Emotional Detachment: How to Square it with Love of Family and all Humans in the Stoics and Gandhi<sup>1</sup>

Richard Sorabji

in Gandhi and the Stoics

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745812 | DOI:
Emotional Detachment: How to Square it with Love of Family and all Humans in the Stoics and Gandhi1

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The Stoics invented cognitive therapy of the emotions, through treating most natural objectives as in a qualified sense ‘indifferent’. How did they square this with advocating the extension of family love to all humans? Because the love became unemotional, and, they claimed, a truer love, when detached from concern with indifferents. Gandhi's love for all humans was learnt from Tolstoy's views on Christ, his belief in detachment from the Bhagavadgita. Both were needed for non-violent resistance, and had to be squared with each other by making the love detached, but in a way closer to Christian asceticism than to the Stoics. Gandhi's exemplary love towards his opponents was felt as cold by his family and as warm by his co-workers. Detachment in family love, though unacceptable as a norm, might be seen as an inevitable price in reformers campaigning in the manner of Gandhi or Christ.

Keywords: Stoic cognitive therapy; emotions; indifferent (in stoics); Tolstoy; true love; Christ; detached love; love for all humans; christian asceticism; Bhagavadgita

Chapter.  10578 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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