Exploring viewpoints on the Truth of nonviolence.

‘But you see, if I stop at this point, I would merely be stating a fact and not telling the truth. You see, a fact is merely the absence of contradiction, but truth is the presence of coherence. Truth is the relatedness of the facts.

-Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964

Have you been asking yourself how (or even if) nonviolence works? You’re not alone. You can find a lot of information about nonviolence on the Metta Center site, of course, and we hope you find answers here, especially those that help uncover the inner truths that are brought out through living a life of applied nonviolence (i.e. a life of experimenting with nonviolence.)

But the truth is, there are many truths about nonviolence (though they all lead to the same Truth, as Gandhi  — or our President Michael Nagler — would remind us), and they all contain seeds of a deep understanding of shared human dignity. There is such a vast body of supportive and intelligent commentary on nonviolence out there, it would be an oversight not to share inspired work from other sources that can can answer the question: “Does nonviolence work? If so, how?”

With that in mind, here’s an article that does the kind of myth-dispelling analysis that we like to spread around here, an article by Stephen Zunes in Yes! magazine about the effectiveness and strength of nonviolence, the “weapon of the brave.”

Stephen doesn’t write for Metta, obviously, and he comes from (perhaps, perhaps?) a different school of thought about nonviolence than those of us who interpret nonviolence as, above all, a spiritual force. But what good are schools of thought, anyway, if they don’t bring us together? We can look to Stephen’s article not just for the facts he presents, but rather, as a call to examine the truths it represents, and to look for the coherence between the nonviolent argument and what we feel and know to be true inside. When we pay attention to what resonates with us, whatever that is, we take a step forward on the nonviolent path.

So check out the article here. See what resonates with you, and what doesn’t. Is nonviolence fact, or is nonviolence truth? Is it both or neither of these? Think about what nonviolence is for you. Then share.