Anger and the urge to attack or counterattack seem to be built-in responses in inter-personal relationships. However, throughout the centuries, wiser people have demonstrated that violence need not be automatic.
There seems to be a simple yet difficult choice that people and groups of people must often make regarding our relationship with the question of violence. Do we choose agression or do we choose pacifism. The choice is often restated as action versus passivity. A more thoughtful analysis reveals a third response–nonviolence.
At first glance, nonviolence seems to be the same thing as pacifism. We think of both states of being as the absence or the avoidance of violence. However, nonviolence is more nuanced and focused. Pacifism is usually thought of as the refusal to engage in military activity because of belief or principles. Nonviolence, on the other hand, is the positive assertion or active response to threats. Nonviolence is a positive activity or technique that is used to react to oppression, injustice, discrimination, and threats.
Prime examples of nonviolence are the non-passive responses of leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Junior and other leaders like Harvey Milk. They advocated assertive presence, in the face of oppression. These actions never include physical violence nor the threat of physical violence. Nonviolent leaders integrate nonviolence into the fabric of their total lives.
Gandhi taught and acted nonviolently. His guidance eventually led to the Independence of India and Pakistan from the British Empire. In the same spirit, King’s words and actions helped in the struggle for racial equality in the US.
They understood that immaturity easily leads to angry, reflexive responses and violent conflicts because immature people cannot find connection and compassion for others. Gandhi, King, Milk, and people like them, found the lines of connection to all people. Their understanding of connection directly led to compassion and love for humanity. This “inner core” wisdom enabled them to bravely, faithfully, nonviolently, fight for universal freedom.
The deepest values people can hold are these: 1. The ability and skill to think for themselves. 2. The right to determine their own purpose or aim of life. 3. The right to express their true affections. 4. The right to constructively manifest their desires. 5. To enjoy their own personal freedoms without infringing upon the personal freedoms of others. 6. To advocate for the personal freedom of others. 7. To never cause harm to others.
Not enough people understand the value of integrity, progress, and selflessness. Today we witness an explosion of narcissism, selfishness, voyeurism, and anger. The booby-trap of war is set with an apathetic populous, unconscionable greed, and division. It seems simpler to arm ourselves to the teeth and bully others into submission.
To speak up about and to practice the principles, skills, and virtue of nonviolent living is the aim of the “Season for Nonviolence”. This multi-month event was established 18-years ago by Mohandes Gandhi’s grandson, Arun Gandhi. He envisioned the celebration of the nonviolent philosophies of Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Junior. The observance begins with the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination on January 30th and ends with the anniversary of King’s assassination of April 4th.
Organizations that observe the Season for Nonviolence advocate the self-practice of developing inner resources; personal growth; and practicing mindful, creative thoughts and positive emotions. Other aspects include a strong focus on aligning culture with nature. That is awakening society to work for the common good of all humanity.
The Season for Nonviolence is a worldwide event that studies ways learn and practice the wisdom of Gandhi and King. The event searches for new ways to highlight everyone’s shared values and our common goodness. The “season” supports people of all beliefs and political parties to ensure a better future for all people.
For more information check out: http://www.seasonfornonviolence.com/