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    The Philosophy of Nonkilling

    Is a killing-free world possible? Yes, says the Center for Global Nonkilling.

    Glenn D, Paige

    Glenn D. Paige

    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.


    By Dr. Khalid Sohail

    “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:

    1. Most human beings never kill in their lives.
    2. 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.
    3. There are more and more countries that are abolishing death penalties.
    4. There are many countries in the world that have decided to have no armies.
    5. There are a number of nonviolent organizations who are promoting peace.
    6. Some religions and cultures are against killing, for exp Sixth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not kill.”
    7. There are a number of religious, spiritual and cultural groups, like Pacifist Quakers, who have divorced violence and embraced peace.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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

    Related posts by Khalid Sohail:

    Honour Killings
    The Last Killing (a futuristic tale)


    11 Comments on “The Philosophy of Nonkilling”

    1. habib quadri says:

      Thanks a lot Dr. Sohail/ Paige

      Personally, I am against violence, but I thought it was not possible to have a nonkilling society, given our evolutionary and biological nature.

      But now I think it is possible.

      Why not think/dream of impossible to become possible.

      How great that world would be?

      Habib Quadri


      • Dear Habib Quadri, Thank you for your comments. I believe that we need a critical mass of people in the world who believe in non-killing to create a peaceful world. Human beings, individually and collectively have a choice. To kill or not to kill? To commit collective suicide by civil wars and nuclear weapons or grow to the next stage of human evolution and realize that we are all part of a family, a human family, children of Mother Earth. People like you are part of creating peace consciousness. Peacefully, sohail


    2. Ziaul Hasan says:

      Dear Sohail,

      Thank you for the interesting piece on Prof. Paige. We humans are the only species (among the 10 million or so identified so far) who kill their own kind with impunity. No other animal does it. Unfortunately, homicide is built into our genes. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is probably an ancient mantra to keep the keep the natural-born killers at bay!

      Personally, I am very optimistic about mankind’s future. Science is slowly forging a world-view and the old ancient religious myths are on their way to oblivion. (It has not yet penetrated the public consciousness but the human colonization of space is now in a very advanced stage. When the construction of the Space Elevator is completed it will set the stage for a vigorous human colonization of the solar system and the inter-planetary commerce.) This development is on the cards even if you and I are around or not. (The Space Elevator spawn will spawn many, many benefits, one of them will provide free electricity to every body on Earth.)

      The question still remains: Will all this eliminate homicidal tendencies in mankind? Well, it remains to be seen, but the efforts and deep love for the human race of you, Sir, and people like Prof. Paige will go a long way to save mankind from itself.

      The poem below sums up survival dilemma facing humanity today (and its remedy.)

      I thought of Thee, my Partner and my Guide
      As being past away,
      Vain sympathies!
      For backward, dead on! as I cast my eyes
      I see what was, and is, and will abide
      Still glides the Stream and will not cease to glide’
      The Form remains, the Function never dies.
      While we, the brave, the mighty, and the wise
      We Men, who in our morn of youth defied
      The elements, must vanish, – be it so!
      Enough, if something from our hands have power
      To live, and act, and serve the future hour
      And if, as towards the silent tomb we go
      Through love, through hope, and through faiths transcendent dower,
      We feel that we are greater than we know!

      The last line says it all: May it be so.

      In peace & harmony,



    3. Kevin Saldanha says:

      Hi Sohail,

      thank you for sharing this.

      A few thoughts come immediately to mind after a quick read… more maybe later when I have a chance to read slowly.

      1. Is killing of humans different to killing of other species, intentionally or indirectly by humans for food, sport or research?

      2. Primates defending their territory or hunting a tasty mammal can be quite brutal with their victims. Since we are basically primates, can we ever hope to transcend that instinct?

      3. We live in one of the most peaceful times in the history of the human race if you believe Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of our Nature” ( How do we slow the pace of our population explosion if not for the corrections of genocide.

      4. Is abortion a violent act against a human life?

      I love the concept of a non-killing world but is it even thinkable? I hope so!



      • Dear Kevin, thank you for your thoughtful comments. You have raised important questions. All of us who believe in peace need to think about them. I believe the more human we become the more we make peaceful choices. You are well aware evolution is a slow, very slow process…peacefully, sohail


    4. zahir anwar says:



    5. Dr. Nikhat Riaz says:

      I love the idea! Thanks for sharing Dr. Sohail

      Thanks for introducing us to Prof. Paige’s philosophy………Alas! In Pakistan the clock has unwind to the Savage’s Age-it seemed.

      In my city Karachi recent result of By-elections in only one constituency of National assembly, speaks volume about how human heart is blackened with evil emotions. The community of which I belong is represented mainly by a Violent, Terrorist Party namely MQM whose Leader Mr. Altaf Hussain is a suspect and wanted by Scotland yard Police-in a case of “Money Laundering” and “Murder” of his fellow countryman Imran Farooq
      . MQM history is full of violence, terrorism, crimes, extortion, target killings and mass murders. Still on the basis of undue but incessant propaganda by MQM, about how “Unfair” the rest of the Pakistan government/ Pakistani communities had been with this community- they voted again for the same party.
      Three generations of the “Urdu speaking Community called “MOHAJIRS”” were exploited by this Mafia party while the topnotch Leadership enjoyed the enormous benefits of power, wealth and fortunes. The Leader of this fascist party hasn’t turned back to Pakistan since 1998…Still his commands are carried by his militant groups- obediently and without raising an eyebrow- even it is MURDER of one or many. Strange is the phenomena of “Hatred”. It is deeply ingrained in every “Mohajir” young lad born three decades ago or one day ago. Based on the “ethnic ideology” and fully equipped with loads of lethal arms and ammunition their members/ supporters are as violent,as organised, as brainwashed as the “Nazis” were.
      And last night Karachi was deprived of a noble human:

      This account is given in context to show my high suspicion on formation of any such PEACE loving non killing society-EVER. Though I loved this and I will surely strive for this ideal attainment of Global Peace.

      I am sharing one poem in this context too.
      I hope you will like it.

      Thanks a lot for remembering me and introducing this fabulous movement to me.


    6. Dr. Nikhat Riaz says:

      I wrote a poem few years back that I need to share with you here:

      Truth is…

      A card with number six
      Waved in front of me
      Upside down
      At one eighty degree
      In front of my eyes
      A card with number six
      Twisted to number nine

      Is truth only ‘Angle variation’??

      “Men in the battle field
      Men to be honored
      They fight for a reason
      Protect us from enemy
      Secure our borders tight”

      On the other side

      “We grab arms
      Only for a reason
      Against the force of ‘Might’
      We aren’t no slaves
      We have a reason to fight
      You disrupt my ‘peace’
      You take away our ‘Rights’
      Is that your ‘War’s’ definition?

      If ‘Truth’ is only perception
      Isn’t one’s ‘War’-
      Another’s ‘Right’s’ violation

      If ‘Truth’ is only perception
      Isn’t ‘Justice’—
      A far-fetched contemplation
      And — — —
      Peace is…
      An implausible imagination


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