Nonviolence is a force in human consciousness that Gandhi called a “living power” and a scientist today would likely call a form of “subtle energy.” It can be engaged, with suitable training, by individuals or groups of individuals to exert positive changes on people and society, including epochal changes like dislodging a dictator or (as in India) ending the colonial era. It can take constructive or obstructive forms, i.e. ‘cooperating with good’ or ‘non-cooperating with evil,’ often an effective combination of both. Its effects are always positive. Gandhi called it “a method of carrying conviction and of converting by appeal to the sympathetic chord in human beings. It relies upon the ultimate good in every human being” and therefore improves both those offering it and those to whom it is offered, whose humanity is affirmed even when their behaviors have to be changed.
Nonviolence is a science in the sense that its operations obey laws that can be discovered by study and practice, and science as we know it today has begun to verify its operations and its presence throughout history, indeed throughout evolution. It can be considered in fact not just a but the driving force in evolution, which becomes accessible by conscious choice when we enter the human context. Gandhi did not hesitate to call it “the law of the humans.”