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The Present Silent Revolution

ARTICLE | | BY Robert Van Harten


Robert Van Harten

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A silent revolution occurs per definition outside our views. The present silent revolution is the unprecedented shift of focus away from numbers towards values. At a time of crisis where all numbers fail us, the future of the world is opened, directed, and saved through values. Numbers represent the inhuman side of life, whereas values represent the human quality of life. Numbers are subject to time, values stay objective in time and have an eternal nature. Numbers are abstract. Values are derived from truth. The present silent revolution is born from and supported by human values such as collaboration, harmony and unity. 

1. Introduction

Silent revolutions are the most effective revolutions. With a silent movement, they change our societies by changing our social outlook and views, our social feelings, even emotions, and change our basis of social functioning. Nobody is opposing these changes as we think and feel they are our own, that they originate from ourselves. 

2. The Nature of the Silent Revolution

A silent revolution starts with a few pioneers who have a vision and try to implement that vision in their lives and work. Their success breeds followers and more creative ideas for implementation. The larger society does not notice and in case it notices, it cannot follow as it is organized along different lines, very large lines for that matter. The pioneers and followers lay the groundwork for the coming silent revolution. 

At a certain point in time, the weight and mass of the movement are sufficient to accelerate the movement substantially and call in the support of the Zeitgeist. The Zeitgeist moves us at a subconscious level. Obviously, we cannot resist the subconscious as we are by definition not aware. Without our knowledge, our thinking moves in another direction, sees a new perspective (even a new worldview) that accommodates our feelings in the process. These are the results of the silent revolution. 

3. The Cause of the Present Silent Revolution

Neoliberalism has in its greed and arrogance been the instrument to break down the welfare state from the ’80s. The results are: inequality in society keeps growing, insecurities are rising, mental and psychological health is declining, higher education generates unsupportable debts, populism and solidarity are at an unknown level, and at the same time, the rich are becoming richer and evade paying taxes! The right ingredients for an open revolution, one would think.

"The pandemic and the results of climate change are catalysts for the silent revolution that is increasingly dependent on values."

4. The Present Silent Revolution poses the Solution for Future Society

The question can be asked: What lies under this destruction of our welfare society? What is the cause of this rising inequality? Knowing its larger cause can bring us to the knowledge of reversal. 

The answer is simple: numbers. Our present societies are run by numbers and as a result by competition. The factor quality is exchanged for the factor quantity. Quality is based on values, quantity is based on numbers. Values are stable and universal factors grounded in reality, numbers are fluid and variable, subject to time, subject to manipulation, subject to falsification and falsehood and so many factors. Values are trustworthy and secure, numbers generate mistrust and distrust, failure, wrong thinking and doing, greed, blind faith, blind spots and tunnel vision, danger, disaster and destruction, war, poverty, and so forth. 

Thus, the numbers have failed us in our being a human society. The inhuman factor has grown exponentially and is not sustainable. 

Enters the silent revolution. A revolution based on values and sustainability. 

Many have high expectations with regard to solution-based science. But even new science and technology cannot be built by large corporations as they are lodged in the past. Tesla is the best example that large corporations, as they are run by numbers, will not be part of the future. Our future is built by small groups that dare to risk their all for their vision. 

5. The Role of the Pandemic & Climate Change in the Silent Revolution

Competition as the ruling principle in our functioning in society is averse to solutions for the pandemic and climate change. Competition is halting progress in major ways.

Our societies and our planet cannot wait for solutions through competition. It needs an approach on war-footing. Without it, we will always run after the facts, after the numbers. The values that can save us are collaboration, harmony, unity.

The pandemic and the results of climate change are catalysts for the silent revolution that is increasingly dependent on values. The projects of the pioneers and followers promote collaboration, they promote harmony with nature, they promote the unity of the earth. 

6. What will the Silent Revolution of Values bring us?

What if values are the stuff of which we are made? What if values are the ruling principle in our lives? What if society changes its perspective from numbers to values? What if values become truth and numbers lose their subjective value? 

The implementation of values will bring us freedom, joy, harmony, equality, honesty, trust, and faith in our lives and the planet that we commonly share.

About the Author(s)

Robert Van Harten

Fellow, World Academy of Art and Science; Founding member, International Commission on Peace and Food