E.F. Schumacher On Nonviolence (Berkeley, 1976)

Posted by Viral Mehta on Jun 19, 2009
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From a transcription of a lecture on Nonviolence delivered in Berkeley in 1976, by E. F. Schumacher:

The whole question of nonviolence was taken by various people as being primarily a question of revolution or change or avoidance of war, but the more I reflect on the matter the more I see that it goes very, very much deeper.  So I will start talking about technology because what we stand in need of is to recognize the violence in our technology.  We are always prepared to react in a violent manner because we are very short-tempered.  We want to solve the problem immediately.  We normally solve problems by taking a sledgehammer and smashing it and then the poor problem explodes into twelve bits, and then we take sledgehammers to smash each of the twelve and again they explode.   The whole idea of nonviolence is to start living a nonviolent way, and the slogan of the organization which I set up in England twelve years ago, the Intermediate Technology Development Group, is something like, "It's second class people who solve problems.  First class people don't have them." It's much better not to have them in the first place.   As a highly intelligent person once asked, "When we see the connection, if an ancestor of long ago would visit us today what would he be more astonished at – the number of our dentists or the rottenness of our teeth?" We're very grateful that we have these problem solvers, the dentists, but it would be much cleverer not to have rotten teeth.

Full article here.

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Comments (2)

  • supun wrote ...

    I enjoyed reading that transcript of the speech from 1976. I didn't really buy the statements about Metaphysics and Spirituality, but everything else seemed to make sense and I learned, relearned, and untaught myself through a bunch of ideas reading that. Thank you for posting it, Viral.

    Here's an article about Dry Farming:


  • Kate wrote ...

    Success is to have good relations with all passengers provided we give the best of ourselves. Danville's Concrete & Masonry Co.