Competition - Non voilence LO18129

Lee Bloomquist (LBLOOMQUIST/0005099717@MCIMAIL.COM)
Tue, 19 May 1998 15:09:10 -0400 (EDT)

Re: Competition

According to an author named Mark Jurgensmyer (sp?), who wrote the
now-out-of-print book, "Fighting Fair," Ghandi's method was to seek, not
avoid, conflict in order to learn.

(This surprised me. Didn't Ghandi advocate "ahimsa"-- nonviolence?)

According to the author, Ghandi's actions did not contradict the following
idea. Whenever two people are in conflict, if they are "good" people this
simply means that some ideas are in conflict, and in their conflict, these
people are fighting over the conflicting ideas. Further, Ghandi's feeling
seemed to be that wherever good people are in conflict like this-- over
ideas-- there exists an as-yet undiscovered idea which resolves the

This is how the author explains Ghandi's method of changing sides in his
intellectual arguments. He was apparently searching for the as-yet
undiscovered idea which would resolve the conflict. And on finding the new
idea that resolves the conflict, his idea was then to teach it, somehow,
to the opponent in the conflict.

Here, according to the author, is where Ghandi advocated "ahimsa."

If in the course of a conflict like this, you ever hurt your opponent,
then by hurting your opponent you lose all potential to teach the other
person any new idea you would find to resolve the conflict.

So the key thing is to avoid hurting your opponent-- even though people
naturally try to hurt each other when they enter conflict. (In other
words, expect to be hurt; but if you hurt back, you will lose all chance
of both parties learning from the conflict.)

Moreover, according to the author, Ghandi felt that the ultimate way to
hurt another person is to coerce them. And of course, coercion comes in
subtle varieties and ways. Ghandi even admonished his students not to say
things like "Shame, shame, shame." Why? That is coercion.

So according to Jurgensmyer, Ghandi would seek out conflict-- in order to
learn by practicing ahimsa.


This goes all the way back to what we know about Socrates from the earlier
dialogues of Plato.

It seems that a lot of people truly loved Socrates. Despite his gently and
humorously questioning to reveal the conflict that was inherent in the
ideas which they held dear (much less, the conflict that these idea had
with other people's ideas), Socrates' students treated him with respect
and love. He hurt no one by his questions.

Further, because he had mastered "know thyself," Socrates' students
trusted him implicitly. Why? He was able to help them, by his kind and
humorous questions, to carve away the inevitable and ever-growing shell of
opinion and belief-- and instead, experience what they knew to be true.

(The "good," the "just," the "wise.")

But the "Forms" Plato laid over his remembered stories of Socrates, I
think, have clouded our minds for centuries. In terms of more recent
psychological science, we instead classify by "basic categories" that
emerge from "prototypes." (And from there, we build more abstract
categories that comprise these more "basic categories" which are built on

In this light, take the categories often discussed in Plato's dialogues--
"the holy," "the just," "the good.".

What would be the "prototypes" for each category?

For those who walked and talked with Socrates, the "prototype" for each of
these categories was most likely Socrates himself.


Most likely, then, the best way to see these ideas that Jurgensmyer
attributes to Ghandi implemented-- perfectly-- would have been to become a
student of the living and breathing Socrates.

After all, the best possible prototype for "good," "just," "holy," and
"wise" would be someone who is actually living and breathing-- not just
some words that have been written down and attributed to a person by a
fledgling student (Plato-- who had, himself, been robbed by political
treachery of the chance to learn even more from Socrates, and thus become
an even better student).

There is too much involved for simple thinking. To implement Ghandi's
dream, you would have to experience (you would have to feel) the prototype
for each one of these categories.

Otherwise, forget about "ahimsa."



Lee Bloomquist <LBLOOMQUIST/0005099717@MCIMAIL.COM>

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