We transmit to you the study “Some clues for nonviolence” carried out by Philippe Moal, in the form of 12 chapters. The general table of contents is as follows:

1- Where are we going?
2- The difficult transition from violence to nonviolence.
3- Prejudices which perpetuate violence.
4- Is there more or less violence than yesterday?
5- Spirals of violence
6- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (a) Disconnection.
7- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (b- Flight).
8- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (c- hyper-connection).
9- The different ways of rejecting violence.
10- The decisive role of consciousness.
11- Transformation or immobilisation.
12- Integrating and overcoming duality and Conclusion.

In the essay dated September 2021, the author expresses his thanks: : Thanks to their accurate vision of the subject, Martine Sicard, Jean-Luc Guérard, Maria del Carmen Gómez Moreno and Alicia Barrachina have given me precious help in the realisation of this work, both in the precision of terms and ideas, and I thank them warmly.

Integrating and overcoming duality

The point here is not to explain the complex issue of duality, but to observe how the way it is approached can lead to violence.

When I look at what is different in an inquisitive, suspicious, critical, fainthearted way, when I see the opposite as a danger, when I see the world and its duality as a risk, I am looking at it in a way that puts me in a duel with it, to use the etymological meaning of the term duality, duellum.

Duality is inherent in our world and the way I look at it conditions my thinking and actions.

In general, there is a symbiosis between my perceptions and my internal representations, otherwise I would be at perpetual war with the world or with myself.

Socially, we are bound to become polarised and radicalised – by gender, race, community, religion, party, country, club, etc. -. Relationships are mandorla-shaped, with opposing poles, favouring mistrust, fear and violence.

Faced with conflict, people tend to polarise into one side, often spontaneously, based on their emotional relationship with the people involved, or on their ideas, values, beliefs and views related to their cultural or community affiliations, or their assumptions of gender, race or generation, for example.

Once positioned, one considers that the side chosen (assuming one actually chooses) is always right, the other is always wrong, whatever its arguments or merits. Evidently, everyone thinks the same thing: “It is the other who is wrong, it is the other who has provoked the violence”. Communication in this case is difficult, if not impossible.

If we look at the teachings of different cultures, a quick glance allows us to learn that the principle of the sceptics of antiquity was to oppose everything, not to trust any first impression, any first value judgement, i.e. not to accept one point of view over another without reflection; we know that Freemasons study the clash of opposites, the opposition of black and white on the mosaic pavement, to find harmony, balance in symmetry, the multiple and finally unity; in Chinese philosophy, the duality principles of yin and yang are both opposite and complementary, and the Tao represents unity beyond duality, so that non-action does not mean not acting, but acting without desire, without attachment to the purpose of the act; in the doctrine taught by Śaṅkara[1] known as non-duality, divinity is considered in its totality, beyond all duality, even between Being and Non-Being. It is a matter, through knowledge, of coming out of illusion. Liberation is achieved by overcoming this fundamental illusion, which on the individual level translates into ignorance.

I am Brahman, I am all. I am pure, enlightened, born of nothingness. I am the eternal principle of consciousness, devoid of attributes, without a second. I am neither existent nor non-existent, nor both. I am only Shiva. My eternal vision knows neither day nor night nor twilight. He who has attained this knowledge is a perfect one, a yogi, a brahmin[2].

But let us return to our world in which the non-integration of dissimilarities generates contradiction, hatred and destruction.

Without disavowing one’s loyalties and convictions, how can we change the current way of relating guided by a mental form[3] anchored in each person that pushes us to reject what is different from our way of thinking, feeling and acting? How can we resolve conflicts in a way other than violence, other than mourning and fracture?

The non-violence methodology of New Universalist Humanism is resolutely committed to this path, so let us examine some of the avenues it proposes.

  • The attentional practices presented in the previous chapter allow us not to react impulsively, to reflect before acting from our centre of gravity. Contact with oneself gives the possibility to observe and understand the duality that inhabits us. It allows us to recognise our own limits, prejudices, intolerance, as well as skills and qualities; it allows us to recognise the other person’s weaknesses, but also his or her strength, goodness, intelligence and humanity.
  • The violence of the other always refers to one’s own violence. The violent one gives the possibility to see where one stands in relation to one’s own violence. One can observe how easy it is to respond to violence in turn with violence and to realise one’s ability or inability to resist this temptation.
  • Violence and nonviolence are two sides of the same coin. One does not exist without the other; on the contrary, one exists because the other is there. Violence and nonviolence alternate like the two opposite poles of the pendulum. Even if it is not integrated as a response, even if we have not incorporated these mental gymnastics on a personal and social level, when there is violence there is always, systematically, the possibility of non-violence. This can be a working basis, a precondition for dialogue to resolve a conflict: aiming for a non-violent resolution based on convergences and greater interests.
  • The study of conflicts is carried out with a process vision. Thus, when faced with a problem, we begin by exhaustively exposing what differentiates the opposing parties, then we look for what complements them and, finally, we make a synthesis that leads to a non-violent resolution.
    Active nonviolence is based on a delayed response to conflict, a non-automatic response, a thoughtful and felt response. When we introduced this concept into society in the 1980s, the term was gradually adopted by various activist movements, which is to be welcomed. The term active counteracts the erroneous assumption that nonviolence is passive.

    • The shift of the gaze inwards, away from the I-attached-to-the-skin, modifies the structure of dualism, bringing closer a centre of unity and a new understanding of the world, in which oppositions are understood as ways of structuring and not as realities in themselves. The barrier that separates the you from the I is an objective reality from the I attached to the skin. By internalising the gaze that small distance that separates the observing gaze from the habitual self, it brings myself closer to others who recognise themselves as what is not me[4].
  • At least two of the Principles of Valid Action[5] in Humanise the Earth offer an answer to the problem of duality. Firstly, the one that says: “If for you day and night, summer and winter are right, you have overcome contradictions”, invites to get out of the dilemma of opposites, to get out of the vicious circle of contradiction from which there is no escape. When a conflict is approached as an opportunity to resolve it, the difficulties that arise, instead of being dealt with in a compensatory way, are taken on board by discovering their usefulness.
  • The other Principle which says: “It does not matter on which side events have put you, what matters is that you understand that you have not chosen sides”, does not invite to abandon one’s own clan, but to understand this choice in a larger context in which external factors have influenced this choice (education, experience, social environment, etc.) This helps to understand the views and positions of others, to build bridges between clans and thus to reduce fanaticism and intolerance.

In addition to the need to respond to the duality that can lead to violence, meditation leads to the discovery of inner spaces free of duality, of deeper regions within oneself, from which come the best inspirations, the greatest insights, the infinite discoveries behind the echo of silence, where there seems to be neither violence nor non-violence.

There is a deep mental space that is not the one that perception gives us, there is a deep space in consciousness that I can find, and a time that is not the sequential one in which I live. There are levels of deepening of internal spaces[6].

However, violence is creating a watertight barrier that isolates us from this deeper inner world and prevents connection with it.

I access these deeper spaces through a bridge of silence. My daily worries, my concerns and also my projects are difficult to calm. The images impose themselves in a continuous torrent until, little by little, but suddenly, the absence of noise appears and silence is heard. In this space, patiently, without expectation, I wait, expecting nothing.

Experience is beyond words and it is only through experience that I can access these deep spaces and have records [7] of them.

These spaces are the source of poetic and mystical inspiration, of great social mobilisations and of loving passion. But being situated in the depths of human consciousness, the presence of this source is not often detected in the swirl of everyday noise [8].

In conclusion, I quote from the first chapter of the Inner Look, where Silo announces the premises of his teaching: “Here is the story of how the meaninglessness of life is turned into meaning and fullness. Here there is joy, love for the body, for nature, for humanity and for the spirit. Here there is no more sacrifice, no more guilt, no more threats from beyond the grave. Here the earthly is not opposed to the eternal. Here it speaks of the inner revelation to which everyone who carefully meditates in humble search arrives [9]”.


Violence, the way of pain and suffering, is imposed through the use of force, coercive control, coercion, manipulation, repression, exploitation, despotism and worst of all tyranny.

To free oneself from this, non-violence, the way of the heart and reason, is not imposed, it is a free choice based on persuasion.

Violence is immoral because we treat others as we would not like to be treated ourselves, but it is above all a miscalculation. Any violent action automatically generates a response of the same kind, which is not only amplified, but develops endlessly and with no way out, often putting an end to…, a relationship, a situation, a project, life….

It is necessary to persuade those who use violence to abandon this procedural error which will lead them and those close to them, sooner or later, to suffer it again.

Non-violent action is moral because one treats the other as one would like to be treated oneself, but it is above all a conscious act of seeking unity and inner coherence based on the intention to go in favour of the evolutionary process of life.

I can only encourage the consolidation of the path of active non-violence, knowing that nothing can justify violence, that one is not violent by nature, that violence is not an inevitability and that non-violence is the way of the future.

Let us persuade ourselves that this is necessary:

  • change the prejudices, values and beliefs that lead to violence,
  • respond to the violence we see, receive or create, whether physical, economic, racial, religious, sexual, psychological, moral or institutional,
  • be tolerant of those who do not think like us, or who have different life choices from us,
  • not discriminate against or exploit anyone,
  • treat others as we would like to be treated,
  • to rely on one’s own virtues, on the best in oneself,
  • not feeding the negative images we have of others and of ourselves,
  • to reconcile with those close to us and with our enemies, as well as with ourselves,
  • not succumbing to the revenge that leads to an endless spiral of violence,
  • taking care not to disconnect from the world and not to hyper-connect to destructive violence,
  • listening to one’s own conscience and orienting it positively,
  • observe and refine responses to violence in order to resist and stop it,
  • encourage those around them to adopt non-violence as a way of life,
  • develop themselves and contribute to the transformation of their immediate environment,
  • to observe the duality that plunges us into contradiction, to overcome it and to seek peace and
  • inspiration in the depths of one’s own consciousness.
  • The thought “When freed from violence, the human being can take off” [10]” on the cover of the book Violence, consciousness, non-violence remains the leitmotiv of my approach and I invite you to share it.


[1] Śaṅkara (8th century), spiritual master of Hinduism, philosopher of the orthodox Advaita Vedānta school and commentator on the Vedic Upanishads, the Brahma Sūtra and the Bhagavad-Gita.

[2] The Treatise of the Thousand Teachings, Śaṅkara, Eudem Editions, 2010.

[3] Mental form: the basic structure of the human psyche, representing its deepest substratum. Its characteristics of fixity and immobility derive from: a) the biological development of the species in the course of its evolution; b) the particular historical and cultural situation of each human being. This basic structure of the psyche seems to have different layers, some deep and identical for the whole species and others, more peripheral, which characterise each individual, each group or people, through their beliefs. The mental form is linked to the depths of the human being, including the system of unconditioned reflexes (including the instinct of self-preservation). True transmutation – or modification of the mental form – occurs when one can consciously go against the system of instincts and unconditioned reflexes. From then on, the image, including that of oneself, changes. Apocryphal text, Silo.

[4] Study on unity, dualism and freedom in Zarathustra, Darío Ergas, Parque de Estudio y Reflexión Punta de Vacas, Argentina, October 2015, p. 13.

[5] Principles of Valid Action, Humanise the Earth, Silo, Winged Lion Editions, 2019 (© 1988), p. 33.

[6] Lo profundo, Lecture by Silo, Santiago de Chile, 8 September 2002, ‘Espacio de representación, profundidad y punto de control’, Andrés Korysma, Ediciones León Alado, 2015, p. 13.

[7] Definition of the term in Chapter VI.

[8] The space of representation as psychosocial experience, Silvia Bercu-Swinden, La Belle Idée Park of Study and Reflection, France, 2017, p. 39. Silvia Bercu-Swinden, Argentinian humanist psychiatrist, author of numerous essays and the book Del simio sapiens al homo intencional: la fenomenología de la revolución noviolenta, Adonis & Abbey, London, 2006.

[9] Silo’s Message, op. cit, p. 9.

[10] Violence, consciousness, non-violence, Philippe Moal, New Social Economy Publishing House, 2018 (© 2017).