A mere nobody will enjoy peace

Gandhi reportedly told his supporters “Become nothing; become empty. Then we become invisible because nothing can find us and attack us.” That was the voice of experience; he was attacked (Winston Churchill allegedly referred to him as ‘that nigger’) for seeking independence for his people – to remove India as the jewel in the crown of British imperialism.

The above quotation is from ‘Think of an elephant,’ an enlightening book by Paul Bailey. The following is also from Bailey. “The head abbot in a Zen monastery set a poetry test to decide who should be his successor after his departure. The favourite monk impressed with his poem: ‘The cleanest mirror gives the best reflection.‘ However, one of the least impressive monks won the leadership succession. His poem: ‘No mirror; no dust; nothing.’

I am mighty impressed. Had he reached the status of being a nobody? That would be a great achievement!

As Socrates said, ‘True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.’ This is why I like Sgt. Schultz in ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ a tv program I used to watch with my children (a lifetime ago): he used to mutter ‘I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing’ at crucial times. Another wise man (like Bailey, whose quotations I have drawn upon)!