For democracy to be possible and independence meaningful, Gandhi was sure that it had to start at the bottom, from the villages, and build its way up. With each village as a “self-sufficient republic,” there would need to be work and jobs for everyone. Homes for everyone. Food for everyone. Because self-sufficiency is no easy task–it is one of those paradoxical ideals where its root is interdependence, meaning, it requires that everyone pitch in. And if you want a self-sufficient, independent and thrivingly democratic nation, such a scale returns the power to the hands of the demos the ‘community’. No one at “the top” could do anything not dictated by the multitudes below them and their role would be service of that voice alone. While Gandhi was thinking about a nation like India, truly a country of villages, it’s certainly applicable to our post-industrial world, as well. It’s a dream, you might say, but certainly possible, if we are willing and ready to implement it, say as a parallel governmental model. It would be, in my opinion, a much more honest look at who we are. Gandhi, feeling that such a path would be the “best, quickest and most efficient way” to true democracy goes on to tell us that it cannot be done by passing “brave resolutions,” alas, “it requires brave, corporate and intelligent work.” That sounds like Bapu alright: Work together on a human scale. Is it any surprise that a contemporary systems scientist, Dr. Sally Goerner, confirms Gandhi’s insight, “the best way to get big is to stay small and well-connected‘?
What will it take to make your “village” self-sufficient? How can you contribute to that vision of interconnection?
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