Nonviolence as New Science

  • Michael N. Nagler
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


On a peaceful march to the Birmingham courthouse to protest discriminatory voting practices one day in 1964, the mostly black marchers found their way blocked by police and firemen. They kneeled down and began to pray, but then without a prearranged signal from anyone they found themselves getting up and advancing toward the barricade. “We’re not turning back,” one of them remembers saying to the startled firemen, “We haven’t done anything wrong. All we want is our freedom. How do you feel about doing these things?” The Sheriff, a notorious segregationist, shouted, “Turn on the water!” -- but the firemen didn’t. They let the marchers through As they did so, the protestors noticed, some of them were crying (Footnote I).


Grand Unify Theory Civil Disobedience Altered Consciousness Sacrificial Ritual Violent Person 
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  1. 1.
    Staughton Lynd, Nonviolence In America (Indianapolis: Bobbs Merril, 1966) 525f; cf. also Michael Nagler, America Without Violence (Covelo, CA: Island Press, 1982) 141 for further discussion of this incident.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For my views on the vital distinction between positive and negative nonviolence, cf. M. Nagler, “Nonviolence,” in Lazlo and Yoo, Edd., World Encyclopedia of Peace (Oxford. Pergamon, 1986) Vol. I, 72-78. Lynd, incidentally, does not observe this distinction.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    I am thinking primarily of the work of Rene Girard, e.g. Violence and the Sacred, tr. Patrick Gregory ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1977 ).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Planck himself stated flatly that consciousness comes first, then matter. For some recent speculation (some of which seems far fetched to me) cf. John A Hagelin, “Is Consciousness the Unified Field.” Modern Science and Vedic Science 1:1 (1987)29-88.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See Nagler, 1982, Chap. Five for most of these examples, and for Korea Huxley in Robert Seeleyr The Handbook of Nonviolence (Westoort: Lawrence Hill 1986)67.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    The sources are, respectively, D. G. Tendulkar, Mahatma (New Delhi: Gov’t, of India, Publications Division, 1962) 31; Md 262; and Prabhu and Rao, The Mind of Mahatma Gandhi (Ahemdabad: Navajivanr 1967 ) 167.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cf. Young India for October 11, 1928, pp. 340f. Parts of this famous talk were broadcast to the United States from London and can still be heard on old recordings.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael N. Nagler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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