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October 24th, 2014

"The theory of satyagraha sees means and ends as inseparable. The means used to obtain an end are wrapped up in and attached to that end. Therefore, it is contradictory to try to use unjust means to obtain justice or to try to use violence to obtain peace. As Gandhi wrote: “They say, 'means are, after all, means'. I would say, 'means are, after all, everything'. As the means so the end...”

Gandhi used an example to explain this:

If I want to deprive you of your watch, I shall certainly have to fight for it; if I want to buy your watch, I shall have to pay for it; and if I want a gift, I shall have to plead for it; and, according to the means I employ, the watch is stolen property, my own property, or a donation.

Gandhi rejected the idea that injustice should, or even could, be fought against “by any means necessary” – if you use violent, coercive, unjust means, whatever ends you produce will necessarily embed that injustice....... I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment.”

Satyagraha - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Means cannot be justified by end because....Read more...Collapse )
"...it is clear that each one of these contradictory
ideals (means) is the fruit of particular social circumstances. To
some extent, of course, this is true of every thought and
aspiration that has ever been formulated. Some thoughts
and aspirations, however, are manifestly less dependent on
particular social circumstances than others. And here a
significant fact emerges : all the ideals of human behaviour
formulated by those who have been most successful in
freeing themselves from the prejudices of their time and
place are singularly alike. Liberation from prevailing con-
ventions of thought, feeling and behaviour is accomplished
most effectively by the practice of disinterested virtues and
through direct insight into the real nature of ultimate
reality. (Such insight is a gift, inherent in the individual;
but, though inherent, it cannot manifest itself completely
except where certain conditions are fulfilled. The principal
pre-condition of insight is, precisely, the practice of dis-
interested virtues.) To some extent critical intellect is
also a liberating force. But the way in which intellect is
used depends upon the will. Where the will is not dis-
interested, the intellect tends to be used (outside the
non-human fields of technology, science or pure mathe-
matics) merely as an instrument for the rationalization of
passion and prejudice, the justification of self-interest.
That is why so few even of (the) acutest philosophers have
succeeded in liberating themselves completely from the
narrow prison of their age and country. It is seldom
indeed that they achieve as much freedom as the mystics
and the founders of religion. The most nearly free
men have always been those who combined virtue with

Now, among these freest of human beings there has
been, for the last eighty or ninety generations, substantial
agreement in regard to the ideal individual. The enslaved
have held up for admiration now this model of a man,
now that; but at all times and in all places, the free have
spoken with only one voice.

It is difficult to find a single word that will adequately
describe the ideal man of the free philosophers, the mystics,
the founders of religions. 'Non-attached* is perhaps the
best. The ideal man is the non-attached man. Non-
attached to his bodily sensations and lusts. Non-attached
to his craving for power and possessions. Non-attached
to the objects of these various desires. Non-attached to
his anger and hatred; non-attached to his exclusive loves.
Non-attached to wealth, fame, social position. Non-
attached even to science, art, speculation, philanthropy....."
(Comes along with) ... attachment to an ultimate reality greater
and more significantthan the self. Greater and more significant
than even the best things that this world has to offer.
... the ethic of non-attachment has always been
correlated with cosmologies that affirm the existence of a
spiritual reality underlying the phenomenal world and im-
parting to it whatever value or significance it possesses.

The ideal of non-attachment has been formulated and
systematically preached again and again in the course of
the last three thousand years* We find it (along with
everything else!) in Hinduism. It is at the very heart of
the teachings of the Buddha. For the Chinese the doctrine
is formulated by Lao Tsu. A little later, in Greece, the
ideal of non-attachment is proclaimed, albeit with a certain
pharisaic priggishness, by the Stoics. The Gospel of
Jesus is essentially a gospel of non-attachment to 'the
things of this world/ and of attachment to God. What-
ever may have been the aberrations of organized Chris-
tianity and they range from extravagant asceticism to the
most brutally cynical forms of realpolitik there has been
no lack of Christian philosophers to reaffirm the ideal of
non-attachment. Here is John Tauler, for example, telling
us that * freedom is complete purity and detachment which
seeketh the Eternal; an isolated, a withdrawn being,
identical with God or entirely attached to God.' Here is
the author of The Imitation, who bids us 'pass through
many cares as though without care; not after the manner
of a sluggard, but by a certain prerogative of a free mind,....."

Aldous Huxley, "Ends and Means,"  1937

Full text of "Ends And Means"



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