Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Duties Performed: Daily Metta

“If we all discharge our duties, rights will not be far to seek. If, leaving duties unperformed, we run after rights, they will escape us like a will-o-the-wisp.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, Jan. 8, 1925 Gandhi is not the only one to notice that the concept of “rights” can be tricky and runs the risk… read more

Our Eternal Capacity: Daily Metta

“All religions teach that two opposing forces act upon us and the human endeavor consists in a series of eternal rejections and acceptances.”  ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, Vol. 2:45 In Judaism these two forces were called yetsir ra and yetsir tov, “the evil urge and the urge to good;” St. Augustine called them “two loves” (amores)… read more

Enemy #1: Daily Metta

“No man could look upon another as his enemy unless he first becomes his own enemy.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma Vol. 7, p. 204 We make no apology for revisiting this quote from a Daily Metta in April of last year because of its inexhaustible profundity. After all, 1500 years earlier Augustine had said, “Imagine someone… read more

Being Zero: Daily Metta

“My mission is to convert every Indian, even Englishmen, and finally the world to nonviolence for regulating mutual relations, whether political, economic, social, or religious.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma Vol. 5, p. 2 We can’t fault Gandhi for lacking ambition! His greatest ambition, however, in his own opinion, was quite different: “to make myself zero.” What… read more

What makes us human-Daily Metta

“We are very limited in our ability to grasp what nonviolence is by the limitations on our image of who we are.” ​Having no agreed upon definition of who we are creates a vacuum and so a very reductionist image comes in as the lowest common denominator. The discovery of nonviolence and the rebuilding of… read more

A Lesson (Still) Not Learned

Thanks to Counter Punch, Pace e Bene, and The Sierra County Prospect for publishing this essay on their sites.   I was deeply saddened to read last week of the death by suicide of Cmdr. Job Price who was with a Navy SEAL team in Afghanistan. I was even sadder when I realized that the… read more

Violence is No Help: Daily Metta

“I think Tolstoy called [truth force] also soul force or love force and so it is. . .  [T]his force is independent of pecuniary or other material assistance; certainly even in its elementary form of physical force or violence.” ~ Gandhi in Indian Opinion, 1914 Occasionally there is something new under the sun. In just… read more

Simple Ideas: Daily Metta

“Khadi has been conceived as the foundation and the image of ahimsa.  A real khadi wearer will not utter an untruth. A real khadi wearer will harbour no violence, no deceit, no impurity.” ~ Gandhi, in Mahatma Vol. 4, pg. 217, courtesy of Mumbai Sarvodaya Mandal Gandhi was a genius at using simple ideas, household… read more

Beyond Techniques: Daily Metta

“Only those who realize that there is something in man which is superior to the brute nature in him, and that the latter always yields to it, can effectively be Passive Resisters.” ~ Gandhi in December 1914, from Gandhi: Essential Writings, by K.K. Ramana Murti This would seem to be a tall order! But without… read more

Love as “Punishment”: Daily Metta

“The only way love punishes is by suffering.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, II: 87 Just as William James spoke of the “moral equivalent of war,” in the universe of nonviolence there is a precise “equal but opposite” equivalent to every feature of violence. Gandhi hit on this one early, when some teenagers misbehaved in his first… read more