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.
“A democrat must be utterly selfless. He (or she) must think and dream, not in terms of self or of party, but only of democracy.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, 5.104
Would it not be safe to say that the system we have at present here, to one extent or another, in other democracies so-called has produced adherents who are the opposite of Gandhi’s definition? Of course, our two-party system in the US (which has no constitutional basis) in our violence-promoting culture guarantees that polarization and fighting, not conversation and decision-making, will be the way our political culture operates. To cite one element of our present general culture, advertising, exerts a strong pressure on us not to be selfless in the least. In my whole adult life I can remember seeing exactly one ad, of the millions we’re exposed to, that encouraged people to serve others—and that was in Germany. It follows, then, that isolating ourselves as much as possible from advertising would make us more nonviolent, happier, and better democrats.
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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.