(Source: Philippe Moal*, Pressenza; translation: Lena Boden/Novena)


An unprecedented restlessness has come over the planet. Not in the streets, but in our homes. Isolation pushes us to think and to ask ourselves questions. When we begin to think about ourselves and our loved ones, we include everybody – everybody else – because now more than ever we’re realizing that we’re all one whole.

A common cry for the future is forming itself in our heads; in our heads that are filled with uncertainties but also with hope. Hope that this world will actually change; change as if it would enter into a new humanised orbit. Our heads are filled with hope for a big change in the orbit around which everything circles nowadays – the orbit called the economy.

But here comes the question: what can we hope from a society that is poisoned by its most important value: money?

The equation: value of money=economic violence is proven, in the same way as other power of violence that is connected to this equation, whether it is physical or racist, religious, psychological, sexist, moral, institutional or gender violence… these calamities that get created by a system in which the economy decides everything.

Imagine how the priorities would change if we saw the human being as the central value of society, not money.

The people who heal and help, who teach, do research, protect and serve the community would then be in first place, the means of production would be oriented to the welfare of the general public and the weakest would be protected, we would guarantee everybody a dignified life, we would no longer be pushed to consume to exist and… and… and…

Those who still see money as the strongest value could still have their daydreams, but they wouldn’t get their freedom by oppressing ours.

They could no longer condition us by using our intentions, creativity and energy to satisfy their ambitions.

The benefits of all earthly and human resources would go to the whole community. Because we know that if we pause, as we’re doing now, everything comes to a standstill. It is all of us who create the wealth of the earth, so therefore it is a collective patrimony that can be legitimately distributed among us all.

We would still criticize violence, but above all we would start to become seriously interested in non-violence. We would start to work with its methods, its values, its tools, its perspective; we would try to fix the social structure that has been broken by the individualistic culture imposed on us so we consume more and more; we would find our way into eye-to-eye relationships in which “nothing is above humanity and no human being is under another”; we would learn from our infancy how to take charge of ourselves, to escape the conditioning that numbs us, to refuse to blindly obey, to reject hate, disapproval and revenge.

We would see the expression of the generosity that inspires the vast majority of people… in short, we would be moving forward!

We live in a time in which we can hope for great change in society. Without being naive, we keep on dreaming and doing, because if change does not come tomorrow, let’s do everything we can so it comes soon.

We are also living a moment favourable to meditating and reflecting on what is really important for us – to remaining silent and discovering the aspirations and hopes that are buried the deepest within ourselves, because it is there that we can draw strength and inspiration for great change.

What is more legitimate than refusing to live as objects and rebelling against the absurdity of nonsense?

The Chinese poet and philosopher François Cheng translates these intentions as follows:

“For us, life is by no means an epiphenomenon within the extraordinary adventure of the universe. We do not accept the view according to which the universe, being only matter, would have created itself without knowing it, unaware of its own existence from start to finish for those billions of years. In total ignorance of itself, it was supposedly capable of engendering conscious, active beings who, in the space of an infinitesimal time lapse, supposedly saw it, knew it and loved it, before soon disappearing. As if all that had been for nothing… No indeed, we flatly deny this nihilism that has become commonplace today” (Five Meditations on Death: In Other Words… On Life).

*Philippe Moal is a founder of the Observatory of Non-Violence, a member of the Noesis Centre for Humanist Studies and author of the essay “Violence, conscience, non-violence”, sponsored by the French National Commission for the UNESCO. After studies in education at the Paris VIII University, since the 1980s he has been developing strategies of active non-violence in France, Romania, Benin, Chile and Spain. He is currently engaged in research, writing, lecturing and organising workshops.

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