Violence, Nonviolence and Active Nonviolence: relationships and differences

We are proposing a dialogue in order to frame the concepts of violence, nonviolence and active nonviolence.

We live in an intensely interconnected world: cultures, ethnic groups, religions and social systems in which violence is derived from the actions of individuals and great powers that influence social destinies, as well as from a value system based on power and a culture of violence.

Unlike other historical moments, we are in possession of destructive means of inconceivable power, there is a real risk of entering into a nuclear conflict that threatens the survival of all mankind. Today, more than ever, it is essential that human beings reconvert their inclinations to exploitation, discrimination and violence, in a new direction of life that manifests itself in the exercise of nonviolence on a social and personal level.

How do we conceive this transformation? Not as a form of naive pacifism, but as an active, conscious nonviolence. It would be a way of life that includes other people and that tends to resolve from its roots the violence, hatred and discrimination (racial, gender, religious, etc.) on which it is based.

With the word violence we refer to:

  • Physical violence, aimed at destroying the body of the other.
  • Economic violence, related to the theft and / or denial of the most basic means of sustenance and survival.
  • Psychological violence, from intimidating and deceiving to mass conditioning, which introduces into the consciousness unnecessary desires, false conceptions and prejudices that operate chaining us from the physical to the psychic level.
  • Racial, religious and sexual violence, in which unique models are imposed, suffocating and denying any form of expression that does not coincide with them.

These forms of violence are the origin of all social and personal conflicts, interacting in multiple ways.

It is evident that a deep rejection, a moral dislike of all this violence, is not generalized in all geographic and cultural latitudes, but has been normalized and even, at times, institutionalized. However, there are groups and individuals in the committed search for overcoming violence. This is what this working  area is about: how to expand nonviolence as a way to resolve social and personal conflicts and the construction of the Universal Human Nation.

Philippe Moal

Luz Jahnen


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