Gandhi understood that nonviolent non-cooperation against a State, aka civil resistance, meant a closer form of cooperation among people. Assured that such actions would not lead to disorder or chaos, he put his faith securely in the hearts of people as well as in the principles of nonviolence itself. It is revolutionary. Violent non-cooperation, by contrast, most often lacks vision, unity and strategic thinking about “what next,” not to mention that it denies people’s desire for peace which goes much deeper than their desire for vengeance and retaliation, however intense those may feel.
So what does it have to do with evolution? Whenever we non-cooperate with individuals and systems in the spirit of nonviolence, we show with our lives not only that another world is truly possible, but that we desire that world and are willing to withdraw our support from what is no longer working. And we become empowered in the process: the more we become aware of our underlying unity that is so foundational in nonviolent action, the more we realize that we are not required to obey when misguided leaders, ideologies and institutions try to run the show. It’s an intentional shift from unconscious passivity to conscious action. This is why Gandhi maintains that nonviolent non-cooperation can become a force of evolution; instead keeping us locked into the destructive cycle of violence, it releases us and enables us to moves forward toward unexplored frontiers of the human mind, body and spirit.
If you were to non-cooperate with one violent institution, which one would it be? What would replace that institution? Research one new nonviolent institution, such as unarmed civilian peacekeeping.
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 firstname.lastname@example.org