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Violence is No Help: Daily Metta

Michael Nagler 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.

Violence is No Help: Daily Metta

“I think Tolstoy called [truth force] also soul force or love force and so it is. . .  [T]his force is independent of pecuniary or other material assistance; certainly even in its elementary form of physical force or violence.” ~ Gandhi in Indian Opinion, 1914

Occasionally there is something new under the sun. In just the last few years, political scientists have begun to look with the eyes of their discipline into the phenomenon of nonviolence (called by them “civil resistance,” which I think artificially limits nonviolence to one set of users).

What they are finding, among other things, from their research supports what Gandhi discovered through direct observation of the principle on a spiritual level, that a violent element in an otherwise nonviolent struggle (what they call its “radical flank”) by and large does NOT increase the chances of the movement’s success. I suspect that if we really knew how to connect the dots and took into account all the results of a movement, we would find that no violence or threat of violence helps but on the contrary vitiates its power.

Thoughts? Add yours to the comments below.

About Daily Metta

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.

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