Thursday, 15 December 2016

The problem with a Treatise

... someone had suggested to Gandhiji that he should set forth his ideas in a systematic and formal treatise.
But Gandhiji answered, "For one thing, I have no time; for another, I am still experimenting. Hence, let the treatise develop slowly of itself, if it does at all."
And, of course, he was right. But the answer struck me home for another reason also. All that a well-written treatise can do is to furnish a reply to ideologies which are opposed to it. But just as a policy of armaments by one country does not deter others from increasing their armaments but on the contrary encourages them to do so, — thereby creating more problems in its wake, — so also the war of words created by scholarly systems does not contribute to clarification of ideas or narrowing down of differences, but only creates more confusion. Therefore, it is much better to allow thought to work freely than to beat and drive and shut it up into the rigidity of a system. It is possible that this might lead to discordance and schisms.

And, as had happened among the followers of Buddha who split up into four different schools, the followers of Gandhi might split up into ten, each going his separate way. This can be prevented, as Gandhiji has said, only by everyone using his own talent and assuming responsibility to speak for
himself (in his own name).

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