Of Workers and Worders

“I see you are a worker. You are not a fanatic. You will change whenever you find yourself in the wrong. There is no harm as long as you are not fanatical. Whether you are in the right or I am in the right, results will prove. Then I may go your way or you may come my way; or both of us may go a third way. So go ahead with your work. I will help you, though your method is against mine.” [An Atheist with Gandhi by Gora]

The above was taken from an exchange between Gandhi and the quoted book’s author, which had sought advise from the Mahatma. If the reader doubts that people could effectively work together despite having fundamental differences, I would recommend reading the short book by Gora. No one denies the idealism of these men, and yet what really stands out in their discussions is the importance of having concrete results to back theories.

Through Gora’s endearing recollection of his time with Gandhi, I could imagine myself receiving advise directly from eminent practical idealists. More than once, I have used the following curt advise to pull myself above recurring doubts: “Go and work. Work solves your difficulties.” On the other hand, when I feel getting carried away by words and flights of ideas, I find this quote brings me back on solid ground: “You are too theoretical. I am not so intellectual. Go to professors and discuss.”

Immediate relevance and clarity of insight more than makes up for the lack of eloquence in the preceding advise.