There are several things I do not mean by this. One thing I do not mean is to support the Japanese Style of going on strike: overworking and over-producing while on strike (I do not know if it is indeed some Japanese style of striking, but vaguely remember it being referred like that in one of the anecdotes we used to hear as kids). Nor do I mean to oppose it; just that I am not talking about it at all. Another thing I do not mean is that rebels should be disciplined in their plans and implementation of rebel. Again, I am not talking about it at all – whether or not rebels should be disciplined.
What I am talking about is the characteristics of a truly effective rebel. And why should one talk about that? Do we all not have a fairly correct concept of a true rebel? May be, we do have the concept of a true rebel, but what I am referring to is a truly effective rebel, and not just a “true” rebel.
A rebellion is going against existing norms and systems, presumably for logical and valid reasons. A true rebel (more or less) would be someone who does so – i.e. who goes against the tradition, existing values and systems. But that need not make him/her a truly effective rebel. A truly effective rebel should be able to shake the belief of others confirming to the norms as well and, to the extent possible, drive them into action too. At higher levels of success he/she should be able to shake and possibly convert the people who are responsible for maintaining the system as well. Who can do that?
I will draw examples from the life around and since most of my life has been spent as students, the examples would obviously be biased towards educational situation.
Most important requirement for a truly effectively rebel is that what he/she is doing should bother or get noticed by people, particularly when the person is going out of the way. Now, whose going out of the way would be able to generate the attention – one who never does anything according to the rules for the heck of it or one who is normally not seen breaking the rules. A rebel can challenge the authority, which practically might lead to nothing, but a truly effective rebel will challenge the authority and also make the people in the position of authority think over their stand. I remember in one of the Mathematics classes at the school, the teacher was discussing the reason for not-so-good performance of the class in the exam held recently. Many of the students said the paper was lengthy, but most of these were the students who were very irregular in the classes. Not necessarily were they less intelligent or so but they appeared not to care for the system anyway. The teacher did not really accept their explanation, until one of the regular students said she did not perform up to the mark because she could not complete the paper and reaction of the teacher was, “Oh! Was the paper lengthy?” The analogy works in most of the situation and the concept is nothing exotic or so. It is rather a very intuitive as well as practical thing to do. Often students are up-in-arms against many of the things in the institute. If the leaders are the people who appear to be against anything and everything for the heck of refuting the system, most such rebellions fail – the rebellion might be a “true” one in terms of really defying authority, but is not a “truly effective” one, because it usually does not lead to anything substantial. When a student who normally attends the classes stops attending it, it is possible for make the professor think over his/her teaching capabilities, but certainly not if the student is a chronic absentee.
Well, at this stage I do not really want to demean a stereotypical true rebel. It is a style of life, which I believe has its fun and meaning. Its a matter of choice. What to do you want to become? For being a truly effective rebel, you have to exercise some discipline otherwise.