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ahimsa meaning non-voilence
A student of Gandhi's principles, Martin Luther King Jr., once said that darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. And hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.
To me, this is the essence of ahimsa and a way to identify the potency of the concept of inspiring change through non-violence.
We can also see in King's words a practical idea, relatable to any large scale change. For instance, if a nation's peoples wish to overthrow a despotic regime and replace it with a democratic system, the best way to make the change is through democratic means. Clearly this is not easy, but if the overthrow is completely militant, absolutist, or party-driven, then when one tyranny falls it will simply be replaced by another.
The values we wish to see implemented in the course of change have to, somehow, be given a place in the process and mechanism of the change.
If what Post #3 says is true, then why was the United States able to become a democratic country through violent means?
There are clearly limits to nonviolence. One important limit to nonviolence in today's world is that it is not likely to change the minds of people who have hardened opinions about one another. For example, what could Palestinians do non-violently against Israel that would result in Israel giving up its settlements and allowing a two-state solution?
Responding to post #4: I'll concede the point, but I'd like to clarify.
Are you saying that there were no democratic principles involved in the rebellion that led to the founding of the US? I didn't mean to say that all change must be non-violent in order to be successful. I don't think I said that, but instead tried to say that for change to lead to its desired ends, the values of the "end state" must be present in the process of change.
The seeds of a militarily defended democratic republic seem to have been sown through the process a military revolution backed by popular support, using militias from multiple, separate territories...but I am not an expert on history. This is just my view and I could definitely be wrong. I'm the first to admit it. I could be wrong in my entire opinion here, I'll admit to that too, but I would like to make sure I'm being clear anyway.
Re: Palestine & Israel - I am far from an expert and, after so many decades of intractable warfare, who can really say that they have they solution to the problems there? BUT, Palestine was recently accepted on some level into the UN. This means that they have access to international law in a new setting that might lead to non-violent solutions, possibly...
The change allows the Palestinians to participate in General Assembly debates. It also improves the Palestinians' chances of joining UN agencies and the International Criminal Court (ICC), although the process would be neither automatic nor guaranteed. If they are allowed to sign the ICC's founding treaty, the Rome Statute, the Palestinians hope prosecutors would investigate alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Sri Swami Sivananda says of ahimsa that: "The only way to develop universal love is by the practice of Ahimsa (non-injury). Ahimsa is refraining from causing pain to any living creature." While there may be a debated application of this precept on the the world's political stage, it surely must be applicable in our cultures and homes, in America perhaps especially, where unprecedented shopping mall and school shootings continue to occur.
I wish more people would turn to non-violence. It is so much stronger than violence. Violence has unintended consequences and collateral damage that muddy the message. Most people also find it unacceptable, so your message is mixed with that negativity.
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