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.
“As far as I can see, the atomic bomb has deadened the finest feeling that has sustained mankind for ages.” ~ Gandhi, Truth is God, p. 1
“I did not move a muscle when I first heard that the atom bomb had wiped out Hiroshima. On the contrary, I said to myself, ‘Unless now the world adopts nonviolence, it will spell certain suicide for mankind.’” When asked if it exploded his faith in nonviolence, Gandhi said that such a faith was the only thing that the atom bomb could not destroy. Throughout the Cold War we were flooded with meaningless data clothed in newfangled technical language—about “throw-weights, target-rich environments” and the like—the precise purpose of which was to “deaden our feeling” so we could contemplate a horror the like of which had never before been perpetrated. All warfare does this, if not in such an extreme degree and in a way this is a positive comment on human nature—that in order to be cruel we have to disguise it from ourselves. This observation of Gandhi’s also shows something about his world, what he “saw:” namely, the mental states behind actions, not the physical outcomes only. We would see a very different world, and build a very different world, if we would cultivate that kind of vision.
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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.