Saturday, August 13, 2022

49. Revolution

The Lines

Bottom. [9] Revolutionary change is avoided at first, if at all possible. If undertaken before the time is ripe, it will surely result in failure, and failed attempts to overthrow an oppressive force usually serve to make that force even stronger. Therefore, it is essential that the man seeking revolutionary change exercise complete control of the situation in the beginning, remain calm, and avoid premature moves that might only serve to wreck the enterprise before it has a chance to get off the ground.

2. [6] Reformation is the correction of existing conditions without completely eradicating the old and installing a new system. Only after reformation has been tried, but has failed, should a revolution be undertaken. Moreover, it is absolutely necessary that careful plans be made for such a drastic change, otherwise the changes will be chaotic, will surely get out of control, and will result in the defeat of the revolutionary agenda, if it is suppressed, or a disorganized disaster run rampant if it is not. If the result of the revolution is not to be a set of conditions as bad or worse than what is being overthrown, it is essential that the revolution be led by a man in whom the people have complete confidence -- a man of superior abilities who is able not only to overthrow the old, but also is able to guide and direct the installation of a new and better system. The first step to take is to make a deliberate declaration of the reasons for the revolution, that is, an explanation of the intolerable conditions that demand change, and then a description of the kind of system which the revolutionaries wish to bring about to replace the existing order. Only when the necessities, the purposes, and the goals of the revolution are clearly enunciated is it likely to result in an improvement to the untenable conditions.

3. [9] There is a right time to begin a revolution. If one begins too hastily, before careful plans are laid and preparations made, or for a cause that is not sufficient to support the struggle, the effort will end in disaster. But if one waits too long, the interest engendered by a worthy cause is allowed to dissipate, and the people too easily lose interest. A revolution should be discussed and considered, but when the time for change is clear, the moment must be seized if the job is to be completed successfully.

4. [9] Most revolutions have ended with a subversion of the very liberation they were intended to establish. For a revolution to succeed truly, it must be conducted in accordance with the highest aspirations of the human spirit. If a revolution is undertaken for lesser reasons -- because of a loss of face, or because of a desire to punish an ethnic group that is the subject of long-standing animosity, or some such ignoble motive -- then the revolution has no worthy purpose, and its implementation will be corrupted by its leaders turning their efforts to self-serving ends. Only when men feel they have enlisted in a noble cause will they be inspired to pursue honesty, justice and probity in every aspect of their endeavors.

5. [9] When a great man proposes a revolution to his people, his personal greatness expresses itself in a clarity of purpose in all that he does that is obvious to all. There is no ambiguity and no uncertainty. The reasons, the justifications, the purposes, the goals of the revolution -- all these things are clear and unquestioned. Every honest man can see that this is a worthy cause. Such a great man, with such a worthy mission, need not even consult the oracle, because the people immediately enlist themselves in support of this high-minded endeavor.

Top. [6] A great revolution involves great changes in a large number of basic issues. But invariably, there are a multitude of minor issues that undergo change also. Even inferior people recognize that a change has occurred, and their behavior reflects some of the change also, even if their changes are on the surface, and do not go down to fundamental issues. But it is never possible to wipe out every vestige of old prejudices and traditional practices. One must be satisfied with a settling of the big issues, and not expect every minute little outcropping of the old ways to disappear. Even after a great, successful revolution, the world will not then be made perfect. If an attempt was made to make it perfect, it would defeat the big picture and turn a time of liberation into a time of rigid oppression.

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