11 June, 2014

Minimalism

We live in a time when 'green living' has become fashionable. We call ourselves ecotourists. We travel to rural India and are suitably impressed by farmers using mobile phones. 'How we have progressed!' we exclaim. We buy unpolished rice to ease our conscience and can spend on a meal, money equal to a person's entire monthly income. We are conscientiousness and concerned; we are educated and restless. We want to make a difference and we don't have a clue how.
"His (Gandhi's) nightmare was a machine-dominated industrial society which would suck India's villagers from the countryside into her blighted urban slums, severe their contact with the social unit that was there natural environment, destroy their ties of family and religion, all for the faceless, miserable existence of an industrial complex spewing out goods men didn't really need.
He was not, as he was sometimes accused of doing, preaching a doctrine of poverty. Grinding poverty produced the moral degradation and the violence he loathed. But so too, he argued, did a surfeit of material goods. A people with full refrigerators, stuffed clothes cupboards, a car in every garage and a radio in every room, could be psychologically insecure and morally corrupt. Gandhi wanted man to find a just medium medium between debasing poverty and the heedless consumption of goods."
p.197, Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre

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