Twilight of Revolution

Twilight of Revolution

The idea of revolution was the great invention of the West in its second phase. Societies of the past did not have real revolutions; they had changes of mandate and dynasty. Apart from these changes, they experienced profound transformations: births, deaths, and resurrections of religions. In this respect, too, our era is unique: no other society has ever made revolution its central idea. If this second phase of Western civilization comes to an end, as many people believe and as the reality that we all live tells us, the clearest sign that the end is approaching will be what Ortega y Gasset prophetically called “the twilight of revolutions.” It is true that we have never had so many; it is also true that none of them fits the Western conception of what a revolution is. Like the first Christians waiting for the Apocalypse, modern society has been waiting for the arrival of the Revolution since 1840. And revolution is coming: not the one that we have been waiting for, but another one, each time another one. Faced with this unexpected reality which cheats us, theologians speculate and try to prove, like Confucian mandarins, that the mandate of heaven (the idea of revolution) is the same; what is happening is that the prince (concrete revolution) is unworthy of the mandate. But there comes a time when people cease believing in the speculations of theologians. This is what has begun to happen in the second half of our century

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Lima