nonviolent actions are by their nature androgynous. In them the two impulses that have long been treated as distinct, 'masculine' and 'feminine,' the impulse of self-assertion and the impulse of sympathy, are clearly joined; the very genius of nonviolence, in fact, is that it demonstrates them to be indivisible, and so restores human community ...
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Violence is already active here; it is built into the very structure od the existing society. If we seek a world in which men do the least possible violence to each other (which is to state just the negative of it), then we are committed not simply to try to avoid violence ourselves, but to try to destroy patterns of violence which already exist.
Balance and control come from healthy anger. This is just as aggressive as the unhealthy kind. But it is based on a belief and hope for change in social roles and institutions. Healthy anger demands change and creates the confrontations needed for change to occur. It also gives the other an opportunity to help make that change. "Our task, of course, is to transmute the anger that is affliction into the anger that is determination to bring about change. I think, in fact, that one could give that as a definition of revolution.
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Manliness has been defined as assertion of the self. Womanliness has been defined as the nurturing of selves other than our own - even if we quite lose our own in the process. (Women are supposed to find in this loss their true fulfillment.) But every individual person is born both to assert herself or himself and to act out a sympathy for others trying to find themselves - in Christian terms, meant to love one's self as one loves others ... Jesus never taught that we should split up that commandment - assigning 'love yourself' to men, 'love others' to women. But society has tried to.
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What is the revolution that we need? We need to dissolve the lie that some people have a right to think of other people as their property. And we need at last to form a circle that includes us all, in which all of us are seen as equal... We do not belong to the other, but our lives are linked; we belong in a circle of others.
It is not as mirrors reflect us but, rather, as our dreams do, that movies most truly reveal the times. If the dreams we have been dreaming provide a sad picture of us, it should be remembered that - like that first book of Dante's Comedy - they show forth only one region of the psyche. Through them we can read with a peculiar accuracy the fears and confusions that assail us - we can read, in caricature, the Hell in which we are bound. But we cannot read the best hopes of the time.
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To resort to power one need not be violent, and to speak to conscience one need not be meek. The most effective action both resorts to power and engages conscience. Nonviolent actions does not have to get others to be nice. It can in effect force them to consult their consciences. Nor does it have to petition those in power to do something about a situation. It can face the authorities with a new fact and say: Accept this new situation which we have created.
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Something seems wrong to most people engaged in struggle when they see more people hurt on their own side than on the other side. They are used to reading this as an indication of defeat, and a complete mental readjustment is required of them. Within the new terms of struggle, victory has nothing to do with their being able to give more punishment than they take (quite the reverse); victory has nothing to do with their being able to punish the other at all; it has to do simply with being able, finally, to make the other move... Vengeance is not the point; change is.
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