Nonviolence: A few short quotations provide wise insights and encouragement

Short quotation #1:

“Nonviolence has been marginalized because it is one of the rare truly revolutionary ideas, an idea that seeks to completely change the nature of society, a threat to the established order. And it has always been treated as something profoundly dangerous. Advocates of nonviolence—dangerous people—have been there throughout history, questioning the greatness of Caesar and Napoleon and the Founding Fathers and Roosevelt and Churchill.”

—Mark Kurlansky


Short quotation #2:

“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.


Short quotation #3:

“Fighting, cheating, and bullying have trapped us in our present situation; now we need training in new practices to find a way out. It may seem impractical and idealistic, but we have no alternative to compassion, recognizing human value and the oneness of humanity.”

—The Dalai Lama


Short quotation #4:

“Through nonviolence, courage displaces fear; love transforms hate. Acceptance dissipates prejudice; hope ends despair. Peace dominates war; faith reconciles doubt. Mutual regard cancels enmity. Justice for all overthrows injustice. The redemptive community supersedes systems of gross social immorality.”

—James Lawson


Short quotation #5:

“The big boy surrounded by his gang said to the little boy: ‘You tripped me!’ The little boy stood there very calmly and said: ‘Yes, I did it.’ After some shifting around, the big boy walked away. What was it that happened? I suggest that perhaps five things may have been involved in that incident: first, the little boy did the unexpected thing; second, he admitted that he was in the wrong; third, he told the truth; fourth, he was not afraid; fifth, having somehow transferred the conflict to another plane than that of the physical force, he became the channel for another kind of force, so that another kind of law became operative in the situation.”

—A.J. Muste


Short quotation #6:

“Nonviolent struggle is a technique for conducting conflicts by social, psychological, economic, and political methods of protest, noncooperation, and disruptive intervention. It is a technique built on the social, economic, and political application of basic human stubbornness—the determination and ability to dissent, to refuse to cooperate, to defy, and to disrupt. In other words, people may refuse to do things they are asked to do, and may do what they are forbidden to do. All governments rely on cooperation and obedience for their very existence. When people choose to withhold or withdraw that cooperation, governments are left without any pillars to support their weight.”

—Gene Sharp