Ken Butigan | Not in Our World / Waging Nonviolence – People-Powered News and Analysis

The scripts run deep.


Faced with violence or injustice, we’ve often been trained by our families, our media, and our societies to react in one of three basic ways: avoidance, accommodation or violence. These well-grooved neural pathways are not only moral positions—they are often survival strategies. Not getting involved, going along or meeting violence with violence promises us survival and safety.


These scripts, though, often upend this promise by failing to engage deeply and effectively with the realities at hand. The conflicts in our lives or our world have a life of their own, feeding and stoking the embers of fear, powerlessness, despair and retaliation if they’re not dealt with. Often it’s only a matter of time before another fire gets rolling.


In spite of the tenacity of these scripts, a nonviolent shift is underway. This doesn’t mean a utopia free of violence and injustice is coming. Instead, it means we are steadily creating resources and practices that equip more and more people to deal effectively with the violence they face. This transition, in fact, also includes a shift of thinking for those of us who are peacemakers: from a vision of establishing an impossibly idealistic world to one where, while still facing violence and injustice, tools for nonviolent transformation are more plentiful, accessible, and increasingly the default…