New Clear Vision


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Archive for the ‘Michael N. Nagler’

The Art of Satyagraha

May 09, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Achieving ‘Victory’ With, Not Over, the Forces of Conflict

by David Swanson

Michael Nagler has just published The Nonviolence Handbook: A Guide for Practical Action, a quick book to read and a long one to digest, a book that’s rich in a way that people of a very different inclination bizarrely imagine Sun Tzu’s to be.  That is, rather than a collection of misguided platitudes, this book proposes what still remains a radically different way of thinking, a habit of living that is not in our air. In fact, Nagler’s first piece of advice is to avoid the airwaves, turn off the television, opt out of the relentless normalization of violence.

We don’t need the art of war applied to a peace movement. We need the art of satyagraha applied to the movement for a peaceful, just, free, and sustainable world.  This means we have to stop trying to defeat the Military Industrial Complex (how’s that been working out?) and start working to replace it and to convert the people who make up its parts to new behaviors that are better for them as well as for us.

It can seem out of place to shift from a discussion of the world’s largest military to personal interactions. Surely giving John Kerry a complete personality transplant would leave in place corrupt elections, war profiteering, complicit media outlets, and the assumption held by legions of career bureaucrats that war is the way to peace. (more…)

Not Worth the Price

December 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Following Newtown, What We Can Do to Heed the Warnings

by Michael N. Nagler

The wisest man I had the privilege of knowing in my life once said, “There is no nation, no matter how powerful, that cannot be destroyed by hate.”

The latest tragedy — and I sincerely hope it will still be the latest when you read this — has been unparalleled in its violence. Because the true measure of violence is not in the body count but in the violation of the sacred life that we hold most dear, for example in our innocent children.  It has also been unusual in the confusion that still surrounds what exactly happened.  Like most of us, I at first found myself poring over the sketchy reports, trying to understand how it happened, to piece together the story.  But then I stopped. (more…)

Approaching Spiritual Life

September 25, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Tackling Mounting Social Problems with Individual Judgment

by Michael N. Nagler

In 1925, Gandhi unveiled what he called the “Seven Social Sins” in his newspaper, Young India: (1) Politics without principles; (2) Wealth without work; (3) Pleasure without conscience; (4) Knowledge without character; (5) Commerce without morality; (6) Science without humanity; (7) Worship without sacrifice.

Today I think we need to add an eighth: “Entertainment without common sense.”  The idea that we can “entertain” ourselves by appealing to the worst we’re capable of is one of the most destructive notions in our rudderless world.  Reams of scientific research have shown that exposure to violent images that paint a demoralizing picture of human nature make us sick and unhappy, and eventually a menace to those around us. (more…)

Art as Murder?

August 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler

Creating a Sane Culture, One Mind at a Time

by Michael N. Nagler

“The only thing that you can control, and you must therefore control, is the imagery in your own mind.” — Epictetus

Until today I didn’t even know there was such a thing as white supremacist music.  Wade Michael Page knew; the “domestic terrorist” who killed six people at the Oak Creek Sikh temple in Wisconsin a week ago Sunday had played in a neo-Nazi band called “Definite Hate” and started one called “End Apathy” in 2005. So Page, when you think of it, has something in common with his immediate predecessor in mass murder, James Holmes, who perpetrated the Aurora, CO shooting two weeks earlier.  Despite their differences, in his case also a form of contemporary “art,” namely the Batman film, played some role in the buildup to his murderous violence. (more…)

The Batman Massacre

July 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler

Tell Me When You’ve Had Enough…

by Michael N. Nagler

I want to make an offer to my fellow Americans who are, like myself, reeling from the worst “random” shooting the country has ever seen. My question: Have you had enough? Because if you have, I can tell you how to stop this kind of madness. I know that’s a bold claim, but this is not a time for small measures.

We cannot fix this tomorrow, because we didn’t cause it yesterday. We have been building up to this domestic holocaust since — to take one milestone — television was made available to the general public at the conclusion of World War Two.

If you are still with me, you are prepared to believe that it was not a coincidence that this massacre took place at the scene of an extremely violent, “long-awaited” movie. Psychologists have proved over and over again that — guess what — exposure to violent imagery produces disturbances in the mind that must, in course of time, take form in outward behavior. (more…)

Ultrasounds

March 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Morality Is Too Important to Be Left to Politicians

by Michael N. Nagler

Coming as it did in time for International Women’s Day, the decision of legislators in Virginia, to require women seeking an abortion to undergo a vaginal probe and see ultrasound images of their unborn infants has aroused considerable outrage.  And controversy.

Some (mostly Democrats) see it as an invasion of women’s privacy, if not technically a kind of rape, while others (mostly Republicans) say, with the conservative Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, “This law is a victory for women and their unborn children. We thank Gov. McDonnell and Virginia’s pro-life legislators for their work to ensure that women have all the facts and will no longer be kept in the dark about their pregnancies.”

I have a modest proposal that would resolve the issue.  (more…)

A Brighter Alternative

January 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Michael N. Nagler

Do We Live in a Meaningless Universe?

by Michael N. Nagler

“Ours is not an empty, disorderly world, but an exquisitely structured web whose design embraces and affects all living things.” — Sally Goerner

Western civilization could be considered a grand experiment, culminating in the three-plus centuries of the industrial revolution, to see if the universe could be accounted for without resorting to the concept of a Supreme Being or an overall purpose.  The experiment was a huge success.  It proved without a doubt that the universe can not be accounted for without introducing the concept of purpose; life could not have come about by chance — as Ervin Lazlo puts it, “pure chance … does not appear to be a significant factor in the evolution of life;” the human being cannot be described as a separate, finite, physical fragment doomed to compete for diminishing resources, but a (potentially) conscious actor in the fulfillment of the design that biologist Sally Goerner alludes to above. (more…)