“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SFU Keynote Abstract

Disturbing Gentleness: The Ontological Depth of Nonviolence

[for the conference on nonviolence on November 15]

Nonviolent ethics enjoins us to practice nonviolence in all aspects of life. But what is the basis for this? In this talk I shall argue that nonviolence descends all the way down into fundamental ontology—the basic questions of being: what exists, what is existence? I shall argue that there is now a high degree of congruence between recent developments in Western ontology and Eastern philosophies that have inspired the thinking and practice of nonviolence, such as Buddhism. This happy conjunction presents humans with a genuinely new choice as we face a future ecological age in which we must acknowledge our coexistence with one another, with all lifeforms, and indeed with nonlife.


Per Herngren said...

This seems really interesting, to connect nonviolence and object realism! I did a google search on you, "Timothy Morton" and nonviolence, and found only a few shorter pieces. Do you have some longer texts on nonviolence? Maybe in one of your books on Ecology?

I am from Gothenburg, some people call this area Sweden. I am active with the plowshares, disarming weapons with hammers, I have served time in prison in Europe and in the U.S. Lately, I have been giving trainings in civil disobedience and nonviolence in Iraq, Turkey and Kurdistan, mainly for democracy activists in the Arabic spring and for Kurdish activists.

One of my books on civil disobedience and nonviolence is translated into English (Path of Resistance), and also my postprotest manifesto, and some other texts. You can find my texts in English here:


Timothy Morton said...

That's great Per. Thanks so much for letting me know about this.