Paul Ricoeur, "A Political Paradox"
We do not have to regret having mentioned first its shocking power, or worry about too speedy readjustment of tactics planned according to the wishes of the sly - those who are never taken by surprise; the revolt was a surprise, because it has taken place: the Flames of Budapest... One should not absorb these events in haste if one wants to learn something from them.
And then we should evaluate and place those events, which we have permitted to speak for themselves, in a global context; we should strip them off their uniqueness, connect them with the war in Algeria, with the betrayal of the socialist party, with the fall of the Republican Front, with the French communists' resistance to de-Stalinisation; in other words, one should not allow absolute emotions into relative considerations. (...)
From my point of view, the Budapest events, together with the Warsaw October revolution, re-launched, confirmed, shifted and radicalised the reflection on political power, dating earlier than the events themselves, as it had given rise to numerous original studies presented at the College of Philosophy, published in the Esprit and elsewhere. What surprised me in these events is that they reveal stability, through economic and social revolutions, of issues connected with power. The surprise is that, so to speak, power does not have history, that history of power repeats itself, makes no headway: the surprise is that real political surprise does not exist.
The techniques change, human relations evolve with changing situations, and power unfolds the same paradox of double progress: in rationality, and in possibilities of its perversion.
"Esprit" No 250, May, 1957