Robarchek, Clayton A. 1981. “The Image of Nonviolence: World View of the Semai-Senoi.”Federation Museums Journal 25:103-117.
The worldview of the Semai does not include violence, though they see the world around them as unpredictable and dangerous. They conceive of the individual as dependent and helpless in the face of outside forces, and they see danger from situations that produce strong emotional affect. Robarchek explains how these fundamental beliefs of the Semai foster their nonviolent social behaviors. Their idealized, approved behaviors—their expectations of themselves—focus on goodness and badness in different ways. To the Semai, they are not really opposite values. They see goodness as positive nurturing behavior, such as loving, giving, and helping. In contrast, they do not see badness as negative nurturing, the opposites of the positive behaviors. Instead, they think of badness in terms of negative affiliative behaviors, such as hitting, fighting, stealing, gossip, slander and the like. Thus, their concepts of good and evil are at opposite ends of differing, though certainly overlapping, dimensions. These differences are produced by the cultural values of Semai society combined with the need for individuals to gain security within their bands.
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