Seven blunders of the world that lead to violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle. — Mahatma Gandhi
Most days its probably easier to look at others, close to us or high up in our nations leadership, and say “I see that in them”.
It is much more difficult to look at our own way of being in the world.
As we move further along into a culture where most of us do not know the farmer or ranger that raised our food, where the consumer is distanced from the means of production, we do not know the ethical standards by which others were treated so that we can get our coffee or smart phone.
And while there are many out there trying expose the pain our blind consumerism brings to various people, or animals, or land, along the way, for most of us it is easier to ignore the cost others have to pay for having the advantages and comforts we cling to.
I’m certainly not innocent of this.
We need to have principles, some sort of moral code we live by. We all need to determine that for ourselves, rarely can it be enforced.
Wealth without work – Work is needed to accumulate wealth and if I’m not doing it myself it means someone else is doing it for me. I think violence can be removed from this equation if we consider some simple questions…How do I treat those working for me? As equals? Am I fair? Do I unjustly blame them when things go bad? Do I cut my losses at the expense of others livelihood? We need to be aware, conscious, of how we treat others when their work creates wealth for us. We need to be conscious of how we invest, how those companies and products are impacting the world. If I am benefiting from their actions, I am not innocent of their disregard for the people they employ, or the pollution they create.
Pleasure without conscience – We often purse pleasure unconsciously, without really thinking about how we are impacting others. There are extremes, like sexual exploitation, but there are also more mundane examples. Over indulging in drink often creates conflicts that impacts those around us, whether through actual violence or simply by the problems absence creates. Drowning in virtual realities, like television, gaming, even literature, detaches us from our responsibilities, often letting other people down or creating distance in relationships.
Knowledge without character – Like when I was 15 and knew everything, but had experienced nothing. There are many people out there, in positions of power, who think they know what is best for others without any real experience, or even exposure, to those who they want to dictate terms to. Men or women born millionaires who know what the unemployed or homeless need. Those sent to prestigious private schools who know how to fix public education. Academics who believe they know the nature of a culture they have never visited. Religious people of all faiths who condemn those of others without even having spoke to someone of another persuasion. Blind judgement always causes harm.
Commerce without morality – Similar in may ways to the 1st. Its easy to forget or block our what corporations are doing to drive business whether its 1,000 miles away or 5.
Science without humanity – A favorite of the best science fiction. Creating harm justified by some future good. Putting advancement over the lives and basic needs of others. Destroying the earth without concern for those living on it. Reason without emotion.
Worship without sacrifice – Tends to lead to broadly judgmental preaching, taking advantage of those who look to you for guidance, and usually someone who talks a lot without any real knowledge, integrity or experience. Untested faith is easy.
Politics without principle – Maybe you are aware of a politician who has switched parties and political alliances to exploit personal opportunity? Or maybe someone who has made a lot of promises and never delivered? Maybe not even a politician per se. Abandoning our personal principles to appease public opinion is something most of us at one time or another have experienced. It rarely works out well, for us, for others. Meaning what you say and following through on it is a rare quality, particularly for those in public life.