Abbie Hoffman wrote this.
For me, the phrase stands as one of my favorite descriptions of humanity, an idea that encompasses both hope and fear in one phrase.
Let's read the full quote, and analyze:
Revolution is not something fixed in ideology, nor is it something fashioned to a particular decade. It is a perpetual process embedded in the human spirit.
First, revolution. My two favorite descriptions, heavily influenced by Neal Stephenson's System of the World trilogy: "a total or radical change"; and also "the act of revolving, or turning round on an axis or a center". Both definitions evoke change, neither describe that change as necessarily good.
As an American, I've been conditioned to think of revolution in social terms - revolutions are good, revolutions bring progress to a society. Obviously, this idea is pretty naive. Not every revolution has created social progress. The typical revolution creates a short period of chaos, a few months/years of misery, and then a return to the status quo.
Abbie Hoffman's words address the danger of envisioning any sort of revolution as a final cure for all problems. When I read that phrase, I remember two things:
- Our minds and societies are constantly changing. No revolution is the last revolution.
- Our most important revolutions address ourselves as individuals.