Many people feel the need for a dramatic change in society, because they are aware of the particular problems in our culture and the seemingly endless progression of them. It is for this reason that they talk about the need for revolution.
Revolution has been attempted in various ways throughout history by people trying to effect a change in the societal structure. Their hope was that the change would filter through to each individual, but while some of these attempts might have had some peripheral effect, they have failed to change man fundamentally.
Revolution has also been tried psychologically through leadership. Here, one person or group assumes the position of authority and dictates to the population as a whole. This approach relies on the docility of the targeted population and implies acceptance of the authority’s rule, that is, the acceptance of an ideal posited, or of a target to fear (i.e., a person or prediction).
Again, both have failed to change man fundamentally. So, here we will discuss what is the only real revolution.
The common understanding of revolution means radical change. Throughout history we have used the term revolution to describe large scale changes in society such as the Industrial Revolution and the French Revolution.
Many today speak of revolution in the context of overthrowing a government, an idea that was formulated long ago by a man who believed that revolution was necessary in order to move society from one developmental stage to the next. This mentality has a serious consequence: it involves revolution through force and that implies violence – a bloody revolution. Our historical pattern so far, for better or worse, has been change through violence.
Irrespective of your particular views on revolution, I think we can all agree that revolution means ‘to bring about a fundamental mutation in what is’.
Revolution is currently being demanded by a increasing number of people as a result of the advancements in science. These advancements have led to a global society that can no longer accept the old norms, the traditions, and our religious heritage. We are becoming a more interconnected world day by day. This means that we can no longer accept change through violence because when we act violently we are inevitably harming ourselves as a whole. The only revolution for the future is a peaceful revolution.
To fight for peace is the continuation of violence; the end of violence is peace.
One main factor of the real revolution is peace – the conduct of the revolution must be peaceful. But, there is another major factor in this revolution. Revolution means the radical change of something, but what is that ‘something’ that must change?
In order for society to change fundamentally it must be the individuals of that society that undergo a fundamental mutation in themselves. We have attempted to bring about this fundamental mutation through changing the structure of society and instigating fear and competition within it, but while these have undoubtedly had an impact on society and the individuals within it, neither has been able to bring about the depth of transformation that is required.
Contrary to the intention, man has superseded those structures and remained the same, and this is because these attempts have not been able to sufficiently penetrate the psychological structure and transform it. Remaining the same ‘inside’ has meant that fundamental societal change has been totally blocked. What is, therefore, necessary is to bring about a change in man’s psychological structure.
A peaceful psychological revolution.
This is the central crisis of the present day, and it is an immense challenge. But how to bring about a psychological revolution? Here we are asking:
How do we change human behaviour?
The only real way of implementing change is through education. To change human behaviour requires a psychological education, but that education is not something that comes through reading the results of experimentation (the study of psychology),; instead, it comes through one’s willingness to examine oneself.
To explore the possibility of a fundamental change in one’s behaviour requires a great sense of awareness. Our thinking determines how we behave, and so a change in our behaviour implies a change in how we think. Thought is the response of knowledge and, therefore, a change in behaviour begins with a transformation in the structure of the knowledge that we possess.
Many of the competitive and brutal behaviours that we observe destabilising our global society are behaviours that, in the past, had a necessary purpose. These behaviours allowed us to excel as a species in the animal kingdom, but are now hindering the advancement of our species. Many of these animal behaviours are now outdated and realising this puts immense pressure on us to adapt to this new global environment.
The current crisis we are facing is perhaps the greatest challenge that our species has ever been confronted with; it is a challenge that demands a fundamental psychological adaptation, and it is the responsibility of each individual to bring about their own psychological mutation.
What is required for fundamental psychological change?
An education of our thinking and our behaviour.
How does one acquire an understanding of one’s thinking and behaviour?
To understand this we must understand how we learn.
How does one learn?
Learning begins with perception. First, one observes a thing, and in the very moment of observing that thing one is simultaneously acquiring knowledge about it. The very perception of an object is the acquisition of knowledge about it.
Seeing is learning.
So, to come back to the question: How does one acquire an understanding of one’s thinking and behaviour?
In order to understand our thinking and the resulting behaviour, we must observe ourselves, specifically our thinking. What is required is that we each observe the movement of thought as it is taking place in that moment. Through this perception, we will begin to acquire an understanding of the causes and consequences of our behaviour, but also something more: we will see, in that very perception, the significance and the structure of the thought itself. Here, each of us will acquire an insight into the functioning of that thought and the structure of knowledge responsible for it.
This is a very simple action, just to observe one’s thinking, and it contains in it a great energy for change.
As a result of having an insight into the significance and structure of a thought, an understanding is created. That understanding is the factor that has the capacity not only to acquire knowledge but also to transform knowledge. As a result of that understanding the knowledge responsible for the observed behaviour will undergo a mutation at the moment it is witnessed. Since the knowledge responsible for that behaviour has now mutated, the behaviour itself will also have changed. One will now respond differently when confronted by a similar situation.
The observation of our thinking has the capacity to transform the knowledge responsible for it through an act of understanding.
The purpose of self-enquiry is to bring about a coherent behaviour in relation to society as a whole. The word coherence implies in it the absence of conflict and, therefore, results in a behaviour that is harmonious with others and, thus, with society. Not to be in conflict means that there is no trigger to instigate violence, and the absence of violence is peace.
Educating oneself through a self-examination that results in coherent behaviour is the only real revolution.