First Principle of Nonviolence

Continuing to study “The Gandhian Iceberg”, I was surprised to read the first principle of nonviolence is “the defense and preservation of one’s self-respect/honor/dignity”.

“Those moments when our personal dignity is threatened, what I call ‘Rosa Parks moments,’ are absolutely critical to the science of satyagraha and to movement-building.  What we do with such moments–whether we show up like Ms. Parks did in those brief possibility-laden minutes on her bus ride home–is the cardinal Gandhian pivot point…a moment when we have an opportunity to generate the nonviolent energy that makes movement possible.”

This does makes sense.  If we are always trying to be attentive to what we are doing and what is going on around us, and if we are trying to be hear what the inner spirit is telling us, we will know when we are in a disrespectful situation, because that will trigger a conflict response; we will not be comfortable in the situation.  This alerts us that something is wrong, and should lead to an evaluation of how to respond.

“The Domination System’s control and ethos so permeates our society and our lives that I’ve come to believe most of us live in something of a perpetual Rosa Parks moment…It’s in the feeling of daily degradation that comes with participating in the life of a society that demeans our lives and life itself as a matter of course…Because we live inside such a society, though–a society whose structures and values so deeply and consistently demean us, and because this is more or less all we’ve known–most of us remain asleep to the fact that our dignity is under constant attack.”



This entry was posted in civil disobedience, integral nonviolence, satyagraha, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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