It Doesn't Matter If You Believe In It
Gravity is a universal law of nature. It doesn't matter if you believe in gravity. You are still governed by its laws, and there is no way for you to escape it. The laws of gravity govern human bodies and celestial bodies.
Nonviolence, to me, is an explanation and an articulation of the universal laws of conflict. It doesn't matter if you believe in it. You are still governed by its laws, and there is no way for you to escape it. The laws of human conflict govern interpersonal conflict and global conflict.
To me it doesn't matter if you think you can use violence to achieve a just society. The violence you use or the violence that is internal to your movement will be reflected in the change you bring about, because that is a universal law of nature. I believe that it doesn't matter if you think hatred and resentment can sustain you. It will ultimately eat you up, because that is a universal law of nature. I believe that it doesn't matter if you think that love is sappy and weak. Cultivating love will fulfill you and help you achieve your potential, because that is a universal law of nature. I believe that it doesn't matter if you don't trust in the laws of interdependence, what happens to me directly will affect you in some way, because it is a universal law of nature.
Nonviolence isn't some naive, dogmatic or judgmental belief that hatred and violence are "bad" and that compassion and love are "good". Concepts like "good" and "bad" are ultimately relative and have no relevance to the universe. Violence isn't "bad" and love isn't "good", they simply exist. Nonviolence is simply an exploration of the impact of violence and love onto human experience, and an attempt at understanding the laws that govern them. It is the science of understanding conflict, much like cosmology is the science of understanding the origins of the universe.
If we invest into systems that harm human beings, if we invest in a culture that isolates people, if we invest in a world view that divides communities, we will move away from Beloved Community. Because the ultimate structure of the universe, the unalterable and universal laws of the universe dictate that. The universe doesn't "care" if we reach Beloved Community or not. The universe doesn't "care" if we fulfill our potential as species. The universe simply exists, and its job is to continue to create balance and order. It is up to us, as species, to understand these laws so we can move towards Beloved Community.
Kazu Haga runs East Point Academy, where they "work to build a powerful, nonviolent army of peace warriors: leaders and active participants invested in creating, supporting and nurturing the Beloved Community." Excerpt above is from his upcoming book Healing Resistance.
Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion that nonviolence is the science of understanding conflict? Can you share a personal story of a time you realized the effect of interdependence, even without a belief in it? What helps you nurture beloved community?
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