Elie Wiesel, (Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters). New York: 1972, p. 142-143.
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It happens whenever and wherever man, moved by compassion, attempts to change the existing order and accepts responsibility for a world he has not created. He takes a step forward, he stretches our his hand to a friend, a companion, a stranger perhaps. Refusing merely to speak of love, friendship and truth, he decides to live them. He rejects mediocrity and evil, vulgarity, falsehood and easy solutions. He considers himself a revolutionary, determined to discover new paths, willing to fight the universe and its ruler. If he fails, no great harm is done; he'll start again tomorrow. But woe unto him who succeeds. Nothing corrupts revolutionary movements more - and more radically - than success. For the first generation, the pioneering one, is followed by that of opportunists. The third continues the fight out of habit; the fourth, out of inertia. Eventually the movement turns its battle inward, splitting into factions, groups sects, one against the other, one against all. Substance gives way to superficiality. Personalities replace ideas; slogans replace ideals. The lofty goals are lost; the message is forgotten. Now the struggle revolves around titles and positions. The process is predictable, ineluctable. No surprise is eternal, no passion immortal. At dawn, night will have lost its prophets and their promises. No school ever succeeded in keeping alive the vision and aspirations of its founders. Nothing is harder than to maintain the dream after it has molded reality. Nothing is as dangerous for victory, be it spiritual, than victory itself. If Moses led the Hebrews through the desert for forty years, it was perhaps to preserve the authenticity of their first victory over the Pharaoh and themselves. One does not win battles without paying a price, and it is usually one's innocence. Whatever the triumph, sooner or later it begets conditions which call it into question.
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Do you agree with Wiesel's sentiments about revolutions?

2. Given this relatively pessimistic outlook, are revolutions worthwhile, if they're bound to fray from their ideals?

3. How can we mobilize people in a manner that gives a movement's ideals sustainability?

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Time Period: Modern (Spinoza through post-WWII)