Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

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

THE POST: A (Somewhat Biased) Film Review

For full disclosure: I’m a long-term friend of Dan and Patricia Ellsberg, and I was a more distant friend but also admirer of Ben Bagdikian. I lived through the era depicted in The Post, and since I see very few movies I tend to have strong reactions to those I do. That said, I had… read more

A Story + A Request for Help

Dear friends, After three intense hours at a rally for white supremacy in Gainesville, Florida, three simple words “I don’t know” rang out with power. Aaron Courtney, who is black, stood across the lines from Randy Fourniss, whose attitude was proclaimed by the swastikas on his body and clothing. For three hours Courtney stayed with… read more