PACS 164A – Lecture 02 Michael: All right, so let me start off by just
recapping a little bit what we did last time. The point I was trying to get across, I thought of a
better way of expressing it to you, and that is the historical content of the course –
Gandhi’s career, King’s career, is going to be done systematically – structurally. That’s how the course is organized. We just go chronologically through the two main
phases of Gandhi’s career and then the much shorter career of Martin Luther King. And then we look at what
we can do for the future. But as I said, this a close second and not quite
the main thing that will give us, I think, the greatest benefit. And that is going to come out more organically. And that is a repertoire of the basic concepts
underlying the science of nonviolence – the criteria that will enable us to analyze a
nonviolent situation and so forth.
Now what we did so far was I put on the board a
very basic model of positive and negative forces and what I have in the back of my mind was a
contemporary example, namely, Iraq. Here’s people, they don’t have democracy. We want them to have democracy. Or that’s what Ancient Greek history writers would call,
“A prophasis,” – that’s what we tell people is what is that we want. But let’s take it on face-value.
We want them to have democracy so we go and,
you know, bomb them a lot and that will give them democracy. And there’s actually a statement by
a high ranking military officer who’s charged with a large district of Iraq,
who actually said, “With large enough doses of violence and terror
and enough money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we’re here to help them.” I guess you could not have a clearer expression
of the worldview which those of us, who adopt a nonviolence worldview, do not believe in.
You’re looking for a really clear criteria and it would set
the two things apart. And now I’m going to use the term that’s very
commonly used throughout the field. If you’re okay with violence, then you believe that you
can bring about positive ends with negative means. If you believe in nonviolence then you say,
“That is absolutely impossible.
The ends and means have their own inner dynamic
and you cannot possibly use negative means to bring about a positive end.” You cannot use cruise missiles and 500 pound bombs,
which are essentially destructive – and don’t just take my word for it because
we had the head the Air Military Science in here. He started off his talk by saying,
“I’m going to tell what we do in the Air Force.” He says, “We blow stuff up.” Now that’s essentially a destructive activity. So I mean they wouldn’t disagree
that it’s destructive activity. But they believe that you can use destructive
mechanisms to get to a constructive end. Whereas we, I’m not trying to make like sheep and
goat communities out of us.
When I say, “We,” I mean those of us who – at least
provisionally are willing to accept the framework of nonviolence. We don’t believe that that is possible. Conversely, we do believe that if you use constructive
means you will have a constructive end, though it may not be exactly the one
that you were aiming at. And that’s a very important principle. I won’t give a name to it right now,
but we’ll get to that later on.
So this is a pretty good example of
how I’d like us to work. Let’s take things that people say, the things that people do, and put them through this
frame of nonviolent criteria. And I think if this frame is valid then we already have
explanation why we did not reach “mission accomplished” in Iraq when we said we did. In fact, I saw a bumper sticker a few weeks after that
famous statement by the President. And the bumper sticker was, “quagmire accomplished.” So if you believe in the violence paradigm,
it’s very puzzling why that didn’t work. We have plenty of violence, how come it didn’t bring
about what we wanted it to achieve? But if you’re coming from our paradigm –
and this is makes us look pretty good – we have a perfect explanation for why that didn’t work
and it was totally predictable and nobody who understand the logic of this
would ever have imagined that you could bomb people into democracy in any country.
So that was that very simple,
but so far pretty effective model that positive energy brings about positive results. Negative energy brings about negative results. Again, I apologize for the simplicity of this. It’s just quite inappropriate for an upper division course
at Berkeley, but we’ll get into it more deeply. And I’m starting to qualify what I mean by “positive”
and “negative” and that is, you know, constructive versus destructive
and we’ll be saying a lot more about that.
And then we begin – within the nonviolence world,
we begin to talk about differences between strategic and principled nonviolence. And I’m going to get back to that in a second. And I shared another model with you
and started to apply it to one episode, and that is the model that Kenneth Boulding calls,
“the three faces of power.” We have threat power, exchange power,
and integrative power. And I said – I think I said – anyway, I’m about to say,
that threat power is basically violence. Though there is room for ultimatums in nonviolence,
you know, you can say, “If you do not,” for example, “start withdrawing from Iraq, you are going to have to
face civil disobedience from us.” Let’s call that – I hope I’m not just playing
a game with words here, but let’s call that an ultimatum rather than a threat. The real threat is you depose the head of
your state or we will bomb you. In other words, you threaten people
with really harmful force. And integrative power – the example of the women in
North India who faced down that mob as a perfect example of how integrative power works –
you are authentic, you hold onto truth, and it has a salutary effect even on people who are
threatening you very seriously.
And exchange power, I would say,
is somewhere in-between. Exchange power by itself is neutral,
but if you have a negative reason for using it, you can do a lot of a damage with exchange power. Have any of you read Perkins’ book,
“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man?” You know, this is something that better organized
wealthy countries have been doing to not-so-well organized or differently organized,
not so wealthy countries down the ages. You can use exchange as a way of exploiting people
and then you drift into the violence camp.
Or you can use exchange as a way of bringing about
closer relationships, mutual support, and then you’re drifting into the nonviolence camp. So for now anyway, for a simplification, we can talk
about it in more detail when we get to particular cases. Threat power is pretty much violent. Integrative power is just almost completely nonviolent. Exchange power is neutral. And again, I’d like to emphasize something that
Boulding very rightly does emphasize which is that we have regular
industry for studying threat power, a regular industry for studying exchange power,
and we’re just beginning to grope with how we might start to explore integrative power. Okay, so what I’d like to do now –
because my computer is on battery and I’m not sure how much time we have. I’d like to do an experiment with you, if we can get the
equipment to work, which is to show you a brief clip from a feature film and then see what we can do already by way of analyzing that clip from the point of view of nonviolence. So Rachel, would you see if this reaches that wall behind you? I have funny feeling it doesn’t.
Yeah. Okay. So let me get back to what I was saying about the divide between strategic and principled nonviolence,
not because I enjoy conflict in itself, but because it serves to point up what some of the
basic characteristics of principled nonviolence are. And incidentally, we’ve been having discussions about
this throughout the nonviolence community and I’m really looking forward to getting us all together
on the same page pretty soon. But in the early days when people
really didn’t know how to approach nonviolence or build a model to understand it, but they did see that
something was going on and it could be very effective, they were looking for a sort of negative
rather than a positive. This is my – this is the biggest – I’m trying to choose my language carefully here
because I don’t want to make fights with people. But this was probably the wrong foot to start off on,
is to look for a negative. And they came up with a
negative assumption about power. Trying to explain how come people
could stand up and throw off an oppressive regime, when that regime had all the material resources, it had access to all the media, and it had all of the
uniformed repression at its command – you know, the police, the military, the paramilitaries, whatever they were.
People could still stand up and throw this off. How did that work? And the definition that they came up with was that it
worked by the withdrawal of consent. And then they found, sure enough, some theorists
from the 18th Century, especially one in France. His name is Étienne de La Boétie who said that,
“The strongest power in the world,” talking about governmental power,
“requires the consent of the governed. And the minute the governed stand up and say,
‘No, I won’t do this,’ they have no power over you.” And if you saw the Gandhi film, as many of you did –
the Attenborough film – someone says, “The government, they will kill him.” And Gandhi says, “Then they will have my body,
but not my obedience.” So there really is quite a limit to what any other outside
authority or structure can do to you once you turn around and say,
“Go ahead, do your worst.
I don’t care.” It’s even been proposed during the Cold War that the
rationale for building the atomic bomb was flawed. The rationale at that time was – it has to be called a
rationale, not a reason – I’ll tell you why in a minute. The rationale was if we don’t get to this thing first,
Hitler will have it and then he’ll able to hold us hostage. Well, it turned out that wasn’t the real reason that people
were building the atomic bomb, because the day that Germany collapsed,
one atomic scientist on that whole project – maybe out of 120 top notch people said, “Whew, it’s over.
We don’t have to build this anymore, right? So let’s a have meeting. Let’s decide what we’re going to with our money. Let’s head to Mexico, you know? Have some fun, buy a latte.” And guess what? Nobody moved. Nobody blinked an eye. Everybody went right back to their desks
and kept on working. So it wasn’t true that the real reason for building
the atomic bomb was to stop Hitler. However, that’s not my main point right now is that
eventually some Quaker theorist came along and said, “Okay well, let’s assume that he had a few of those
things and we said to him, “You know, go ahead. Use them.” And so let’s say he took out New York, which would,
” I mean don’t get me wrong. I’m from New York. I did not like this idea at all. There’s certain neighborhoods in New York
which I think would benefit, but by and large, yeah, this would be a blow. But let’s say that he did that to a couple of cities
and we coped with it as best we could and we simply defied him and said, “You know,
you come over here, you’re going to have to fight us from every barn door
and this will be the shot heard around the world.” Or is, “The herd shot around the world?” – donated those cows to Australia.
Anyway, it is conceivable. I’m not saying that the American people were in a
psychological condition to be able to do that at that time, but it is quite conceivable that people could get into
that condition and they could say, “You can do anything you want to to us. We are not going to violate our conscience.” Period, end of quote. And then immediately, all that power, even if you’ve got the atomic bomb and they do not, all of that power is rendered void.
All you can do is crash around like
a bull in a china shop and destroy stuff and end up with maybe a radioactive wasteland
and you really gain nothing from this. So obviously, we don’t want things
to get that far down the road, right? We want to intercept the conflict at an earlier stage. But the point is that there is a kind of power
that you realize by withdrawing consent from somebody who is oppressing you. So my problem with this is that in itself,
since it assumes that power is compulsive and the only way you can avoid it is to
withdraw something rather than supply something. By thinking of nonviolence in this way,
you don’t really get yourself out of the prevailing paradigm. Now I guess this is the first time I maybe –
maybe this is the first time I’m using the word “paradigm” so I’m assuming that most of you are familiar with this term. Do you want me to go over it for a couple of minutes? Everybody totally knows what a paradigm is? Is there anyone not quite familiar with how the term is used? Okay, you know, it’s probably worth a few minutes of review
because actually a lot of people misuse it – that is they don’t use it the way I like [laughter].
This term entered our vocabulary in 1962 and personally,
he was a historian of science. It just shows you, you can come from all kinds of unlikely fields. Name was Thomas Kuhn and I think he was working at Harvard, of all the unlikely places and he wrote a book called, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,”
in which he challenged the idea that science operates by accumulating facts and refining theories
in accordance with those facts. And he showed while this is going on,
there’s another process that’s much deeper and much more powerful and that is that a given community, let’s say the community of physical scientists
in the world at large, at a given time. They have a model in their mind of what the universe is,
how it works, what the forces are, and so forth. And if a fact comes in that doesn’t match that model
and just a few of those facts come in, this is called, “an anomaly.” They say, “well, there must be something
wrong with the facts.” Like in the late 60’s these two fellows working in
Bell Laboratories in southern New Jersey set up an antenna on the roof of their lab and
they heard background radiation coming from everywhere in the universe at ,700 degrees Kelvin.
And they said, “Oh my gosh, it’s the Big Bang.” So they went around checking to
make sure there wasn’t the Big Bang. They were saying, “maybe it’s some
bird guano that got on the antenna.” So they crawled up there and cleaned off the antenna and it was still the same radiation
coming from everywhere. So they treated it as an anomaly at first,
though they went to look and see if it was an anomaly, but it wasn’t an anomaly. It was actual fact that Big Bang is still going on. Sometimes I imagine at 3 o'clock in the morning,
if you’re very, very quiet – I’m not sure what ,700 degrees Kelvin sounds like –
but you can hear it. So in course of time though, whatever model
the community has unconsciously agreed upon to be their working model of the universe, none of those working models has really
ever worked indefinitely. And you reach a point where there’s
so many of these counter – yeah, of these anomalies that you realize
that they are not anomalies but counter-instances. They are telling you that the model itself is wrong.
And that’s very uncomfortable. Most people do not want to go there. So you enter the pleasant land of denial
and you stay there until somebody comes along and comes up with a model that explains
the old facts and the new facts. Now that process is called first, “paradigm breakdown,”
when the old model doesn’t work anymore and then, “paradigm shift,”
when you pick up a new one. And the way paradigm shift comes in is very,
very interesting because it’s never more than about 4% or 5% of the people in that discourse community
who conceptualize the new model. And from those four or five percent,
you can reach what’s called a tipping point – that’s a new concept that Kuhn didn’t know about.
And suddenly everybody says, “I knew that.” And they move over to the new model
and the process starts all over again. So this is quite pertinent for us because I believe that we’re in a condition right now of
incipient paradigm shift. It’s waiting to happen. The old paradigm, which we’re going to look at in
some detail next week, which inevitably leads you to a violent posture, it is not working. And it’s on that very level of you’re
using violence that it’s mainly not working. But the thing of it is, if you don’t have a new paradigm,
you’re going to cling to the old paradigm no matter what. It’s almost impossible not to have a paradigm. Sort of I guess like – I don't know –
being on an acid trip forever or something like that – which is not a very comfortable situation. So the most effective thing that we can possibly be
doing right now is giving some coherent shape to the new paradigm which would lead
to a nonviolent outcome, where the present one leads to a violent outcome.
And it’s at this point where I get a little bit disappointed
with strategic nonviolence because it will explain how a few of these episodes work, but it doesn’t, in itself,
produce a positive definition of power to counteract the positive but destructive definition of power that
we’ve been operating on in the old paradigm. So there’s a parallel here that you might be more
familiar with, a parallel to strategic versus principled nonviolence that you might be more familiar with in
the area of peace theory. And that’s the good old concept of negative peace. You know, two states which are not actively at war with
one another are experiencing what we, in the nonviolence world like to call, “negative peace.” It’s peace defined as the absence of war. And this is not exactly a very inspiring state. There’s peace right now of this
kind right now between let’s say, United States and Uganda because
we’re not having a fighting war right now. Or you can even say between U.S.
and Iran at this point, with all this saber rattling, but there’s not outright,
you know, hot war going on.
And this can get, you know, pretty absurd. A number of years ago there was a
peace group that was giving an absurdity of the year award to various organizations. And they gave their award to the U.S. Navy
for its definition of peace. U.S. Navy’s definition of peace at that time was,
“perpetual pre-hostility.” Okay, you can have perpetual pre-hostility,
but I’m not going to work my head off trying to make a major out of it for UC Berkeley
because I don’t think it’s very inspiring. It’s not worth it. It doesn’t get out of this mess. Perpetual pre-hostility has a tendency to slide into
non-perpetual pre-hostility and actual hostility. We want to get to what’s called, “stable peace.” That, again, is a term coined by Kenneth Boulding –
wrote a book in 1972 with that title, “Stable Peace.” Excellent book.
So another difference in strategic nonviolence
and this is one that I did mention on Tuesday, is that it gives you what you might call
different moral boundaries. That is you’re standing there at the demonstration,
you remember, and you got your placards are nailed to baseball bats,
as soon as the demonstration is called off, it’s over, you’re going to use the same old, same old. Now when you ask people,
“what is the definition of principled nonviolence?” They will usually say that it’s nonviolence
as a way of life. And I don’t disagree with that. I think it is true that if you adopt principled nonviolence you will soon find that it starts radiating into
every aspect of your life. You’re going to start looking at your diet,
how you relate to people. I remember being on a bus one time sitting
behind a couple of young ladies.
They looked like they might be Berkeley students –
we were going from Berkeley to San Francisco. They were talking in not always totally appreciative
terms about their respective boyfriends. And one of them said, “I don’t why things go so much
better when I’m nice to the creep, they just do.” So I said, “I can use that. Immediately wrote it down
and used it in my next book. So be careful what you say if I’m in the next seat. But see, this is the person who is discovering an
application of nonviolence in one-on-one relationships, but because she didn’t
have a paradigm that would tell her how it worked, she said, “I don’t how this works, but I’m just
discovering experientially that it works.” It was, for her, an anomaly at that point –
because I was tempted to jump out of my seat and say, “that was a counter-instance! Let me explain!”
[Laughter] No, I have learned a little bit.
Not even in the Bay Area would I do that. Okay. Now another thing about strategic versus principled
nonviolence which differentiates them – I do hope to get off this topic pretty quickly – is that in strategic nonviolence you pretty
much are just looking at behavior. Whereas for us – again, me and three or four other
people who are in this principled nonviolent posture – behavior is important to be sure,
but it’s the last thing that’s important. You first want to look at mental states. Then you want to look at training. Then you want to look at organizational patterns
and then you – that ends up being behavior. So we get a lot of joy and comfort from the opening
line of the Dhammapada which is, I think, Theravada Buddhism is one of their main texts. I’m not very good on Buddhist sayings –
I’m not very good on Christian ones either – but the first line of the Dhammapada is,
literally translated, it says, “Mind is the forerunner of all states.” So if you try to explain everything in terms of behavior
that is the visible outcome of these mental states, you’re perpetually at a loss to
explain why it doesn’t work.
And then in the infamous words of Ted Roethke, who’s a historian who used to teach at Santa Cruz,
he lives in Berkeley now. He said, “People try nonviolence for a week and when it doesn’t “work” they go back to violence,
which hasn’t worked for centuries.” And we just see this cycle repeating endlessly because you don’t have a way of explaining to yourself what
you mean by getting nonviolence to work. Okay, so for them it’s pretty much only behavior,
for us behavior comes last, although it’s important. Now I’ve used the term “moral boundaries”
but I want to make it clear that moral vocabulary doesn’t seem to work very well
anymore and it’s not a set of terms that I normally use to try to explain how nonviolence works. I’m going to come out this strictly
from a scientific perspective.
To give you an example of what I mean when I say, “moral terminology doesn’t work that well anymore,”
there was a survey. I think it was Redbook Magazine that carried this survey. They asked 70,000 of their readers to
list the 15 most important sins – that must have been an exciting edition –
in descending order of importance. And war was, I think, 15 out of a list of 17. Very, very unimportant sin. For most people responding, wearing lipstick to church
on Sunday was much more serious than waging war. Now, okay, if you had stopped somebody on the street
and said, “Hey, you know, come on, let’s be real here. What hurts people more? Wearing lipstick to church on Sunday
or dropping a cruise missile on a house?” They would say, “I guess I would
have to admit that a cruise missile is a little more harmful than misapplied lipstick.” But if you approach them and say,
“let’s think in terms of moral categories,” they come up with this absurd ranking. So I’m not going to use that term very much after this.
I will try and use a completely scientific approach. A couple of things I’ve noticed that make it difficult for people to get into understanding
how nonviolence works, seeing an episode, learning from it,
is for some funny reason – and I guess it’s not so funny, I guess it just has to do with the paradigm that we’ve got. When you present people with a case where
nonviolence worked, for some reason their mind immediately jumps to a
situation in which it would not have worked. Probably see from your nods
that some of you have experienced this already. So what do you do with such people? I mean you’re not going to grab them by the collar
and shake them and say, “take Nagler’s course.” You need some nonviolent way of approaching them. No one is saying – I mean no one in our camp is saying
that nonviolence always works perfectly, and none of us is saying that if you use a little
nonviolence it will solve everything.
What we’re pleading for is symmetry. I’m using a somewhat technical term
from the social sciences. People are very asymmetrical
in the criteria that they apply to violence and the criteria that they apply to nonviolence. Okay, let’s just go back to Iraq for an example. And we have a situation. We’ve reduced a substantial country to utter chaos. We’ve killed probably –
it looks like more than 100,000 noncombatants. But as Arundhati Roy said, “Who’s counting? Because we don’t even count them.” Killed almost 3,000 of our own people. We have upwards of 20,000 Americans who are severely traumatized either
physically, or mentally, or both – and nobody is even talking
about the mental traumatization – and I’m going to be saying something
about it next week. All of this damage, but I don’t hear anybody saying, “gosh, I guess violence doesn’t work.” On the other hand, if you try a little bit of nonviolence,
like in the Civil Rights Movement, as we’re going to see, it was a mixed success.
People look at the mixed success and they say,
“That shows that nonviolence doesn’t work.” Well, all I’m saying is, this is not scientific. This is bad science. If you’re going to generalize from one case,
you should do it in a parallel way in both instances. If you don’t say that violence
doesn’t work in cases when it doesn’t work, if you don’t generalize, you shouldn’t
generalize from nonviolence either. And you shouldn’t look to all the results
and expect them all to be positive. As you can imagine, this is a kind of question that I get
all the time all over the country talking about this stuff. I don’t get this question in Europe very much because they’ve hardly thought about nonviolence over there
for the most part. But here, people feel more challenged by it and they
very typically say, “Oh, but look at India today.
It’s such a mess. This is a direct result of Gandhi.” Well, we need to be a little bit more
sophisticated than that. And as we step through that history,
we’ll take a look at the differences. So I want to do now a couple of other things. I want to, for our first example, talk about the
etymology of a word because it will, again, help us to understand how it is that we look at
nonviolence in a much deeper than behavioral level.
And then I want to talk about a nonviolent episode,
since we didn’t get to see one, and start an analysis of it. The word for nonviolence in Sanskrit was “ahims?.” All of this is in the first couple of chapters of my book
and I think it’s really useful for you to see it in writing, or to read it and then to hear us talk about it where we
can have some exchange back and forth because that’s the way these unfamiliar ideas really
get to be part of our mental landscape. So the question before us,
“why is Nagler so excited about this word?” Partly, it’s a simple enough word,
“a” is what call a privative.
It negates the rest of the word. So it’s like “acephalic” in biology means some poor
critter running around without a head. Acausal – something that has no cause, and so forth. Sanskrit had the same prefix. So ahims? is the absence of hims? and right away you might think this contradicts what I
was just talking about because it’s a negative term. It is really almost literally non-violence. But the fact is that at this early stage
of the Sanskrit language, negatives didn’t work quite the way
they do in our language. There were some concepts which were
regarded to be primordial, fundamental to the nature of reality, but elusive. They are sort of beyond the veil of Maya, if you will, and of things which
are very difficult to describe directly. So what you do is you negate the next thing up to it
and hopefully you fall into it by default. And this is a fairly common practice. So for example, courage. The term for courage in both Hinduism and Buddhism
is often “abhaya,” which means “non-fear.” And sometimes even for love they would say, “advesha” which means “non-hatred” which,
of course would not work in modern English, right? If you come up to somebody and say, “I don’t hate you.
Should we get married?” I don’t think so. That would be back in the perpetual pre-hostility. So although this work looks like a negative –
and I guess I haven’t mentioned this before, but the word “nonviolence” itself has been a terrific
problem for us because it is a negative. People think you take away violence
and you’ve got nonviolence. It doesn’t work that way, and if there was a substitute
for the word nonviolence, I would be the first to adopt it. Of course there are some,
but they’re not in our language. So one thing to know about that word is that
although it looks like a negative, it really isn’t and you can translate it by saying that
which comes into play when all hostility is removed. Okay, that’s step one. I got another card up my sleeve. It’s a short sleeve, as you can see,
but there’s room for one more card.
So the next part is about the term “hims?”
which means injury or hurting. And it comes from a root “han” which means
“to strike” or “to slay”. You maybe have heard in your walking up and down Telegraph Avenue you’ve heard
about the “unstruck sound.” I guess Shambhala Bookstore isn’t there anymore, but you go in there and I’m sure you’ll hear –
you can buy a CD with the “unstruck sound” on it.
It’s kind of easy to produce those CDs. There’s no signal. The term for that was “anahata shabda,”
the not-struck sound. So okay?” Han” means “to strike.” And “hims?” means “injury.” But as you’ll notice, this word looks rather different from that root. So at this point philologists get worked up – this is called etymology, what we’re doing now. It means study of the original basic root meanings of words. Philologists, as linguists, get very excited. They say, “I sense a PhD dissertation.” And they try to explain why hims? looks funny.
And the prevailing explanation is it’s not 100% sure, but it’s a probable, is that hims? is
what we call a “desiderative.” Look how much we’re learning already
and it’s almost relevant. [Laughter] A desiderative means it doesn’t express
the root meaning of the verb, but the desire to carry out the action of that verb. So let me give you an example.
In Sanskrit the word “jiv?mi” means “I live.” But there’s also a form, “jijiivis?mi,”
which means “I want to live.” So by now you maybe see why I am doing all of this. It’s because it looks as though this very, very ancient
word actually did not mean injury or violence. It meant the predisposition towards injury or violence. In other words, the desire to harm someone. So we can go back to ahims? and say that there is a positive power which is released when a person has
been enabled to convert all desire to harm. It’s a mouthful, but unfortunately, to render this into
English adequately we really have to do that. For example, Martin Luther King, who is, as far as I
know, did not know this about this word, in explaining what happened to anger felt by people in
the Civil Rights Movement, he said, “we did not repress anger
and we did not express it as such.
Rather, we released it under controlled
conditions for maximum effect.” That’s a perfect psychological description
of what nonviolence is. There is anger – namely the desire to harm. You get yourself into a state where that desire is
channeled into something else, into a positive, form of energy for
which there isn’t a very good word and that’s the nonviolent process. Student: Can you repeat that quote, please? Michael: Yeah. I can repeat the quote, I think verbatim. He said – I’ll get this for you next time
in his exact words, but he said, “It is not that we expressed anger or
that we repressed it, but that we put it into action through –” we released it – there we go – “we released it under
controlled circumstances for maximum effect.” Yeah. And it is incredible what that actually meant in
terms of what people did in that movement.
And we’re going to be discussing that in due course. It’ll be a lot of fun. Okay? So we’re going to do this etymological thing again with
the word “Satyagraha” and a few other words, but I think, if I can, I’ll leave that until we get
to the coining of the word “Satyagraha” in 1908. And I’d like to switch gears a little bit now
and tell you about a nonviolent episode that I witnessed and see if we can analyze it. Unless you have any questions about this
before I go further on? Okay. You get ,00005 credits in Southeast Asian 10
for taking this course.
You’re going to know about six Sanskrit words
by the time we get out of here. Okay, in the community where I live there
was a family that had two small children whom we shall call, “Francisco and Sita,”
for such were their names. And their father’s family owned a little dog whom we
will call, “Duffy,” for the same reason. Duffy – I actually had a picture of Duffy,
but I wasn’t able to get it on my laptop yet.
I’ll bring it in and it’ll be very expressive
once you’ve heard this story. Duffy is not like a Pit Bull. He doesn’t stand four feet at the shoulder, you know, he’s a little sort of a terrier kind of dog,
about yea big – brown and white. And the parents who owned this dog
were going away for a week. They asked the family who lives in my community,
would they look after Duffy for a week. So, of course, they said, “Yes.” You know, the children like Duffy,
Duffy likes the children. And they took care of Duffy for a week – building up to
this very dramatic – we have until 12:30, right? We may need various nonviolent mechanisms
here to keep going. And one day the children were walking across
the meadow followed by Duffy and I’m looking at them from
about 100 yards away and I said, “There is going to be a lot of trouble when Duffy’s
owners come back because those kids are so bonded with that dog,
and the dog is so bonded with those kids that they’re going to have a hard time prying them apart.” But, you know, no one is asking me.
I’m not saying anything. Sure enough, in due course, the parents came home and they collected Duffy
and that lasted exactly two days. They called up and they said,
“Could you possibly take Duffy?” And the family said, “Why?” “He hasn’t eaten for two days.” Okay? So this is our first example of dog nonviolence. [Laughter] We’re going to have another one
in a little while. In fact, maybe today, unless they come crashing
through the door here before I get to them.
But this is an interesting case because this is like the first case of a hunger strike that
we’ve seen all semester, right? And partly, I’m doing this to illustrate that there are certain things about nonviolence
which are deeply embedded in nature. Not even human nature,
they’re deeply embedded in nature. However, this does not mean – I’m not trying to make the point that animals
can be nonviolent in any meaningful sense that we would be using here. Animals, in the sense that I’m using the term, animals cannot be violent because they do not have –
they’re not harboring a desire to harm. They’re just reacting. I had a dog once, he’s a very, very fine dog and we had a very close relationship,
this dog and myself – at least I like to think so. But one day it bit me rather seriously,
and the reason was we were going over a barbed wire fence and Mukha
got caught and his paw was stuck in the fence. In order to get his paw out, I had to hurt him a little.
When I hurt him, he bit me. I was not shocked. I cried. [Laughter] It’s just the physical pain, see? I did not hold it against him and say, “You’re biting the hand that feeds you, quite literally
Mukh, what’s your problem? You know, we’re going to send you to dog obedience
school,” or something like that. Now I know that, you know, the dog has a button. You push the button, it bites you. So I’m not calling that violence. It’s just a destructive response. Now for that same reason, the poor beast was
not capable of nonviolence either. In fact, Mukha was not capable
of much sense control on any level. We had to tie him up during certain seasons
of the year and so on and so forth. So this is by way of telling you that
although there are certain aspects of cooperative force and even the persuasive power of nonviolence
embedded in nature, for us as human beings, it takes on a qualitatively different dimension.
So don’t think I’m saying that Duffy was nonviolent. Duffy was a very nice dog and that’s exactly what he was supposed to be at that stage
in his evolution – was a very nice dog. But it turns out that what he did
was one of the most potent and best known mechanisms
in the nonviolent arsenal, so to speak – call it that. And that is the refusal to partake of food. The fast, which is different qualitatively from
a hunger strike – a hunger strike is just protest.
But a fast – there are actually two types. One type is really for your own self purification,
and that’s not the type that we’re interested in here. The second type of fast is one where you actually attempt to change another person’s behavior
through integrative power. And Gandhi, is as in so many other areas,
he is the foremost experimenter with this stuff. And if you read around in his works –
I don’t think in any one place he sat down and said, “Here are the rules,” but if you put together different
things that he said in one place or another, you’ll see that he came up with five rules for fasting which will help us understand the power of the thing and,
by extension, how nonviolence works.
So I’ve already used the term that I want to elaborate
on, and that’s “persuasion” versus “coercion.” In coercion, you get somebody to do
something whether they want to or not. In persuasion you make them want to. It’s still a kind of power, but as you can see,
you both end up on the same page. Whereas if you coerce somebody into doing something,
they’re just looking for a way to get back at you – stop doing it the minute your back is turned.
We’ll come across many, many examples of that. But this vocabulary is useful. And it’s particularly useful here because if a fast
doesn’t work well, it becomes coercive. And that’s why the British were always saying that he’s
doing a hunger strike, he’s trying to coerce us, we’re going to show that we cannot be coerced. And then usually they turned around
and did what he wanted, but they kept on saying, “we will not be coerced.” So in order for a fast to really work
on the deep level to persuade another person, bring them around to your point-of-view,
it turns out that there are five rules, as I was saying. The first is you have to be right person for the job.
Not just anybody can do this. On several occasions, you know, Gandhi would
announce that he wasn’t taking food. The people would be deeply struck by this
and they would send him telegrams saying, “We will not eat either, Bapu,
while you are not eating.” On many occasions he answered these people back
and he said, “Please don’t do that. This is for me to do,” particularly for Nehru
on one occasion said, “I’m also to fast along with you,” and Gandhi shot back
a telegram immediately saying, “don’t do that.” So we’ll have to think about what exactly the criteria
are for knowing that you’re the right person, but for the time being let’s say that
that’s Criteria Number 1.
It’s not to be used by just anybody. Secondly – I realized this is beginning to sound like the
Buddha’s 8-Fold Path here – Right audience. And the criterion here is simpler
and we can use the term that Gandhi used to that, “You should only fast against a lover.” Meaning someone who was in sympathy with you
on a very deep level. And we’ll come back to this, by the way, as soon as we
get into the history and we see him doing this stuff, we’ll be trying to fit it into this pattern. But if you look at all the fasts that he undertook – I think it’s probably about 12 of them and maybe about
3 out of those 12 were just for him and they were not directed at anyone. So let’s say we got about eight or nine of them
in the course of his career. He started this, incidentally, in India,
not in South Africa. So you look at all of those, he never fasted against
the British because they were not on his page.
They would not have responded correctly. So let me pause here to throw an example that illustrates how badly this can backfire
if you don’t observe Rule Number 2. And incidentally, these are in no particular order. This is the order in which they happen
to come to me at the moment and I’m just hoping I can remember all five,
is what I’m actually going through. But the second rule, “fasting against the lover,” about 20 years ago there was a particularly nasty
period in the Irish struggles. And there were some IRA members
who had been arrested and they were being held in an infamous prison – Long Kesh Prison – and they decided to stop eating and Margaret Thatcher, who was the Prime Minister at
that time said, “oh, they’re just terrorists and thugs. Let them starve themselves to death.” And in fact, they did. About three or four of them died. One of them, Bobby Sands, I seem to remember. And as far as we can tell,
it produced no effect on the intended audience. And one of the things I’m trying to illustrate here is that
nonviolence is not a feel-good operation.
It’s very scientific. You have to know when to do what. And they didn’t know that.
Question? Student: So how can you predict
whether the audience is going to react to you? Michael: How can you predict
whether the audience is going to react? I think you have to have established
a rapport with them beforehand. And you just have to use your judgment
and your sense of where that relationship is at. Question? Student: Well someone who cares
about your well being [unintelligible]? Michael: That’s what I actually mean. Not a “lover.” In the sense of someone who cares
about your wellbeing, Yes. Not your significant other or something like that, Yeah.
So that was his term and he’s using it in his sense. In other words, someone who would not only be
affected by what you are doing, but they would be affected on such a deep level that
they almost couldn’t help themselves.
And that’s again, a very interesting borderline
that we’ll be talking about when it comes up. It’s called, “The Law of Suffering.” Yeah? Student: I was just wondering if you know if Gandhi
would let himself starve to death? Michael: I believe – he never did let himself starve to
death so we can’t be quite sure, but I’m just about positive that there were a number
of occasions, particularly in ‘31 and another one ‘34 where if he had not succeeded in persuading people he
simply would have let it all go. Yeah. Yeah. There’s even precedent for that. It’s called, “Yogic death.” I’m not recommending it for anyone. Yeah? Student: In regard to your definition of violence and
nonviolence in animal nature, I kind of got the sense that you meant according to Sanskrit that animals
aren’t violent because they don’t plan and intentionally do harm in any meaning. But what about like violence in, you know, everyday life
that can happen, that happens by accident? Like car accidents or they’re not intended,
but it’s like violent. Michael: Yes. For these purposes – and remind you, I’m giving you a particular vocabulary and it’ll line up
90% with the way other people use words.
But this whole field is so new that people use different
words in different ways. But the way I’m using the word violence, going back to the etymology,
it has to really be a downright desire to harm. I can say even a lion jumping on a lamb is not doing it
to hurt the lamb, it’s doing it – well, it’s not even doing it for a reason,
but it’s just programmed to eat lambs when it gets hungry. Similarly, an accident is also not violence. Now, having brought that up, however,
there is a very interesting in-between category.
And I am aware that we’re only two-fifths of the way
through – and we are going to go back. But there is something – and again, this is due – this term was coined by Johan Galtung, the other great
nonviolence theorist – peace theorist – “structural violence.” How many of you have heard that term? Okay, good. So we do have some passive interest. Somebody want to try to define it? What’s structural violence? Student: It’s where like it’s stuff like
[unintelligible] where inequality is there.
Like physical violence isn’t necessarily taking place,
but the system is set up in a way that it could take place. Michael: Yes. That’s right. It’s not necessarily the case
that physical violence is taking place, except on those occasions when a policeman goes
down the bowery, you know, hitting drunks. But violent harm is built into the system
in some way so that violence could take place. And there’s even a category in law called,
“negligent…” what’s it called? What is it that I’m thinking of?” Criminal negligence.” You set up a situation in which somebody can get hurt,
someone, sure enough, does get hurt, and you are liable for that in law. And we’re considering that a form of violence in our
scientific system here also. In fact, let’s face it, people, most of the violence in the
world today is structural violence. You know, you live in a world where, I think, between 1990 and 2000, the 200 richest people
in the world doubled their wealth. So they added, I think,
a trillion dollars to their joint wealth. And they now are more wealthy
than the 200 million lowest people.
Maybe it’s even worse than that. It’s like 2,200 billion or something like that. There’s this enormous, enormous –
you have to call it almost, an obscene inequality,
is an example of structural violence. Yeah, there are lots of others. So I’m glad you brought that up. Yeah? Student: I just have a question about what you said,
when you said, “Gandhi would let it all go.” What do you mean? Michael: I mean – what I meant by saying,
“Gandhi would let it all go,” is he was prepared to let the body perish. I’m quite sure because he never lied about
major things. I mean he was a terrific Boy Scout in that regard. If he said something, he tended to believe it. And he often said, “If you don’t do this,
or if you keep on doing this, I’m not going to take food and I’m not going to live.” So I’m quite sure that he really meant it.
If he hadn’t really meant it,
it probably would not have had that effect. I know that this book “Gandhi, the Man”
is out of print or they haven’t gotten enough copies. By the way, is there anybody who wanted a copy of
that book and wasn’t able to find it? Okay, I’ll get a few copies in. There’s a story in that book which is picked up
by Al Gore, incidentally – and we’re very proud of this – in “Earth Imbalance.” It’s one of those stories.
It’s very hard to tell whether it actually happened, but it almost doesn’t matter because it’s so
characteristic that it may as well have happened. The story is that a woman came to Gandhi
with her 5 year-old boy in tow – or maybe he was 10 or something. Again, remember, me and numbers – very bad. So there’s a boy. [Laughter] That much I know. And the woman comes to Gandhi with a boy and,
you know, he was – you know, he had office hours all the time. Anybody could come to him. And he never said to them, “You expect me to deal
with such a trivial problem? You know, only one individual is involved.” Totally not in his worldview. And the woman said to him, “Bapu,
this boy is taking too much sugar.
I can’t control him. Please tell him to stop taking so much sugar.” And Gandhi said, “Okay, come back in three days.” I’m trying to – if I can remember how to say
come back in three days in Hindi, but I can’t, so we’ll go on from there. So, you know, the lady walks away with her boy, comes back three days later, presents the child
and Gandhi says, “Stop taking so much sugar.” The boy says, “Haan, Bapu.” I know how to say, “Yes,” at least. “Yes!” Situation solved. Mother is very grateful. But she does say, “With all due respect, Maharaj,
why didn’t you say that three days ago?” And does anybody know? Student: Because he hadn’t stopped eating sugar. Michael: Yeah. He said,
“Three days ago I was still eating sugar.” So that’s what he was like. He didn’t – you know, he may have said
a lot of things that we disagree with. He may have been hard to get along with
in various ways. In fact, there’s some good documentary
evidence of that. But he was incredibly truthful.
And if he said, “If you don’t stop, I’m going to die,”
I take that at face value. Okay? Incidentally, this is a typical example
of how we’re going to proceed. We’ll take an episode, we’ll hit into a
general principle that’s embedded in that episode. We’ll stop and take it apart. If you have questions, we’ll go in different
directions with those questions, guess what? We have three minutes to do the next three rules. Why don’t we just do this, I’ll just put them on the
board and we’ll discuss them a little more next time. So the third rule is, it has to be a doable demand. It has to be reasonable. The fourth is that it has to be a last resort. You’ve tried every other means of communicating. And finally, it has to be consistent with
the rest of your campaign. And ideally, consistent with the rest of your life. So what I propose we do by way of a bit of an exercise
over the weekend is we rate Duffy.
“How many of these rules did he get right?” And then we will go on from there, start talking about science and history
and how we can bring that onboard. Thanks very much. Have a good weekend..