Gandhi On Non-Violence
By Thomas Merton
Although this book might simply appear to be a selection of writings, it should be outlined that it is not just for the reader looking for a Gandhi’s Greatest Hits compilation. Gandhi’s writings are in fact coupled with an equally impressive and deeply challenging Introduction by Merton, which gives both a critique of western thinking, all whilst providing the reader with a comprehensive summary of Gandhi’s philosophy. It is informative but also a call to action from Merton, who is writing in light of Cold War escalation and in an age of total destruction. He is neither antagonistic nor vitriolic, but argues that due to this fascination with ‘progress’ and a relentless materialism, the west has become but a schizoid civilization, made up of but thousands of the insane. It is a population that, according to Merton, have been completely alienated and completely disconnected from the true nature of themselves and their environment. It is challenging argument for the western reader and of course a great deal many may disagree with his assertions. But as one starts sifting through all the writings from Gandhi on Nonviolence, they will notice that Gandhi is the greatest mouthpiece for Merton’s arguments within the introduction. The writings assembled depict an extraordinary man. A man that goes beyond the simple revolutionary that is depicted within the media. Rather a highly spiritual man that exerted an overbearing love, not just for Indians, but all of humanity. For Gandhi it was love beyond all others that was the primary instinct of man. Ahimsa would awaken both the oppressed and repressed simultaneously, and as a result the cycle of violence, and hatred, would come to a conclusion.
4 out of 5 - The selected writings can get very repetitive.