The Semai are famed as one of the most peaceful societies on earth. An important journal article from 1981 that explains how Semai beliefs foster their peacefulness has just been added to the website Archive.
Robarchek (1981) describes the worldview of the Semai, with a particular focus on how they view positive and negative behaviors—goodness and badness—on different planes of nurturance and affiliation, and he shows how their values fit in well with the needs, wants, and fears of their daily life. Nurturance for the individual, one of their essential beliefs, is possible within the security provided by the community, the individual bands of people. For personal protection, positive affiliation within the band is extremely important, while negative affiliation threatens the security of bands and individuals.
Their self-image—of people who are nurturant, dependent, and non-aggressive—does not permit aggression, Robarchek explains. Children do not see adults fight and since they do not receive corporal punishment, they have few opportunities to learn aggressiveness. The Semai worldview, which they pass along to their children, does not include violence.