“Unlikely friendships: Gandhi and Steve Jobs”–Daily Metta

April 21

“I am not ashamed to own that many capitalists are friendly towards me and do not fear me.”

–Gandhi (Harijan, Young India, 10-27-1921)

gandhi-21Gandhi was not anti-capitalist. The most we can say about him in this regard is that he was anti-capitalism, that is, against unmitigated materialism while always pro the human being. He would reiterate time and again that the wealthy did not need to renounce their wealth; rather, they had to realize that they were its trustees and put it toward the public good. And many capitalists looked up to Gandhi’s values. It’s not too surprising: while materialism promises fulfillment, it’s really simplicity,  as Gandhi embodied it, that actually fulfills it.

Did you know, for example, that Steve Jobs, one of the most celebrated capitalists of our time, was a great admirer of Gandhi? Think about it: his signature round glasses? It turns out that he wore them in honor of the Mahatma’s simple wireframe spectacles. Is that too much of a shock? After all, Jobs was a seeker of a kind of simplicity (i-simplicity, I suppose) and sought to facilitate the realization of our interconnection through technology. While in many ways he is worlds apart from the values of the Mahatma, if he and Gandhi lived at the same time, they might have done something amazing together. It’s worth thinking about, in any case, and who knows, maybe they are collaborating now. As those who knew both of them would agree, neither were prone to sitting idle for too long anyway, why would death stop them?


Experiment in Nonviolence:

Do something to honor Gandhi today in your values.


Daily Metta 250x250Daily Metta 2015, a service of the Metta Center for Nonviolence, is a daily reflection on the strategic and spiritual insights of Mahatma Gandhi in thought, word and deed. As Gandhi called his life an “experiment in truth,” we have included an experiment in nonviolence to accompany each Daily Metta. Check in every day for new inspiration. Each year will be dedicated to another wisdom teacher.

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    By: Stephanie Van Hook

    Before joining the Metta Center Team as Executive Director, Stephanie received an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University; was trained and certified in mediation in the state of Oregon; worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa, where she created a program for girls’ empowerment and education; has taught French and English for the Alliance Francaise; and was trained in Montessori Early Childhood Education with seven years of classroom experience with 3-6 year olds. 

    She is the author of Gandhi Searches for Truth: A Practical Biography for Children (Person Power Press, 2016) and Nonviolence Daily: 365 Days of Wisdom from Gandhi (Person Power Press, 2019, co-authored with Michael Nagler).  Her articles have been published at Transformation at Yes! Magazine, Open Democracy, Common Dreams, and Waging Nonviolence. Additionally, she’s host of Nonviolence Radio, an FM and Pacifica syndicated radio program out of Point Reyes Station, California, (KWMR). She’s currently developing our board game, Cosmic Peaceforce: Mission Harmony Three.

    She lives in an ashram (meditation community) in Northern California, (but if she didn’t, she’d be keen on joining the Nonviolent Peaceforce as an unarmed peacekeeper).

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