A Revolutionary Current is in the Air

Perhaps the greatest intellectual and artistic works ever to have come into existence have been borne out of this mysterious and all-powerful force known as ‘love.’ And as mentioned before, love is the outcome or result of a mental transformation that occurs as a result of education and art. Given that all other economic and social transformations stem from this initial mental transformation which is rooted in education and art, leaders and policymakers should consider instituting universal education as well as reforms in the overall education system not only for the sake of economic and social progress and for the sake of overcoming economic and social decline, but also to prevent a ‘democratic backslide’ from a political standpoint, which can occur in the absence of the economic and social progress which is rooted in the mental transformations that occur on both a collective and individual level as a result of education and art.

As Antonio Gramsci wrote: “Above all, man is mind, i.e., he is a product of history, not nature.” He added:

“The fact is that only by degrees, one stage at a time, has humanity acquired consciousness of its own value and won for itself the right to throw off the patterns of organization imposed on it by minorities at a previous period in history. And this consciousness was formed not under the brutal goad of physiological necessity, but as a result of intelligent reflection, at first by just a few people and later by a whole class, on why certain conditions exist and how best to convert the facts of vassalage into the signals of rebellion and social reconstruction.”

Gramsci added:

“This means that every revolution has been preceded by an intense labor of criticism, by the diffusion of culture and the spread of ideas amongst masses of men who are at first resistant, and think only of solving their own immediate economic and political problems for themselves, who have no ties of solidarity with others in the same condition.” 

What is going on now in our society and in many other societies is nothing short of a revolution. Political and social phenomena in our day and age can be understood thoroughly only if they are viewed through the lens of revolution. It is a revolution that is being played out in different venues and on different platforms, as well as in the minds and perceptions of different individuals and groups. The volume, speed, scale, and scope by which information, ideas, images, opinions, and sentiments are being spread amongst people means that this cultural and social revolution is global, and that it wields a kind of character and essence which differentiates it from previous revolutions. 

While those in power in almost all parts of the world are out of touch with reality and are disconnected from what is really going on politically and socially amongst the large swaths of people in the world due to the parochial nature of their interests as well as their short-sighted hunger for money and power, regular people are now interconnected and engaged with one another unlike ever before. The hope for those in power is that the information revolution which is brewing amongst regular people does not coalesce into something bigger. Such democratic revolutions in the past have also been stinted and thwarted by neocolonial strategies and tactics on a local and national level. But given the scale and scope of the information revolution this time around, it remains to be seen whether those top-down strategies and tactics which were quite effective and successful in the past have the same potency and utility as they did before. 

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