Category: Science

The Science of Nonviolence – podcast

  Did you know that Nonviolence is a science? This week the theme of our show is science. In this episode of Nonviolence Radio, Stephanie Van Hook challenges Michael Nagler in a game to find the science behind Nonviolent principles. They discuss, at length, neuroscience, social science, evolution, behavioral science and more! In the second half of the show we are joined by Elisabet Sahtouris, evolution biologist, futurist, and author to discuss her findings and how they relate to nonviolence. Share it with your friends! Nonviolence isn’t just about strategy and morality…it’s been validated buy science. Click here or use the controls below to listen to the show.

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Seeing Nonviolence?

The Metta Center–especially our founder, Michael Nagler– has been interested in the science of nonviolence for several decades. So the other day, I sent this article out to our awesome volunteers to see if it would spark some cool insights about how we understand nonviolence: Hi everyone,  The Metta Team has started exploring questions related to nonviolence every week, and so here is one! What do you think:  Here’s an article from the NYT about the phenomena of perception and expectation.  My question for you all is whether you think that we might be able to extrapolate some insights about how nonviolence works–or what it is–from these (non)observations.  Looking forward to hearing from you!  Stephanie  Here are some responses. After reading, you are warmly invited to add your own insights in the box below. We’d love to hear from you!   LOU:  As a magician and photographer, I am very aware of how misdirection and composition can hide things.  Both of these attributes are operating in the sample images in the article that made me “miss” seeing the big toothbrush, and less so the parking meter. The strongest way this relates to nonviolence for me is how people often don’t “see” nonviolence because we are culturally conditioned to focus on conflict and who’s to blame for it. Like the toothbrush, we’re looking for what we are expecting – someone or something to be wrong.  If we’re more in the habit of seeing the basic human needs being expressed in a conflict then we would see human beings struggling, feel compassion, and maybe our imaginations would be sparked with something new.   Annie: Hi everyone, and thank you, Lou, for your (very clear!) response. I completely agree that our current culture conditions us to see violence, which in turn tends to cause us to be blind to actions — even movements — of nonviolence. Unfortunately, in most mainstream media, unlike in the images of the big toothbrush and parking meter, the stories about nonviolence are simply not there. That said, one aspect I liked about considering parallels between this and the workings of nonviolence is the fact that we seem to be particularly unaware of ‘out of scale’ objects. My hope is that, like the toothbrush and the parking meter, nonviolence is, in fact, enormous in our world, we just need to learn to ’spot’ it. If this is the case, we should try to think about what might trigger our capacity to do this, to see the truth which is in front of us, One way might be to think about the fact that it was easier to identify the parking meter because we’d been alerted to its presence. So perhaps then part of spotting NV is having its presence suggested. This is a pretty…unexciting conclusion and I’m sure there’s more we can draw from this example, but simple awareness raising seems pretty important.   Thuy: Thanks, Stephanie, for bringing forth this interesting article and food for thought for the day. Lou and […]

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Inner culture of nonviolence: Daily Metta Weekend Video

Michael Nagler discusses the famous scientific study by Wheeler and Fisk on predisposition for prejudice and the effects of humanization on the amygdala as he reviews the opening of Chapter 6 in Search for a Nonviolent Future.   About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Social Networks: Daily Metta

“Man is a social being. Without inter-relation with society he cannot realize his oneness with the universe or suppress his egotism.” ~ Gandhi, Young India, March 21, 1929 [swap man for “a person” and he or his for “she” or “her” where you see fit.] Much of what Gandhi said, based on his own awareness, is now being supported dramatically by science. Decades of studies show that people with vibrant social networks are significantly less likely to fall ill and recover significantly more quickly than others. I say “vibrant” because recent studies show that the quality of the relationships matters: lots of superficial acquaintances or “fan clubs” are less helpful than a reasonable number of friends whom one cares for, trusts, and serves. May we hope that science catches up before long with Gandhi’s tremendous claims here as well: they help us realize our oneness with the universe and/or suppress our egotism. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Depth of Access: Daily Metta

“But I can boldly declare, and with certainty, that so long as there is even a handful of men true to their pledge, there can only be one end to the struggle, and that is victory.” ~ Gandhi, Satyagraha in South Africa, p. 99 The forces that govern the outcome of human events are as real, as scientific, as subject to prediction and control as the physical forces we have learned to harness (somewhat) to drive the machinery of modern existence. They are the forces of consciousness, and as such they call for depth of access, not number of participants, to bring them into play. After a while, as we experiment with nonviolence, this does slowly become clear even to us; but the process is faster when we have a Gandhi to point out what’s happening. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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The Nonviolence Effect: Daily Metta

“I do not believe…that an individual may gain spiritually and those around him suffer… I believe in the essential unity of man and, for that matter, of all that lives.” ~ Gandhi, Mind of Mahatma Gandhi, p. 223 The concept of a spiritual “field” operating throughout spacetime in somewhat the way gravity does, or electromagnetic radiation, is central to the worldview of spiritually based nonviolence. Of course, we can explain a good deal of the power of nonviolence without it, but it certainly accounts for the “nonviolence effect” efficiently and is one of those tenets that has been long held by the wisdom tradition and recently supported by modern science. Thanks for sharing a comment below. About Daily Metta Stephanie Van Hook, the Metta Center’s executive director, launched Daily Metta in 2015 as a way to share Gandhi’s spiritual wisdom and experiments with nonviolence. Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide. Enjoy more Daily Metta: See the  archives Get Daily Metta by email: Subscribe    

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Sanity in a culture of mass murder

by Peter Rugh. The mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 young school children and seven adults (including the shooter himself) has not only reignited the debate over gun control in the United States, but also a discussion over how communities deal with madness in their midst. Adam Lanza showed signs of mental illness […]