Imagination, NV, Nuclear Weapons

The Children’s Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, Japan

There have been cataclysmic changes in the world. Do I still adhere to my faith in truth and nonviolence? Has not the atom exploded that faith? Not only has it not done so but it has clearly demonstrated to me that the twins constitute the mightiest force in the world. Before it, the atom bomb is of no effect. ~M.K. Gandhi

Dear Metta Community, 

As statues and monuments for violence come down around the world, we should also turn attention toward a set of thousands of violent “statues” still waiting to be used for harm, the ones dedicated to future mass-murder and destruction– nuclear weapons.  Knowing the violence they can do and have done, governments around the world continue to build, house, and defend them. Make no mistake: these statues must be removed and abolished. And they will be if we commit ourselves to nonviolence. 

Anna Ikeda, a Metta board member, who has dedicated her work to the abolition of nuclear weapons had these reflections to share on the 75th commemoration of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 

I still clearly remember that one of the things that really struck me when I read Michael’s The Search for a Nonviolent Future several years ago, was that he described violence as “a failure of imagination.”  When I think about why we still have to continue talking about and working for abolishing nuclear weapons, 75 years after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that claimed so many lives, these words ring true.

Too many people simply lack imagination that we could live in a world without nuclear weapons, a world that does not depend on the threat of mass violence to maintain “peace and security.” Somehow those weapons are considered a necessary evil, worthy of spending trillions of dollars that could be spent on healthcare, education, and other human needs.

Those weapons, if used by accident or on purpose, can alter our ecosystems and climate irreversibly. They have been tested on the lands of Indigenous people.
So in a just, nonviolent society that we are working towards, nuclear weapons have no place. 

Michael also wrote,

“If I don’t have the imagination to realize that you and I are one, despite our physical separateness and the differences in our outlooks on life, what’s to prevent me from using violence if I think you’re getting in my way?”

Nuclear weapons are the very embodiment of the lack of imagination because those who justify them or are willing to deploy them are completely lacking imagination, to the extent that they are willing to use the kind of violence that can destroy our world many times over.


So perhaps what I call for people to do, on this anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is that we work on the power of imagination.

Imagine a world where nuclear weapons are eliminated – what would it take to get there, and what is the role of each of us? 


Below you’ll find a list of resources curated by Anna to share with you. Please take the time to check them out. 

In heart unity, 
Stephanie Van Hook, Executive Director 

PS: Michael Nagler hosts Hope Tank on Friday mornings on Zoom. Find out how to join the discussion and be added to our list here. 

“Every second of every day, nuclear weapons endanger everyone we love and everything we hold dear. Is it not yet the time for soul searching, critical thinking, and positive action about the choices we make for human survival?” ~Setsuko Thurlow

Resources to get involved in anti-nuclear action: 

Action:  Attend events  Educate yourself 

This is part of our bi-weekly newsletter, the Practical Idealist. You can sign up for it here. 

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    By: Stephanie Van Hook

    Before joining the Metta Center Team as Executive Director, Stephanie received an M.A. in Conflict Resolution from Portland State University; was trained and certified in mediation in the state of Oregon; worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa, where she created a program for girls’ empowerment and education; has taught French and English for the Alliance Francaise; and was trained in Montessori Early Childhood Education with seven years of classroom experience with 3-6 year olds.  She is the author of Gandhi Searches for Truth: A Practical Biography for Children (Person Power Press, 2016) and Nonviolence Daily: 365 Days of Wisdom from Gandhi (Person Power Press, 2019, co-authored with Michael Nagler).  Her articles have been published at Transformation at Open Democracy, Yes! Magazine, Common Dreams, and Waging Nonviolence. Additionally, she’s host of Nonviolence Radio, an FM and Pacifica syndicated radio program out of Point Reyes Station, California, (KWMR) and co-creator of a cooperative board game, Cosmic Peaceforce: Mission Harmony Three.

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