An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

I’m watching Gandhi, the movie (again). Very inspiring (again). “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” which is similar to “Two wrongs don’t make a right” and “Turn the other cheek”. Most people understand the long term benefits of this idea, yet find it so hard to follow. Those who are able to live up to this idea sacrifice their health and sometimes their lives not only for for their conscience, but for their society, which is elevated to a higher form of itself as a result.

In the movie, when the British shoot peaceful protesters, Ghandi encourages more peaceful protests instead of revenge killings. Revenge is satisfying in the moment, but damaging to the cause in the long term. Or as Gandhi puts it: “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”

Not only did he ask his people to exercise incredible restraint, but to stand still and knowingly receive beatings and sometimes even death. Gandhi said that the nonviolent activist, like any soldier, had to be ready to die for their cause. In fact, during India’s struggle for independence, 100’s of Indians were killed by the British. The difference was that the nonviolent activists, while willing to die, were never willing to kill.

Gandhi pointed out three possible responses to oppression and injustice. One he described as the coward’s way: to accept the wrong or run away from it. The second was to stand and fight violence with violence force. Gandhi said this was better than acceptance or running away. But the third way, he said, was best of all and required the most courage: to stand and fight solely by nonviolent means.

Impressive … Gandhi was an incredible visionary and not only an effective leader of his people, but an inspiration to us all.