The Philosophy of NonkillingPosted: 2015/04/15
Is a killing-free world possible? Yes, says the Center for Global Nonkilling.Established in 1988, the mission of the Hawaii-based Center for Global Nonkilling is to “promote change toward the measurable goal of a killing-free world in reverence for life.” Prof. Glenn D. Paige is the founder and former president of the center. He dreams of the day “when human beings will develop peace consciousness and killing other human beings will become a matter of the past.”
This article is written by Dr. Khalid Sohail, IFLAC Peace Ambassador for India and Pakistan.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF NONKILLING
“Everyone can be A Center for Global Nonkilling.” Glenn Paige
One afternoon, when I was working in my Creative Psychotherapy Clinic in Canada, I received an unexpected email from Glenn Paige. He mentioned that he had read my book, Prophets of Violence, Prophets of Peace, and wanted to correspond with me. I had never heard his name but when I went to the internet and googled him, I found out that he was a political scientist who had a special interest in world peace and had created an international organization for global nonviolence. I became quite intrigued by his philosophy and called him in Hawaii. On the phone he talked like a kind, caring and compassionate man. He promised to send me his book titled Nonkilling Global Political Science and I promised to send him my new book From Holy War to Global Peace. Since that connection we have been corresponding with each other.
When I read his book I was impressed by his personality and philosophy, his knowledge and experience, especially his wisdom. I realized that while Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were the philosophers of non-violence, Glenn Paige is the philosopher of non-killing. The more I read the writings of Paige, the more I became impressed by his humility and sincerity, integrity and optimism. He dreams of the day when human beings will develop peace consciousness and killing other human beings will become a matter of the past. Paige’s book has already been translated in more than twenty languages so that people from different communities, countries and cultures can connect and create a peaceful world together.
In his book Nonkilling Global Political Science Paige asks a question: “Is a nonkilling global society possible?” He shares the reasons why many people think that it is not possible and then shares his own convincing arguments why he thinks it is possible.
Paige starts the book with his definition of a nonkilling society in these words, “It is a human community, smallest to largest, local to global, characterized by no killing of humans and no threats to kill; no weapons designed to kill humans and no justifications for using them; and no conditions of society dependent upon threat or use of killing for maintenance or change.” (Ref. 1, p. 1)
Paige shares why so many people, professionals as well as lay people, psychologists as well as sociologists, scientists as well as philosophers believe that creating a nonkilling society is not possible. Their reasons range from biological instincts to psychological upbringing to cultural conditioning. In support of their hypothesis they present human history which is full of bloodshed and stories of battlefields. They believe that since human beings have been killing in the past, they will keep on killing in the future. The only difference would be that the reasons for killing would change. Throughout history there have been many philosophers and politicians who believed that violence and killing was essential for the safety and security of the people especially to protect innocent men, women and children from murderers and psychopaths. In the past human beings have killed so many other human beings for personal and social, religious and political reasons. Human beings have killed other human beings with knives and bullets, tanks and bombs, nuclear weapons as well as other weapons of mass destruction.
When we study human history, we learn that human beings have been killing other human beings at small and large scales. In World War 2 alone, more than 60 million human beings were killed. From 1900 to 1987, the number of deaths by democide (state killing their own people) and war have been phenomenal.
Democide: 169,198,000 deaths
War: 34,021,000 deaths
Total: 203,219,000 deaths
(Ref. 1, p. 16)
Based on all these facts and figures there are many people who feel so pessimistic that they say “No example of a nonkilling society is known in history, it is simply unthinkable.” (Ref. 1, p. 18) They believe it is not possible to create a nonkilling society.
Glenn Paige, being an eternal optimist says to all of these pessimistic people, “It’s not possible, but it’s possible to become possible.” (Ref. 1, p. 20) Paige gives a series of arguments to support his optimistic view, that one day human beings will be able to create a peaceful, nonviolent and nonkilling world. The following are just a few of his arguments:
- Most human beings never kill in their lives.
- Even if human beings are born with aggressive instincts they can be modified by social and cultural conditioning and human beings can learn to become peaceful adults.
- There are more and more countries that are abolishing death penalties.
- There are many countries in the world that have decided to have no armies.
- There are a number of nonviolent organizations who are promoting peace.
- Some religions and cultures are against killing, for exp Sixth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.”
- There are a number of religious, spiritual and cultural groups, like Pacifist Quakers, who have divorced violence and embraced peace.
- Studies have shown that nearly 85% of soldiers in World War 1 and 2 did not fire and did not kill even when they were in the battlefield and had an opportunity to kill.
- There have been a number of political leaders like Mohandas Gandhi in India, Abdul Ghaffar Khan in Pakistan and Martin Luther King Jr. in America who were in favor of resolving conflicts peacefully and were against violence and killing.
- There have been social, religious and political leaders in every community, country and culture who have been promoting peace.
Glenn Paige ends his book by making a strong statement against killing and in favor of peace. He writes,
“The goal of ending lethality in global life implies a shift from violence-accepting political science to the science of nonkilling responsiveness to human needs for love, well-being, and the free expression of creative potential.
Is a nonkilling society possible?
Is a nonkilling global political science possible?
(Ref. 1, p. 162)
I feel proud to be connected with Glenn Paige’s philosophy as we both share the dream of a peaceful world and hope that more and more human beings share that dream so that we can create a peaceful world together, hopefully sooner than later.
Paige Glenn Nonkilling Global Political Science
Centre for Global Nonviolence Hawaii 2007
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