Revolt of the Masses

CHAPTER I

THE COMING OF THE MASSES

THERE is one fact which, whether for good or ill, is of utmost importance in the public life of Europe at the present moment. This fact is the accession of the masses to complete social power. As the masses, by definition, neither should nor can direct their own personal existence, and still less rule society in general, this fact means that actually Europe is suffering from the greatest crisis that can afflict peoples, nations, and civilisation. Such a crisis has occurred more than once in history. Its characteristics and its consequences are well known. So also is its name. It is called the rebellion of the masses. In order to understand this formidable fact, it is important from the start to avoid giving to the words “rebellion,” “masses,” and “social power” a meaning exclusively or primarily political. Public life is not solely political, but equally, and even primarily, intellectual, moral, economic, religious; it comprises all our collective habits, including our fashions both of dress and of amusement.

 

Excerpt from Revolt of the Masses, by Spanish Philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset, 1938 in which he urges that the common man recognize his inability to control his own destiny and yield to a leadership elite

 

 

© Hank Edmondson 2012