“The supreme consideration is man. The machine should not tend to make atrophied the limbs of man.” ~ Gandhi,Young India, November 13, 1924
Gandhi is in so many ways more nuanced than he is taken for: people think he was a kind of luddite, against machinery. He was not against anything, really; he was for human well-being, and that meant a judicious use of anything and everything, even—to take an extreme case—the caste system, if it were kept to its original purpose of acknowledging, without making a hierarchy of, the natural differences among persons so as to create an efficient system of interdependence. Knowing well what modern medicine is just catching up with, that the human mind and body are meant for work and activity, he warns us here against going beyond the use of machinery to liberate us from drudgery, which is quite beneficial, to actually trying to have it take the place of human activity. He never heard of automation, which today is steadily putting people out of work, but he foresaw the danger where it originates, in the lack of discrimination, the absence of a standard of judgment, the ridiculous idea that machines can take the place of people.
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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.
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