Exactly thirty-three years ago today, Silo, in front of an attentive and joyful gathering in the Pabellon de Deportes in Madrid, said:

“Without inner faith, there is fear; fear produces suffering; suffering produces violence; violence produces destruction. Therefore, inner faith prevents destruction.”

In homage to the birth of Mahatma Gandhi (on the 2nd of October 1869) in a few days’ time the International Day of Nonviolence will be marked. Hundreds of thousands of humanists around the world will celebrate and announce the possibility of a nonviolent future through multiple actions in different places and cultures.

Nevertheless, we also see with concern how destruction continues to mortify our species, causing outrage with the victims of lethal wars, of a savage economic system, of religious mandates charged with cruelty, of an insensitive discrimination: all forms of the absolute insanity of denying the humanity in others

Those words of Silo that proclaim a way of avoiding destruction are therefore worthy of some attention.

It seems that the key to that orientation is in the nefarious action of fear and the possibility of overcoming it. And how is it that that fear becomes established in us? Through a lack of inner faith, suggests the text.

Let’s dwell on this point a moment and perhaps a different perspective will open up before our very eyes. How can I interpret this? Maybe I believe that this is a personal flaw, that this inner faith is only missing in “me” – surely through something that I haven’t done well or simply something I haven’t done? This blaming and naively personal way of seeing the issue, far from leading to the extinction of fear, strengthens it.

What is it, then, that produces this lack of faith in oneself? My intention is to briefly show how it is the product of the social and historical world in which we live coupled with a bad choice.

Let’s observe a few aspects of the system that has fear in its foundations.

In the sphere of international relations, we see how countries accumulate sophisticated weaponry and educate many of their citizens in the detestable craft of killing others. All done with the justification of defending oneself. As we can see, the security promised by this false scheme has completely evaporated. But the point is that the public believes that to bear weapons and to have a military force is a threat to supposed antagonists. The aim is to intimidate possible rivals, unruly rebels or simply millions of innocent people over whom hang this mortal sword of Damocles. The aim therefore is to create fear.

Now let’s look at the law. Those who don’t respect convention receive punishment. In the people a consciousness is established that punishment is an inherent part of Justice. There is no reparation possible for the victim other than latent revenge. Fines, imprisonment, pain and even death of the perpetrator purges the error. The aim of the entire current legal system is shown therefore to be none other than to terrify the people so that they cultivate obedience to such good customs.

And what about the way in which we are educated? Simple. There are penalties, detentions and suspension for the disobedient. Those who don’t cooperate in committing to memory of the mantras printed in books that they will never remember again for the rest of their lives will get what they deserve with exemplary and degrading marks. If that weren’t enough, they will be forced to repeat it. To the repentant one, once broken by fatigue and malaise arising from an honest disinterest, they will be offered as an honourable way out the definitive exclusion from such a nice scheme. Therefore it is well worth forcing yourself through the pain of generalised ignominy.

Finally, some of the main religions present a savage dilemma to the transcendent need of their faithful. They pray to fulfil the indisputable mandates of an inscrutable God, leading a virtuous life or suffering enormous torment in various imaginative ways. Painful hells, repetitive cycles of suffering, demoniacal persecution or simple extinction in a final nothingness are some of the magnificent possibilities from an extensive catalogue that has been shown to us throughout the centuries. So it’s better for you to do what we say, because if not…

No doubt, some of this fear injected over centuries has left a mark in us. There is no doubt then that we don’t concentrate on this matter, a veiled or manifest aggression of our imagination will take effect.

So, we don’t believe in, nor do we want, this fear. We refuse to cooperate, we make fun of it and we create a defiant void towards such threats. So, what is that inner faith that was referred to as a synonym for a renewed condition towards a nonviolent world?

“All those problems that until now have seemed insurmountable will begin to diminish if you are able to achieve faith in yourself and the best of those around you, faith in our world and in a life that is always open to the future,” says Silo in his book Humanise the Earth.

The advice here is indeed directed to each one of us, showing the possibility of a choice that implies a positive and evolutionary direction in one’s personal, interpersonal, social, and certainly, one’s existential life.

Placed in this attitude, I can feel without difficulty how my emotion expands, finally banishing worries and fear. On this path I rapidly comprehend how my life can be built with affection and intention, feeding back into the circuit in a growing way.

Other people then turn into allies, in possible friends and even benign accomplices in a wonderful project: to Humanise the Earth. Or in other words, to help transform in society and within us, all the prehistoric remains that prevent the emergence of a human being that is free from contradiction. A joyful, strong, wise and kind being in condition to share their happiness with everyone else.

The human species has a profound and liberating purpose that, certainly, should not remain imprisoned by fear, suffering, violence and destruction.

Therefore, we celebrate with a joy that comes from the future we love, this symbolic day of nonviolence, reciting the poetry of our Master, Silo:

“The force that gives life to our flight is the faith in our destiny, the faith in the justice of our action, the faith in ourselves, the faith in the human being.”

So, to celebrate the possibility of participating in the construction of a more human and nonviolent world. We are all invited.

(As a contribution to the worldwide campaign launched by the Espacios No violentos initiative #diadelanoviolencia #‎nonviolenceday )


[1] Creator of the current of thought known as New Humanism, founder of the Humanist Movement and inspiration behind the spirituality around which communities of Silo’s Message form.