The Other I

February 22, 2011

Among the Great and the Good

Filed under: Political thoughts,Questions beyond Science — theotheri @ 9:21 pm

When I was young, I was planning on being great.  I mean world-changing great.

I have given that fantasy up bit by bit over the years as waves of self-knowledge have swept over me.  I  also give it up in small steps when I walk through ancient churches here and stop by at the tombs of the Great and the Good.   Most often Greatness seems to fade into anonymity.

But yesterday I read about Gene Sharp.  Today he is an emeritus professor of political science in Boston, and the author of  From Dictatorship to Democracy, a handbook of 198 non-violent “weapons” to unseat dictators.  It has been translated into 30 languages and the influence of his techniques have been felt across Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.  In Russia book stores selling it have mysteriously burned down and the publishers run out of business.

Gene Sharp book

Today it is a handbook for protesters in Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia.

Not many people know the name Gene Sharp, though he has paid the price for living by his principles.  And maybe a century from now, even fewer people will recognize his influence.

But that does not matter.  What matters is that it is hard to think that the world is not a better place for his living in it.


  1. I too also wanted to be great and do great things. Probably because part of me wanted the accolades or was it just love that we needed. But I don’t have fame, or I guess great accolades. But I think I’ve loved my fellow man and in the end that’s the most important thing. And that is enough for me. I hope and like to think the world is a better place because we where here. 🙂


    Comment by djc1 — February 23, 2011 @ 2:03 am | Reply

    • Thank you for this. Yes, I think so too: love is enough.

      Not only enough. It’s worth far far more than fame and recognition.

      But it’s hard to recognize that when you’re young, isn’t it? I know I didn’t.


      Comment by theotheri — February 23, 2011 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

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