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QotD: Thich Nhat Hanh on Violence

If nonviolence is a stand, then it would be an attack on violence. But the most visible form of violence is revolutionary and liberational violence. So if you stand for nonviolence, you automatically stand against actual revolution and liberation. Quite distressing! 'No! We are not against revolution or liberation. We are against the other side, the side of the institutions, the side of the oppressors. The violence of the system is much more destructive, much more harmful, although it is well hidden. We call it institutional violence. By calling ourselves nonviolent we are against all violence, but we are first against institutional violence.
--Thich Nhat Hanh

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
skyojos
Dec. 9th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this. It's good to see this expression from a well known Buddhist leader. Good common sense Buddhism. Taking action against oppression and for liberation is taking action for the sake of life.






















liveonearth
Dec. 9th, 2010 04:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, I was happy to see it too. A Buddhist who recognizes the need for a fight against invisible depersonalized violence. We wish for peace, but peace isn't just going to happen. It takes action, and that action is bound to be confrontational, provocative, and possibly destructive. There must be destruction to make room for creation...
neptunia67
Dec. 9th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Interesting.
liveonearth
Dec. 9th, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC)
How so? Any thoughts you'd share?
neptunia67
Dec. 9th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm still ruminating, but I have an initial thought on passive-aggressiveness, which is what it seems he is talking about here. I think passive-aggressive violence can be more destructive than physical violence because it has the ability to change the thinking/attitude of an entire society. It's sneaky and causes harm in many ways.

It's hard to wrap my thoughts around such a big subject. I'll think more on it.
liveonearth
Dec. 9th, 2010 05:23 pm (UTC)
Yes. Define Institutional Violence. I suppose institutions can be passive aggressive, though I don't think they do it in the defensive way that individual people do it. Seems to me that institutions are violent indirectly, by the way that they let some people fall through the cracks just because they don't fit into the definition of the population to be cared for. Definitely needs much more contemplation.
skyojos
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
A primary way institutions become oppressive/violent is when they turn from using their collective power in life supporting ways to using their power to protect and expand their own existence and influence. An interesting article appeared yesterday and I posted on my journal. It is a fine piece of journalism looking at the political philosophy of Julian Assange behind Wikileaks. It is a really interesting point of view to understand.
liveonearth
Dec. 9th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, you are posting now? Please forgive me, am not subscribed and I do not check my friends list when I am working on clearing slate!! But I do post a lot. Trying to process all that is coming in.... I see that you posted the whole text. LJ cuts are useful, wonder if I can type this in here:
[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<lj-cut="text">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

Oh, you are posting now? Please forgive me, am not subscribed and I do not check my friends list when I am working on clearing slate!! But I do post a lot. Trying to process all that is coming in.... I see that you posted the whole text. LJ cuts are useful, wonder if I can type this in here: <lj-cut="text"> is what it would look like...if it shows up in this comment. =-]
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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