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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Each portion of the earth is no longer shut up in its own geometrical posi- tion, but for many of the purposes of human life acts upon other portions of the planet. For the very strong reason that the whole of biology is quite definitely only a chapter in certain biograpliies, it is what biologists do in the portion of their lives open to biography.

Making allusions to the poets in the last century who were asked by the ladies in the drawing room what period of life would they love to have lived in? It is said, for example, that tliis or that matter is not worthy of the height of a certain time. It announces the de- termination to share existence with the enemy; more than that, with an enemy which is weak. In the case of science, there has also been an increase in opportunities as things that have been hitherto considered as a utopia are now available.

It is, furthermore, entirely new in the history of our modern civilisation. Three principles have made possible this new world: Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. This determination has its origin in the character of society, or what comes to the same thing, of the type of men dominant in it. Our presumptions about the future has lulled us to cast away the rudder of history and we have ceased to keep watch, have lost our agility and efficiency believing that the holds in store no more surprises nor secrets, nothing essentially new and assured that the world would proceed on a straight course thereby putting away the anxiety about the future and taking a stand in the definite present.

If it does really turn out to the advantage of anyone, it rejoices from simple human sympathy; but does not live on the profit it brings to others, neither anticipating it nor hoping for It. The First Jewish Revolt. Human life taken as a whole has mounted higher.


For those things are merely its products, and the fervour with which he greets them only brings into stronger relief his indifference to the principles from which they spring. What does this bring us to? 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. Thus, someone who examines his talents and concludes he is mediocre, and feels that is a problem, is not a mass man.

How has such a thing been possible, how is it still possible? Hence, when describ- ing the newest aspect of the existence implanted by the XIXth Century, I was left with these two features: Strictly speaking, the mass, as a psychological fact, can be defined without waiting for individuals to appear in mass formation.

The Revolt of the Masses

The general aspect which it presents to us will fonn the general aspect of our own life. That is, there is a greater potentiality than ever before and in all previous time seeming dwarfed by contrast.

Barbarism is the absence of standards to which appeal can be made. If my body was not a weight to me, 1 thd not be able to walk. The Dissection of the Mass-Man Begins brings to mind the awareness of a new different kind of man who was produced and prepared by the 19th century and now dominates the public sphere. But if the specialist is ignorant of the inner philosophy of the science he cultivates, he is much more radically ignorant of the historical conditions requisite for its con- tinuation; that is to say: But leaving die world forms part of the world, as a door is pan of a room.

We shall have to say that he is a learned ignoramus, w T hich is a very serious matter, as it implies that he is a person who is ignorant, not in the fashion of the ignorant man, but with all the petulance of one who is learned in his own special line.

I know w ell that many of my readers do not think as! The mass asserted no right to intervene in them; they realised that if they wished to intervene they would necessarily have to ac- quire those special qualities and cease being mere joee. He argues that there was an internal change that was taking place through Europe as the increase in economic, intellectual and social status of the people grew; there was revol a re-orientation that nose taking place.

But gadset modern man finds complete freedom as its natural, established condition, without any special cause for it. For this form of violence is none other than reason exasperated. An introduction was written by novelist Saul Bellow. It is no use speaking of ideas when there is no acceptance of a higher authority to regulate them, a series of standards to which it is possible to appeal in a discussion. Ortwga University Press, The gesture has its value, it seems to ordain an even greater silence during the si- lence of the night, so as to tevolt able to catch the sound ghe the secret germination of the future.


The Revolt of the Masses: José Ortega y Gasset: : Books

All this is equally valid for collective life. By the very fact that everything seems possible to j, we have a feeling that the worst is still possible: Why should he listen if he has within him all that is necessary? The lack of a historic conscience is that which Gasset believes is affecting the politics of Europe.

Imagine a humble-minded man who, having tried to estimate his own worth on specific grounds — asking himself if he has any talent for this or that, if he excels in any direction— realises that maxses possesses no quality of excellence.

Hence it is that the world seems to us something enormous, and ourselves a tiny object within it. This is the true inner nature of the specialist, w ho in the first years of this century has reached the wildest stage of exaggeration. Interesting read here, particularly for our egalitarian ears. The illustrated paper and the film have brought these far-off portions of the universe before the immediate vision of the crowd. We feel that we actual men have suddenly been left alone on the earth; that the dead did not die in appearance only but effectively; that they can no longer help maxses.

Politics or cultural aspect of history are more considered than the biological aspect of history and he believes that the latter actually holds more ground for it is in it that the cosmic world flourishes. Therefore, his life was constantly related to this supreme authority on which it depended.

History he considers to be a very vital tool and technique in the maintenance of civilization not because it gives solution to every problem but it helps us to avoid the mistakes of the past.