We transmit to you the study “Some clues for nonviolence” carried out by Philippe Moal, in the form of 12 chapters. The general table of contents is as follows:
1- Where are we going?
2- The difficult transition from violence to nonviolence.
3- Prejudices which perpetuate violence.
4- Is there more or less violence than yesterday?
5- Spirals of violence
6- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (a) Disconnection.
7- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (b- Flight).
8- Disconnection, flight and hyper-connection (c- hyper-connection).
9- The different ways of rejecting violence.
10- The decisive role of consciousness.
11- Transformation or immobilisation.
12- Integrating and overcoming duality and Conclusion.
In the essay dated September 2021, the author expresses his thanks: : Thanks to their accurate vision of the subject, Martine Sicard, Jean-Luc Guérard, Maria del Carmen Gómez Moreno and Alicia Barrachina have given me precious help in the realisation of this work, both in the precision of terms and ideas, and I thank them warmly.
Here is the tenth chapter:
The Decisive Role of Consciousness
Our inventions and creations, the progress of science and technology, but also our beliefs, our ideological choices, our values, our lifestyle, etc. are the fruit of the intentionality of the consciousness that is shaping the world in its image. If consciousness is altered, the resulting world is altered; a violent consciousness generates a violent world, a consciousness on the run produces a runaway world.
The question of consciousness therefore deserves to be addressed, but let us begin with the concept of the unconscious, which is omnipresent in today’s society.
It is true that psychoanalysis and developments on the unconscious have made it possible to unveil our inner world and reveal its meanderings: fear, anguish, resentment, contradiction, compulsions, the desire for revenge, and so on. We know that these inner contents have implications for life and that they are very active. However, today there is a new tendency to resort to the development of consciousness, as if we decided to move to another stage, to change the level of consciousness.
If psychoanalysis has allowed us to understand that the contents of consciousness are active, phenomenology has also allowed us to discover that consciousness is active. The subject of intentionality is arousing great interest. The image inculcated during education, in which consciousness was shown more as a critical judge than as an ally, is being questioned.
The presentation of the active role of the conscience is moving away from the classical theses on the subject. Indeed, the consciousness does not transmit its vision of the world to us according to the information it receives, like a simple mirror; it does not passively reflect the world, but, on the contrary, it does something with the world it perceives. It does not limit itself to evaluating whether what we do is good or bad, but integrates and interprets the data that reaches it and, above all, structures this data, uses it to elaborate responses in order to transform what it perceives, even to transform itself.
Being active, it is therefore mobile and therefore free in its essence, as it is not subject to determinism. We note that fixation on values, beliefs or prejudices immobilises it in conceptions that can cause it to close in on itself and become violent.
It is easy to notice this active aptitude of the conscience. “I ask myself about a particular situation or a problem to be solved without being able to give an immediate answer; sometimes, after several days and in an unusual situation, the answer suddenly appears to me”. The conscience, silently one might say, has continued to search for an answer during all this time. The questions, doubts, needs and desires that I formulate internally are acts that activate the consciousness to give an answer. Technically, we speak of an act-object operation.
However, the initiated acts are not always completed with an object, that is, they do not always find an answer, which generates a tension that, in a certain way, places the consciousness in a constant dynamic, in a state of permanent search, in order to complete the initiated acts.
It is clear that sometimes these acts of consciousness are not completed in an object, because sometimes it happens that the object is not found. Then there remains a line of tension. Fortunately, on the other hand. It is because consciousness is not complete that consciousness is dynamic. It is because consciousness is not stopped, completed in an object, that consciousness can set its various mechanisms in motion .
By showing the active nature of consciousness that expresses itself through intentionality, we approach the thesis of phenomenology, according to which the world is given to consciousness, creating a reciprocal interrelation between consciousness, which exists because it is part of this world, and the world, which exists because I am conscious of it, both forming a consciousness-world structure. However, the Husserlian concept must be completed by specifying that intentionality is expressing itself through the image and that consciousness essentially intends to transform the world.
Moreover, with the issue of human intentionality, we are moving away from today’s dominant reductionist theses, according to which only physics and chemistry would explain the essence of life and its evolution, reducing everything to matter.
The premises and background of the idea of active consciousness are to be found in the philosopher Frantz Brentano , who, at the end of the 19th century, introduced the notion of intentionality as a basic universal descriptive concept . 3] One of his students, Edmond Husserl, further developed the concept and created phenomenology, describing intentionality as a fundamental structure of consciousness (and not only as a psychological phenomenon). Another pupil of Brentano’s, Sigmund Freud, developed the concept of the unconscious at the same time as Husserl, which shows the effervescence that reigned around the subject of consciousness at that time and which was heralding the discoveries to be made from this time onwards about the inner world of the human being .
Until then, past experiences were considered to have little impact on the present and even less on the future. Freud’s great contribution was to demonstrate that the contents of the psyche are active, and this was a real revolution for the time. However, it was Husserl who contributed the concept of the active role of consciousness: not only are the contents of consciousness active, but consciousness itself is also active.
New currents in the field of psychology were making their appearance… The winds of renewal were blowing in, while one by one our old idols were falling: no more Binet tests, no more Rorschach psychological diagnoses, no more Ribot, Wundt, Weber and Fechner… Experimental psychology had become a statistical or neurophysiological branch. The Gestaltists had landed on these beaches so far from the high psychology debate. Wertheimer, Koffka and Köhler were synthesised with behaviourism thanks to Tolman and Kantor. Behind all this, we saw a gigantic methodology which, moreover, was influencing the fields of logic, gnoseology and even ethics and aesthetics. It was the Husserlian phenomenological method that had long ago produced its critique of psychologism and transcended Heidegger and the psychology of existence. The psychoanalytic pantheon then collapsed with Sartre’s criticisms of the schema of the unconscious based precisely on the application of phenomenology. In particular, we discussed one of Sartre’s least studied essays, his magnificent Outline of a Theory of the Emotions .
The two schools of thought mentioned above obviously entail different research methodologies for resolving violence. Broadly speaking, let us say that one looks to the past and the other to the future. “With phenomenology, we free ourselves from the worlds behind us”, said Nietzsche.
In one case I see violence according to what I interpret and in the other I interpret it according to what I see. In the first case, there is a tension linked to the fact that I start from the interpretation. In the second case, I start describing without explaining, without analysing, without a previous reading grid, which allows a more relaxed approach to the problem, although it is necessary to be as exhaustive as possible in the description of the phenomenon. Moreover, I can observe without noise and see without interpreting, allowing intuitions and inspiration to emerge.
Nor do we appeal to the action of a supposed subconscious or unconscious, or some other epochal myth whose scientific premises are incorrectly formulated. We rely on a psychology of consciousness that admits diverse levels of work and operations of different pre-eminence in each psychic phenomenon, always integrated in the action of a global consciousness .
Research on consciousness does not use the concept of the unconscious, but considers the concept of co-presences  which, although we do not see them, although we are not aware of them – in the sense of not being aware of them and not in the sense of being unconscious – have a strong influence on our everyday life. Jean Gebser illustrates the phenomenon as follows: “We never see what we have in front of our eyes, without thinking that to the visible side corresponds a side that is not perceived because it is not visible, but indispensable for the whole to exist ”.
The co-presences can be unresolved background noises of everyday life, permanent preoccupations, subjects of reflection that occupy the mind, more deeply rooted beliefs whose values dictate life and intervene when one moves away from a certain line of conduct. The formative stage is therefore very important, as beliefs and values are formed at this time and can resurface at any time.
The co-presences may be at the surface, linked to the contexts in which I live, but they may also come from my more distant memory and resurface suddenly and unexpectedly, by association with situations that I am experiencing in the present. Their accumulated emotional and affective charge can be the trigger for great violence. In a conflict between two people, memories linked to the conflict come to the surface and act in co-presence.
Every individual representation is part of a more or less copresent system of representation, which varies according to the conditions of the memory data. In other words, a response to the world elicited by a stimulus has been selected by a field of copresence among many other possible representations. Thus, the co-presence system, in more than one sense, determines the overall behaviour of individuals and human ensembles .
9] Research on consciousness shows that it is primarily oriented towards the future. This vision conditions present behaviour and positively and gradually counteracts the burden of past traumas. Reconciliation with a lived situation, for example, aims at rehabilitation for tomorrow. I was able to experience a real integration of difficult experiences from my past by being able to elaborate future projects related to those same painful experiences.
No phenomenon is predetermined, including violence, as Ilya Prigogine demonstrated in his thermodynamics experiments ; there are multiple options in any situation and our free will allows us to always have the possibility to choose.
“We are condemned to be free ”, says Sartre, for whom, once thrown into this world that we have not chosen, we are responsible for everything we do in it. If we do not choose, we cannot speak of freedom. One cannot reply: “If one chooses to be violent, one is therefore free”, because this freedom, which is granted by eliminating that of the other, is at the origin of an enchainment, in which case one cannot speak of freedom.
In 1960, in a public speech as assistant pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta with his father, Martin Luther King also invoked the notion of choice: “It is not a choice between violence and non-violence; it is a choice between non-violence and non-existence”.
Silo poetically refers to the need to choose in the chapter The Guide to the Inner Path in his book The Inner Look: “… On the inner path you can walk darkened or luminous. Attend to the two paths that open before you. If you allow your being to be thrown into dark regions, your body wins the battle and dominates. Then sensations and appearances of spirits, of forces, of memories will arise. There you descend further and further. There is hatred, revenge, strangeness, possession, jealousy, the desire to remain. If you descend further, you will be overcome by frustration, resentment and all those reveries and desires that have brought ruin and death to humanity. If you push your being in the luminous direction, you will meet resistance and fatigue at every step. This fatigue of ascent has its culprits. Your life weighs, your memories weigh, your past actions impede the ascent. This ascent is difficult because of the action of your body which tends to dominate .
 Foundations of thinking. The pure form from the psychological point of view, Silo Lecture, Corfu, October 1975, Winged Lion Editions, 2019, p. 21.
 Franz Brentano (1838-1917), German philosopher, author of the reference work Psychology from the Empirical Point of View, Ediciones Sígueme, 2020.
 La phénoménologie et les fondements des sciences (Phenomenology and the foundations of the sciences), Hermann, 2019, Edmund Husserl, “Founding text of phenomenology. Husserl establishes here the principles and methods that make possible a new science, the pure descriptive science of the structures of consciousness, transcendental phenomenology. Revealing the implicit laws of intentional life and the constitutive power of intentionality” Jean-François Lavigne, specialist in contemporary philosophy, ontology and phenomenology.
 The influence of Husserlian phenomenology on the psychological sciences has been considerable, as has Heidegger’s philosophy derived from it. Many authors belong to this current. Almost all of them have been influenced by the phenomenological method of Franz Brentano and Husserl. The works of Jaspers, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre and Binswanger are universally known. As a psychiatric trend, the Third Viennese School of Viktor Frankl joins this trend. The psychological work methods of Ludwig Ammann in his Self-Liberation System are also well known.
 Self-Liberation, op. cit., p. 11.
 Contributions to Thought, Psychology of the Image, op. cit. p. 54.
 Self-Liberation, op. cit., p. 111.
 La imagen del hombre y la conciencia, lecture given in 1965 by Jean Gebser (1905-1973), German philosopher and poet, phenomenologist of consciousness, author of Origen y Presente, published in Spanish by Atalanta, 2011.
 La modificación del trasfundo psicosocial, Silo Conference, 4 January 1982 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.