World without Wars and Violence

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Nonviolence as Spirituality

Nonviolence as Spirituality

Many consider nonviolence simply as a form of struggle for social and political change. In this sense, the figures of Mohandas Gandhi (popularly known as Mahatma) and Martin Luther King appear as champions of nonviolence.

History shows countless cases of social change achieved through nonviolent protest. This often goes unnoticed by the casual observer because usually successful nonviolent protests do not obtain the same visibility that is given to violent protests in the mass media, in the chronicles and in the historical essays. As they said in olden times: “Peace is the period between two wars.”

Another contributing factor is that social changes obtained through nonviolent protests are generally considered “normal” and therefore overlooked. Moreover, many changes achieved through violence often appear as “exceptional” and glorified as patriotism, heroism, courage, sacrifice for a cause, defending freedom, etc.

In any case, the issue is reduced to a strategy or tactic for achieving social goals, sidestepping the ethical, psychological and ultimately spiritual implications of nonviolence.

But many centuries before this, nonviolence was an essential part of religiosity: thanks to the Jainists and the Buddhists it appeared for the first time in a framework of spirituality at least 2,500 years ago and since then it has led to countless achievements in the social, political and cultural fields.

So nonviolence dawns in the field of spirituality and only many centuries later is it stated explicitly as a method of struggle for social change. Then it is possible to understand that nonviolent action is inspired, driven and guided by such a spirituality. This is the most powerful internal motor that active nonviolence can have.

The rebellion against all forms of violence (open or hidden, internal or external) overcomes the pain and suffering in human beings. Overcoming pain and suffering liberates human consciousess for more advanced evolutionary steps. So any action aimed to the welfare of others, to their freedom and happiness, acquires a spiritual value; nonviolence has a spiritual value if it is inspired and guided by love and compassion.

In order to manipulate populations, spirituality was often separated from active participation in social issues, while in our view they do not appear in any way antagonistic, but synergistic and comprehensive.

Our ability to produce great changes will be proportional to the social mystique that encourages our actions.