Competition - Non voilence LO18167

Roxanne Abbas (
Fri, 22 May 1998 10:17:21 -0500

Replying to LO18129 --


Thank you for the wonderful post regarding the views and methods of Gandhi
and Socrates.

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

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

According to the author, Gandhi'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, Gandhi'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

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.

You also lose all potential to learn from the other person. In LO
language, Gandhi advocated the use of dialogue to advance learning. In
debate, as in other forms of competition, we seek to "hurt" our opponent
by causing him to lose the competition, and thereby, often lose the
opportunity to teach or to learn. Gandhi and Socrates both used conflict
in a cooperative manner to teach. Neither was in competition with his


Roxanne Abbas

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>