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“Here is a statement of Gandhi that sums up clearly and concisely the whole doctrine of nonviolence:  ‘The way of peace is the way of truth.’  ‘Truthfulness is even more important than peacefulness.  Indeed, lying is the mother of violence.  A truthful man cannot long remain violent.  He will perceive in the course of his research that he has no need to be violent, and he will further discover that so long as there is the slightest trace of violence in him, he will fail to find the truth he is searching.’  Why can we not believe this immediately?  Why do we doubt it?  Why does it seem impossible?  Simply because we are all, to some extent, liars.


The mother of all other lies is the lie we persist in telling ourselves about ourselves.  And since we are not brazen enough liars to make ourselves believe our own lie individually, we pool all our lies together and believe them because they have become the big lie uttered by the vox populi, and this kind of lie we accept as ultimate truth.  ‘A truthful man cannot long remain violent.’  But a violent man cannot even begin to look for the truth.  To start with, he wants to rest assured that his enemy is violent, and that he himself is peaceful.  For then his violence is justified.  How can he face the desperate labor of coming to recognize the great evil that needs to be healed in himself?  It is much easier to set things right by seeing one’s own evil incarnate in a scapegoat, and to destroy both the goat and the evil together.”

From Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander – Thomas Merton