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BK Blog Post
Posted by Michael Nagler.
Michael is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and the author of Our Spiritual Crisis and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into several languages.
“Thus the lynching ultimately proved to be a blessing for me, that is, for the cause. It enhanced the prestige of the Indian community in South Africa, made my work easier, and the experience prepared me for the practice of Satyagraha.” ~ Gandhi, My Early Life 1869-1914, Mahadev Desai, Ed. (Oxford, 1949)
“Blowback” is a name given to the “surprising” effect of (usually covert) CIA operations that backfire, such as the arming and supporting of the young Osama Bin Laden, etc. As a Gandhi biographer once observed, “People don’t realize that nonviolence is the kind of thing where you can lose all the battles and go on to win the war.” Should we name this often seen effect of nonviolence “blow-forward”? Both are simply two sides of the inescapable scientific law that the kind of energy put into a system affects, if not determines, its result, that “means are ends in the making.” If we could only recognize this law—and that there are ultimately only two forces in the world, constructive and destructive, nonviolent and violent—how much grief and suffering we would spare ourselves and our fellow beings.
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Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.
Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.