satyagrahi is greater than if he were violent.

We're taking violence in the subjunctive, the necessity of what doesn't occur. Think of my power vis-a-vis an ant's power. Or the sublated possibility of a miracle, one that doesn't need to happen because if it did, it would destroy the very possibility of being itself. "The miracle it happens before it happens."

* There is no defeat in a-himsa.

Not a put on, one would be defeated if the motive was wrong. Defeat begins when we give up our principles.

* In a-himsa the bravery consists in dying, not in killing.

A problematic one, because if one dies the bravery seems empty. There is another angle, "bravery" needs to be seen as a balanced, proportioned, response. And yes, sometimes people die without killing, particularly if "killing" means transgressing one's threshold.

* The satyagrahi should never have any hatred toward his opponent... must be prepared to suffer until the end.

In Hinduism, hatred is toxic, it achieves nothing. Does hate make me understand love? Yes. But there is a limit to hate. This suffering needs to be justified. It must be suffering for the right reasons.

* ...truth never himsa a cause that is just.

If it does, the cause if unjust.

* A satyagrahi is never vindictive. He believes not in destruction but in conversion.

Vindictiveness is worse than hate.

* A-himsa presupposes the ability to strike.

Here there is the presupposition, to strike presupposes the option of not-striking. Better, ahimsa means striking in a different way. A non-violent strike, the symbolic strike of not striking.

* ...injustice must be resisted. A-himsa is better, but where is does not come naturally himsa is both necessary and honorable.

* So long as one retains one's sword, one has not attain complete fearlessness.

My favorite one. Gandhi presents the carrying of the sword as a condition of fear. On the other hand, Aristotle would disagree with Gandhi that fearlessness is something worth pursuing. It would not be balanced.

* A-himsa is impossible without self-purification.

* A weak man is just by accident. A strong satyagrahi is unjust by accident.

* A satyagrahi is dead to his body even before his enemy attempts to kill him, i.e. he is free from attachment to his body and only lives in the victory of his soul.