Ethics of Compassion and Sharing (Teacher Talk #09270A)

Ethics of Compassion and Sharing – Mahatma Gandhi and Bell Hooks :

Two people different time, different geography, different words, a different approach, but the same point – 

Gandhi’s Talisman is one of the most popular writings of Gandhi. 

Gandhi’s Talisman – 

“I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man [woman] whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him [her]. Will he [she] gain anything by it? Will it restore him [her] to a control over his [her] own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.” (Mahatma Gandhi – The Last Phase, Vol. II (1958), p.65)


Bell Hooks (2000) in her remarkable work “Where we stand: Class matters” on page 48 states – 

“To see the poor as ourselves we must want for the poor what we want for ourselves. By living simply, we all express our solidarity with the poor and our recognition that gluttonous consumption must end. . . . Solidarity with the poor is the only path that can lead our nation back to a vision of community that can effectively challenge and eliminate violence and exploitation. It invites us to embrace an ethics of compassion and sharing. . . .”


Whenever we have more than others be it Money, Education, Privileges … we must embrace “ethics of compassion and sharing”. (Hooks, B., 2000)

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