New Propositions Demonstrated in the Practice Of Revolutions


1 — The interests established by society are mobile, subject to a constant and fundamentally unstable shifting.

2 — Fixity, permanence or perpetuity in the relations of interests is a chimera.

3 — That mobility of interests is the primary source of revolutions.

4 — An interest, however unjust it may be, can only be abolished on the condition of being replaced by another, which itself could appear every bit as unjust later.

5 — The human mind has a horror of the void; it does not accept pure negation, even if it is the negation of the greatest of crimes.

6 — Nations do nothing from pure love or pure justice; there is always a self-serving motive for every reform.

7 — The worship of truth for its own sake is pure nonsense in revolution.

8 — All religion, every political institution, all the economy of society are successive modifications of cannibalism.

9 — The ideas that govern society, with the interests, are mobile like those interests themselves, liable to increase and decrease, subject by nature to conflict and contradiction, perpetually changed.

10 — Consistency in ideas is the opposite of the social Mind; the immutability of symbols and professions of faith, in Society, is a chimera.

11 — That fundamental oscillation of ideas is the second cause of revolutions.

12 — An idea, however absurd it may be, can never be entirely abolished, except when it is replaced by another, which could appear as absurd later.

13 — The mobility of ideas and interests is not sufficient to explain Revolutions.

14 — Human Nature remains the same, with regard to worthiness and unworthiness;—well-being increases, the sum of knowledge is multiplied: the quantity of virtue remains the same.

15 — Evil, vice, selfishness and sadness are essential elements of humanity.

16 — The antagonism of powers creates all of our life: the status quo, bread, the absolute, happiness, sanctity, perfection is nothingness, death.

17 — The intimate knowledge of that truth is the principle of resistance to revolutions.

18 — The feeling of the beautiful and the sublime, the fascination with the absolute, is the cause that tips the balance and incites revolutions.

19 — The beautiful, the sublime, the absolute, the perfect, the true and the ideal are the infinite in thought.

20 — This feeling produces the marvelous in Humanity; it is the supreme cause, the ultima ratio of revolutions.

21 — The idea of God is not the conception of a Supreme Being, but of a Supreme Ideal.

22 — The supreme ideal is without reality: there is no God.

23 — A society cannot exist without a transcendent ideal: without religion, modern society is in danger of dying.

24 — Every ideal has a real and intelligible basis: every reality and every idea is susceptible to idealization.

25 — The mind inevitably tend to realize its ideal, in nature, in labor, in person, in government, in religion: that is why it decides to make a revolution.

26 — Society needing an ideal, and that ideal needing to belong to a real being, we must seek a supplement to the idea of God.

27 — Truth, as well as Justice, is essentially mobile and historical; there is nothing absolute or eternal about it.

28 — Only the laws of movement are absolutely and eternally true.

29 — The state of revolution is the normal state of societies.

30 — Every manifestation supposes a subject: thus, the series of revolutions leads us to suppose a revolutionary subject.

31 — Revolutions are the Transitions [Passages] of Humanity

32 — There have been some presentiments of that idea; the Peoples, the Poets, the Writers have had an intuition of it.

33 — The phenomena of revolution can only be explained and understood with the aid of this hypothesis

34 — The hypothesis of a revolutionary subject is as rational and more legitimate than that of God and that of Providence.

35 — A being is not a simple thing, but a group.

36 — All beings, living and unorganized, are groups.

37 — Everything that forms a group is a reality or has the power of realization.

38 — The old ontology went astray which it defined the Being as a simple substance.

39 — Simple substance, mind or matter, is a chimera.

40 — A man is an organized group, in which the mind arises from the organization.

41 — The People are an organized group: thus, the People are a real being, endowed with Life, Personality, Will, Intelligence and prescience.

42 — The definition of man by Bonald is the same, at base, as that of Cabanis:—a simple transposition of terms has made all the difference.

43 — The family, the familial group, is a Complex Being, which has its Self, like the People and the Individual.

44 — The old ontology, in its materialist form, leads to this proposition: Matter does not exist.

45 — In its spiritualist form it leads to this other proposition: Mind does not exist.

46 — To set aside the notion of substance and Cause, and move onto the terrain of Phenomena and Law, or of the Group.

[Working translation by Shawn P. Wilbur]

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.