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Rollo May

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I must make the important distinction between the rebel and the revolutionary. One is in ineradicable opposition to the other. The revolutionary seeks an external political change, "the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another." The origin of the term is the word revolve, literally meaning a turnover, as the revolution of a wheel. When the conditions under a given government are insufferable some groups may seek to break down that government in the conviction that any new form cannot but be better. Many revolutions, however, simply substitute one kind of government for another, the second no better than the first which leaves the individual citizen, who has had to endure the inevitable anarchy between the two, worse off than before. Revolution may do more harm than good.
The rebel, on the other hand, is "one who opposes authority or restraint: one who breaks with established custom or tradition." ... He seeks above all an internal change, a change in the attitudes, emotions, and outlook of the people to whom he is devoted. He often seems to be temperamentally unable to accept success and the ease it brings; he kicks against the pricks, and when one frontier is conquered, he soon becomes ill-at-ease and pushes on to the new frontier. He is drawn to the unquiet minds and spirits, for he shares their everlasting inability to accept stultifying control. He may, as Socrates did, refer to himself as the gadfly for the state the one who keeps the state from settling down into a complacency, which is the first step toward decadance. No matter how much the rebel gives the appearance of being egocentric or of being on an "ego trip," this is a delusion; inwardly the authentic rebel is anything but brash.
--
Ch. 11 : The Humanity of the Rebel

 
Rollo May

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True to the meaning of the rebel as one who renounces authority, he seeks primarily not the substitution of one political system for another. He may favor such a political change, but it is not his chief goal. He rebels for the sake of a vision of life and society which he is convinced is critically important for himself and his fellows. ... the rebel fights not only for the relief of his fellow men but also for his personal integrity. For him these are but two sides of the same coin.

 
Rollo May
 

That was my problem then and it's my problem now; I have a bad attitude. In a nutshell, I fear authority but at the same time I resent it -- the authority and my own fear -- so I rebel. And writing SF is a way to rebel. ... SF is a rebellious art form and it needs writers and readers and bad attitudes -- an attitude of "Why?" or "How come?" or "Who says?"

 
Philip Kindred - a.k.a. PKD Dick
 

The function of the rebel is to shake the fixated mores of the rigid order of civilization; and this shaking, though painful, is necessary if the society is to be saved from boredom and apathy. Obviously I do not refer to everyone who calls himself a rebel, but only to the authentic rebel. Civilization gets its first flower from the rebel.

 
Rollo May
 

As far back as one can follow the run of civilization, it presents two fundamentally different types of political organization. This difference is not one of degree, but of kind. It does not do to take the one type as merely marking a lower order of civilization and the other a higher; they are commonly so taken, but erroneously. Still less does it do to classify both as species of the same genus to classify both under the generic name of "government," though this also, until very lately, has been done, and has always led to confusion and misunderstanding.
A good understanding of this error and its effects is supplied by Thomas Paine. At the outset of his pamphlet called Common Sense, Paine draws a distinction between society and government. While society in any state is a blessing, he says, "government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." In another place, he speaks of government as "a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world."

 
Albert Jay Nock
 

Rebel Rebel, you've torn your dress.
Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess.
Rebel Rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!

 
David Bowie
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