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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.
“In concrete terms, what pure suffering, wholly one-sided, does is stir public opinion against a wrong.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi: Correspondence with the Government (1959), p. 301
When Martin Luther King said “unearned suffering is redemptive” he was referring to the same effect. It is the “secret weapon” of satyagraha, the core dynamic of active nonviolence. It has the same effect on the oppressor as it does on the “reference public” referred to here: not always visible, not always enough to change outward behavior, but never absent. Mere passive suffering, unwillingly borne, rarely has that effect. If it did, our much-suffering world would be very different (and satyagraha unnecessary).
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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.