Topics | Pacifism | The Sun Magazine #2


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If people are highly successful in their professions they lose their senses. Sight goes. They have no time to look at pictures. Sound goes. They have no time to listen to music. Speech goes. They have no time for conversation. They lose their sense of proportion — the relations between one thing and another. Humanity goes.

Virginia Woolf

August 2002
Sy Safransky's Notebook

December 2001

What shall I pray for now? The triumph of good over evil? A better year for American business? Shall I pray to have more faith in George W. Bush than I did when he stole the election? I don’t want to be fighting a war against terrorism. I want everything to be the way it was before. Give me back the War on Poverty. Hell, give me back the War on Drugs.

By Sy Safransky December 2001
The Sun Interview

Study War No More

An Interview With Colman McCarthy

Pacifists believe in force: the force of justice, the force of ideas, of love, of organized resistance to Caesar and the Pharaohs. Others solve their problems through the force of fists, guns, armies, and nukes. There’s no third way. Any problem you have, whether at home with your family or among governments, is going to be solved through the use of force: nonviolent force or violent force.

By Andrea Wolper July 1991
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

A Good Life

We were in the kitchen, listening to the radio — Norma preparing dinner, Mara studying for exams — when the bulletin came over the air. The United States had just gone to war with Iraq. Mara, not quite fifteen, looked up in astonishment. Norma put down her knife and wept.

By Sy Safransky February 1991
The Sun Interview

From Conflict To Intimacy

An Interview With Danaan Parry

You and I and every human being I have met in any culture — we have all been conditioned to put a barrier between ourselves and other people, to stay safe. And it is that safety that creates most of the conflicts in the world. It’s that crazy paradoxical situation whereby if I stay safe from you in that way, I can make you the enemy, and we can go to war and kill one another. That kind of safety has to end — especially in this nuclear age. We have to make ourselves unsafe to one another personally and psychologically so that our planet can be safe.

By Dana Branscum June 1988
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Pacifism Versus Passivism

On Revolutionary Nonviolence

When the court translators working in the hire of King James chose to translate antistenai as “Resist not evil,” they were doing something more than rendering Greek into English. They were translating nonviolent resistance into docility. Jesus did not tell his oppressed hearers not to resist evil. That would have been absurd.

By Walter Wink August 1987
The Sun Interview

Making War Obsolete

An Interview With Gene Sharp

Our aim is to blow the top off nonviolent struggle and show people that it’s much more powerful than they believe.

By Valerie Andrews March 1987
The Sun Interview

A Better Game Than War

An Interview With Robert Fuller

In short, the activities that outmode and replace war must deal with incompleteness, whether it be of the body, mind or soul. No one activity embodies all these aspects. Nonetheless, to deal with want in any of its forms is to move toward bypassing war; and conversely, not to deal with want is to court war. We begin to see the outline of another grand human game on the horizon, coaxing us away from the thrills of the battlefield. It is the discovery and completion of one’s own self as experienced in one’s culture, and one’s self as manifested in one’s supposed enemy or shadow.

By Robert Fuller January 1987
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Ruminations On The Great Peace March

There must be many creative things one can do or statements one can make with a million signatures, but the most important moment in the life of a signature may be just when it is signed and the most important effect, however infinitesimal, may be on the signer. Today some people signed their names to a petition calling for nothing less than global nuclear disarmament, and joined their names with hundreds of thousands of others. Even if they turn right around and “forget” about it, does that render it an insignificant act? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

By Marc Polonsky November 1986


The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

April 1986