The Revolt of the Masses
La rebelión de las masas
Автор(и) : José Ortega y Gasset
Издател : W.W. Norton & Company
Място на издаване : New York, USA
Година на издаване : 1960
Брой страници : 190
Език : английски
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The Revolt of the Masses is the English translation of José Ortega y Gasset's La rebelión de las masas. The original was first published in 1929; the English translation, first published two years later, was authorized by the author.
In this work, Ortega traces the genesis of the "mass-man" and analyzes his constitution en route to describing the rise to power and action of the masses in society. Ortega is throughout quite critical of both the masses and the mass-men of which they are made up, contrasting "noble life and common life" and excoriating the barbarism and primitivism he sees in the mass-man. He does not, however, refer to specific social classes, as has been so commonly misunderstood in the English-speaking world. Ortega states that the mass-man could be from any social background, but his specific target is the bourgeois educated man, the señorito satisfecho (satisfied young man or Mr. Satisfied), the specialist who believes he has it all and extends the command he has of his subject to others, contemptuous of his ignorance in all of them. His summary of what he attempted in the book exemplifies this quite well, while simultaneously providing the author's own views on his work: "In this essay an attempt has been made to sketch a certain type of European, mainly by analyzing his behaviour as regards the very civilization into which he was born". This had to be done because that individual "does not represent a new civilisation struggling with a previous one, but a mere negation ..."
There is one fact which, whether for good or ill, is of utmost importance in the public life of Europe at its present moment. The fact is the accession of the masses to complete social power. As the masses, by definition, neither should nor can direct their own personal existence, and still less rule society in general, this fact means that actually Europe is suffering from the greatest general crisis that can afflict peoples, nations and civilization.
...The mass believes that it has the right to impose and to give force of law to motions born in the cafй. I doubt whether there have been other periods of history in which the multitude has come to govern more directly than in our own.
José Ortega y Gasset
The Spanish essayist and philosopher, Josй Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), was born in Madrid of a patrician family. He was educated at a Jesuit college and the University of Madrid, where he received his doctorate in philosophy in 1904. Ortega spent the next five years at German universities in Berlin and Leipzig and at the University of Marburg. Appointed professor of metaphysics at the University of Madrid in 1910, he taught there until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil war in 1936. He was also active as a journalist and as a politician. In 1923 he founded the Revista de occidente, a review of books that was instrumental in bringing Spain in touch with Western, and specifically German thought. Ortega's work as editor and publisher helped end Spain's isolation from contemporary western culture.
Ortega led the republican intellectual opposition under the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923-1936), and he played a role in the overthrow of King Alfonso XIII in 1931. Elected deputy for the province of Leуn in the constituent assembly of the second Spanish republic, he was the leader of a parliamentary group of intellectuals know as La Agrupaciуn al servicio de la repъblica ("In the service of the republic") and was named civil governor of Madrid. Such a commitment obliged him to leave Spain at the outbreak of the Civil War, and he spent years of exile in Argentina and Europe. He settled in Portugal in 1945 and began to make visits to Spain. In 1948 he returned to Madrid and founded the Institute of Humanities, at which he lectured.
A prolific writer, Ortega was the head of the most productive school of thinkers Spain had known for more than three centuries and helped place philosophy beyond the reach of a centuries-old reproach that it was somehow un-Spanish, and therefore dangerous.
What follows are excerpts from his influential work on social theory, The Revolt of the Masses, first published in 1930.