Thread: What is power?
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Old 12-17-2020, 02:48 PM   #4
Ellis Amdur
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Location: Seattle
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 933

Hi John -

Jon Reading wrote: View Post
I am reminded of a kids say the darnedest things that goes something like this:
Q: What is a pacifist?
A: That's what you call yourself when someone takes your things.
You bring to mind the only powerful pacifist I ever met in my life. He had been psychologically and physically tortured by his father throughout his childhood, until he escaped at the age of 15. He swore that he would never do anything to anyone like his father did to him, and he interpreted this as any act of violence or psychological aggression, whatever the provocation or cause - because, as he put it, "Everyone has a good excuse."

He intervened in a violent assault in the Paris subway, where one man was beating another to a bloody pulp. He stepped between them. The man punched him in the face. He just looked at him. The man punched him again. He continued to look in his eyes. The man started yelling at him, "Fight me! Fight me!" He just looked in his eyes. The man punched him again (he had a broken nose by that point, and his mouth was bloody, the other man cowering on the ground). He just looked at him. The man raised his fist, trembling and then burst into tears and ran away.

I was truly moved by this story, but I asked him, "What would you have done if he had pulled out a knife and started to stab you. . . . . . .and, he raised an eyebrow, and looked in my eyes.

That's not me. I don't agree that what he does is the right choice. But I admire him more than I can say.

Ellis Amdur

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