Humanity of the Rebel Critique

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The Humanity of the Rebel
“I must make the important distinction between the rebel and the revolutionary,” says Dr. Rollo May, one of the most influential American existential psychologist among society, in an excerpt titled, “The Humanity of the Rebel” from his prominent book, Power and Innocence. Rollo May vividly highlights the enduring opposites of the rebel and the revolutionary amongst a society battling to protect conventional norms and traditions. As reasoning, optimistic human beings, many struggle to take the moral stand necessary against injustice in the world. Humans, however, embody this central constituent to be aware of injustice and take necessary, primary action, in the form of “rudimentary anger.” This action against injustice evolves into two forms – the revolutionary and the rebel. May states that the revolutionary desires “external” change in politics, like overthrowing a government leader and replacing him/her. The rebel, however, has an everlasting persistence to break from the conventional views of society, to “oppose authority,” impacting people internally, whether emotions or mindsets, rather than push for physical, or visible change. Revolutionaries have an underlying lust for power, while rebels share their power to benefit society and protect his/her logical and spiritual integrity; rebels desire to be a respected individual. Civilization, therefore, is defined by the actions and the shared power of the rebel that is sparked by rebellion like Prometheus. May further emphasizes that rebels are the key to the “first flower,” the survival of society for thousands of years because they shake the “rigid order of civilization;” rebels go against the status quo. Rebels must battle consciousness, realizing the responsibility, and struggle to make difficult, worthwhile decisions. A rebel, however, struggles with the idea as God(s) as the one(s) who keep men conventional and in line; Gods are, however, at the same time human’s motivation for...
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