The Revolt of the Masses JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET THE REVOLT OF THE MASSES AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION FROM THE SPANISH W □ W □ NORTON. José Ortega Y. Gasset The Dissection of the Mass-Man Begins 7. Why the Masses Intervene in Everything, and Why Their Intervention is Solely by Violence . SUMMARY OF THE BOOK THE REVOLT OF THE MASSES BY JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET CHAPTER 1 THE COMING OF THE MASSES In this chapter, Jose.
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Satisfiedthe specialist who believes he has it all and extends the command he has of his subject to others, contemptuous of his ignorance in all of them. Finally, Ortega veers off the mark in his last chapter, which covers a third of the book.
All the normal processes are suppressed in order to arrive directly at the imposition of what is desired. If anyone persists in maintaining that he believes tw T o and two make five, and there is no reason for supposing him to be insane, we may be certain that he does not believe it, however much he may shout it out, or even if he allows himself to be killed for main- taining it.
It is not the failure of prediction that bothers massses, but that the reasoning and analysis on which it is based, which is conclusory and fantastical, is far inferior to that in the rest of the book. The theatre has seats to be occupied — in other words, so that the house may be full— and now they are overflowings people anxious to use them are left standing outside.
The Revolt of the Masses: JosÃ© Ortega y Gasset: : Books
The element of strangeness in these new facts is not to he attributed to the element of novelty, but to the extra- ordinary form taken by these new things. Hence it was that the ancients gave Minerva her owl, the bird with ever-dazzled eyes. All life is the strug- gle, the effort to be itself.
This fact is the accession of the masses to complete social power. This proves that experimental sci- ence is one of the most unlikely products of history. But apart from this, 1 am not at present discussing the true inward- ness of one or the other, just as I am not attempting to solve the eternal dilemma of revolution ov evolution.
Our time, In fact, no longer regards itself as definitive; on the contrary, it discovers, though obscurely, deep within itself an intuition that there are no such epochs, definitive, assured, crystallised for ever.
Well, then, I maintain that it is in tills obliteration of the average soul that the rebellion of the masses consists, and in this in its turn lies the gigantic problem set before hu- manity to-day.
A Statistical Fact 6.
The minorities are individuals or groups of individuals which are specially qualified. Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated.
Indeed, after the war it might seem natural that their number should be less. Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. We are not launched into existence like a shot from a gun, with its trajectory absolutely predetermined.
The Revolt of the Masses
Nobody has concerned himself with supplying them. But each new genera- tion must master these perfected means. The contemporary State is the easiest seen and best- known product of civilisation.
It is not that means are lacking for the solution, What are lacking are heads. What 1 have said, and still believe with ever-increasing conviction, is that human society is always, whether it will or no, aris- tocratic by its very essence, to the extreme that it is a society in the measure that it is aristocratic, and ceases to be such when it ceases to be aristocratic. One person found this helpful. And note that I am referring to physicists, chemists, biologists, not to pliilosophers.
Some time ago I summed up the situation in the fol- lowing w T ay: The number of people whose minds are equal to these prob- lems becomes increasingly smaller. Though the fact be quite logical and natural, we cannot maswes recognise that this did not happen before and that now it does; consequently, there has been a change, an innovation, which justifies, at least for the first moment, our surprise. The glory of the XIXth Century lies not in their discovery, but in their implantation.
The simple process of preserving our present civilisation is supremely complex, and demands incalculably subtle powers. And because it has always lived in danger, it has succeeded in winning respect for itself — which im- plies that josee has ceaselessly remained in the breach. Their pol- icy was thought out — by the XVIlIth Century — precisely in order to avoid the errors of previous politics, thought out in view of those errors and embraced in its substance the whole extent of experience.
Also, the final chapter of the book which many consider the best is, to me, a very rhetorical jeremiad where Ortega obsesses over the thought that, in the future, Europe might not ‘rule the world. Spontaneous social action will be broken up over and over again by State intervention; no new seed will be able to fructify.
And such will all movements be which fall into the stupidity of starting a boxing-match with some portion or other of the past, instead of proceeding to digest it. His leaders, to whom the mass should defer, are men of great mind, not technicians. It is said, for example, that tliis or that matter is not worthy of the height of a jise time.
The aristo- crat inherits, that is to say, he finds attributed to lus per- son, conditions of life which he has not created, and which, therefore, are not produced in organic union with his personal, individual existence. Nobody has con- cerned himself with supplying them! Properly speaking, there tje no barbarian standards. It can be found in the declining years of Rome, among other places. Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life.
As they say in the United States: All that follows is a consequence, a corollary, of that root-structure, which may be summed up thus: The meaning is that the type of man dom- inant to-day is a primitive one, a Naturmensch rising up in the midst of a civilised world. Ortega is throughout quite revolh of both the masses and the mass-men of which they are made up, contrasting “noble life and common life” and excoriating the barbarism and primitivism he sees in the mass-man.
It would be of great value to treat the matter thoroughly and to specify in detail orhega arc the historical presuppositions, vita!