Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Seven Blunders of the World

Here we are with brand-new baby 2012 on our hands, as well as all the problems and joys that a new baby brings. (For example, today is the day the Republicans in Iowa are holding their caucuses.)

I thought it would be good for us to start teaching baby 2012 now the things that will make it a very good year when it is all grown up. I thought we might start with Gandhi’s Seven Blunders of the World.

Yes, Gandhi. That Gandhi.

I like to think I’m a fairly observant and well-read person, but every day, even at the age of 70, I am still learning new things. I didn’t know beans about The Seven Blunders of the World before I happened across them today. I didn’t know Gandhi was the person who wrote them down. I didn’t even know that Gandhi’s first name was not Mahatma.

That’s right. Mahatma turns out to be an honorific meaning “Great Soul” in Sanskrit, and it was first applied to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi by Rabindranath Tagore. So says Wikipedia. In India, Gandhi is also called Bapu (“father” in Gujarati) and officially honored as the Father of the Nation.

(Mohandas K. Gandhi, 1869 - 1948)

But enough about Mohandas. You can read more about him on your own if you like. We were teaching baby 2012 about The Seven Blunders of the World, remember?

The Seven Blunders of the World is a list that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi gave to his grandson Arun Gandhi, written on a piece of paper, on their final day together, shortly before his assassination. The seven blunders are:

Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.

To this list, Arun Gandhi added an eighth blunder, rights without responsibilities.

I think that list is enough to start baby 2012 off in the right direction. It should certainly give the rest of us pause, and much food for thought.


  1. I just wrote those eight blunders on my white board to inspire my employees. Great new year post!

  2. Thanks, Jewels! I just went over to your blog and read your last five or six posts and I am still rolling on the floor, laughing.

  3. I'd never before heard of the Seven Blunders and I thank you for sharing them. They are worthy of being remembered.

  4. Gandhi jotted down the blunder list right before he was assassinated?! Intriguing!

    By the way, this Iowan is getting very tired of the political phone calls and will be happy when the caucus is over!

  5. Wonderful. I have a dear friend who will really enjoy seeing her opinions of the world were shared long ago by that brilliant and wise man. I've sent her the link to this post.

  6. Pat, thank you to you and Jeannelle and Katherine for responding positively to my post. I was wondering how it would be received.
    (Just because I like something doesn't necessarily mean someone else will.)

  7. These have always been favourites of mine, Bob,and I have a little card with them pinned to my noteboard.But what impresses me, too, is the way that they were conveyed.Ghandi used to devote one hour every day to spending time with his grandson; this great and gifted world leader sitting on the ground with a small child, affirming the fundamental urge to connect between generations, to pass on moral perspectives and to teach and learn from each other.

    I read somewhere that the average father today spends only seven seconds per day looking into his child's eyes, communicating with him/her. We need the 'Ghandis' of our day to make themselves known (I believe that they are there quietly working in the background) and for true values, such as the '7 blunders', to be carried between the generations again. x

  8. Elizabeth, seven seconds is completely unacceptable! Even seven minutes would be very little, but seven seconds? Oh, thanks for your comment, by the way.

  9. Excellent reading and learning!

  10. How fantastic . I need to copy them and put them up somewhere. What a great conversation/ debate starter they will make at my next social gathering... instead of talking useless New Year's Resolutions !!

  11. Serendipity. I was only looking on YouTube the other day for film of Ghandi's visit to Darwen in Lancashire, UK, in 1931. India's ban on British manufactured textiles seriously undermined the industry in the north of England and it was brave of him to visit the affected workers. You can see the old newsreel here.

  12. Theanne and Baron (Florida), Helsie (Australia), and the great Mr. Parrots (U.K.), thank you for being readers of my blog. From the comments so far, Mahatma Gandhi is more in the ongoing consciousness of you British Commonwealth of Nations folks than in our American brains, even though Martin Luther King, Jr. (whose day is coming up in another week or so) learned non-violence from him.