Applications of Ahimsa-Nonviolence in Daily Life

EDITORIAL, 26 Apr 2021

#690 | Johan Galtung – TRANSCEND Media Service

The TRANSCEND Peace Development Environment Network started with geopolitical macro and mega conflicts; many well known and dramatic.  But conflicts in daily life, at school, in couples-family, at work may be even more dramatic; at the micro level within the persons involved, between them, in the context, and at the meso level of social groups. Macro and mega, between states and regions, nations and civilizations, may also matter, like micro personal and meso social conflicts matter for macro and mega conflicts within and between negotiators-mediators.

Any act of violence, like bullying at school, quarrels in the family or at work, may actually not express hostility toward the victim but be directed toward the “system”.  A feeling of being trapped in general may be expressed as violence at school, in a couple-family, at work.

But higher levels generally prefer a lower level focus; not on them and the level they represent, but at the bully or the quarrelsome person.  Psychologists may be mobilized to handle “the difficult person;” when seen more deeply what is at stake is a highly problematic system.

For a nonviolent handling we have to have all levels in mind, and that is the essence of our Sabona project, TRANSCEND in daily life.

The word Sabona means in Zulu: “I see you”, I take you in, all of you, all levels!

Download PDF file: Sabona I-see-you by Ekaterina Trunova

Below, the reader will find a table with three columns for the three types of “daily life”, and ten levels for theory and practice. Lack of adequate analysis leads to single level reductionism and   interventions at the wrong, usually meaning lower, levels.

For therapy sensitivity to intra-column multi-level conflicts is indispensable, not only focusing on perpetrator or victim and their narratives, but also on relations, contexts, structures and cultures in which they are embedded.  Sensitivity to inter-column transfers of conflict energy is also needed, as frustrations in one may easily come out as aggression in the other.



1 Micro, within Bully Perpetrator Troublemaker
2 Micro, within Bullee Victim Competitor


3 Micro, between Bully-Bullee Relation Competition
4 Meso, context Bully-Bullee Perpetrator-Victim Troublemaker-competitor
5 Meso, setting Class-teacher Marriage-Family Section
6 Meso, super School-rector Kin Company
7 Macro, meta-








8 Macro, society,






vs. parity




9 Macro,



individualist vs.


individualist vs.


individualist vs.


10 Mega


Modern vs.


Modern vs.


Modern vs.


Difficult?  Yes, but knowledge helps.  Thus, sitting down with perpetrator an victim, one at the time, asking questions beyond their relations to each other, may already be half the therapy.  Incidentally, it also takes some of the brunt of the verbal or physical violence: there as more to it than just the two of us.  A worker-manager relation may have gone very sour; it helps to ask both what could be done with the work organization.  Maybe a change from company toward cooperative may help?  Thus, there are structures that are problematic regardless of the concrete persons who enact the various roles.

And vice versa: there are persons who are problematic regardless of the structure in which they are embedded.  We may have to search in micro and meso contexts like the Freudian focus on the childhood.  Not forgetting the Jungian focus on the role of civilizations.


Johan Galtung, a professor of peace studies, dr hc mult, is founder of TRANSCEND International and rector of TRANSCEND Peace University. He was awarded among others the 1987 Right Livelihood Award, known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize. Galtung has mediated in over 150 conflicts in more than 150 countries, and written more than 170 books on peace and related issues, 96 as the sole author. More than 40 have been translated to other languages, including 50 Years-100 Peace and Conflict Perspectives published by TRANSCEND University Press. His book, Transcend and Transform, was translated to 25 languages. He has published more than 1700 articles and book chapters and over 500 Editorials for TRANSCEND Media Service. More information about Prof. Galtung and all of his publications can be found at

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2 Responses to “Applications of Ahimsa-Nonviolence in Daily Life”

  1. Hope the below cited my writings in response to the writing of Prof. Johan Galtung will help the readers to understand more the concept, meaning and practice of the issues raised and solutions proposed and made by Professor Galtung. Let the readers go through the references cited here:

    Total and permanent physical disarmament needs teaching about and for disarmament. However, physical disarmament is the temporary remedy of war weary world. Mere physical disarmament cannot remove wars unless people are disarmed psychologically. Nonviolence is more fundamental than disarmament. It is not necessary that a disarmed person would always be nonviolent. But a nonviolent person would always be disarmed. For this, we will have to introduce and implement everywhere the man-making education i.e. peace education. For more details, one may refer to:

    Nonviolence: More Fundamental than Disarmament
    Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

    “If sons and daughters misbehave with their parents, students are indiscipline towards teachers, youth laugh at religious preachers and agitate against rulers and political leaders, we must have doubt on faulty characters of these elders rather than our youngsters.” – Dr. Surya Nath Prasad from his Talk on All India Radio. For more details, one may refer to:

    As Our Elders, So Our Younger
    Total Education for Good Governance and Peace: The Role of Youth
    By Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

    No doubt, we all have potentialities to be divine or devil or slave, it depends on our awareness and practice or non-awareness and non-practice of the potential elements, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit, within all of us. But situation is that we all are terrorists and violent, it is a matter of degree, and nature of manifest and latent violence in each one of us, because we all are deprived of the manifestation of these elements, and when the situation arises, our violence comes out without any consideration of our own relations, kin, clan, nationality, religion, status, gender, and among them, most victims of our violence are women, children, old and sick. For more details, one may refer to:

    The Persons Who Changed the Lives of Terrorists and Criminals
    Surya Nath Prasad, Ph.D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

    Frederick Douglass said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” And Victor Hugo once said: “A human being who can read has been saved.” Reading to ‘be saved’ means saved from oppression, dependence and hunger. Through the act of reading, oppressed and oppressors, exploited and exploiters both will become aware of reality and being human, capable to change the world of exploitation. And the way to continue human is to keep on reading. The reading of popular books has brought great revolutions in history. The modern democracy is also the advent of reading the books of Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and C.E.M. Joad, and others. For more details, one may refer to my article:

    Books on Peace Education
    By Surya Nath Prasad
    University News – A Weekly Journal of Higher Education
    Vol. XXXIV, No. 7, February 12, 1996.

    Knowing over 100 people have died in campus shootings across the US in the last Two decades, and observing violence in the educational campuses of other parts of the world, advises to all the governments to implement universal peace education forthwith in their respective nations’ schools to stop violence in educational institutions. Here Prof. Prasad describes his concept and methods of universal peace education how it will solve the problems of violence in schools by way of enabling every man and woman to be nonviolent. For more details, one may refer to:

    Implement Universal Peace Education Forthwith to Stop Violence in Schools
    By Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D.

    A Chapter on “Universal Peace Education: Concept, Meaning and Practice” By Surya Nath Prasad, Ph.D. in the book:
    Pour une éducation à la paix dans un monde violent (FOR PEACE EDUCATION IN A VIOLENT WORLD) Edited by O.Damus,C.Wulf, J.P.Saint-Fleur, D.Jeffrey Edited by Obrillant Damus, Christoph Wulf, Joseph P. Saint-Fleur, Denis Jeffrey Published by L’Harmattan, 2017: Paris, France

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