Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Science + Nonviolence: A Seminar

We are designing a seminar on a topic that has been in my mind ever since I wrote my first book on nonviolence (1982!): science and nonviolence.  As the late Willis Harman said, “Science is the knowledge-validating system of our civilization,” and that remains true even though faith in science – and civilization! – has… read more

How Did We Get Here From There?

MARTIN LUTHER KING, whose 90th birthday would have been around now, wrote Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? in 1967, after some hard-won successes in the struggle for the rights of Black Americans.  It is sobering to consider how far from community and close to chaos we have come. But it might… read more

Jonestown: Not Too Late to Learn

Michael Nagler asks us to learn the lessons of Jonestown by addressing our deeper needs of authentic spiritual community, and giving insight as to how to discern leadership therein.   A few years ago we had the pleasure of meeting the late, revered Narayan Desai, whose father Mahadev had been Mahatma Gandhi’s personal secretary. When… read more

Meaning of Pittsburgh

Michael Nagler offers a personal reflection on Pittsburgh, and how it is helping him to deepen his commitment to nonviolence. Yesterday’s headline in our local paper (The Santa Rosa Press Democrat) boasts PITTSBURGH MASSACRE DETAILED. We could not ask for a more eloquent reason not to let the mass media rule our thinking, as it… read more

My remarks at the UN

On October 2, 2018, I was invited by the Indian Mission to make some remarks at the United Nation’s International Day of Nonviolence meeting. It happened to be Gandhi’s 149th birthday. Here is my speech:  I am so pleased and honored to be sharing with you this opportunity to honor and celebrate this 149th charkha… read more

“Basic Training” for Spiritual Warriors

Image of art from Kabul graffiti artist, Kabul Knights Joanna Macy talks about three tasks needed to bring in a world of spiritual progress: create new institutions, change the culture, and stop the worst of the damage. At Metta we feel that the worst of the damage has been to the human image – who… read more

Memorial Day: A Reflection

I regard myself as a soldier, though as a soldier of peace. ~M.K. Gandhi~ We bow our heads in reverence to all those who have given their lives in witness to the truth, or had it taken from them in that effort; who upheld peace and justice in the face of persecution and oppression, often… read more

Foundations of Resistance- Reflection

FOLLOWERS of that great pioneer of nonviolent action, the late Gene Sharp, often speak of the “pillars of support:” no dictator can function without police, armies, bureaucracies to carry out their orders (I suppose today we’d have to add a “deep state”). It is much more effective to erode these pillars, rendering the autocrat ineffectual,… read more

Not just a billboard, a story

On my rare visits to LA, I am always impressed (negatively) by the blatant violence of the billboards advertising films and TV. This past weekend was no exception. Apparently, there are fashions in violence. A while back it was crime, then a particularly sick one: the dead – zombies slouching toward you every other street.… read more

Is this #Enough?

If this is #enough, then what’s next? “Protests come and go, almost no matter what the scale and entrenched regimes of violence and injustice wait them out.”   There have been far too many pious clichés in response to all these tragedies, but I’m going to risk one more: if – and it remains to… read more