There are seven things that will destroy us [seven sins of the world]: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Religion without sacrifice; Politics without principle; Science without humanity; Business without ethics.
To see the universal and all-pervading Spirit of Truth face to face one must be able to love the meanest of creation as oneself. And a man who aspires after that cannot afford to keep out of any field of life. That is why my devotion to Truth has drawn me into the field of politics; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.
Identification with everything that lives is impossible without self-purification; without self-purification the observance of the law of Ahimsa must remain an empty dream; God can never be realized by one who is not pure of heart. Self-purification therefore must mean purification in all the walks of life. And purification being highly infectious, purification of oneself necessarily leads to the purification of one's surroundings.
But the path of self-purification is hard and steep. To attain to perfect purity one has to become absolutely passion-free in thought, speech and action; to rise above the opposing currents of love and hatred, attachment and repulsion. I know that I have not in me as yet that triple purity, in spite of constant ceaseless striving for it. That is why the world's praise fails to move me, indeed it very often stings me. To conquer the subtle passions seems to me to be harder far than the physical conquest of the world by the force of arms. Ever since my return to India I have had experiences of the dormant passions lying hidden within me. The knowledge of them has made me feel humiliated though not defeated. The experiences and experiments have sustained me and given me great joy. But I know that I have still before me a difficult path to traverse. I must reduce myself to zero. So long as a man does not of his own free will put himself last among his fellow creatures, there is no salvation for him. Ahimsa is the farthest limit of humility.
In politics stupidity is not a handicap.
In politics nothing is immutable. Events carry within them an invincible power. The unwise destroy themselves in resistance. The skillful accept events, take strong hold of them and direct them.
Success in politics demands that you must take your people into confidence about your views and state them very clearly, very politely, very calmly, but nevertheless, state them openly.
Abortion politics have distracted all sides from what is really essential: a major aid campaign to improve midwifery, prenatal care and emergency obstetric services in poor countries.
Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.
Government means politics, and interference by government carries with it always the implication of coercion. We may accept the expanding power of bureaucrats so long as we bask in their friendly smile. But it is a dangerous temptation. Today politics may be our friend and tomorrow we may be its victims.
I wonder how many of the people who profess to believe in the leveling ideas of collectivism and egalitarianism really just believe that they themselves are good for nothing. I mean, how many leftists are animated by a quite reasonable self-loathing? In their hearts they know that they are not going to become scholars or inventors or industrialists or even ordinary good kind people. So they need a way to achieve that smugness for which the left is so justifiably famous. They need a way to achieve self-esteem without merit. Well, there is politics. In an egalitarian world everything will be controlled by politics, and politics requires no merit.
Fixing the intractable problems besetting the world will require a convergence of social intelligence and natural science, two qualities traditional politics lack... The world seems to be looking for the big solution, which is itself part of the problem, since the most effective solutions are both local and systemic... Although the movement may appear inchoate or naively ambitious, its underlying structure and communication techniques can, at times, create a collective social response that can challenge any institution in the world... What its members do share is a basic set of fundamental understandings about the earth, how it functions, and the necessity of fairness and equity for all people dependent on the planet’s life-giving systems.
A politics that is not sensitive to the concerns and circumstances of people's lives, a politics that does not speak to and include people, is an intellectually arrogant politics that deserves to fail.
Beware the politically obsessed. They are often bright and interesting, but they have something missing in their natures; there is a hole, an empty place, and they use politics to fill it up. It leaves them somehow misshapen.
Increasingly, politics is not about "who gets what, when, how" but about values, each of them considered to be absolute. Politics is about "the right to life"...It is about the environment. It is about gaining equality for groups alleged to be oppressed...None of these issues is economic. All are fundamentally moral.
As to the impotence of repression — it is sufficiently demonstrated by the disorder of present society and by the necessity of a revolution that we all desire or feel inevitable. In the domain of economy, coercion has led us to industrial servitude; in the domain of politics — to the State, that is to say, to the destruction of all ties that formerly existed among citizens, and to the nation becoming nothing but an incoherent mass of obedient subjects of a central authority.
If politics is the art of the possible, research is surely the art of the soluble. Both are immensely practical-minded affairs.
The past year of revolution has taught me one truth: politicians may make mistakes, politics may be socially useful, but may also be socially harmful, whereas scientific and educational work is always useful and is always needed by the people.
With respective modifications, the same may be said of the systems of language, fine arts, law and ethics, politics and economics. In their totality these systems cover the greater part of the total culture of almost any population, the rest consisting partly of a multitude of other derivative systems, but mainly of a multitude of cultural congeries. In their totality these vast systems make up the central and the highest portion of any population's culture. Being essentially consistent, they are also a gigantic manifestation of human rational (and partly even superrational) creativity.
The communists and fascists in politics are the analogues of the modernists in the fine arts. Both groups are in rebellion against the dominant sensate politico-economic and art systems; but both are essentially sensate. Accordingly, neither group can constitute the politico-economic or art system of the future. They are mainly destroyers and rebels - not constructive builders. They flourish only under the conditions peculiar to a period of transition. Being charged with destructive force, the modernists are too chaotic and distorted to serve as bearers of a permanent art culture.
The vision I see is not only a movement of direct democracy, of self- and co-determination and non-violence, but a movement in which politics means the power to love and the power to feel united on the spaceship Earth... In a world struggling in violence and dishonesty, the further development of non-violence - not only as a philosophy but as a way of life, as a force on the streets, in the market squares, outside the missile bases, inside the chemical plants and inside the war industry - becomes one of the most urgent priorities.
Radical changes in world politics leave America with a heightened responsibility to be, for the world, an example of a genuinely free, democratic, just and humane society.