Rehumanization is the nonviolent process of rekindling the sense of empathy. A growing, and already abundant body of scientific evidence establishes beyond doubt that the natural condition of human beings includes, perhaps primarily, a large capacity for empathy and mutual identification. Human beings can, however, mentally dehumanize others by denying that the other is also human. This process, which one scientist has called pseudo-speciation, is a dangerous enabling condition of violence. One of the great strengths of nonviolence, conversely, is that we humanize and dignify ourselves, and rehumanize others, recovering our natural sense of identity with one another in the process. This reinforces the belief of many nonviolence proponents that the capacity to offer nonviolence is an essential part of what makes us human.
Rehumanization is an indispensable part of the nonviolent toolkit. It calls for a creative mind, enduring patience, and an open heart. When we rehumanize, we are reinforcing our deep faith in nonviolence, as well as strengthening our ability to persuade with satyagraha, by regarding the opponent as fully human even while resisting an unjust agenda.