Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:
i think it would be helpful if we disconnected the words 'nonviolence' from 'peace'. then we could stop talking about how an absolute position toward using nonviolence tactics fulfills the mandate that a 'peaceful end can only come through peaceful means'.
You beat me to the reblogging, so I'll just say this is so much a whole-thing kind of post.
I've been meaning to write about nonviolence for years and never have. Obvously this is my narrow male perspective and experience, but hopefully it's also a bit more than that.
I'll put it bluntly for now, in the hopes of expanding on this later: I don't believe most people who describe themselves as nonviolent. Nonviolence, to me, is not a label you can just pick up and stick on yourself. It's a spiritual and martial achievement, like a black belt, not some self-congratulatory excuse to feel better about yourself for being too chicken to fight.
I'm a lifelong Buddhist, but I'm not a pacifist. I've studied and practiced violence most of my life. I believe in armed resistance and self-defense. I can't possibly, at this point, claim the word satyagraha. But I can say that, over the years of growing up and growing older, I've learned a lot about the power of restraint, and the power of sacrifice. These are not ideological labels or concepts, they are life lessons hammered into my spinal cord during the act of living.
To me, satyagraha means that you've come out the other end of the violence tunnel and have seen through the power of violence, to a higher power, to soul-force or truth-force or, to draw on the highest and most abused word on the planet, love-force. In my world, impotence to commit violence is not the same as nonviolence. Nonviolence is a choice that cannot be made out of fear of violence. Nonviolence is not shirking from violence, but transcending it.
i really hope that you will expand on this when you get a chance. i am very interested in your view and trying to understand it. right now, this bit, it's a little over my head (who knows, i might re-read it tomorrow and think i get it).
—oh kai, reminds me of this quote by gandhi: Better far than cowardice is killing and being killed in battle.