Nonviolence is not only realistic, it is our only hope if we are to survive with dignity on this planet. As Martin Luther King said, “The issue is no longer between violence or nonviolence, but between nonviolence or nonexistence.”
Brian W. Willson
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Nonviolence is a way of life, an external manifestation of an internal peace. Nonviolence is mindfulness and consciousness of the sacred, of the interconnectedness of ourselves with everything and every being. It is an attitude, an awareness, an understanding, a manner of expression and interaction operating from a deep internal integration that honors this sacred interconnectedness. It motivates intervention in or confrontation of forces destroying or harming sacredness of life, utilizing consciousness of the sacred in the means of intervention. When we embrace nonviolence we willingly take great risks with courage, enabling a freedom to love unconditionally, even if unsentimentally. The nonviolent practitioner is prepared to endure suffering and hardship as an alternative to inflicting harm or violence upon others.
This sounds, I’m sure, wonderful. Is it realistic? Having been born and raised a white EuroAmerican male in the United States of America means that I have been intensively conditioned by nation, sex, race, and class with a deeply rooted sense of superiority over the remainder of the world. Values and practices of comfort, privilege, domination, patriarchy, chauvinism, and separateness die hard. Even when I intellectually and logically know how destructive the layers of conditioning are, the emotional and psychological patterns and addictions don’t automatically vanish. They are deeply imprinted.