Secret of Leadership and Power

Leadership“Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it.”
– Hannah Arendt

The concept of leadership can mean different things to each person.  People have various styles of leadership.  So what makes someone a leader, and how does he exert influence, or power, on others?

When I heard about Arendt’s theory of power in a class, I was first surprised by the seemingly paradoxical standpoint.  Arendt says that violence is an indication of the lack of power.  But use of violence and force is often associated with power, as we see in ever-increasing military forces in the world today. Continue reading

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I just wanted to take the moment to say “thank you” for being part of this community. I just realized that today I have reached more than 500 views in total.

Yes, it’s a small milestone, but I appreciate every one of the readers. I started this blog at the very end of February, and though I have not been able to post as often as I would like to, this has been an important outlet for me.

I hope I will keep engaging all of you and start reaching more people. Here’s to the next milestone of 1,000 views!

Thank you!

Story of New Story – Introducing Metta’s Roadmap

roadmap emergenceToday, the Metta Center for Nonviolence released its latest issue of monthly e-magazine, Emergence.  The issue focused on Roadmap, a way of making the movement of movements visual.  Roadmap is also a set of tools we can use as activists.  It is Metta Center’s attempt to offer three things to help create an unstoppable movement: unity, strategy, and nonviolent power.  The Vol 6 of Emergence will be a great “one-stop shop” for those seeking to learn more about Roadmap or simply trying become familiar with nonviolence and Metta’s work.

For this exciting issue, I helped compile all the pieces as a guest editor, and also contributed an article on “New Story,” one of the six wedges of Roadmap and one on which Metta Center places a great emphasis.  It was also very timely that the latest issue of Yes! Magazine featured “The Power of Story.”  The issue contains some powerful quotes on the need for new narratives that would remind us of our human dignity and interconnectedness with others.

Below is my article, “Story of New Story,” as published in Emergence.  I hope you enjoy it and also read the rest of the issue!

Continue reading

Expansion of Democracy

If, instead of referring to the movement as the civil rights movement, we spoke in terms of the expansion of democracy, then each new generation would recognize that they have a responsibility to expand democracy beyond the way they found it. This duty is an ongoing task that each new generation must accept. The question is how to engage the next generation and convey this important message to them. This is a major issue to which, as you can tell, I have passionately devoted myself.
— Vincent Harding

Vincent Harding

Dr. Vincent Harding, a friend of and advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. and an incredible human being, passed away yesterday, May 19th. I was so fortunate to have had the chance to meet him twice in Denver. To celebrate his life and dedication to humanity, I wanted to share this quote from his from the book “America Will Be! Conversation on Hope, Freedom, and Democracy,” as a way to assure him that I’ll carry on his message. 

Where Spirituality Meets Social Change

Recently David Loy contributed an article to openDemocracy, providing a Buddhist perspective on human qualities upon which modern institutions of economy and politics are based.  I truly appreciated that through his article Loy connected the Buddhist wisdom and the very problems our society is facing today.  At the same time, since this is timely, I thought I would share my own perspective.  His article also reminded me why I feel passionate about working for nonviolence – a place where my spirituality meets my intellectual curiosity, passion for social change, and desire to take practical actions.  Continue reading

How I Became an Eco Convert

cherry blossomHappy Earth Day!

I am a little embarrassed to admit, but I was never passionate about environmental issues until very recently.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love nature. Growing up in a small town of Katano, in Osaka, Japan, I used to catch crabs in the river and chase dragonflies in the mountains.

But when it came to environmental issues, or being eco-friendly myself, I wasn’t very interested.  In retrospect, I believe the disconnect came from apathy.  I thought I was just one of billions of people on this planet, and my personal actions did not matter.  Reading articles about how much water we waste daily did not strike a chord in me.  Sure, I can be conscious, but there are so many others wasting more than I do, I thought.  It just felt like trying to put away fire with a few drops of water.

Continue reading

Just Because We Do Not Know.

People Power (Philippines, 1986)

People Power (Philippines, 1986)

I used to wonder what an individual could do in the face of war and conflict. Decisions on international politics and foreign policy are made at such a high level that I felt there was nothing I could do about it.

But in reality, there are many ways to affect change, and some are very practical – and creative.

Have you heard of “third-party intervention” and “unarmed civilian peacekeeping” (UCP) in conflicts? I was first introduced to the concepts last year while studying for the Certificate in Nonviolence Studies at the Metta Center for Nonviolence. Through the work of organizations such as Peace Brigates International and Nonviolent Peaceforce, hundreds of volunteers have traveled to conflict zones to defuse violence and protect human rights workers. Interesting, right?

Here I want to share a story of Karen Ridd from the book, Search For A Nonviolent Future, written by the founder of Metta Center, Michael Negler.  It is a little long, but I think you will enjoy it. (You can also download the book in PDF.) Continue reading

Watch Your Mouth: The Shame of Shaming

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Technology has changed the way we receive news. Not only do we get updates and breaking news instantly, we also have the ability to comment on articles and share on social media.

Every day, we read disheartening news from all over the world, such as the situation in Crimea and the scandal of a senator in California. Even after exploring so many human rights issues, it is still beyond me that human beings are extremely capable of harming others to promote self interests.

Equally disheartening to me, though, are some of the people’s comments, directed to in this case, Putin and Leland Yee. Continue reading

Dismantling the “Atomic Bomb” in Our Hearts

This is a slightly-modified version of an article I wrote with my friend Eric last summer.  Since the theme of the article is so closely related to the goal of this blog, I asked for permission to post it here. 

Anthony Freda "War Mind"

Anthony Freda “War Mind”

When we engage in dialogue with youth about nuclear abolition, one question often comes up: “How does this relate to my life?”  True, discussions around nuclear abolition usually involve policies and politics, and it is only natural for young people today to feel disconnected from the issue.  The Cold War is over, and for many of us, nuclear weapons were never a fear we actually grappled with. Nuclear weapons have always existed in our lives. Abolishing nuclear weapons seems so far away from our day-to-day activities.  So, how does it relate to our lives? Continue reading