Some Thoughts On Civil Disobedience: My Duties and Responsibilities

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare


DIGG THIS

GENERAL
PRECEPTS OF MAN AS SOCIAL BEING

All life is
one. The world is one home. All are members of one family. All creation
is one organic whole. No person is independent of that whole. The
earth is a sacred gift to be cherished, nurtured, and shared by
all.

All human beings
are endowed by the Law of Nature (God if you prefer, hereinafter
“Truth”) with a moral conscience. The highest law of my being is
the Law of Truth. The Law of Truth is of a higher order than man
made law. It can also be said that Truth is Love, in the sense that
God is Love. Every person is ultimately accountable only to this
Higher Law, the working force of which is Ahimsa, nonviolence, love.

Man is a social
being. It is his duty to live in harmony with the entirety of humanity
in accordance with Laws of Truth, without any distinction whatsoever
for race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, creed, caste,
class, or age. All false appearances belie the actual intrinsic
unity of mankind. Our universal language is the language of the
heart.

Conflicts must
be overcome by great loyalty to humanity. This loyalty supersedes
all other subordinate loyalties, racial or national. It is the law
of Love that rules mankind. Had violence and hatred ruled us, we
would long ago have become extinct. Love is what men live by.

The daily prayer
of Mahatma Gandhi — “Lead me from untruth to truth, from darkness
to light, from death to immortality” — declares an evolutionary
journey which is the birthright of every human being. Ultimate Truth
is the goal of life. Its unimpeded and efficient realization is
the natural right of every person. No State possesses moral authority
to impede this basic human right of Self-Realization.

The five basic
minimum moral precepts of my faith and conscience are (1) to abstain
from killing any visible living being, (2) to abstain from lying,
(3) to abstain from stealing, (4) to abstain from sexual misconduct,
and (5) to abstain from intoxicants.

It is my duty
to adhere to these precepts in my personal actions. It is also my
moral duty not to support or approve violation of them by others
or the State. These responsibilities are intrinsic to my duty to
live in harmony with all other human beings.

Freedom of
religion means I cannot be required by coercion, force, or threat
of force to violate any precepts of my faith, or to support violation
of them by the State.

My moral responsibility
comprises a universal responsibility for welfare of all beings.
My every action affects directly or indirectly the welfare of my
fellowmen. The first morality and the first service to others are
the same: do no harm. It is my duty to renounce violence in my heart
and to employ the power of Ahimsa (nonviolence) generated by this
renunciation.

Because nonviolence
is my most fundamental moral responsibility, it is also my most
fundamental human right. This means that I cannot be required to
support or approve of the State in breaching the precept of Ahimsa.

The scope of
nonviolence herein includes abstaining from all activities (to the
extent humanly possible), which take the life of any visible living
being. Economic, ecological and natural resource exploitation of
the weak and poor by the strong and rich is considered herein an
act of violence from which it is my duty to abstain.

It is my duty
to support actions which promote peace, harmony, and real happiness
of human beings everywhere, and to abstain from actions and support
of actions by the State inimical to these ends. Greed, hatred, and
delusion are the three “great poisons” which deprive humanity of
peace, harmony and happiness. Therefore it is my duty to abstain
from support of actions by the State which generate or promote these
great poisons among human beings.

The end of
any action is defined, predicted and included in the means. Means
may be likened to seed, the end to tree. They are inseparably linked.
A good end cannot arise from immoral means. Man can control the
means, but not the ends. Purity of means is based upon recognition
of moral law. The precept of nonviolence states that it is quality
of means — the intention to suffer for good ends while not inflicting
suffering upon others — which provides justification of the ends.
The means is the end.

All people
are endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty and pursuit
of happiness as necessary prerequisites to enable their achievement
of Self-Realization. Other basic human rights are enumerated in
the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, the
Charter of the United Nations, and in UN Resolutions regarding human
rights. The full scope of human rights is not limited by these enumerations.
In order to promote the full scope of human rights, it is my duty
to resist by nonviolent means the forces of coercion and violence.

I cannot deny
the truth of my perceptions, my conscience and my common sense.
To do so would be to deny myself, my capacity to know, my instruments
of knowledge which enable me to learn Truth. I confess that Truth
recedes as I approach it, like all highest values. It is like approaching
infinity. As a human being, it is extremely difficult to be perfect
in truth. Just as the truth of geometry is not denied by inability
to draw a straight line, so my shortfall from Truth does not deny
its actuality. If I understand a fact as it is, and act on that
fact as guided by my conscience, then I have acted according to
truth.

My own conscience
provides the best understanding for me of Truth in any situation.
No other person is endowed by Nature with the capability or right
to interpret the guidance of my personal conscience. Certainly no
State possesses this power.

Ahimsa and
love are one. Ahimsa means the largest love, the greatest charity.
Ahimsa, the active force of love, requires me to dissociate myself
from evil-doers who employ violence. Ahimsa is not merely the absence
of violence. It is an active engagement in compassion.

Nonviolence
is the supreme value, the one cognizable standard by which truth
in action can be determined. Suffering deprivation, loss or even
injury to one’s own person as a substitute for violence to others
is the essence of nonviolence.

Self-Realization
as a goal and as a duty herein means complete salvation, total release
from cyclic existence of birth-death-rebirth. It is achieved from
a foundation of Ahimsa. Since Self-Realization as the ultimate goal
of man can only be accomplished individually, personal autonomy
takes precedence over the State. Self-government is autonomy of
the moral self, the moral rule of each man over himself. Duty to
one’s own conscience and loyalty to Truth are above one’s loyalty
to State. In matters of individual conscience the rule of majority
has no place. Blind submission to social will is not a righteous
act. No act which is not voluntary can be said to be moral.

Orders from
the State notwithstanding, an act performed against the dictates
of one’s conscience is not a moral act. If a person feels those
orders do not conform to reason and moral sensibility, it is his
duty to disobey and take upon himself the consequences. It is right
to support the actions of State only so long as they are nonviolent.
When actions of State harm living beings, it is one’s duty to withdraw
support.

It is blindly
ignorant and unrighteous to believe that an act of a majority binds
a minority. There are many examples of acts of majorities found
to have been wrong and those of minorities to have been right. Many
reforms have been initiated by minorities in opposition to majorities.
While the blind belief exists that men should obey unjust laws,
so long will their slavery persist. Is a pious man to accept an
order to kill his fellowman, tantamount to his own family, on the
basis of majority rule? It is contrary to humanity to obey laws
repugnant to conscience. Such teaching is opposed to religion and
means slavery. Even the government does not expect such a thing
from us. It does not say “you must do such and such.” It says: “If
you do not do it, we will punish you.”

If man will
realize it is unrighteous to obey unjust laws, no tyranny will enslave
him. This is crucial to self-rule. Throughout history, men have
recognized their birthright to disobey and to resist government
when its tyranny or its inefficiency became great and unendurable.

Individual
freedom alone can motivate a person to surrender to the service
of society. If freedom is wrested from him, he becomes automation
and society is ruined. No society can be built on denial of individual
liberty. The moral person is marked by a readiness to suffer and
make sacrifice for the highest good. The sacrifices must be made
and the suffering borne in a spirit of nonviolence with malice towards
none.

The State does
not possess moral sovereignty over the individual and does not inherently
possess rights to be granted to individuals. Individuals are endowed
with inalienable natural rights and the State derives its authority
from consent of the people. The State cannot grant inalienable rights,
it can only impede them up to the limit which people are willing
to tolerate.

A righteous
person is duty bound to disobey laws repugnant to conscience, taking
upon oneself the consequences and penalties of civil disobedience,
provided, however, that he must never take the law into his own
hands. The conscience of the people is the ultimate sanction of
laws aimed at higher levels of justice and public welfare. It is
the righteous person’s duty to work towards elevating the social
conscience. Rights are not ultimately protected by law. Protection
stems from the moral conscience of society.

The individual
is the supreme consideration. The individual must be a social being
who identifies himself with all other living beings. A rational
individual recognizes that it is in his own long term interest not
to exploit others or ecology. The good of all beings is the real
good of each individual. The good of the individual is included
in the good of all. Men, women, and children must be treated as
ends in themselves. They cannot be used as agency for others. To
achieve Self-Realization — which is a natural right equal to the
right to life itself — is something only free agents can accomplish.
It cannot be done by coercion and cannot be derived from power or
wealth. All individuals are moral ends in themselves. As they wish
to be treated as moral agents, so must they treat others as moral
agents.

An act to be
moral must transcend all selfishness and egoism. It must be motivated
by goodwill for all, since good of individual is contained in the
good of the whole. No man can act without affecting welfare of his
fellowmen. The moral test of an action is whether or not it is conducive
to welfare of all. The great truth is unity of all life. It commands
the love and service of all life. Therefore Truth can be realized
only through moral, nonviolent means.

An organized
society presupposes safety, cooperation and mutual help. These are
impossible without nonviolence. The logical consequence of violent
methods or messages is the increasing brutality of man. No success
is worthy of human effort if it does not ennoble man.

Nonviolent
civil disobedience is itself a birthright. There is no volition
to overpower the wrong doer. The aim of the nonviolent resister’s
suffering is to awaken human sympathy in the heart of wrong doers
and convert them from violence to love. Nonviolence invokes forgiveness,
not vengeance. One must altogether reject even indirect support
for a military state. Emigration is an acceptable nonviolent action.
The main cause of war is greed which leads to exploitation of weaker
nations, races, social groups. It is impossible to achieve peace
by means of war.

The right to
initiate civil disobedience requires prior habitual and sincere
obedience to just law. It is a duty to render voluntary obedience
to law except when that law fosters untruth. Then disobedience
becomes duty. Civil disobedience is, in respect of Higher Law, the
natural recourse of people when they have no effective voice in
their own government.

Power is the
central concept of politics. Coercion is embedded in the power of
the State. The State represents violence in concentrated and organized
form. There can be no nonviolent State, because State means force.
The coercive nature of State power goes against the moral value
of individual action. Politics divides and separates, in opposition
to the unity of all life. George Washington said: “Government, like
fire, is a useful servant but a dangerous master. It is not eloquence,
it is not justice, it is pure force.”

The instruments
of State are designed by men to serve their convenience. They have
no intrinsic natural existence. Just as a righteous man dissociates
himself from evil acts of other men and does not support or approve
them, so must he dissociate himself from or resist evil acts of
State. Actions of State are merely the actions of a group of men
proceeding according to their perceived self-interest. These actions
have no intrinsic moral superiority to the actions of an individual.
To the contrary, it is the common human experience that politicians
are far away from being a reliable repository of the highest moral
and human values.

The chance
occurrence of my birth in a certain State does not compel me to
surrender my moral sovereignty to the political morality of that
State. The State holds me in thrall by force alone. It is only raw
power projected by the State that forces people into acts of mass
destruction. No sane individual does these things. My first loyalty
is to humanity as one, to the wholeness of the human species, not
to a particular State. No laws of nature created national boundaries
that divide people from one another. Human divisiveness brings death.
Unity is life.

A civil society
is harmonious. Harmony means brotherhood. Brotherhood must be supported
by just law. Law which places corporate property rights above human
rights and which creates a judicial framework for exploitation of
the poor by the rich is not moral law. A person must disregard it.
A framework of law which encourages and promotes destruction of
our planetary ecosystem — on which all life depends — must be resisted
by people of conscience.

Life, Liberty,
Pursuit of Happiness: Americans declared independence to enjoy these
inalienable rights. Certainly my freedom not to kill, and
my joy in nonviolence, are abrogated by coercive taxation to finance
constant preparation for war, marketing of war and implements of
war, and the research-development-construction of ever more efficient
means to kill more and more people in less and less time. I do not
labor for the purpose of blowing to bits the bodies of women and
children.

Government
behind closed doors and concealed in classified documents: how can
this be said to be with the consent of the governed? Not only war,
but also all forms of secrecy, lies and compulsion inherent in the
powers of State are a violation of humanity.

The highest
law is the Law of God, the Law of Truth. Love is God. Love does
not kill. The high commandment of Christianity is “Thou shall not
kill.” The first morality taught by the Buddha is to abstain from
killing. The first precept of the Hindu and the Jain is Ahimsa,
nonviolence. Nonviolence is the highest morality of man. This morality
is of a higher order than any State's authority. No State has the
right to interfere with a person’s sincere efforts to pursue the
goal of Self-Realization through Ahimsa.

I will not
voluntarily abide by any law of man which violates my understanding
of Law of Truth. Nor will I take the law of man into my own hands.
I will disobey such laws as are repugnant to my conscience, taking
full personal responsibility for acts of civil disobedience. I willingly
suffer the full consequences and penalties thereunto appertaining.
I declare that obedience to any such repugnant law imposed upon
me by force makes of me a slave, and thereby violates my basic human
right to life and liberty. No man, no constituted authority, and
no State have the right to make me a slave.

Ahimsa is not
merely the absence of violence. It is an active engagement in compassion.
Whenever we consume more than we need, we are engaging in violence.
We are taking from others. Using resources beyond one’s actual needs
depletes what is available to meet the needs of others, including
other species upon whose survival our own ultimately depends. Ahimsa
means not to encroach upon the economic and ecological rights of
others. Their right to life is not ours to take.

PERCEIVED
ERRORS OF PREVAILING ASSUMPTIONS OF GOVERNANCE

Actions of
the modern nation state are based upon false or questionable moral
premises, some of which are perceived as follows.

  • That man
    lives by greed rather than by love.
  • That nature
    can be freely exploited. That we can destroy billions of years
    of biological evolution — along with interdependent human cultures
    — without consequence.
  • That State
    institutions can violate higher moral law.
  • That peace
    and security can be achieved through war.
  • That material
    progress is man’s greatest good, even at the expense of cultural
    morality.
  • Denial of
    interdependence and inter-connectedness of all life.
  • Denial of
    man’s universal responsibility to the whole of life.
  • That future
    material progress can be gained by mortgaging the web of biological
    life itself to present exploitation.
  • That human
    welfare can be achieved by promoting artificial needs and consumerism.
  • That the
    State possesses moral authority over the individual.
  • That politics
    can be divorced from ethics.
  • That the
    State can keep the peace and maintain security.
  • That the
    State knows better than the people themselves what is in their
    best interest.
  • That the
    people are incapable of taking care of themselves without State
    supervision.
  • That the
    State can legislate and maintain public morality among individuals.
  • That the
    State can provide any economic good that is not better provided
    by voluntary effort and exchange among free people acting in absence
    of coercion.
  • That somehow
    those persons in government possess more goodness than ordinary
    persons, that they are capable of rising above self-interest,
    that power does not corrupt, that power is not addictive.
  • That exploitation
    of the weak by the strong is sustainable.
  • That owners
    of corporations should be absolved of personal responsibility
    for actions of the corporation.
  • That corporations
    should be granted the rights of persons, including political rights,
    and that they are bona fide participants in the political process.
  • That the
    end justifies the means.
  • That the
    moral code necessary for harmony among individuals does not apply
    to the State.
  • That the
    lie of the State is morally valid.
  • That the
    State has the right to coerce individuals to support its wrong-doings,
    even to a level of violence which may exterminate millions of
    human beings and threaten survival of all life on earth.
  • That to
    protect its citizens the State should violate the Laws of Truth.
  • That it
    is morally acceptable for one State to exploit the people and
    ecology of another. Thus, that exploitation is an acceptable aim
    of politics.
  • That economic
    interests of corporations are senior to welfare of individuals.
  • That an
    industrial economy is unequivocally a good thing for all humanity.
  • That corporations
    are the best vehicle for human economic action.
  • That ever-increasing
    consumption to support an ever-growing economy is a good thing.
  • That corporate
    property rights and investor rights are senior to individual human
    rights.
  • That the
    individual is an economic entity and not a moral agency.
  • That propaganda
    rather than truth is an acceptable means of informing the public.
  • That public
    funds should be employed to subsidize corporations.
  • That the
    precept of "just war" is valid in human affairs.
  • That State
    Terrorism is a justifiable response to criminally violent acts
    of individuals.
  • That lies,
    deceit, secrecy and obfuscation are acceptable methods of "Statecraft."
  • That the
    State has a valid claim upon the labor product of its citizens,
    a form of slavery.
  • That a valid
    contract exists between the State and its citizens.
  • That men
    can be bound by a "constitution" of which they had no
    authorship, that was drafted by persons unknown to them, with
    whom they made no contract, and who are now dead.
  • That, in
    effect, the State owns its citizens as property.
  • That the
    private lives, speech, thoughts and beliefs of citizens should
    be open to State surveillance and control.
  • That "society"
    is a concrete entity rather than a churning coalescence of individuals
    acting according to their own self-interest. That "society"
    is more than a mere abstract term, and that it can thus be "managed"
    without respect for individual rights.
  • That "Group
    Think" does not ultimately lead to the lowest common moral
    denominator among individuals comprising the group, in that those
    with the most power are likely to be the least moral.
  • That those
    attracted to positions of authority within the State are not likely
    to be psychologically imbalanced, motivated by a lust for power
    and domination, prone to psychopathic behavior when given free
    rein.
  • That the
    State, although conceived in violence, maintained by violence,
    subsisting on violence, is a morally valid institution among men.
  • That the
    State is somehow a beneficent entity, comprised of Nice Government
    Men who always hold the interests of others above their own. That
    politics does not lead to theft. That politics does not nurture
    the growth of power. That politics does not beget competition
    for power. That politics does not foster centralization of power.
    That power does not absolutely corrupt. That power will not express
    as murder.
  • That the
    "public debt" of one generation can be passed to the
    next, i.e., that a man is obliged to the debt of a stranger whom
    he never met and who is now dead. That a person is obliged to
    a debt in the creation of which he had neither awareness nor voice.
  • That a group
    of criminals acting in a Parliament or Legislature can create
    and bind citizens to laws which are repugnant to conscience. Laws
    which result in destruction and death, and which violate the wisdom
    teachings of all the great spiritual traditions of humanity. Laws
    which reduce the lives of ordinary citizens to serfdom and conscription
    in carrying out the murderous agenda of the Powers That Be.

MORAL HYPOTHESES
AND CONCLUSIONS

A necessary
prerequisite for a nonviolent society is justice in all aspects
of life: food, shelter, clothing work, education, health, opportunity
for self-realization. Justice requires freedom, together with open
access to livelihood and trade without legal barriers operating
through the State's power of monopoly.

Humanity is
One and harmony must be worldwide. A proper rule of law requires
that human rights of all be equally protected. When a body of law
is created which tramples the rights of minorities and the weak,
such as Bretton Woods agreements, IMF, GATT and WTO, such law is
repugnant to the conscience and must be resisted by nonviolent means.
If we do not find nonviolent methods to resist imperialism in all
its different forms, including corporate imperialism, the suppressed
races of the world appear to have little hope.

A prerequisite
for peace is radical limitation of corporate power, a redefining
of the corporation as a legal entity. We must reject lifestyles
based upon creation of artificial needs, the fulfillment of which
harms others. Only that economy is good which conduces to the long
term good of all.

The modern
science of political economy is false science because it promotes
exploitation of man by man. True science is concerned with the welfare
and destiny of all men. This is the science taught by the sages:
Buddha, Christ, Confucius, Heraclitus, Lao Tse, Mahavir, Gandhi,
Schweitzer, U Ba Khin, the Dalai Lama. That economics is untrue
which ignores or disregards moral values. An economics which enables
the strong to exploit the weak is dismal as well as fake. This is
the economics of the Corporate Warfare State.

In 1981, fifty-three
Nobel Prize winners warned of an unprecedented holocaust, encompassing
the horrors of mass exterminations and extending the frontiers of
barbarism and death. In 1980, while tens of millions of people were
on the verge of starvation, the global war machine engaging 60 million
people was squandering nearly a million dollars per minute towards
our universal extermination. Today the level of violence is even
higher. It is incomprehensible.

The most fundamental
of human rights is the right to life. It is morally wrong to support
a group of states in their quest for the power to destroy all life.
A righteous person, intent upon spiritual evolution, must resist
this. Immoral means employed by the State or its corporate licensees
result in doing harm and failing to achieve a good end. It is the
inevitable result of the Law of Cause and Effect. Any perceived
success will be only temporary, while the evil will be long lasting.
The lie of the State at war cannot lead to Truth, just as war cannot
lead to peace.

Immoral means
predict and determine the ends. Modern science and technology have
bestowed upon States power beyond limits. This power is being used
in a moral vacuum. Unlimited power of the soulless state machine
and its corporate licensees, fostered by large-scale mechanization,
automation and massive concentration of wealth and power leads to
disintegration of society. This is manifest in the erosion of human
values we see all around. Such a milieu deprives man of his right
to self-actualization. If the price of "progress" is corruption,
how can a person be happy?

State corporate
governance has failed because it lacks a moral code based on true
human values. We live in a disintegrating culture. That which is
best and noblest in humanity is not nourished. The corporate culture
does not cultivate generosity, compassion, charity, morality, cooperation,
tolerance, wisdom, self-sacrifice, service to others. It does not
encourage gentleness and community, mutual support or harmony. “The
capitalist technocratic state system has become a monstrous destroyer
of what is loving and life affirming in the human soul.” (Miller,
1999).

In a traditional
society, the family and community constituted the basis of morality.
Stealing from one’s neighbor would be morally shocking. Now, in
public institutions, all manner of corruption is expected. The consequences
are huge, because the corruption involves doing violence to entire
cultures. Millions of people are made to suffer. This radical separation
of ethics from politics, foreshadowed in the long ago writings of
Machiavelli, appears to be a generic feature of the corporate state
structure.

A corporation
has no heart, no soul, no conscience, no morals. It is not a living
being. It cannot feel pain, sorrow, remorse shame, and compassion
because it is intrinsically unable to do so. It cannot laugh or
cry, enjoy the world, or suffer with it. Most of all, it cannot
love. This is because it is a legal fiction. Its “body” is a judicial
construct. It is a process, a machine designed for one purpose:
to generate maximum revenue at least cost. It is not connected to
earth or its creatures, to pleasures and responsibilities that derive
from being human, made of earth. When it hurts people or destroys
ecology, it feels nothing. It is incapable of feeling. Yet, under
law, it is deemed a “natural person” with all the legal and political
rights of a person except for actual voting. This is why corporations
are so dangerous: they act in human affairs without feeling and
with wholly selfish motives. They have become very powerful, in
some cases more powerful than the host government of which they
are a parasite.

Not only does
the corporation have the rights of a citizen (such as free speech,
right to sue for slander, libel, injury), but it has been granted
special protection over property rights. Rate of return on investment
has been declared a “property” immune to interference by citizens
or their elected representatives. Under U.S. law they are also granted
“eminent domain,” pursuant to which jury trials were eliminated
for determining whether corporate practices cause harm or injury,
and if so, the assessment of damages.

The fatal moral
flaw which makes these corporations so dangerous to the social body
upon which they feed like a cancer is an ethical design error. Their
owners, the shareholders are protected by law from legal and personal
liability for corporate harm to humanity or damage to ecology. This
is an attempt by men to create a shield that protects them from
consequences of their actions. It is an attempt to violate the Law
of Cause and Effect, the law of moral causation. There is no personal
accountability of the owners to society. The corporation has no
social responsibility. Yet it has legal and political rights by
legislative construct. It is a dangerous entity, pursuing only its
“genetic” program to generate profit without concern for long term
consequences to humanity. Can you imagine the outrage that would
land on the heads of individuals had they committed some of the
crimes of corporations which are now so commonplace in the news
as to have become routine?

“The special
status of corporations has placed them in a position to control
vast economic power by which they may dominate not only the economy
but also the very heart of our democracy, the electoral process.
The liberty of democracy is not safe if people tolerate the growth
of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the state
it itself. That, in essence, is fascism: ownership of government
by an individual, a group, or any controlling private power.” (Franklin
D. Roosevelt).

President
Abraham Lincoln opined: “I see a crisis approaching that unnerves
me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result
of the war, corporations have been enthroned. An era of corruption
in high places will follow and the money power of the country will
endeavor to prolong its reign by working on the prejudices of the
people until wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the republic
is destroyed.”

The 500 largest
corporations in the world now (1999) control 25% of the entire world
economic output. The largest 300 corporations own 25% of the world’s
productive assets. The 50 largest commercial banks and diversified
financial companies control nearly 60% of all global capital.

According to
Paul Hellyer, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, “Globalization is
not about trade. It is about power and control. It is reshaping
the world into one without borders ruled by a dictatorship of the
world’s most powerful central banks, commercial banks and multinational
companies."

The prime role
of government has been usurped by corporations in order to provide
a secure legal environment for profitable transnational investment
and competition. This usurpation provides security for capital,
property, and investors but not for ordinary citizens. The erroneous
premise of this role for government is that corporate property rights
are senior to human rights, and that the earth and its biological
life can be owned and exploited by non-human entities, rather than
nurtured and shared among human beings.

The issue of
taxation without representation was at the core of the American
Revolution. Beginning with the Bretton Woods international agreements
in 1944, followed by the Trilateral Commission of David Rockefeller
and other efforts organized by elite power brokers, control of representative
government has been systematically transferred from the people to
corporations. As shown in the preceding paragraphs, it is not possible
for corporations to have an unbiased interest in the public welfare.
Documented instances of corporate abuse of the public and the environment
are too numerous to list. Campaign contributions and the lobbying
arms of huge businesses control elections, legislation and public
policy. Powerful men hold in “revolving door” rotation high public
office and directorships of MNCs which are members of the military-industrial-political
complex. This is an unholy and incestuous relationship of regulator
and regulated. Reality on the ground is that American “democratic
government” and both of its major political parties are controlled
by corporations, not citizens. It is a false moral premise that
in a democracy these entities should have political rights and political
voice. It is not possible for corporations to represent the will
of the people. Thus we the people are de facto taxed without representation.
We have no effective voice in a government controlled by corporations.

Now, through
the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, General Agreement
on Trade & Tariffs (GATT), and the World Trade Organization
(WTO) at policy level — coordinated through the unholy marriage
of governments, central banks and multinational corporations at
the operational level — sovereignty of politically constituted governments
has been usurped by MNCs. The WTO has created an “Economic Constitution”
of the world. Economic exchange is at the core of human action and
affects every aspect of life: environment, education, health, labor
and political rights, war and peace. The scale of corporate activity
has become so large that it affects the most fundamental right:
the right to life itself. Millions of the world’s poorest people
are deprived of adequate livelihood and health by corporate actions
which destroy their ecology and local economies. As in constitutions,
trade agreements set forth rights of their constituents. But these
“constitutions” have been negotiated behind closed doors with input
only from corporations. Under WTO, only corporations are the beneficiaries
of the rights it creates. The interests of others in society are
nowhere to be found.

An international
agency of corporate constituents has the power to veto parliamentary
decisions made by sovereign governments wherever these decisions
are ruled “trade restrictive.” At risk are environmental protection,
labor and health law, consumer protection law, control of foreign
exchange and the massive flows of speculative capital which can
completely disrupt local economies. Witness the recent Asian economic
crisis which did untold damage to the lives of millions of poor
people. Proceedings of the WTO are closed: trade unions, consumer,
health and environmental groups are barred. Details of rulings are
not published. Membership of decision-making bodies is not disclosed
to the public. Everything is anonymous and there is no public accountability.

MNCs which
have substantial control over legislation as well as executive branch
policy are subsidized directly and indirectly with public finance.
Consider global transport and communications infrastructure, scientific
research and development, corporate agriculture, all of which are
subsidized by public funds generated through taxation of individuals.
Yet these MNCs operate clandestinely and are not accountable to
the public. This is truly abusive taxation without representation.
Having gained control of political parties and the electoral process,
corporations have usurped the government of the people and have
created a tyranny. We the people have no effective voice, yet we
subsidize these entities with our taxes.

There are other
issues with respect to taxation without representation. In 1776
the American tyrant was the British King. Today it is an institutionalized
structural tyranny of rule by corporations masquerading as democracy.
The people vote each 2 to 4 years for, usually (if you ask them),
the lesser of two evils, both of whom were put in place by corporate
money. It is a sham democracy. Corporations are the real power.
They form a collective dictatorship. The “nominees” that we elect
are not only beholden to the corporations which finance and control
the electoral outcome, but they may also be shareholders of the
same corporations which will come under their regulatory and policy
purview. It is incestuous.

Foreign policy
is made by people who own banks and corporations which profit from
preparing for war, marketing the war machine, and waging war. To
find the roots of war, follow the money. War may be couched in terms
of freedom, democracy, justice, religion, but if you follow the
money, it leads to powerful decision makers whose constituents in
banking and industry profit from war or the exploitation which leads
to war. Wars are fought with money borrowed from the public, the
employment of which enriches bankers and owners of the military
industrial complex. Only a morally flawed structure permits these
owners to influence decisions of war and peace.

The recent
Afghan situation is one example of many. It is widely known that
Big Oil, the US government and Pakistan coordinated early support
of Taliban in order to secure access for Big Oil to the fields of
Central Asia. Subsequently they destroyed their creation. Now they
will rebuild Afghanistan without having lost sight of the original
objective: access to oil of Central Asia. It has been reported in
the press that families of high US officials own shares in, among
others, Halliburton, Unocal and Carlyle (oil and defense). These
companies stand to profit from operations related to the war. A
political structure which permits State decision makers to benefit
financially from activities of the State over which they have influence
is morally wrong. The setup is such that MNCs benefit from war while
it is being marketed and waged and again profit from post-war reconstruction.
It is like a meat grinder with human beings the raw feed.

Killing is
never justified, but certainly its lowest threshold is self-defense.
There can be no justification for killing in the name of some “national
interest,” invariably an economic interest determined by power brokers
and not ordinary citizens. No villager is justified in murdering
members of another village for their grain. How can US government
be justified in murdering for oil?

The sheer size
and worldwide pervasive presence of the U.S. military establishment
— emplaced to protect corporate interests — is attestation to an
incomprehensible level of violence. This worldwide projection of
power is used to facilitate and expedite economic and ecological
exploitation of weaker and poorer people. On the basis of what wisdom
has the US government determined that its wasteful, destructive,
death-dealing culture is superior to others?

True rationality
must involve both freedom and foresight. The rationale of unbridled
corporate economics is unable to foresee and calculate future costs
in terms of human displacement and disenfranchisement. Class hatred
and violence inevitably arise from the agony of lost culture and
livelihood. What gives the US government the moral authority to
impose its way of life upon others? Together with imperial arrogance
to defend it at any cost — including nuclear holocaust — against
the feeble efforts of hapless millions struggling for mere survival?
Through economic power and leverage the US exploits wherever possible.
When economic power is insufficient to the purpose, it uses armed
force.

What was the
moral basis for US government destruction of millions of lives in
Vietnam? Under whose code of ethics did USG rain napalm bombs on
noncombatant Cambodia, incinerating thatched hut villages along
with women and children. This led to the destabilization that subsequently
spawned the “killing fields.” Whose killing fields are they, really?
The list of incomprehensible atrocities could fill a book. It turns
the stomach.

The human mind
has become brutalized by all pervasive violence, often gratuitous
as “entertainment” viewed by small children. We seem to have become
de-sensitized to the point of having lost all sense of moral outrage.
We are morally passive in the face of atrocity. The moral scale
of society has shrunk to the point that destructiveness and wanton
waste of life are “normal.”

Tax dollars
directly finance not only the military machine. Through direct and
indirect subsidy the ecologically destructive operations of MNCs
are financed by taxation of individuals. The huge infrastructures
of transportation, electric power, communications, media, global
trade, research and development for chemicals, pesticides, agriculture
and biotech enjoy massive public finance. Taxes are subsidizing
corporations which stand accused in the judicial system of criminal
activities, child abuse, and crimes against humanity (Tobacco and
Big Oil). Taxes subsidize alliances between Big Oil and brutal military
regimes in Africa and Burma.

In the 1960s,
the USG organized a military overthrow of Brazilian President Jose
Goulart. He had instituted capital and land reforms to take back
control from MNCs of Brazil’s natural resources. He had defied the
IMF. An alliance of the CIA with US investors and Brazil’s landowning
elite organized a coup and installed a military junta which overturned
Goulart’s reforms. This is but one example of a list that could
fill a library.

A military
infrastructure is needed to keep the structure of globalization
in place and to guarantee access to natural resources on which the
model depends. The hidden hand of the market will never work without
a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas
to build the Stealth Bomber. The hidden fist that keeps the world
safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is the US Army, Air Force,
Navy, Marine Corps. Keeping the world “safe” for global corporations
does not come cheap. Just ensuring the steady supply of oil is costing
US taxpayers $57 billion annually (circa 1998). Including the infrastructure
of military power worldwide, the costs of globalization are much
higher.

Taxes subsidize
increasing international trade which means ever-increasing pollution
and destruction. Corporations control the political system which
grants these subsidies: they are the driving force behind both the
nation state and globalization. Tax dollars finance crimes against
humanity. The same entities which commit the crimes have control
of the political system. It is tyranny.

In summary,
our planetary ecosystem is being shredded by the violence of greed
to fulfill artificial needs, its species genetically engineered,
poisoned and displaced, a majority of the world’s peoples (the gentlest
ones) impoverished, disenfranchised, displaced. Society is devolving
into violence and debauchery. Life is being destroyed by corporations
on all fronts: commercial, military, political, and social. Nowhere
is there silence. The air is fouled, the waters poisoned. This vast
interconnected killing machine is being financed with tax dollars
paid by people who have no effective voice. We have become slaves
to an inhuman machine of heartless corporate components. We the
people created this monster. We the people must peacefully, nonviolently
reprogram it.

THE DECISION
TO RESIST

Gathering of
Elders, Pasquah, Canada: Indigenous spiritual leaders had come from
around the world. The Cree Elder had asked my profession. Upon my
response, he said: “You are like a bank robber. First your people
took our animals, then they took our fish, then they took our trees.
Then they began breaking even the rocks of Earth herself and taking
them. You pushed us from our homelands onto the reserves. Now you
are going to flood even the little bit left to us, so that your
hydro power project will keep the houses of your big city people
cool in summer. You people are like termites eating their own house.
What will you do when there is no home left for anyone?”

Chihuahua City,
Mexico, Environmental Conference: The World Bank had proposed to
finance a project of logging the last of old growth forest in Sierra
Occidental, where Tarahumara Indians are struggling to survive.
The timber is feed for a pulp mill. Before an audience of scientists,
bureaucrats, environmentalists and trade officials assembled in
University of Chihuahua auditorium stands a Tarahumara Elder. His
hand holds a cheap pulp magazine, a transmission of rubbish. Gazing
calmly at the industrialists and bankers, the Tarahumara speaks
softly: “You are cutting the last of our trees to turn them into
this. The forest is the life of my people. When you have cut the
trees, we will die, and you will read this.” A few miles from the
auditorium, Tarahumara women and children are living in burrows
dug into mounds of garbage at the city dump. At a small village
in the Sierra, a Tarahumara elder had said: “I tell my young men
not to fight. I tell them we must be patient, we must wait. The
white man will destroy himself.”

I had piloted
my personal aircraft from Alaska to Mexico to provide volunteer
flight service for an environmental organization. The mission was
to fly opinion makers for a direct took at logging devastation.
In a kind of epiphany I realized for sure that my whole lifestyle
made me part of the problem. If I sincerely wished to become part
of the solution, I must change — entirely change — my way of life.

I made the
decision to leave my own, my native land forever. I would become
a man without a country, separated by a vast ocean from friends,
family and my young adult children. No more would I smell the rain
on high desert sagebrush, nor hear the wolves howling across moonlit
tundra, nor watch the Northern Lights dance in Arctic sky.

I would owe
allegiance to all of humanity and to no State. I would be the indentured
servant of no gang of murderers sitting in any legislative body.
By paying tax to no State would I finally make a farewell to arms.
I would seek peace and brotherhood.

Man does not
lose his freedom except through his own ignorance. The primary ignorance
at play in a corporate state society is ignorance of the Law of
Cause and Effect, the Law of Moral Causation, the Truth of Dependent
Origination. Freedom and slavery are mental states. First say to
ourselves we shall no longer accept the role of slave. Then be willing
to act and suffer the consequences. There is no high destiny without
self-denial.

Law of Ahimsa
(non-violence):
Love is the law of the human race and is infinitely
greater than and superior to brute force. Ahimsa requires a living
faith and commitment to Truth, which is Love (or God if you prefer).
It is inconsistent with modern imperialism based on force for its
defense. It protects one’s self-respect but not his property. Nonviolence
can be practiced by all who have a living faith in Truth and therefore
equal love for all mankind. Moral activity on behalf of others is
self-realization because humanity is One.

Gandhi speaks:
“In order to see face to face the universal and all penetrating
Truth, we must be able to love even the least of creatures as we
love ourselves. The man who attempts this cannot be indifferent
to anything in life. Ahimsa overrides all other forces. It is the
only true force in life. u2018Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven and
all else shall be added unto you.' The Kingdom of Heaven is Ahimsa."
One must renounce violence in the heart, and then consciously exercise
of the power of Ahimsa generated by this renunciation.

The pre-eminence
of these principles is made known to me through my personal moral
conscience, life experience and reason. These Laws have been expounded
by the great sages of humanity. Most notable in my personal studies
are the Buddha, Christ, Lao Tse and Mahavir. In modern times they
have been exemplified by Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy, John Ruskin, Albert
Schweitzer and Henry David Thoreau. I have drawn on the inspiration
of these and others to organize my thoughts into a plan of action.

Principal
Axioms of Theory and Practice of Nonviolent Resistance:
Evil
is parasitic on good, inhumanity on humanity. No man is entirely
devoid of humanity. Suffering, accepted in the spirit of nonviolent
witness to truth, can restore to a person his lost humanity. All
exploitation is based upon cooperation, willing or forced, of the
exploited. Non-cooperation and fearlessness go together. The nonviolent
resister fights with his power of suffering in order to arouse his
opponent’s power of sympathy. This restores to the oppressor his
humanity, while restoring to the oppressed his justice denied. Non-violent
struggle properly conducted, even if it fails, leaves behind no
trail of bitterness. Passive resistance is a method of securing
rights by personal suffering. It is the reverse of resistance by
arms. It involves sacrifice of the self. Sacrifice of the self is
superior to sacrifice of others. Civil disobedience serves all,
including the tyrant, by teaching him his error. Evil can be sustained
only by violence. Therefore, withdrawal of support for evil requires
complete abstention from violence. Nonviolence requires voluntary
submission to the penalty of non-cooperation with evil. The government
itself does not expect our full cooperation. It does not say: “You
must do this.” It says: “If you do not do this, we will punish you.”
Sincerity of a moral position requires willingness to accept the
costs necessary to see the principles realized. When it violates
his moral conscience, no person will submit to the evil of another
or group of others except under coercion. The means pre-exist in,
predict and determine the end. It is impossible for violent means
to achieve moral ends.

Justification
for Civil Disobedience:
When the injustice is great and morally
repugnant. When it is of a nature that can be resolved by non-cooperation.
When the offence is real to the best of one’s knowledge and belief.
When administrative recourse is not reasonably available, or after
thorough examination is deemed to be ineffective. The goal must
accord with natural right. The resister must not hate his opponent.
The goal must conduce to the good of all.

Certain
Gandhian Prerequisites for Civil Disobedience:
The following
are required in order to earn the moral authority to make a distinction
between moral and immoral law. One must have obeyed consistently
the law of his country. He must have served society. Must have embarked
upon the work of self-purification and be adhering to the five basic
moral precepts. Must have met his family obligations and made arrangements
for them to be covered in his absence. Must be prepared for self-
sacrifice and significant hardship. One cannot disobey the law while
continuing to live under its protection and with its comforts which
are financed by the other citizens who are obeying it. One must
strive for harmony of thought-word-deed. To think one thing, say
another, and do a third is a lie. One must be prepared to embark
upon a program of constructive service to humanity along with self-sacrifice.
The resister must not hate his opponent. The goal must conduce to
the good of all.

MY PERSONAL
PROGRAM OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

I slowly progressed
in self-purification and spiritual growth through meditation practice
as taught by the Buddha. Unbearable became the inner moral conflict
and despair arising from the knowledge that my labor — through the
income tax — was supporting murder of innocent women and children
at many places around the world. In order to save myself from internal
disintegration, it became imperative to act.

At first I
reacted out of anger and despair at the desecration which was being
financed by my labor. As my meditation practice deepened, it became
clear that anger was only hurting me. Anger was doing nothing to
cure human ignorance, which is the root cause of evil. Gradually
I desisted from putting more fuel on the fire of anger. Anger attenuated
and was replaced with first forgiveness, and then compassion for
those people caught in the great MNC killing machine. The call to
action metamorphosed into anguished love with malice towards none.

Now, my actions
are designed with such mindfulness as I can muster to rotate anger
at a system gone mad with the violence of its greed into compassion
for evil-doers, while dissociating myself from them and from the
system. I am doing my best to walk the path pointed by Buddha and
Gandhi: self-purification through meditation, renunciation of worldly
pleasures and comforts, combined with a constructive program of
humanitarian service.

Guided by Gandhi,
I undertook a moral inventory of my deeds in relation to my government.
I had served my country across a span of thirty years in a range
of voluntary humanitarian and public service. My work had received
awards and recognition from all levels of citizenship, including
local community organizations, a State governor, a Secretary of
the US Cabinet, and the President. As an entrepreneur, I had founded
companies that created hundreds of jobs and financed a lot of kids
through school, paid a lot of taxes. I founded nonprofit charitable
organizations, co-created a new Montessori school, an adult learning
center and indigenous social programs. I did significant work in
the largest Native American land settlement in history. I had obeyed
the laws of my country. To this extent I had earned the moral authority
to make my decision.

I examined
the possibilities of actual, practical, timely administrative recourse
in terms of an individual obtaining permission to cease filing and
paying income taxes on the basis of conscience. It is my natural
right to act as an individual and not be required to be a member
of an “authorized” religious organization. No organization has moral
sovereignty over my conscience.

I have had
long personal experience with government at all levels including
the judiciary. They are not bona fide repositories of high moral
wisdom. The closer the approach to inner circles of power, the more
pervasive are corruption and the lie. I and my companies had been
through tax audits with 100% clean marks. Some of my acquaintances
were not so lucky. I am well informed of the abuse of citizens through
tax audits. The invasive procedures of auditors into personal affairs
of citizens are an unwarranted violation of The Bill of Rights.
The power to tax is the power to destroy. The lives of many citizens
have been destroyed by IRS abuses. These methods keep the public
intimidated. Those who request to keep back the “war tax” portion
of their payment on the basis of religion are flagged for special
treatment and subjected to harassment. It is vicious.

I studied these
matters for long. Based upon my observations and common sense, it
is clear that a citizen acting as an individual has no chance against
the government in matters of conscientious objection to the income
tax. The destructive activities of the military-industrial-political
complexes are so systematically embedded that withholding the “war
portion” of a tax is ineffective. It would be like trying to distinguish
blood corpuscles which serve the liver from those that serve the
lung.

The State has
framed the rules. I cannot prevail in a petition brought within
the bounds of the self same rules which my conscience requires me
to disobey. I can only act as guided by my conscience in response
to my perception of events and my understanding of a civil human
society. My choice as a moral being was to take the path of civil
disobedience.

It is incomprehensible
that any government has a moral right to force a person to kill,
or through taxation to finance murder and even mass extermination
of innocent human beings. How can I support war crimes, human rights
violations, crimes against humanity? During the past fifty years
the US government has built an inhuman machinery of escalating violence
that threatens all life with extinction. The government, having
no moral right to require my participation, must rely on brute force
to coerce my payment of taxes. Certainly this meets the test of
“a great and unendurable tyranny.” If I submit to this, I become
a slave. I cannot obey the law without violating my conscience and
my loyalty to the human race. My choice was to participate as an
automaton in the organized, systematic destruction of life or to
withdraw from participation in the corporate controlled society.
The only safe and honorable course for me to keep my self-respect
was to disobey and willingly face the penalties.

These words
are not by way of defense, but simply a description so that rational
people may have a basis for understanding my actions. I am a simple
human being trying to live my ideals. If I run afoul of the State,
let it do with me as it wishes.

Having tried
hard to understand the Law of Ahimsa, to meet its prerequisites
in my personal life, to prepare myself for self-purification and
a life of sacrifice and to embark upon a program of constructive
humanitarian service, I committed myself to a personal solo program
of civil disobedience.

I hereby declare
that I have deliberately disobeyed the tax regulations of my country
(but not the underlying Constitution). I make distinction between
regulation, law, and Constitution because I believe them to be inconsistent
and because law and regulation are so complex and permeated with
obfuscation as to be incomprehensible to me. The regulations as
promulgated in IRS publications seem clear on one point: if a person
fails to file and pay taxes due, he is subject to civil and criminal
penalties. I hereby serve notice upon authorities of the US government
that I have deliberately failed to file tax returns as an act of
conscious civil disobedience. I also declare that no taxes are due,
as will be set forth in the following.

I admit that
I have often been unable to act according to the highest moral law,
which rules thought as well as word and deed. This does not invalidate
the law. It demonstrates the practical difficulties. Geometry is
not less true because I may not be able to draw a straight line.
I can only take one step at a time. The point of beginning is my
capability for nonviolence now, to be improved one day at a time.
The point of departure for moral practice is prevailing morality,
which must be changed, one action at a time towards the goal.

Upon making
the decision to cease filing and paying income tax, I undertook
a radical reorganization of my life. I would have to emigrate, to
become a “tax exile.” It would not be right to benefit from the
facilities and protection of my country while not paying my share.
Reorganization had to be in gradual steps bemuse of obligations
to children. Only when the youngest reached majority could I make
the final move. Withdrawing from my businesses, I began devoting
myself to a wide range of humanitarian service without pay. I ceased
generating income and lived on savings. Personal property of every
description was sold to the point of a simple lifestyle. Stocks
and securities were sold at substantial losses. Corporate and partnership
businesses were divested at large losses. These losses generated
a large "net operating loss carry forward" for tax purposes.

No income tax
would be due for remainder of my life. As a tax protestor I cannot
in good conscience make a claim for Social Security retirement benefits.
The funds I paid to Social Security over a period of more than forty
years are lost to me. It is part of the price of freedom. The needs
of my simple lifestyle could be met out of savings on which taxes
had already been paid.

Knowing that
deposits at interest are indiscriminately loaned to government and
business engaged in destruction of life, I abstained from interest-bearing
instruments. I had come to see interest "earnings" as
the wages of death.

When my youngest
child reached majority, I moved to India. I ceased filing tax returns.
Demands by mail notwithstanding, I believe that filing is not required
if the taxpayer has no income. In my circumstances, the demands
for information are an unwarranted violence upon my person, my privacy,
my right to personal security and to be left alone to pursue my
peaceful life. I will not respond. I declare myself to be a free
man, no longer a slave to the great corporate government killing
machine.

The path of
civil disobedience marked out by Gandhi requires self-sacrifice,
self-purification, and a constructive humanitarian program to run
alongside the action of non-cooperation with evil. Here in an Indian
village I rent two rooms of stone and mud, take two meals per day
of rice, lentils and chapatti, bathe with a bucket of hand-carried
cold water and use the same open field toilet as my Indian hosts.
My basic cost of living is about 2000 rupees per month (less than
$50). I maintain a practice of Buddhist meditation, practice eight
precepts to the extent capable and fast for one day each week. I
have helped build two meditation retreat centers and am working
towards a third. I tutor English, do voluntary service at meditation
centers, help build village schools, establish libraries, sponsor
education of refugee children and a tuberculosis program, and assist
in agricultural and reforestation work. I work to contribute to
the pool of quietude and peace in human consciousness, to balm the
brutality of Western imperialism, to save our ecosystem from destruction.
I organize my life around the ultimate goal of Self-Realization,
the birthright of every human being.

My decision
to undertake civil disobedience through emigration and self-imposed
exile has entailed some hardship and risk. The life of an aging
foreigner alone and homeless in India is not easy. It is painful
to be separated from family, friends, and homeland. There are problems
with safe water, food, health, sanitation, and personal security.
The cold of snowy winter in unheated rooms is penetrating. Support
arrangements are unstable and keep on dissolving. Obstacles of language
and culture are daunting. It is a two-day journey by jeep, bus,
and train to the nearest bona fide medical doctor. Hospitals of
which I have personal knowledge are filthy and septic. Disease is
prevalent, civil disturbances are rampant, and war is an ever-present
threat. Everywhere I witness poverty, misery, and suffering.

I mention the
above only to serve as verifiable background against future actions
of nonviolent civil disobedience that are beginning to present themselves
to my mind. We do not have a lot of time remaining in which to save
ourselves from self-destruction. The looming crises of water and
failure of agriculture are powerful "weapons of mass destruction,"
leave aside the threat of nuclear holocaust. Simply withdrawing
from participation in the "system" may not be of sufficient
moral vigor.

THE GROUND
OF BEING

High above
a mountain village in the Himalaya, on the way towards a place where
I hope to build a meditation hut, I stop to rest at an alpine meadow.
A breath-taking visa of the Grand Himalaya Range stretches for 200
miles. An eagle soars on afternoon thermals as towering thunderheads
rise into a Cerulean sky.

Against this
awesome grandeur, one witnesses human wretchedness and realizes
the depth of his moral responsibility. A Universal Responsibility
towards all beings. My every action affects directly or indirectly
the welfare of my fellowmen. The first morality and the first service
to others is the same: do no harm.

May I learn
from Indian mountain villagers fewness of wishes and generosity.
May I learn to simplify and to use least possible in order that
others may live. May I learn to nourish the life support system
of our shared earth. Whatever I have accumulated during my earthly
sojourn will remain here upon my demise, so let me learn to share
it. Only qualities of heart and mind will accompany me to the next
world, there to determine my destiny.

Answering to
the war drum becomes unthinkable. The pole star of peace beckons
to quiet walks in the woods, or to comforting a child, or communing
with a cow (so calm, gentle and nourishing, a cow). Communing with
a cow reminds me of my identity with all that lives.

May the generosity,
helpfulness, patience, and forbearance of Indian mountain villagers
inspire all who come here to renew their connection with others
and with Nature. May these villagers and all their visitors be successful.
May they all experience real happiness, real peace and real harmony.

In a world
gone mad with the violence of its greed, a way must be made to the
peace and compassion by which alone humanity may survive. Love alone
transfigures hatred. Ahimsa, nonviolence, is the working force of
love.

Einstein said:
“Humanity’s problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking
that created them.” Tolstoy wrote: “Love is what men live by.”

May remembrance
of untrammeled wilderness and a vibrant web of natural life not
vanish from the mind of man. May beauty and the Mystery unlock the
latent urge to inquire within Who am I? From where have I come?
Where am I going? How may I understand, penetrate the cause of birth,
old age, decay and death? How shall I live?

Gandhi believed:
“In the midst of death, life persists. In midst of untruth, truth
persists. In the midst of darkness, light persists. Hence God is
life, truth, love. There is underlying all change a living power
that is changeless, holds all together, creates, dissolves and re-creates.
This informing power or spirit is God.”

It is to this
Truth that is God, non-violence and morality that man owes his first
allegiance. This loyalty, this devotion, this consecration is higher
than that owed to any institution of man.

October
8, 2006

Jeff
Knaebel [send him
mail
] is an expatriate American domiciled in India since 1995.
He formerly practiced as a registered professional engineer, having
been trained at Cornell Univ. and the Colorado School of Mines.

Email Print
FacebookTwitterShare
  • LRC Blog

  • LRC Podcasts