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Some of my Indian friends are alarmed and horrified when they contemplate the fate which is in store for their land, and it may be that the downward arc of revolution will fling them into a more materialistic life for their own benefit. It is ridiculous to ignore the mingling of ideas which have come to them by contact with the West. The Orient is becoming Occidentalized at a rapid rate. The process is inevitable simply because Oriental life, like our own medieval life, lacked certain elements which we moderns have added to render existence comfortable and less laborious. Our medieval European forefathers ate with their fingers, precisely as my contemporary South Indian friends do today. I am not enamoured of the medieval interpretation of life; its poverty of comfort and narrowness of outlook are neither simplicity nor spirituality in my eyes. The Middle Ages are remote enough in thought and habit to render them unattractive to the modern mind. The simple life is not incongruous with the electric light, nor the tranquil mind with automobiles--all depends upon how we use or abuse both light and car. Inner quietude is priceless, but it need not conflict with outer comfort.


-- Notebooks Category 15: The Orient > Chapter 2: India > # 229






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