Ajai R. Singh MD

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A peep into man's histority (Contd. V)



The Justification of Rebellion


Can rebellion be justified? As we saw, the issue is not so much of justification. Justification for change and for rebellion can be sought at almost any stage of man's development. In fact its perceived need is the basis of all change in every field of human endeavour. The issue should be more concerned with its timing, its direction and its likely fate. Rebellion, therefore, needs to be timed when it destabilizes in the least, when its direction is reconstructive and its likely fate is a change for the better. This is easier said than done because most rebels believe in destabilization as their major weapon; and reconstruc­tion and change for the better can easily become slogans that camouflage a heightened desire for personal fulfilment and self-aggrandizement. In all these, again, value judgements are involved. But it is possible with some difficulty for most like minded to evolve something in the nature of a broad consensus.


When does rebellion anarchize and at what stage can this be subverted? How can it be assimilated?


These questions are the crux of the issue that has dominated human thought from time immemorial and for which no wholly satisfying answer has ever been worked out. But the directions are there. They exist in most historically significant thought streams, whether the theological, the political, the socio-economic or the philosophical. In general, it may be said that rebel­lion anarchizes when limits are not set. It is not here a lack of will or spirit that is the issue. That, if anything, is in more than adequate a measure, al­though most revolution makers would want us to believe otherwise. It is a lack of the will to, or a calculated unwillingness to, lay down realistic limits, to one's aspirations. If anarchy is to be subverted, therefore, at least partially this should be possible by a realistic appraisal of one's strength and, more so, of one's shortcomings.

The question of assimilation of rebellion is the most difficult to resolve. But some thought toward this end has occupied the minds of thinkers with the greater profundity, although that does not mean the solutions they have been able to offer are in any measure as practicable as they are profound. The theologists outstrip other thinkers in this regard, perhaps.

As regards the last question of changing the lessons of History for the present and the future, and also whether the cycle of historical lapses need be repeated, let us be clear on one aspect. Man's histority projects him head-long into activity which must only reiterate the importance of its own perpetuation. And yet to this determinism must face up man's ingenuity to strike clear of this cycle. The fight is thus between his instincts and his higher consciousness, between his id and his super-ego, between his impulsivity and his rationality. The fight is between demands of the individual and society, the body and mind, between matter and spirit, between belief and reason, faith and inquiry, dogmatism and scepticism; between the basic shizm of religious subservience and scientific disbelief.

This fight is essentially irresolvable, because neither side can win and


neither can be wholly vanquished. In the final analysis, History must repeat itself. All that man can probably do, and that hopefully is not wishing for much, is to blunt its offensive, to make its rapier bearably sharp. To hurt, but not to dismember. To dislodge, but not to disrupt. To chastise, but not to decapitate. All the lessons of human development and expertise at problem solving can be considered effectively directed if it is able to lead itself at least some distance in this direction.



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