Simple Logic: Daily Metta

“The more we punish, the more persistent crimes become.”  ~ Gandhi, Young India, April 30, 1925

Exactly this was said by Chief Justice Herb Yazzie of the Navajo Supreme Court: “You will never have enough jail space if your purpose is to punish” (quoted in Navajo Times Dec. 29, 2011, p. A-3). If only we could grasp the simple logic, which really applies to any form of violence, legally justified or not: to punish is to demean, to show lack of respect, to show lack of faith that the other can be reached by reason or, if not by reason, by “moving the heart,” as Gandhi put it. Restorative justice, which does the opposite of our present punitive system, is enormously more effective at reducing crime at a fraction of the cost, because those who are disrespected, commit crimes in the vain attempt to regain their lost respect. That is why at the Metta Center we have put forward a simple trajectory: establish restorative justice in schools (which is already happening, here and there), then in the criminal justice system, then in international relations—i.e. instead of war. And explain the logic wherever possible. No telling how long the arc would take to accomplish, but it’s a plausible strategy for world peace.

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About Daily Metta

Book cover imageStephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence.

Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.

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