What should we have learned from social revolutions?


Some people want social revolutions, as a way of clearing out what hasn't worked and starting afresh. It begins with frustration and dissatisfaction with what is happening in society and often ends with mass protests, destruction, rage, bloodshed and massacre of the ruling elite. The French Revolution is a prime example that has been carefully studied, documented and reflected upon, since 1789. Three famous men, Herder, Schiller and Goethe reflected more deeply on what happened during and after the revolution. They were horrified at how bestially people could behave once they had achieved their freedom. Their conclusion was that if citizens did not possess wisdom, they could not govern themselves or others. This gave rise to the bildung movement in the latter half of the 19th century.

I think this conclusion is well worth pondering even today. It is not inconceivable that even European countries will experience revolutions. We are already seeing the beginnings of serious frustration in society, class differences are enormous and social problems are constantly increasing. So what should we learn from past revolutions? My conclusion is that we should collectively start national personality development as early as possible in order to prevent bloody revolutions. By this I mean different platforms for wisdom development mostly based on dialogue and reflection. We should learn from history that revolutions rarely end happily, especially for the power elite. Therefore, it should be in the interest of the power elite to contribute to the development of wisdom in the whole population.





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