Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Instinctive: Daily Metta

“I see there is an instinctive horror of killing living beings under any circumstances whatever.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, November 18, 1926 This is one of many insights of Gandhi’s on which science has now weighed in. I am thinking of the work of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (On Killing, and Let’s stop teaching our… read more

Arts of Love: Daily Metta

“Power is of two kinds. One is obtained by the fear of punishment, and the other by arts of love.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, January 8, 1925 Kenneth Boulding, a founder of modern peace research, called these respectively “threat power” and “integrative power,” and (economist that he was) identified a third that was between these… read more

Power of Love: Daily Metta

“Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment. . . . I am fascinated by the law of love. It is the philosophers’ stone for me.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, January 8, 1925 Discovering, and thoroughly testing the “power of love,” gave Gandhi’s… read more

War: Daily Metta

“War … has got to go. I firmly believe that freedom won through bloodshed or fraud is no freedom.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, September 13, 1928 Wherever we turn in Gandhi’s writings or his life, the law that “means are ends in the making” greets us. If only we could grasp the simple idea that… read more

Reason & Heart: Daily Metta

“Both reason and heart refuse to reconcile themselves to torture for any crime, no matter how vile the crime may be.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, February 26, 19256 There are certain human universals to which we can never afford to lose our sensitivity (as has recently happened in the post-9/11 policy of this country). The… read more

Fine Line: Daily Metta

“Fasting cannot be undertaken against an opponent. Fasting can be resorted to only against one’s nearest and dearest, and that solely for his or her good.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, September 30th, 1926 Gandhi recurred to the topic of fasting from time to time because it is subtle, and powerful. When you fast—we’re thinking particularly… read more

Unshakeable Faith: Daily Metta

“My effort should never be to undermine another’s faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma,  vol. 2, p. 343 We can take this as a special case of the striking principle we’ve discussed before that Gandhi tried never to insist that anyone follow his (Gandhi’s) ideas but… read more

Self-evident: Daily Metta

“Truth is self-evident. Nonviolence is its maturest fruit. It is contained in Truth, but is not self-evident.” ~ Gandhi, The Message of the Gita, p. 14 That nonviolence is not self-evident is, alas, too true. But it’s not to hard to infer, if not feel it operating, when we know how and where to look.… read more

Freedom From: Daily Metta

“True ahimsa should mean a complete freedom from ill-will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all.” ~ Gandhi, D.G. Tendulkar, Mahatma, vol. 2, p. 420 What Gandhi called “the nonviolence of the strong” (or brave) and today we call principled nonviolence does mean the attempt (he would say, “prayerful attempt”) to eliminate… read more