Discussion Points and Questions for Book Discussions on Gandhi's Way
Begin by summarizing some of the major themes of the book
The Process (satyagraha-redirecting the focus of a conflict from person to principles, examine the principles from multiple perspectives and come to an agreement, honor our enemy by finding common ground, look for the truthful aspects of each person's position and try to find a broad resolution that includes their position). How does it offer a distinctive method for exploring conflicts and seeking nonviolent resolutions?
Gandhi's view of violence (Violence negates life. Pummeling, scheming, blackmailing, tricking- none of this is conducive to a search for truth- none affirms life)
How is conflict generally handled- in family, student groups, campus, community, what one sees on television, between countries? How do you feel when you hear the word conflict?
Is it always possible to use Gandhian non-violent methods? At what points is violence okay?
Is it true that it is sometimes necessary to disobey laws? How do you know when?
What other forms of conflict management and social action are there?
What methods have you applied? With what results?
Have you attempted to use the Gandhian method (such as noncooperation)? How did it work out?
Power difference- how would you approach handling a conflict with someone where there is a power difference? What about when you or someone else is passive-aggressive, aggressive, or passive?
What do you think about creating fictional conversations between Gandhi and other "great thinkers" at the end?
Post quotes from the book around the room to generate discussion.
Do a values continuum where people move around and place themselves on a spot and talk about why.
Do role plays where participants can bring an issue they want to apply to the Gandhian method.
Exploiting controversy- to what issues could you apply non-violence?
Is war defendable?
The idea of fighting with yourself - advantages and disadvantages of being "objective." What are the "hot spots" of the book? What is most likely to raise controversial, even heated, discussion?
"I can't get into the book."
Conversations with others at the end- are they true to those people's messages?
Interpretation by white male of Gandhi's work?- not original work of Gandhi
Application to ideas of war (war in Iraq), The Holocaust, abortion, gun control