The Story of My Experiments With Truth
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I simply gave up around page 300.
I didn’t know much about Gandhi except that he was a pacifist and helped free India. So I wanted to find out more about him. What better way than to read the man’s own words about his life? So I went in with vim and vigor, ready to learn.
I got bogged down in details that didn’t mean anything to me [he wrote about current Indian authority figures like I might toss off a comment about Britney Spears].
He routinely came across as a complete prick, ie, he would almost scold the reader to do, or not do, some particular line of action simply because he, Gandhi, recommended it.[this is/was a time period thing. I’ve read several other pieces of non-fiction by like people from that time and it is just how they write. Still pisses me off though]. He also had no problems denying people the same benefits that he had had[college, job opportunities, etc] if the alternative was an “experiential” growing thing-ie, he denied formal education to his children because he thought they would be better off simply “knowing” people and how life worked.
He routinely acted like an authority on a subject that he had an interest in, based upon 1 or 2 instances-ie, he decries doctors, and then goes on to talk about a plague that he helped deal with and how he used some alternative medicine [doctors and him were both ineffective in that case]. It was not a case of “I found X to work for me and if you feel like it, you can try it”, it really came across more as “I like X, you should use X too. It might work, it might not, but it is better than anything else”.
False humility? This one I’m not sure of to be honest. He comes across as very humble in many instances, but there are flashes of extreme arrogance or ignoring certain facts that made me really wonder just how much his writing hid. Given, we all self-deceive to one degree or another [and in most cases, it isn’t purposeful, we humans are simply blind to our own faults], but for a self-professed “seeker of truth” to say some of the things he did, it did not jive with humility.
But that is the kind of thing you cannot accurately judge unless you’ve met the person.
His wife. His poor, poor, wife. I don’t know if she should be considered a saint for putting up with Gandhi, or what. Abandoned for months or years at a time while he pursues social equality in South Africa [for Indians], constantly told that material possessions are meaningless, that sex has no part in love, and in a nutshell, told that anything she wants must be subsumed to the greater good of the Indian Cause.
And that is the main reason I stopped reading. Gandhi seems to advocate the collective over the individual. And he was a prick and wicked boring. Now I am completely disillusioned with him.
I predict it will be years before I attempt another autobiography of anyone after this.