Chapter 5

THE LIFE of nations is not contained in the life of a few men, since the connection between those few men and the nations has not been found. The theory that this connection is based on the delegation of the combined will of a people to its historical leaders is an hypothesis, not supported by the testimony of history.

The theory of the delegation of the combined will of the masses to historical personages may perhaps explain a great deal in the domain of the science of law, and is possibly essential for its purposes. But in its application to history, as soon as revolutions, wars, civil disturbances arise, as soon as history begins in fact—this theory explains nothing.

This theory appears irrefutable, just because the act of delegating the will of the people can never be verified, since it has never existed.

Whatever event might take place, and whoever might be taking the lead in such an event, the theory can always say that such a person took the lead in bringing about that event because the combined will was vested in him.

The answers given by this theory to historical questions are like the answers of a man who, watching the movements of a flock, should pay no attention to the varying quality of the pasturage in different parts of the field, nor to the actions of the shepherd, but should look for the causes of the flock taking this or that direction simply in the animal that happened to be foremost in it.

‘‘The flock moves in this direction because the animal in front leads it, and the combined will of all the other animals is delegated to the leader of the flock.’’ Such is the answer given by the first class of historians, who suppose an unconditional delegation of will to the authority.

‘‘If the animals leading the flock are changed for others, it is due to the fact that the combined will of all the beasts is transferred from one leader to another owing to the fact that the first leader did not follow the direction chosen by all the flock.’’ Such is the reply of those historians who assume that the combined will of the masses is vested in their rulers on conditions which they regard as unknown. (With this method of observation it very often happens that the observer, judging from the direction chosen by him, reckons as leaders those who, when the direction of the masses is changed, are not in front, but on one side, and even sometimes the hindmost.)

‘‘If the beasts that are foremost are constantly being changed, and the direction taken by the flock too is continually changing, that is due to the fact that to attain a certain direction known to us the beasts delegate their wills to those beasts which attract our attention, and to study the movements of the flock we ought to observe all the noticeable animals that are moving on all sides of the flock.’’ So say the third class of historians, who accept all historical characters as the expression of their age from monarchs to journalists.

The theory of the transference of the will of the masses to historical characters is only a paraphrase—only a restatement of the question in other words.

What is the cause of historical events? Power.

What is Power? Power is the combined will of the masses vested in one person.

On what conditions are the wills of the masses vested in one person? On condition of that person’s expressing the will of all men. That is, power is power. That is, power is a word the meaning of which is beyond our comprehension.

If the domain of human knowledge were confined to abstract reasoning alone, then, after subjecting the explanation of power given by science to criticism, humanity would come to the conclusion that power is only a word, and that it has no existence in reality. But for the knowledge of phenomena, man has

  By PanEris using Melati.

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