The Individual And Revolution


James Constant


            Historian Toynbee tells us that revolution occurs when the existing structure of "Society", has ceased to answer to the conditions, needs and demands of Society which has the power to make a change in the structure.1 In recorded history, changes brought about by revolution have brought about changes in the management of Society along with new conditions, needs and demands which put new tensions on Society [1 p 8]. Within the period from which records survive, we have evidence that there have been many revolutions. Over time, revolutions have become more frequent. [1 p 9]. Toynbee further tells us that evolution has been the rule for betterment of Society, and revolution has been the exception [1 p 10].

            What emerges from Toynbee's account is that as a structure of Society matures it ceases to answer the conditions, needs and demands of Society and that most changes that benefit the entire Society are usually made by the evolutionary process of gradual adjustment, rather than by the violent acts of revolution. New religions, philosophies, ideologies and ideals have had as much effect upon human affairs as have new tools. There are relatively long time periods of evolutionary change interrupted by short time periods of revolutionary change. Over time, as communication and technologies have increased, these long time periods of evolutionary change have shortened.

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