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Old 01-03-2012, 02:27 PM   #26
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Which brings us back to O'Sensei whom I believe preferred peace, but understood the yin and yang relationship that peace can not exist without violence. And that you should be a master of both.
I think I agree with the essence of what you're describing. Strictly speaking, I disagree that peace cannot exist without violence; the concept stands out more readily when compared to violence, but the two cannot exist at the same place and time.
...kind of like Einstein's remark about how we cannot prepare for war and peace at the same time. In preparing for war we are not preparing for peace; in preparing for peace we are not preparing for war. We can prepare for war as a way of THEN preparing for peace, but I think that's a dangerous route too many people are too quick to adhere to: "If I could just get rid of my enemy everything would be better." Maybe; maybe not.

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Old 01-03-2012, 02:44 PM   #27
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Sorry, Mary, i think I'm seeing what you mean a bit better now. My case is that non-violence was his ideal end-state and thus a goal. I know he advocated for violence at times, but I get the feeling that this was a means toward a non-violent state (of existence). I've been getting confused by the means-goals dichotomy because to me they're often the same thing, particularly when we view things in terms of a continuum...One goal is a means to the next. Sorry about that, and thank you for the conversation! I always appreciate how you force me to think hard about my pre-existing notions (and, sadly, point out the flaws in my choice of language and other "understandings").

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Old 01-03-2012, 03:27 PM   #28
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Matt,

Peace and violence are distinctly different yet completely inseparable from one another. Hence yin and yang. It will never be hot on a cold day, nor will it be cold when it's hot out. Hot and cold are two parts of the same spectrum. I posit that peace and violence are also of the same spectrum. They can't exist at the same time together, true. But you will always have to deal with one or the other, which is why you need to master both.

The warrior who only knows violence will die a warriors death. The pacifist who only knows non-violence will find no peace in a violent world. Perhaps being a master of both is how you would achieve the "middle way" (which is common in the teachings of enlightenment.) While I hate to say "This is what O'Sensei meant", I do feel that is true. I mean, how else can you explain creating a martial art of bone breaking and body throwing, then saying that peace is it's foremost focus? In the context of the middle way it makes sense, but without that context, it seems contradictory and borderline hypocritical.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:41 PM   #29
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Peace and violence are distinctly different yet completely inseparable from one another. Hence yin and yang. It will never be hot on a cold day, nor will it be cold when it's hot out. Hot and cold are two parts of the same spectrum. I posit that peace and violence are also of the same spectrum. They can't exist at the same time together, true. But you will always have to deal with one or the other, which is why you need to master both.
Which is why I said I essentially agree. As concepts they are inseperable; descriptions which are essentially opposite qualities. I commented as I did because I've heard this conceptual relationship put forward as a way of justifying the existence of violence...as if we couldn't appreciate, or in some way "really" have a peaceful situation without the existence of violence somewhere. And to be clear, I didn't think you were saying those things.

Quote:
The warrior who only knows violence will die a warriors death. The pacifist who only knows non-violence will find no peace in a violent world. Perhaps being a master of both is how you would achieve the "middle way" (which is common in the teachings of enlightenment.) While I hate to say "This is what O'Sensei meant", I do feel that is true. I mean, how else can you explain creating a martial art of bone breaking and body throwing, then saying that peace is it's foremost focus? In the context of the middle way it makes sense, but without that context, it seems contradictory and borderline hypocritical.
I agree except that I can see how a pacifist might enjoy a sense of peace in a violent world, even assuming said pacifist were hypothetically unable to resolve said violence being brought to bear. In other words, violence can be handled with non-violence, but it's harder sometimes.
I agree with your view of O Sensei with regard to the "middle way" of peace and violence; martial and non-martial ability. In order to serve as an intermediary it's best to learn both...and without learning a bit of both, any aparent success is probably a lucky happenstance.
I would say that learning a martial art (i.e. anything which addresses "martial" matters) is a good example of preparing for war to then prepare for peace, assuming it also includes something about peace, of course.

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Old 01-03-2012, 05:07 PM   #30
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

I think someone that is enlightened can be at peace and realize it even in the most austere and violent conditions. Victor Frankl's story comes to mind.

A big part of the issue is that we need to consider that enlightenment and "peace" in this sense is a individual process, whereas societal peace is a completely different concept and criteria in which to judge peace.

I think in the sense of society, peace and violence are relative to one another and we place ethics, morality, and values against a perceived quality of life.

You can have what you call societal peace, and still have a bunch of greedy needy unenlightened beings running around screw each other behind their backs while drinking a Starbucks looking down on the rest of the world saying "too bad those guys don't have the kinda peace or quality of life we do".

I think Martial Arts or Budo is really a "12 step program" that teaches us to live in amongst this mess of society. I think we can understand the process of peace, the mechanisms of both peace and violence...and maybe get some skillz to deal with violence along the way.

Not really sure what it all has to do with englighenment really, which is really about you and your relationship with yourself and how you choose to deal with the world around you.

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Old 01-03-2012, 05:12 PM   #31
Janet Rosen
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Yep and yep.....

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Kevin Leavitt wrote: View Post
I think someone that is enlightened can be at peace and realize it even in the most austere and violent conditions. Victor Frankl's story comes to mind.

A big part of the issue is that we need to consider that enlightenment and "peace" in this sense is a individual process, whereas societal peace is a completely different concept and criteria in which to judge peace.

I think in the sense of society, peace and violence are relative to one another and we place ethics, morality, and values against a perceived quality of life.

You can have what you call societal peace, and still have a bunch of greedy needy unenlightened beings running around screw each other behind their backs while drinking a Starbucks looking down on the rest of the world saying "too bad those guys don't have the kinda peace or quality of life we do".

I think Martial Arts or Budo is really a "12 step program" that teaches us to live in amongst this mess of society. I think we can understand the process of peace, the mechanisms of both peace and violence...and maybe get some skillz to deal with violence along the way.

Not really sure what it all has to do with englighenment really, which is really about you and your relationship with yourself and how you choose to deal with the world around you.

Janet Rosen
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:33 AM   #32
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Sorry, Mary, i think I'm seeing what you mean a bit better now. My case is that non-violence was his ideal end-state and thus a goal.
I hear what you're saying, but I still haven't seen any evidence that this is more than supposition and an outgrowth of the modern take on Gandhi. To see the merit in this argument, I'd want to see historical evidence.

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Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
I've been getting confused by the means-goals dichotomy because to me they're often the same thing, particularly when we view things in terms of a continuum...One goal is a means to the next.
I think it's important not to confuse the concept with the instance. "Goal" and "mean" are completely different. An example of a goal may also be an example of a mean. "Nonviolence" may be either or both, but that does not make goals and means the same thing. My take on it is that Gandhi adopted nonviolence as the only (possibly) viable method for successful revolution against a much more powerful opponent, and after using it for some time, discovered that it was also the only viable way to build a new society.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #33
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
I hear what you're saying, but I still haven't seen any evidence that this is more than supposition and an outgrowth of the modern take on Gandhi. To see the merit in this argument, I'd want to see historical evidence.
Well, I generally trust your scholarship more than my own half-assed attempts.

Quote:
My take on it is that Gandhi adopted nonviolence as the only (possibly) viable method for successful revolution against a much more powerful opponent, and after using it for some time, discovered that it was also the only viable way to build a new society.
I can see how this could be true. I've been inferring my view based on memories of the books I read as a wee lad (hardly complex in their presentation), the movie, and the handful of reading I've done recently thanks to this thread. How do you view the following quotes ascribed to him?

Quote:
wikipedia wrote:
"There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for."

...in 1940, when invasion of the British Isles by Nazi Germany looked imminent, Gandhi offered the following advice to the British people (Non-Violence in Peace and War):[75]

"I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions...If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them."
Although, there does seem to be a bit of a contradiction to his suggestion to England, given his non-cooperative behaviors in both India and South Africa. I suppose he could be saying to his opponant, you should just give up (it would be easier for us to withstand you in india).
Whatever the case, I do think Gandhi at least showed there are more options to handling struggle than the all-too-often-employed brute force. The American example proved brute force could work (albeit with the help of The Other Superpower, merci), but I think O Sensei would agree (gotta try to tie this back somehow ) it's generally not good to fight a superior force head-on.

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Old 01-05-2012, 12:39 PM   #34
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

I think that Gandhi was close to being correct with his suggestion to the European Jews. The reason is because they had no ability to withstand the Nazi's by using violent resistance. When you look at instances where Jews did use violence, the Nazi reprisals resulted in even further massacres. In addition, we saw in hindsight that the Jews died by the millions any way, so an act of sacrifice would've at worst only produced the same results. At best, it would've influenced the world precisely as Gandhi predicted it would, thus ending the conflict.

This confirms my position that it is best to use violence when a forceful approach is likely to produce swift results. And it is best to use non-violence when a forceful approach is unlikely to produce desired results.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:20 PM   #35
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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I think that Gandhi was close to being correct with his suggestion to the European Jews. The reason is because they had no ability to withstand the Nazi's by using violent resistance. When you look at instances where Jews did use violence, the Nazi reprisals resulted in even further massacres. In addition, we saw in hindsight that the Jews died by the millions any way, so an act of sacrifice would've at worst only produced the same results. At best, it would've influenced the world precisely as Gandhi predicted it would, thus ending the conflict.

This confirms my position that it is best to use violence when a forceful approach is likely to produce swift results. And it is best to use non-violence when a forceful approach is unlikely to produce desired results.
I have mixed feelings about this. At best it would have worked; at worst it would have made the Nazi's job easier...and really, most of the Jews did what they were told and were led to slaughter. I agree that in terms of life lost, it might have made little difference, but I think there's value to be had in not doing the dirty work for that proverbial bad guy. What Gandhi seems to be suggesting is that people sacrifice themselves in order to cause other people to change the situation (whether the agents of destruction or their friends and neighbors). I disagree with that idea because it strikes me as leaving to others what I could work toward myself. That isn't to say there is never a time for such sacrifice, but I would rather people try to stick around and solve the problems than make a bold act and then disappear.

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Old 01-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #36
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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I have mixed feelings about this. At best it would have worked; at worst it would have made the Nazi's job easier...and really, most of the Jews did what they were told and were led to slaughter. I agree that in terms of life lost, it might have made little difference, but I think there's value to be had in not doing the dirty work for that proverbial bad guy. What Gandhi seems to be suggesting is that people sacrifice themselves in order to cause other people to change the situation (whether the agents of destruction or their friends and neighbors). I disagree with that idea because it strikes me as leaving to others what I could work toward myself. That isn't to say there is never a time for such sacrifice, but I would rather people try to stick around and solve the problems than make a bold act and then disappear.
The idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good is a difficult concept for the individual to embrace. But for a population as a whole it makes perfect sense. It also makes sense for a person to speak on the behalf of an entire population, particularly when he himself will not be effected by course of action for which he is suggesting.

Last edited by genin : 01-05-2012 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:36 PM   #37
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
I think that Gandhi was close to being correct with his suggestion to the European Jews. The reason is because they had no ability to withstand the Nazi's by using violent resistance. When you look at instances where Jews did use violence, the Nazi reprisals resulted in even further massacres. In addition, we saw in hindsight that the Jews died by the millions any way, so an act of sacrifice would've at worst only produced the same results. At best, it would've influenced the world precisely as Gandhi predicted it would, thus ending the conflict.

This confirms my position that it is best to use violence when a forceful approach is likely to produce swift results. And it is best to use non-violence when a forceful approach is unlikely to produce desired results.
Roger (or is it buck- I forgot),

This post is beyond the pale of even the slightest understanding of the history of that period of time. Jewish resistance during that time period took many forms and saved many lives. It is obvious to me that you have little real-life experience in most areas that would enable you to have any kind of mature understanding of most things. I would recommend that you practice the virtue of silence in this area.

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:45 PM   #38
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
The idea of self-sacrifice for the greater good is a difficult concept for the individual to embrace. But for a population as a whole it makes perfect sense. It also makes sense for a person to speak on the behalf of an entire population, particularly when he himself will not be effected by course of action for which he is suggesting.
Generally speaking, I quite agree.

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Old 01-05-2012, 03:25 PM   #39
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Roger (or is it buck- I forgot),

This post is beyond the pale of even the slightest understanding of the history of that period of time. Jewish resistance during that time period took many forms and saved many lives. It is obvious to me that you have little real-life experience in most areas that would enable you to have any kind of mature understanding of most things. I would recommend that you practice the virtue of silence in this area.

Marc Abrams
Buck???

Anyway, what about the 20,000 to 50,000 civilians killed in Wola and Ochota as a result of the Warsaw uprising? Or the 10,000 Jews killed in Lidice as a direct result of jewish assassins killing Reinhard Heydrich?

I assume that Abrams is a jewish name, hence your indignation surrounding my post.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:18 PM   #40
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Roger Flatley wrote: View Post
Buck???

Anyway, what about the 20,000 to 50,000 civilians killed in Wola and Ochota as a result of the Warsaw uprising? Or the 10,000 Jews killed in Lidice as a direct result of jewish assassins killing Reinhard Heydrich?

I assume that Abrams is a jewish name, hence your indignation surrounding my post.
Roger,

Is Abrams a Jewish name? Got me on that one. My indignation has to do with an expressed ignorance regarding the issues that you profess to have any idea about. Namely, violence, the holocaust, the list of topics go on and on. I would love to introduce you to some people with some personal experiences regarding these issues, but you would not do well in any kind of encounters with them. Precisely why I talked about the virtue of silence. Quoting numbers without the context of the larger picture simply clarifies the profound lack of knowledge about areas that you attempt to claim some knowledge about. When you broach areas that are highly sensitive areas for some people, you are best off keeping your mouth closed, rather than display a lack of understanding that could result in some significant misunderstandings and conflicts.

Marc Abrams
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:20 PM   #41
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

"The Gandhi error - Peace works against democracies. Peace doesn't work against tyrants."

"if Gandhi had been Jewish, we would have never heard of him. Gandhi's passive resistance was a testament to British morality, not to peace as a weapon because Hitler never would have stopped to listen. Gandhi's tactic worked because the British are basically good people. Same with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

http://markhumphrys.com/peace.html#gandhi
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:29 AM   #42
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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... , hence your indignation surrounding my post.
Or maybe it's simply because of the crude logic you use?
Or maybe because you clearly show a lack of knowledge?

You shouldn't concentrate on the name of your discussion partner but pay attendtion to his words.

Bitter to read your thoughts.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:36 AM   #43
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Cady Goldfield wrote: View Post
"The Gandhi error - Peace works against democracies. Peace doesn't work against tyrants."

"if Gandhi had been Jewish, we would have never heard of him. Gandhi's passive resistance was a testament to British morality, not to peace as a weapon because Hitler never would have stopped to listen. Gandhi's tactic worked because the British are basically good people. Same with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

http://markhumphrys.com/peace.html#gandhi
Another Godwin'd thread....

There were only three possible courses of action the Jews could've taken. One was violoent resistance. One was non-violent resistance. And the other was acquiesence. For the most part, the Jews acquiesced to the Nazis. Many of them died as a result. When they fought back, many died as a result of that as well. However, no one actually knows what might have happened had they sacrificed themselves through non-violent protest. It's all speculation.

It's not really my position to sit here and say that they should have sacrificed themselves. All I am doing is pointing out Gandhi's reasoning, and how history corresponds with what he was saying. If that is an offensive topic, I would reccomend ignoring the thread, or create a forum rule that holocaust discussions are prohibited.

Peace only working against democracies is an interesting concept. I would say that the British Empire has been as much a tyranny throughout history as it has been a democracy (having committed massacres in India).It's true that peace will probably have more of an impact on peaceable people, but it could also work against any enemy, provided the circumstances were right.

Last edited by genin : 01-06-2012 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:05 AM   #44
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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There were only three possible courses of action the Jews could've taken. ...
If at all, this sentence only applies to some certain situations.
It clearly does not apply to the lives of millions of Germans (of Jewish belief) over some four or five decades.
It is completely impossible to condense the situation in this way.

Quote:
When they fought back, ...
There are only few scholars who worked about the Jewish resistance during the "Third Reich". This aspect has been completely faded out until about two decades ago. There still is much to learn about what happened "when the fought back" and how this was done.
But we know by now that there was much more resistance than most people imagine.

Quote:
However, no one actually knows what might have happened had they sacrificed themselves through non-violent protest.
There are well know examples of persons or groups who did so. (Not only jews.)
Jehovah's Witnesses are one example. The Mennonites are another one.

Quote:
... All I am doing is pointing out Gandhi's reasoning, ...
And exactly his behavior and reasoning conerning the situation in Germany is one known reason to critisize him.
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:44 AM   #45
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

There's this writer/activist named Derrick Jensen who is really into the idea that the Jews who resiststed the Nazis faired better than those that went along willingly. He is very much a supporter of violence as a means of political, enivronmental, and social reform. His argument is that they were going to be exterminated either way, and some of those who resisted were able to make it out alive. But many Jews made it out alive any way. Armed resistance was not the only way to save themselves.

I might also add that if there had been a way to arm all the Jews, then a collective attack would probably be a much better option than a group sacrifice.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:28 PM   #46
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

On this thread for all those who posted you may like this video.

http://7liveonline.com/video?id=8027981

Regards.G.
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:23 PM   #47
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

What is the point of this speculation? It neither proves nor disproves the merits of nonviolence, or of violent resistance, as efficacious strategies. Moreover, it's skating close to the edge (where it hasn't plunged headlong over it) of blaming the victim.
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Old 01-09-2012, 05:36 PM   #48
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Peace only working against democracies is an interesting concept. I would say that the British Empire has been as much a tyranny throughout history as it has been a democracy (having committed massacres in India).It's true that peace will probably have more of an impact on peaceable people, but it could also work against any enemy, provided the circumstances were right.
England was a democracy at the time of the Indian independence struggle. It was precisely the conflict between the democractic values of English citizens and the undemocratic actions of the Empire that made Gandhi's approach effective.

The US was a democracy at the time of the civil rights movement. It was precisely the conflict between the values of most US citizens and the actions of anti-civil rights protestors that made King's tactics effective.

In both cases, non-violent protest inspired outside forces to intervene on the side of the protestors.

Katherine
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:01 AM   #49
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

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Has anyone ever compared these two men? I find it very interesting how similar they were. Both men grew up in the same era (within a generation of each other), lived long lives, started spiritual movements, and practiced what could be considered non-violence. Even the meaning of their names are similar-- Mahatma "Great Soul" and O'Sensei "Great Teacher." Both men were meek in appearance, even frail looking. Yet these were probably two of the most spiritually powerful men in all of human existence, aside from Christ himself.

What has drawn me to these individuals is the desire to attain that level of power. It amazes me how Ghandi was able to manipulate MILLIONS of people and break the crushing grip of the British Empire simply through inaction and starvation. Being able to control people through non-physical means is clearly far superior to any other method. Out of necessity, Ghandi used his spiritual clout to acheive political gains. However, O'Sensei developed his spirituality in the pursuit of peace and universal harmony.

I just find it really interesting how interconnected these two individuals seem to be in that regard, and I'm trying cultivate a practical application of these philosophies in my own life. Easier said than done.
Hi Roger,
O Sensei frail looking? As a young man he was built like a tank.Short , but stocky built.Hardly frail.cheers, Joe
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:11 AM   #50
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Re: Ghandi and O'Sensei

Quote:
Joe Curran wrote: View Post
Hi Roger,
O Sensei frail looking? As a young man he was built like a tank.Short , but stocky built.Hardly frail.cheers, Joe
It was probably incorrect to characterize these men by physical appearance. In their 80 year lifespans, a lot can change.Yes, O'Sensei looked much different at 20 then he did at 80.
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