By David R. Blumenthal
Aug 11, 2014
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote that the philosophy and practice of nonviolence has six basic elements.
Principle One: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people
- It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.
- It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
- It is always persuading the opponent of the righteousness of your cause.
- It is only passive in its non-aggression toward its enemy.
Principle Two: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding
- The end of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
- The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of The Beloved Community.
Principle Three: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people
- Nonviolence recognizes that evil doers are also victims and are not evil people.
- The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.
Principle Four: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform
- Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.
- Nonviolence accepts violence if necessary, but will never inflict it.
- Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences of its act.
- Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous education and transforming possibilities.
- Suffering has the power to convert the enemy when reason fails.
Principle Five: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate
- Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.
- Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
- Nonviolent love gives willingly knowing that the return might be hostility.
- Nonviolent love is active, not passive.
- Nonviolent love is unending in its ability to forgive in order to restore community.
- Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater.
- Love for the enemy is how we demonstrate love for ourselves.
- Love restores community and resists injustice.
- Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.
Principle Six: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice
- The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win
- Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.
This is an excerpt from The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons from the Shoah and Jewish Tradition.