Peter Merel

Western Satyagraha

In Satyagraha on June 25, 2009 at 12:08 am

Satyagraha means ending tyranny. It means reclaiming our ability to govern ourselves, stand for ourselves, and trust in each other.

Satyagraha regards tyranny as the result of millions of individual compromises on truth, peace and love. Tyranny as a positive feedback effect – like the howl of a speaker playing into its own microphone.

Satyagraha is not a cult, organization, or political party, but a personal commitment. It is not a prayer to recite, but a way of working to improve the quality of your life and the lives around you. This work follows a framework of 11 vows:

  1. Non-violence – I will offer neither harm nor compliance to my enemy, but instead forgiveness and hospitality. I will support no one who uses violence, but work conscientiously with those who do not.
  2. Uncompromising truth – I will not lie to myself or anyone else. I will attend compassionately and impartially to the truths of others, maintaining trust even when these truths conflict.
  3. Non-stealing – I will not exploit fear, addiction, pollution or fraud nor participate in any practice or product that entails exploitation.
  4. Ecological Chastity – I will proactively husband all the lives I create, consume and displace. I will not raise children to live in poverty, animals to live in torment, or plants to spread as weeds.
  5. Non-possession – I will take only what I need and leave the rest to benefit others. I will return value to the communities that benefit me.
  6. Ethical work – I will work on efforts to improve the human dignity, scientific knowledge and mutual understanding of my fellow people.
  7. Non-addiction – I will free myself from all personal dependencies including alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sugar, credit and media, for addiction inevitably leads me to compromise.
  8. Non-terrorism – I will express courage on all occasions. Refusing to act from fear, I will work constructively, mindfully, to own my own life.
  9. Open religion – I will hold equal respect for any religion or philosophy that observes the Golden Rule: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”.
  10. Constructive consumption – I will avoid the services of corporations and banks, preferring Fair Trade, mutual credit, open source, and local, ethically produced goods and services. I will research before I purchase.
  11. Non-racism – I will work to combine foreign cultures fruitfully with my own, adapting Satyagraha so that it can propagate with these.

This is the discipline of self-reliance whereby Mohandas Gandhi threw the British empire out of India; Martin Luther King ended racial segregation in America; and Nelson Mandela surmounted the apartheid regime in South Africa. Satyagraha conquers by conversion, producing neither defeat nor victory, but generating new opportunities for common wealth and freedom.

Satyagraha isn’t an easy thing to do. You can only make these vows live by consciously working on your own life. But if you want to share this work I invite you to help me make Satyagraha effective by linking, commenting or contributing to Neologue.