Gandhi, Chaplin, and the Symbol of Non-Violence

When Charlie Chaplin met Gandhi…sounds like the beginning of a joke. But in fact they did meet, in London, in 1931. Here you see Chaplin (seated, dark suit) next to Gandhi (seated, Gandhi).

Black and white photograph of M K Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu, Charlie Chaplin, and others.

The conversation included Gandhi explaining to Chaplin that his use and promotion of the charkha (traditional Indian spinning wheel, used for spinning cotton) wasn’t a rejection of more recent technologies – Luddite, we’d probably say these days – but rather a rejection of the exploitative system that those technologies were then serving.

Which, to be fair, is also how the actual Luddites looked at it. They didn’t object to labour-saving machinery. They objected to the idea that labour-saving was interpreted by employers to mean not “the machine does more, so now workers don’t have to work quite so hard” but rather “the machine does more, so we can work fewer people just as hard as before (and it’s not our business if the rest of them starve)”.

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A Reminder

Do you have anything which you keep about you – practical or not – in order to remind yourself of something you’ve experienced, achieved, or learned?
If so, what, and what does it remind you of?

Behind the Flag

man waves stick
Waving the see-through flag.

“I drew the outline of a flag blowing in the wind. I decided to leave it an outline, because that made it look like the empty symbol I hold it to be. There’s no hiding behind a see-through flag.”
Jarod Kintz