Posts by Prof. Michael Nagler

Thoughts: Daily Metta

“The greatest tragedy is a hopeless unwillingness of the villagers to better their lot.” ~ Gandhi,  Harijan,  January 9, 1937 It is indeed a tragedy: that people who have been belittled and oppressed so often take on the message of their own unworthiness put forward by their oppressors.  But at the same time, this does… read more

Purer Energy: Daily Metta

Under certain circumstances fasting is the one weapon which God has given us for use in times of utter helplessness.… Absence of food is an indispensable but not the largest part of it. The largest part is the prayer – communion with God. It more than adequately replaces physical food. ~ Gandhi, letter to Meera… read more

Supreme Consideration: Daily Metta

“The supreme consideration is man. The machine should not tend to make atrophied the limbs of man.” ~ Gandhi,Young India, November 13, 1924 Gandhi is in so many ways more nuanced than he is taken for: people think he was a kind of luddite, against machinery. He was not against anything, really; he was for… read more

Unity of Life: Daily Metta

“Diversity there certainly is in the world, but it means neither inequality nor untouchability.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, vol. 3, 230 Gandhi wrote long before diversity became what we’d call these days a meme and core value of the ecological movement, before we recognized how essential it is in the health of nature—including, surprisingly, human nature.… read more

Permanent Peace: Daily Metta

“Not to believe in the possibility of permanent peace is to disbelieve in the Godliness of human nature.” ~ Gandhi, Truth is God, 144 Which is just the problem. Many people today do not believe in the Godliness of human nature, even if they profess to believe in God. The besetting problem in the West… read more

Practice: Daily Metta

“Individual Civil Disobedience among an unprepared people and by leaders not known to or trusted by them is of no avail, and mass  Civil Disobedience is an impossibility.”  ~ Gandhi, Young India, January 9, 1930 Because we are unschooled in civil disobedience, or almost any dimension of nonviolence, we often rush into actions with only… read more

Infrastructure of Peace: Daily Metta

Training for military revolt means learning the use of arms, ending perhaps in the atomic bomb. For Civil Disobedience it means the Constructive Program.  ~ Gandhi, Constructive Program, forward to 1945 edition, p. iii It is very interesting how Gandhi locates Constructive Program (CP) in a parallel but opposite position to training in the use… read more

Simple Logic: Daily Metta

“The more we punish, the more persistent crimes become.”  ~ Gandhi, Young India, April 30, 1925 Exactly this was said by Chief Justice Herb Yazzie of the Navajo Supreme Court: “You will never have enough jail space if your purpose is to punish” (quoted in Navajo Times Dec. 29, 2011, p. A-3). If only we… read more

Political Aspect: Daily Metta

“I would ask you to forget the political aspect of the program.  Political consequences of this struggle there are, but you are not to concern yourself with them. If you do, you will miss the true result, and also the political consequences.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, March 19, 1925 It is easy to forget that… read more

Inner Disposition: Daily Metta

“I can conceive occasions when it would be my duty to vote for the military training of those who wish to take it. …It is not possible to make a person or a society nonviolent by compulsion.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, September 13, 1928 There is a fascinating, subtle difference between Gandhi’s vision, or commitment,… read more