An Encyclopædia of Pacifism


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1. Defining Peace

In India the great Buddhist-influenced king Ashoka in the 3rd century bce definitely renounced war, but he was thinking primarily of wars of conquest. In succeeding ages Buddhism does not seem to have been very successful in restraining the rulers of countries in which it was adopted from making war. This may be because the Buddhist rule of life, as generally understood, served as a counsel of perfection which comparatively few could be expected to follow in its entirety.

Handbook of Non-Violence: Including an Encyclopedia of Pacifism by Aldous Huxley

In classical antiquity, pacifism remained largely an ideal in the minds of a few intellectuals. The Greek conceptions of peace—including Stoicism —were centred on the peaceful conduct of the individual rather than on the conduct of whole peoples or kingdoms. Thus, the Pax Romana of the 1st and 2nd centuries ce was not really universal, because it was always regarded as a peace for the civilized world alone and excluded the barbarians.

And since the barbarian threat never ended, neither did the wars Rome waged to protect its frontiers against this threat. Christianity , with its evangelical message, offered considerations in support of individual nonviolence as well as of collective peacefulness.

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However, in the early 3rd century, certain passages in the Gospels were interpreted to indicate that armies were not only acceptable but necessary in order to fight against demons. In the early 5th century, St.

An Encyclopædia of Pacifism

Augustine wrote De civitate Dei The City of God , which presented a distinction between worldly and supraworldly peace. These ideas prevailed throughout the Middle Ages and were often tied with the myth of an eschatological emperor who would suppress nonbelievers and lead the world to peaceful times. Like the Roman pax , Christian peace needed to be perpetually defended.


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There was a never-ending threat posed by non-Christians, who were viewed as demonic. Since the European Renaissance , Western concepts of pacifism have been developed with varying degrees of political influence. A great deal of pacifist thought in the 17th and 18th centuries was based on the idea that a transfer of political power from the sovereigns to the people was a crucial step toward world peace, since wars were thought of as arising from the dynastic ambitions and power politics of kings and princes.

Thus was propagated the view that monarchies tended toward wars because the sovereigns regarded their states as their personal property and that compared to this, a republic would be peaceful. The offshoot of these theories was the creation of pacifist organizations in 19th-century Europe in which such ideas as general disarmament and the instigation of special courts to hear international conflicts were entertained. The theme of pacifism thereby caught the public interest and inspired an extensive literature.

Pacifist ideals also played a significant role in the Indian independence movement led by Mohandas K. Gandhi , the U. There are two general approaches or varieties of pacifist behaviour and aspirations. One rests on the advocacy of pacifism and the complete renunciation of war as a policy to be adopted by a country.

The other stems from the ethical conviction of individuals and groups that participation in any act of war, and perhaps in any act of violence, is morally wrong. The arguments for pacifism as a possible national policy run on familiar lines. The obvious and admitted evils of war are stressed—the human suffering and loss of life, the economic damage, and, perhaps above all, the moral and spiritual degradation war brings.

After World War II increasing emphasis was laid on the terrible powers of destruction latent in nuclear weapons. Pacifist advocates often assume that the abandonment of war as an instrument of national policy will not be possible until the world community has become so organized that it can enforce justice among its members. The nonpacifist would, in general, accept what the pacifist says about the evils of war and the need for international organization.

Pacifists may claim that these evils can be met by acting on the principle of nonviolence , according to which violence of any kind is always wrong.

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Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 23, Andy rated it it was amazing. This is a great compendium about many different aspects of war and pacifism.


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  8. The philosophy and reasons for non-violent ways of resisting violence and war are thoroughly explained, while the political and social effects of armament races, modern warfare etc. Many points and ideas which Huxley raised in his essays of "Ends and Means", which I also highly recommend, are explored further.

    Due to the alphabetical order and index it's easy to find exactly what you are look This is a great compendium about many different aspects of war and pacifism.

    An Encyclopaedia of Pacifism Encyclopedia by Huxley Aldous Editor - AbeBooks

    Due to the alphabetical order and index it's easy to find exactly what you are looking for, but you can or should of course read it all from A to Z - in my opinion these assistances are mainly to find these articles which you found interesting but semi-forgot. Although now decades old this encyclopedia still holds its ground and should be a must-read besides "Ends and Means" for all politicians oder politically intersted people.

    Many interesting new developments and events occured since Huxley published this book, which is why there is a so called "Handbook of Non-Violence" by Robert Seeley which contains Huxley's work word for word - after that follows a second part by the editor Seeley covering all these new aspects of modern warfare and non-violent resistance. This edition should be a lot easier to find and cheaper than Huxley's original work which got only a single printing, as far as I know, and is very rare. What was very important for me sorry, I've got to stress that out again , is that Seeley didn't mix his new articles inbetween Huxley's work, but kept both separated.

    Peace and Justice - Violence and pacifism

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    An Encyclopædia of Pacifism An Encyclopædia of Pacifism
    An Encyclopædia of Pacifism An Encyclopædia of Pacifism
    An Encyclopædia of Pacifism An Encyclopædia of Pacifism
    An Encyclopædia of Pacifism An Encyclopædia of Pacifism
    An Encyclopædia of Pacifism An Encyclopædia of Pacifism
    An Encyclopædia of Pacifism An Encyclopædia of Pacifism

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