The book –”The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People”, by Jonathan Schell, points out the relationship of violence to political power. It states that, by the end of World WarII, the future is of peaceful co-operation among countries. The author says that the ethics of Virgil and Jesus influenced the world. Virgil points out the use of force as the final arbitrator in the affairs of the world. But, Jesus advised the world on the importance of peaceful co-existence.
The argument is that, is peaceful co-operation able to change the future of our world? Nowadays we can see the development of peaceful war- non-violent resistance. The author is of the opinion that violence can be replaced by cooperation through human interaction.
Throughout the book, we can see the influence of Gandhi’s philosophy of “satyagraha”. It is the weapon of “Satyagrahi” who is not willing to obey unjust laws or hesitate to co-operate with an unjust system. John J. Reilly points out that, satyagrahis are against violence and they use satyagraha for self-expression without violence. “Satyagrahis are, at the base, engaged in a program of irresponsible self-expression.
On a political level, satyagraha is a movement of opposition.” (Jonathan, 2003) Politically, satyagraha can be considered as a movement of opposition. Moreover, the author points out that “people’s war had become peoples’ war”. For example, World WarII and the Cold War are over, empires are broken down but the terror of war is not over. There exists a battle between ethnic and religious fragments. So there is a scope for a system of humanitarian intervention. It can be argued that any antiviolence treaty is able to stop the production of nuclear weapons. The only policy that can combat and reduce any mode of terrorism is peaceful cooperation among countries.
When we consider the ideas of Gandhi and Mao Zedong, it is evident that they are the exemplars of contrasting philosophies of patriotism, economic development, and violence. Mao Zedong’s idea was based on the tradition of military strength and physical force that can play an important role in social change. But, Gandhi was against the military strength and physical force and preached the value of “ahimsa” or non-violence. Both these national leaders mobilized mass movements of common people against the colonial power.
They fought for political independence and attempted to change the mindset of the people. It resulted in the development of nationalism and nationalist consciousness among the people in India and China. Moreover, they fought against colonization and the colonial system of administration. Their ultimate aim was to construct a value-centered alternative society. So, it is evident that their ways are different but the ultimate aim is the same. Moreover, the ideas of Gandhi and Mao are able to change the attitude and minds of the people.
When we try to connect the ideas of Gandhi and Mao to the work of Jonathan Schell, we can see that it is closely connected to the relationship of violence to political power. We can see that the future is of peace not war among the countries. Here Gandhi’s Satyagraha, ahimsa non-violence, and non-co-operation are important. If we are ready to shed hatred and attempt to be cooperative, the future of humanity will become bright. The problem that the modern world is facing today is violence. So, it is evident that each individual is responsible for the peaceful existence of humanity. We can conclude that self-reliant nationalism and belief in peace can change the future of the world.
Schell, Jonathan. The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People. Metropolitan Books. 2003. Web.