A Comparative Look At Gandhi And Schweitzer 's Early Life And Influences Behind Their Philosophies Of Non Violence

1602 Words Apr 21st, 2016 null Page
Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement, saw nonviolence as an “end in itself” where one is able to see the true nature of things. Similarly, Albert Schweitzer, a Christian missionary, saw the nonhuman world as sacred and held a deep respect for all life. My paper will take a comparative look at both men and their practice of non-violence in ways that promote oneness between humans and nonhumans. I will also take a comparative look at the two men and their differing rationale and language between humans and nonhumans in distinct situations. In the next paragraphs, I will take a look at Gandhi and Schweitzer’s early life and influences behind their philosophies of non-violence in regards to nonhumans.
Early in his life, Gandhi was greatly influenced by the traditions of Jainism and Vaishnava Hinduism which were dominant within the area he was raised. These two traditions held ahimsa highly and regarded the concept as vital to practice in everyday life. In regards to vegetarianism, the act was viewed to be in line with the cosmic implications of ahimsa—do no harm towards humans nor nonhumans. As a young man, his journey of vegetarianism began. First, Gandhi challenged vegetarianism and the traditions in which he had lived to begin to eat meat because of his desire to free India from British rule. In turn, his new view failed as he became remorseful towards the animals in which he had consumed. With the influences of the two local traditions, his parents,…

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