“The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems.” Explain Gandhi's intent in the quote.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The basic element in Gandhi's quote appears to me to be a statement of embracing what can be as opposed to what is.  The idea of being "capable" is something that seeks to capture the moral and ethical imagination of another.  This compels the individual to see beyond themselves and embrace something that is not present in the world.  From Gandhi's point of view, this speaks to both what is happening in India at the time period, but is also nearly universal in its application to any group struggling against what is in the hopes of what can be.  Gandhi's quote is so strongly linked to his philosophy as it speaks to both a social and political condition as well as a personal/ spiritual one.  The idea of any individual seeking to embrace what can be done can more times lead to a sense of betterment of both individuals and their world because it seeks to eliminate settling for the Status Quo, oftentimes a replicating structure of power.  It is here where Gandhi's quote is such a strong reflection of his philosophy, stressing that any hopes of personal change can only come from within individuals who see and recognize the need for change themselves.