Sunday, June 12, 2016

Principles of Non-Violence

Militarism – war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, terrorism, human trafficking, media violence, drugs, child abuse, violent crime…
 “A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war- ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ This way of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
from  Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Boston: Beacon Press, 1967

I had a post planned about my wonderful weekend. I took a boat from Ventura to one of the Channel Islands. I took some amazing photos of wildlife -- whales and dolphins, birds and sea lions. I walked uphill for miles and looked down on the Pacific. I had a magical encounter with a friend and an Island Fox. Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful days I've ever had. I promise to post some of those photos and do some writing about it soon.

But then there's Orlando. I posted a provocative thing on Facebook in an inane attempt to weed out my "friends" -- namely anyone who espouses the use of guns as protection or a "right." I'm sick of the fuckery of gun violence and the same old gobbledy-gook about liberty and one's "right" to protect oneself and one's children from harm. I am not afraid and refuse to believe that owning a gun -- any kind of gun -- in order to protect myself or my children is my right. I have absolutely no desire or feel any fear or need to do so. I took the post down mainly because one of my relatives let loose and spewed a whole lot of hatred and racism, and it just about made me sick that I might have provoked it.

In any case, I'm hunkering down and re-familiarizing myself with the principles of non-violence because I believe the contemplation and practice of them might be the only way to live. I'm not talking about breath here, but life. Living. Loving. I do understand that MLK had quite backward views of homosexuality, and those backward views do disturb me. I can only hope that he might have come to a more enlightened and educated view had he lived longer. His principles for dealing with conflict are sound, though, and they are dynamic and ongoing.

I've copied and pasted the following from The King Center website.  I send all my love to those affected by the violence in Orlando, particularly to those in the LGBTQ community who suffer at the hands of violent people in thought and deed every single day.

Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. The six principles include:
  1. PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people.
    It is active nonviolent resistance to evil. 
    It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  
  2. PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding.
    The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation. 
    The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.                                                                                                        
  3. PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people.
    Nonviolence recognizes that evildoers are also victims and are not evil people. 
    The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.
  4. PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform.
    Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation. 
    Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous educational and transforming possibilities.    
  5. PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate.
    Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.           
    Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.  
  6. PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice.
    The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win. 
    Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.    

We've got a hell of a lot to do.  Here is some guidance:

The Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change are based on Dr. King's nonviolent campaigns and teachings that emphasize love in action. Dr. King's philosophy of nonviolence, as reviewed in the Six Principles of Nonviolence, guide these steps for social and interpersonal change.
  1. INFORMATION GATHERING:To understand and articulate an issue, problem or injustice facing a person, community, or institution you must do research. You must investigate and gather all vital information from all sides of the argument or issue so as to increase your understanding of the problem. You must become an expert on your opponent's position. 
  2. EDUCATION:It is essential to inform others, including your opposition, about your issue. This minimizes misunderstandings and gains you support and sympathy. 
  3. PERSONAL COMMITMENT:Daily check and affirm your faith in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence. Eliminate hidden motives and prepare yourself to accept suffering, if necessary, in your work for justice.
  4. DISCUSSION/NEGOTIATION:Using grace, humor and intelligence, confront the other party with a list of injustices and a plan for addressing and resolving these injustices. Look for what is positive in every action and statement the opposition makes. Do not seek to humiliate the opponent but to call forth the good in the opponent. 
  5. DIRECT ACTION: These are actions taken when the opponent is unwilling to enter into, or remain in, discussion/negotiation. These actions impose a "creative tension" into the conflict, supplying moral pressure on your opponent to work with you in resolving the injustice. 
  6. RECONCILIATION:Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the 'Beloved Community.' 
Based on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in Why We Can't Wait, Penguin Books, 1963.


  1. Wise words.

    It's been my experience that all anger stems from fear and sadness, deep grief that has not been acknowledged or resolved, speaking from experience here sadly.

  2. Thanks for this post. It is useful, practical, and gives me something concrete to hang on to this morning.

  3. I come here for words of wisdom, and you never fail Elizabeth. Thank you for all your effort and clarity. Your words fill the void.
    I love you dearly.

  4. hear hear.

    I couldn't' agree more about guns. If people can't own guns they can't shoot. End of story.

  5. What a great response, to go back to MLK at a time like this. I firmly believe that his views on homosexuality would have evolved (as they have for so many people) had he lived to see the genesis of the gay rights movement.

  6. I agree. I don't keep guns around. But many people are adamant about having guns and do not believe in restrictions even of the semi automatic types that were used in this Orlando killing. A congressman is giving away TWO of them as doorprizes! Clear what his constituents support and what he needs to support to stay in office. Gun stock values went up even as the NASDAQ went down after the shootings and gun sales go up as well in support of ownership. This has cost the Democrats votes from the polls I have seen. More Americans support Trump's viewpoint on this. So every indication is that gun control is NOT going to happen in the near future. I wish Obama and Clinton had taken a less predictable response to all of this as theirs just get eye rolls and dollars for gun support, more than the record amounts that the victim funds have gotten.

    Nothing much done in this direction even after the heart wrenching killing of 20something children at school in Sandy Hook, something that evoked true empathy and pain even among gun advocates. This horror hinges more on the number and that the shooter is Muslim.

    Also disheartening that the American people did not so rally about the shooting of the black church in South Carolina> Contributions no where near this range, and need was great. I guess we do support our own in this country

    Also do remember that elected officials' livelihood and futures depend upon the support of their constituents. If a relative or friend's scathing reaction to a blog or Facebook post is enough to take down a personal opinion, you can imagine the pressure on someone that has a lot more than that riding on what side of the fence to be on weaponry.

  7. Elizabeth, I've been away from the blogging world for way too long. I shared your excellent piece on MLK on Facebook today. Thank you for your fierce passion and steadiness of heart. You are exemplary, brave and one can only marvel.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...