"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Monday, April 6, 2009

Gandhi and The Seven Social Evils


I spent the other (Sunday) morning in contemplation and reflection, thinking on the events of recent days. As I considered many of the issues, some overwhelmingly large and some relatively small, I found myself remembering Mahatma Gandhi's Seven Social Evils. I spent some time in a sort of lectio (a classical monastic practice of deep, prayerful reading of sacred scripture) with Gandhi's work; it left me refreshed and focused, and with continued strength for the journey.

It also left me with the realization that as peacemakers, we are called to be constant in our lives, embodying Gandhi's characteristics of work, conscience, character, morality, humanity, sacrifice and principles, while calling on those who "control" the political sphere to avoid Gandhi's Seven Social Evils.

The Seven Social Evils:
Wealth Without Work
Pleasure Without Conscience
Knowledge Without Character
Commerce Without Morality
Science Without Humanity
Worship Without Sacrifice
Politics Without Principles

I challenge you to find something negative involving human-caused problems (O.K., maybe there are one or two things) in the news where one of Gandhi's Social Evils does not apply. The world economic crisis? The development and amassing of nuclear weapons over the past 6 decades? Automakers scratching their heads about why they are failing???

Perhaps we should consider sharing Gandhi's Seven Social Evils with our elected officials, and just about anyone else one might think of. Perhaps we can get everyone not only contemplating these fairly comprehensive (though brief) moral principles, but actually understanding and applying them to their lives. What do you think???



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