Scholars and Servants

As beings of praxis, human beings differ from animals, which are beings of pure activity. Animals do not consider the world; they are immersed in it. In contrast, human beings emerge from the world, objectify it, and in so doing can understand it and transform it with their labor. Animals, which do not labor, live in a setting which they cannot transcend. Hence, each animal species lives in the context appropriate to it, and these environments, while open to humans, cannot be a facility for communication among them.

But human activity consists of action and reflection: it is praxis, and through praxis it is transformation of the world. As praxis, it requires theory to illuminate it. Human activity consists of theory and practice; it is reflection and action. It cannot, be reduced to either pure analysis (verbalism) or mindless action (activism). Without a revolutionary theory there can be no movement for change. The revolution of mankind’s ordered life will be achieved with neither verbalism nor activism, but rather with praxis, that is, with reflection and action directed at the structures to be transformed. The revolutionary effort to transform these structures radically cannot designate its leaders as its thinkers and the rest as mere followers or doers. In this revolution all must be scholars and all must be servants.

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Reflection and Action

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