In a special day for adherents of New Humanism – the doctrine of peace and nonviolence elaborated by the Argentine author, philosopher and spiritual guide, Silo [Mario Rodriguez Cobos] – celebrations were held around the world to remember the 4th of May 1969. On that date Silo stood in the foothills of Mount Aconcagua on the border of Argentina and Chile to give his speech, the Healing of Suffering.
“Only inner faith and inner meditation can end the violence in you, in others, and in the world around you.”
That speech which was almost prevented by the military authorities of the time inspired a global movement that today counts on more than 50 Parks of Study and Reflection around the world and today, the 1st such park was officially inaugurated in Africa, in Marracuene, a town on the outskirts of the capital of Mozambique, Maputo.
These parks are open to the public and used by the organisms of the Humanist Movement: the Humanist Party, World without Wars and Violence, The Community for Human Development, the World Centre of Humanist Studies and Convergence of Cultures and by the spiritual communities of Silo’s Message. They are to be found outside of major urban centres and have been designed as havens of peace and tranquillity that besides acting as meeting points also enable visitors to connect with more profound issues such as the meaning and purpose of one’s life.
Around 100 friends from Mozambique together with visitors from Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Iceland and Hungary took part in a joyful day of ceremonies and guided tours of the park.
The excellently choreographed event started with a grand entrance to the park, crossing the threshold that divides the park from the outside world. Participants were asked to reflect on why they had come and to concentrate their minds on the fulfilment of what they truly need.
On the tour of the park, quotes were read from Silo’s Message and context was given to the different symbolic elements of the park: the hall, the monolith, the fountain and the stele.
In the afternoon The Healing of Suffering was read in Portuguese and a final ceremony was held to welcome new people into the community of Silo’s Message that is now in its 11th year of development.
In a world where violence in all its forms is increasing and where social references are crumbling on a daily basis, people are experiencing increasing disorientation and a lack of meaning in life, leading in some cases to suicide, drugs and alcohol addiction.
Included in the general crisis are the traditional religious expressions which are facing a crisis of fundamentalism, sexual impropriety, corruption and violence which is turning away people in huge numbers, with increasing numbers of people defining themselves as atheist or agnostic.
In this crisis of faith, Silo’s simple message “treat others the way you would like to be treated” is resonating with people and the methodology of simultaneous nonviolent personal and social change seems to be a remarkable alternative and is developing an interesting international following if the 50 parks built in the last 10 years on 5 continents are an indicator.