Nobody is born nonviolent

World without Wars and without Violence aims to develop a worldwide commitment to nonviolence as a methodology of action, as a social system and as a lifestyle. Its objective is to achieve a world free of wars as well as physical, economic, racial, religious, sexual, psychological, ecological and moral violence. “Human beings are historical beings whose mode of social action changes their own nature” (Silo). This is the root of both our responsibility and our freedom. And it opens our future.

Nobody is born violent... Or nonviolent for that matter. So Gandhi's "Be the change you want to see in the world" is a great invitation to get rid of the rubbish this violent system has fed us and transform ourselves into the intentional beings that can create the world we all want. See the
Active Nonviolence Training (ANVT) exercises. World without Wars and without Violence international site is on

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Conflict Resolution/Reconciliation I

An Introduction to Nonviolent Conflict Resolution/Reconciliation

In the first set of workshops we have seen that violence is complex, that there are no easy or simplistic remedies and that all the factors need to be considered.  You may have found in the previous series that many people found themselves at a point where there was a need to give a response to a situation that had already created a lot of distress and desire for revenge.
You may have asked yourself; “but what can we do?”  In this series of workshops we shall delve into tools that will help instructors find responses for those situations; not magical solutions but rather responses based on experience.  All the responses will be related to organising the social base to look at everything as a whole picture and make proposals in all fields of action.  We have chosen the workshops in series 2 as a response to the needs discovered in the first workshops.
Common elements, found by the participants of the first series of workshops in the genesis and maintenance of a situation of violence, were;
*      Breakdown in communication
*      Experiences, cultural forms and values acquired during our formative years that prepared us for a world different to the one we have to live in
*      Rigidity in one’s own point of view and inability to see others’ points of view.
*      Lack of awareness of the choices available to oneself and feeling compelled to react in ways that are not coherent.
*      Frustration when faced with an oppressive situation and not being able to see a solution.
*      Perception that somebody else is “getting away” with bad behaviour.
*      Feelings of extreme injustice.
*      Not being able to move on because of grief for ones losses
This second set of workshops in the Non-violence Training course has the following aims:
  1. To go deeper into the theme of active non-violence so that the delegates can make it more real in their lives and become more efficient in influencing the direction of this globalised world.
  2. To strengthen the idea that violence is not an appropriate response to deal with violent situations.  Not only is it violent and therefore incoherent but it is counter productive.
  3. To prepare the delegates to become leaders of a social movement capable of giving the type of responses that so many people are crying out for.
  4. To focus on the social aspects of violence with an understanding of existential issues.
Some of the workshops are based on a system of conflict resolution that has been specifically designed.  There are many forms of conflict resolution that can be employed and some of these workshops will echo such examples as:
*      Truth and reconciliation (e.g. South Africa)
*      Forgive and forget (e.g. Christianity)
*      Trial and punishment (e.g. International Criminal Court)
These forms are generally prescriptive, that is, the protagonists of the conflict receive external indications as to the “right” way.  In our phenomenological style of conflict resolution we use a more experiential and existential process by those involved that leads to discovering the non-violent perspective and resolution to the problem.
Our conflict resolution comes from two Humanist principles that say: “you will resolve your conflicts when you understand them in their ultimate root, not when you want to resolve them” and “when you treat others as you would have them treat you, you liberate yourself”.
Each workshop can be taken individually or they can be taken as a suite of workshops.
As we did in the first series of workshops, it is recommended that each workshop is started with relaxation and the Experience of Peace as a way to get into the right mental frame for the work that will be carried out.

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