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.
“To prepare for home-rule individuals must cultivate the spirit of service, renunciation, truth, nonviolence, self-restraint, patience. They must engage in constructive work in order to develop these qualities.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, January 8, 1925
This is a tall order. It’s very helpful for us to consider it, though, because we see so many cases of a people throwing off a tyrant only to find themselves in a situation equally repressive—if not more (think of the Ukraine or Egypt, for recent examples). It is a blatant example of the principle that “means are ends in the making,” and that to evaluate means correctly we have to be aware of the mental states behind them as well as the tactics employed. It’s significant, in this connection, that according to the landmark study of Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works, nonviolent revolutions bring more democratic freedoms in their wake even when they “fail” than violent ones even when they “succeed.” Why are we not surprised?
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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.