Monday, August 17, 2009

Practical nonviolence

Nonviolence can be supported for many reasons. Some people mention religious reasons for it, other people support it on other spiritual grounds. Again other people have more down to earth arguments and see it as a mere ethical principle. I belong to this group. However, I think that for most people nonviolence has no relation with idealistic motives. They hate to hurt and being hurt, not to speak of killing. They hate the material destruction caused by violence. They see that violence breeds violence. And it happens also case that organisers of social movements who are basically prepared to use violence see that they can attract more supporters for their cause if they stay nonviolent. In other words, a nonviolent attitude can also be practical.The practical attitude to nonviolence is by far the one most found. Many people support (and will support) nonviolence for practical reasons only and not because they believe in the idea of nonviolence as such. People who support nonviolence on religious, spiritual or ethical grounds sometimes say: this is not real nonviolence. A nonviolent attitude must according to them be idealistic in some way. But is it really important why people are nonviolent? As for this, I am a realist: for me nonviolence is also nonviolence if it is not principled, as long you behave in this way.

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