REVOLUTION! (By Richard Seltzer)

Royal king monarch emperor sovereign tyrant

Once there was a kingdom where the farmers were unhappy, the tradesmen were unhappy, the soldiers were unhappy, and even the king himself was unhappy. The farmers blamed it on the tradesmen. The tradesmen blamed it on the soldiers. The soldiers blamed it on the king. And the king was the unhappiest of all because he had nobody to blame it on.

King power monarch
Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

Then one day a farmer’s son, who had gone far away to a great city and had studied at a university, returned to the kingdom. He told everyone that the farmers weren’t to blame if everyone else was unhappy. And the soliders, the tradesmen and the king to blame either. Rather, it was the system, the superstructure.

Message wisdom
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

If things remained as they were, people would always be unhappy because people couldn’t really “be themselves.” They were forced by the system to act out their assigned roles as farmer or king. Regardless of who was a farmer and who the king, things would always be the same — so long as there were farmers and kings. What they needed was a revolution that would do away with such distinctions.  Everyone was delighted to hear what the student said, especially the king, who was the unhappiest of all.

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

So they had a revolution — a glorious, merry revolution. Farmers and trades men and soldiers, and even the king himself forgot that they hated each other for making each other miserable. They marched together through the streets carrying signs and chanting and singing and making speeches about how great everything was going to be after the Revolution.

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

And while everyone was making merry, the student drew up a constitution and started planning the way things would be in the future. Everyone was so happy with the Revolution and the Constitution that they immediately elected the student president.

Glory power might dominion empire
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

He proclaimed that no longer would farmers be farmers and tradesmen be tradesmen and soldiers be soldiers, but rather all would be workers, doing their share as a team for the good of the Republic. There would be new tasks that would need to be done, and all could choose among them according to their skills and inclinations. There would be agricultural workers and industrial workers and defenders of the Republic.

Friendship Solidarity
Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Everyone was delighted that everything would be so different in the Republic.

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Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

Years passed, and things settled into a routine, with people choosing to do work that they understood and were good at. The farmers became “Agricultural Workers.”  The tradesmen became “Industrial Workers.” The soldiers became “Defenders of the Republic.” Their jobs had much fancier titles now, but, in fact, they were all doing exactly what they had done before — all except for the student and the king, who had traded places.

Danger risk peril future
Image by Johannes Plenio from Pixabay

The king had found that he was unsuited to be an agricultural worker or an industrial worker or a defender of the Republic. In fact, he found it hard to imagine himself being anything but a king. So he had left the Republic and gone to the great city and to the great university where the student had studied. There he, too, diligently sifted through the great works of history and political science.

Study Theory Politics
Image by Nino Carè from Pixabay

More years passed, and once again everyone was unhappy. The agricultural workers blamed it on the industrial workers, and the industrial workers on the defenders of the Republic, and the defenders of the Republic on the President; and the President was the unhappiest of all because he had nobody to blame it on.

Conflict chaos violence disputes discord disharmony society
Image by Iván Tamás from Pixabay

Then one day the old king returned, dressed in the garb of a student, with several huge books under each arm. He told everyone that he too had been to the great university; but having stayed there longer, he had read more and learned more than the student who had become President.

Wisdom sapience governance
Image by Chräcker Heller from Pixabay

He pointed out to them that everything had fallen back into its usual place, with only the names changed. There was no reason to blame the student for this turn of events. The student had been right, as far as his theory went. But if he had read a bit further, he could have found that the superstructure depends on the super-duper-structure.

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Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

So long as the super-duper-structure remains the same, every thing will eventually fall back into the same pattern as before.Paradox illusion puzzle

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

The only way to have a “true revolution” is to attack the root of the problem: the super-duper-structure itself.  Now, they were all so unhappy and so anxious to change their lot that they all wanted to hear what this super-duper-structure was and how they could change it.

Labyrinth mystery
Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

The old king told them that so long as people needed food and water and sleep, and so long as they unthinkingly obeyed the law of gravity, people would remain pretty much the same. It was the super-duper-structure of natural necessity that they must fight.

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Image by Wendy Corniquet from Pixabay

Then the super-structure could really and truly be different, and the government be different, and everything be different. Then everyone could live happily ever after.

Heaven paradise utopia
Image by lmaresz from Pixabay

So commando teams were formed. Some challenged the limits of gravity by training for the high jump and pole vault. Others experimented with flight by hot air balloon. Through science and conditioning, others tried to stretch the limits of human endurance in such areas as hunger, thirst and sleeplessness.

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Image by kmans from Pixabay

The old king was made Chief Commando and oversaw all these varied revolutionary activities. Being a kind, understanding man, and realizing that there is a limit to the fervor of even the most zealous patriot, he declared that every other day should be a holiday, with feasting and drinking and merrymaking of all sorts. That way the commandos could renew their strength, and, for having tasted the fruits of Revolution, would work with enthusiasm on their days of work.

Power might
Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

But soon, the commandos found the pace was too much for them.

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Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Both the revolutionary acts and the merrymaking were wearing them out. Besides, they were running out of food with which to feast and wine to get drunk with, because no one was working to make more.

Barren harvest
Image by Ralf Kunze from Pixabay

So every third day was declared a “Day of Replenishment,” and the men who had been farmers plowed their fields, and everyone else did their accustomed tasks.

Native Americans work
Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

Weeks passed, months passed, and the commando rules gradually changed. Now just one day a year was set aside for jumping and fasting and going thirsty and without sleep.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

The next day was a day of great feasting and merriment. And the rest of the days were as they had always been, with all the people going about their accustomed tasks, and everyone unhappy.

Image by Robert Balog from Pixabay

One day the Chief Commando asked the President why he didn’t go back to the university, since the office of President was now no more than a title. “If I went to the university,” explained the President, “I would conceive of another revolution and would once again become the ruler — the most unhappy man in all the land. As it is, everyone in this land has an assigned task but me. I can simply do whatever I please. I am the happiest man of all.”

Image by giografiche from Pixabay

Indeed, he did just what he pleased. He took up gardening as a hobby. And when his father the farmer died, he planted a garden on the old farm. Soon all of his spare time, which was all of his time, was spent in farming the old farm, in quiet content…


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Author: Richard Seltzer

Now a publisher of electronic books, I worked for DEC, the minicomputer company, for 19 years, as writer, marketing consultant, and "Internet Evangelist." I graduated from Yale, with a major in English, and earned an MA from the U. of Mass. at Amherst in Comparative Literature (French, Russian, and German). At Yale, I had creative writing courses with Robert Penn Warren and Joseph Heller. Personal web site (with over 1000 documents) My published works include: The Name of Hero, historical novel (Houghton Mifflin) Ethiopia Through Russian Eyes, translation from the Russian (Red Sea Press) "...the most important book on the history of eastern Africa to have been published for a century...." Old Africa The Lizard of Oz satiric fantasy, "An intriguing and very entertaining little novel" Library Journal The AltaVista Search Revolution, the first consumer book about search engines (McGraw-Hill) "indispensable" Library Journal, Winner of the Distinguished Technical Communication Award, the highest award given by the Society for Technical Communication Publications. Web Business Bootcamp (Wiley) Complete list at Follow me on Twitter! @SeltzerBooks

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