Customer Reviews for

The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    The Humanity of the Rebel

    The Rebel, is one who opposes authority or restraint, one who breaks with established custom or tradition. Above all, he seeks an Internal Change, a change in the Attitudes, Emotions, and Outlook of the people to whom he is devoted. He often seems to be temperamentally unable to accept success, and the ease it brings. He kicks against the pricks, and when one frontier is conquered, he soon becomes ill-at-ease, pushing on to the new frontier. He is drawn to the unquiet minds and spirits, for he shares their everlasting inability to accept stultifying Control.

    He may, as Socrates did, refer to himself as the Gadfly for the State, the one who keeps the state from settling down into a Complacency, which is the first step towards Decadence. No matter how much the Rebel gives the appearance of being egocentric, or of being on an ego trip, this is but an Illusion. Inwardly, the authentic Rebel is anything but brash.

    True to the meaning of the Rebel, as one who renounces authority, he seeks primarily not the substitution of one political system for another. He may favor such a political change, however it is not his chief goal. He rebels for the sake of a Vision of Life and Society, which he is convinced, is critically important for himself and all others. The Rebel fights not only for the relief of his fellow Man, but also for his Personal Integrity. For him, these are but two sides of the same coin.

    The function of the Rebel is to shake the fixated mores of the rigid order of Civilization, and it is this shaking, though painful, which he believes is necessary, if the society is to be saved from boredom and apathy.

    Civilization begins with a rebellion .... it gets its first Flower from the Rebel.

    The authentic Rebel knows that the silencing of his adversaries, is the last thing he wishes. Their extermination would deprive him, and whomever else, from the uniqueness, the originality, and the capacity for insight, that these enemies, who being Human, also have, and could share with him. If we wish the death of our enemies, we cannot talk about the Community of Man. In our losing of a chance to dialogue with our enemy, we are the poorer.

    In Greek mythology, Prometheus, one of the Titans, steals fire from the Gods on Mount Olympus and then brings it as a gift to Man, marking the birth of Human Civilization. For this rebellion, Zeus sentences him to be chained to Mount Caucasus, where vultures consume his liver during the day, only to have it grow back every night, so that it can be eaten away once again the following day. This is a tale representing the agony of the creative individual, whose nightly rest only resuscitates him so that he can endure his agonies the next day.

    Throughout history, there has been observed a regularity in which society martyrs the rebel in one generation, only to worship him in the next.

    From Rollo May (Existential Psychologist 1909-1994)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    I love Chris Hedges

    Essays with his views and disillusions on how the world is. Great reading.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted May 27, 2012

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