Satyagraha Special Section: The Psychology of Nonviolence

Gandhi’s lifelong engagement with human imperfection changed the future of politics.Mark Kurlansky

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I AMUSE MYSELF speculating what Sigmund Freud would have made of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, had he gotten him on his couch. The two lives did overlap in time, if not in geographic or intellectual space. Gandhi seems like a Freudian feast, starting with his lifelong guilt over having been engaged in sex with his wife at the moment of his father’s death. His life was a constant illustration of Freud’s thesis that we cannot be happy because our inherent nature is contrary to the demands of our conscience or, as Freud put it, our ego is at war with our superego.

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