Another thought on Human Nature

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I've just been reading Gandhi (and it’s a good day to read Gandhi), and was reminded of something I could have said in my note on Tenet 1.

Gandhi is very interesting for me to read, because I admire him greatly but totally reject the mind/body duality that is at the essence of his philosophy. His accomplishments are no smaller in my eyes because of this (as if that mattered), nor am I any less impressed with his ability to convince others to follow him down a courageous path. If anything, I find it even more impressive that I find him compelling, even despite being at odds with his views.

The thing that occurred to me in regards to Tenet 1, however, is that Gandhi appears to me to make the natural mistake of assuming that his nature is human nature; that all humans are, in essence and with mistakes and pretensions stripped away, like him. I think this is false; I think Gandhi is exceptional and that the fundamental failure of Satyagraha in pragmatic terms is attributable to the lack of Satyagrahi, of Gandhi-like people to make up his Peace Brigades. His standards for Satyagrahi were high, he applied them to himself as well as to others, and he passed where others failed.

I suspect I make the same logical errors myself. I find my nature changeable, so I believe human nature is changeable. I once was an atheist, now I am a believer. I once was a pacifist, now I believe in the appropriate use of force (tho’ I remain, today, against this war. For the record. Another change of mind, if not of nature). I hope that I am right about the mutable nature of humans, but I admit that I probably feel that way because of myself and my own history.

Just a thought.

Thank you,