“The idea [of bread labour] is that every healthy individual should labour enough for his [or her] food, and his [or her] intellectual faculties should be exercised not in order to earn a living or amass a fortune but only in the service of mankind.” ~ Gandhi, Ashram Observances in Action, p. 32
Gandhi certainly had a genius for finding the simplest, not to say humblest, ways to cut through the artificial and often ego-driven complexities of industrial culture. The idea behind bread labour, a central plank of Constructive Programme, was a) to level the social difference between those who labored with muscle and brain, a fertile source of separateness, snobbery, and abuse; b) to reconnect the “brain” community with their human roots (as he elsewhere said, “one who does not till the earth will not discover who he or she is”); and c) to cultivate the all-important attitude of trusteeship that could create a safe, gentle exit from all economic exploitation. Imagine one simple program with the potential to do all that good (and replace all that harm). What a pity that Gandhi, largely because of his compassion and his nonviolence, is disavowed by so many who call themselves radicals.
Thanks for sharing a comment below.
About Daily Metta
Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.
Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the archives
Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe