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‘Learn as if you want to live forever’ – Mahatma Gandhi
The picture above conjures up good feelings.
The diversity, the innocence of children, and a bright and positive future.
The title of this blog is only half of the full quote, from the statesman and reformer of India, Mahtama Gandhi:
‘Live as it you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.’
Much has been written and analysed about the life of Gandhi, who despite having a law degree, left all of that, instead utilising those skills as he led India, peacefully to independence from Britian. He spent an earlier time of his life his life (1893 to 1914), advocating for civil rights in South Africa.
He is one of the most significant figures of the twentieth century.
It would be true to say you could look at each half of this quote in isolation. ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow,’ is enough to give us pause to consider about how we are living our days. As we are all well aware, but do not really want to contemplate, life has an end point, but instead of us seeing this as a negative aspect, this can be used as an inspiration as we live our days.
We want our lives to count, and to matter.
The second half, ‘Learn as if you to live forever,’ seems to be the opposite of the live part. Whereas the first part talks about making the most of life in a practical sense, in essence quantity, the second part talks about a quality aspect.
So as we make the most of each day, how do we make each day one filled with quality?
Gandhi would argue the difference is education.
Not the kind where we go somewhere for twenty years or so; primary, secondary and tertiary, and then move on, but a continual thinking there is always more to learn. If we think about Gandi’s life as an example, I am sure at the start of his advocacy, he did not know all the ins and outs which would lead to a succesful transition to independence for India.
One of the the hallmarks of Gandhi was to look for a peaceful process to bring about change. This was an aspect he would have learned from history, then adding, perhaps, his legal negotiating training to make a compelling argument for change.
Gandi wanted a better India; one that could make its own decisions and plan for its future, and to take the positive aspects from the past, including democracy and an ordered society.
Do we need to mention, India is cricket mad. A unifying pastime.
The dream of an independent India, one which makes the most of everyday, while enhancing life through continued learning, has perhaps come to fruition today. The influence of India is felt worldwide.
What about you?
Have you learned everything there is?
For me, as a now 56 year old, if anything, life is about unlearning, in particular habits not helpful, and to embrace the important lessons to carry me forward. Maybe the learnings I have made will outlive me into a legacy.
I am hoping will be a positive one.
Yes, I am wanting to make each day count. Days filled with a positive influence and making a difference to others. Quality over quantity.
I wonder what learnings will continue to come my way, to enable this to happen?
The commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.