Given that man is the master of his destiny, a question is raised: Can he carve out his destiny single-handed without social relations or apart from social community?
Now there are pseudo-philosophical trends that see man as an existence or an individual being of “you” or “me” who cannot be included in any group. But it is obvious that such an individual being is getting nowhere.
That man is the master of his destiny means that no other being than man himself can determine his fate, not that he carves out his destiny all alone, apart from the community.
So, in order to have a better understanding of the view that man is the master of his destiny, it is necessary to delve into who is the real master or driving force of destiny control.
In actually, man lives and acts in a social group, not individually. In a class society people are divided into opposite classes. Slave society consists of slaves and slave owners, feudal society serfs, peasants and lords, and capitalist society workers and capitalists. In a word, there exist working people and capitalists. In a word, there exist working people and their exploits and rulers. From this there arises a question of whether the shaper of destiny is the popular masses or exploiter classes.
In view of the actual socio-historical course it is only the popular masses that can be the driving forces of destiny control.
Working people make up the majority in any society. Without popular masses neither society can be formed nor socio-historical development can be achieved.
President Kim Il Sung said:
“The masses of working people are the subject of history and the motive power behind social progress.”
Popular masses are the prime mover in destiny control partly because they constitute the majority of social members and largely because they are the creators of all material and cultural wealth. Not only such things people eat and use in life but all the priceless assets are the outcome of the creative labour of the popular masses.
Take as an example the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt numbered among the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
The largest and oldest of them is that of Khufu, second pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty, which was built in the 28th century B.C. and it is a stupendous structure of approximately 2 500 000 limestone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons and 16 tons at the maximum. According to data available, more than 180 pyramids had been built, but some 80 are known to remain at present after the rest of them had been destroyed by war and natural calamities in thousands of years time.
It was just the strength and wisdom of slaves and other working people that worked such a wonder of the ancient world.
The popular masses not only create material and cultural wealth through creative labour but produce progressive ideologists, renowned scientists and innovators and talented men of literature and the arts to push the social movement.
The discovery of the law of universal gravitation cannot be seen simply as the fruit of the exclusive wisdom of Newton.
Newton, who had got an idea of universal gravitation from the fall of an apple, applied Kepler’s laws of planetary motions to demonstrate the force and found that one and the same force acts between any two bits of matter in the universe. But he could not make it public hastily. For some reason, astronomical calculations proved wrong although the law was sure to be right. Hence, he held back the publication of his treatise for 13 years until a scholar worked out a crude value for the earth’s radius to help him solve the problem. Afterwards, Newton meaningfully said that he could see further than others because he was on the shoulders of a giant. His remark suggests that the secret of his success is not the talent of an individual Newton but the scaling of the peak of scientific achievements made by mankind.
Social development is also inconceivable apart from the popular masses.
The widespread revolt of slaves who had been treated as “speaking tools”pulled down the Roman Empire that allegedly had all roads leading to the world, and an uprising of serfs and peasants under the yoke of feudalism led to the fall of Louis XVI and the birth of a bourgeois republic in France. The Russian Revolution by the popular masses including workers, farmers and soldiers resulted in the overthrow of the tsarist monarchy and the establishment of socialism.
In Paris stands a statue of the legendary French heroic Joan of Arc.
She was a 16-year-old peasant girl when the whole of the French territory was about to fall into the hands of English troops during the Hundred Years’ War between France and Britain. She spearheaded the popular resistance against the English invasion. France’s win over Britain owes much to her and other ordinary people who fought bravely against the invaders.
Such being the case, it is the popular masses who transform nature and reform society, hence, they are the driving force of destiny control.
What about the exploiting classes?
The exploiting classes are also interested in production but only when it is in their interests. They do not create material wealth by themselves, but rather hamper the creation. When the fluorescent lamp came into being, the US incandescent lamp companies got dissatisfied for fear of its influence on their business and so did electric power companies. So they struck a deal on restricting the production of fluorescent lamps.
The reactionary exploiting classes misuse the people’s creative strength to ensure their authority and satisfy their perverted pleasure, retarding the transformation of nature and society. The above-mentioned pyramids of thousands of slaves for the “next-world”well-being of Egyptian kings.
It is too evident that the reactionary exploiting classes would not partake in transforming the exploiting society that guarantees their privileges. Rather they try every possible means to crack down on the revolutionary struggle of the masses. The world history has witnessed countless examples of outrageous, violent repression and appeasement and deception practised on the people demanding progressive social reforms as notorious Nero, Caesar, Hitler, Mussolini did. The facts tell that the exploiting classes are the forces of reaction against history who try to block and turn back the advance of the times.
What about an individual?
The role played by an individual in developing history cannot be ignored completely. But an individual can bring his or her talent into full use in pushing the wheel of the history, only when becoming a member of the popular masses, attaining the experiences and intelligence the popular masses have historically acquired and making concerted efforts with them.
History and reality show that only the popular masses can be the driving force of destiny control.
Now the popular masses are striving to carve out their destiny by forming a social community, notably a country or nation. Country or nation is the basic unit for shaping the people’s destiny.
In this context, their struggle to carve out destiny materialises as the fight to shape the destiny of country or nation, and the destiny of the popular masses or an individual is moulded along with that of country or nation.
Now that their destiny is carved out with a country or nation as a unit, only the people of the country or nation can be the main force in shaping the destiny of each county or nation. No people of other countries can take their place in controlling the destiny of their nation.
This is evidenced by the lesson of the Spanish Civil War that lasted between 1936 and 1939.
At the time more than 35 000 people from 54 countries around the world volunteered to safeguard the Spanish revolution. Belonging to seven International Brigades, they fought heroically to defend Madrid, Barcelona and other big cities. The supporters of the revolution from around the world had numbered more than a million. But the Republican Popular Front failed to defend the gains of the revolution. The reason is not the lack of international assistance but that the Spanish people had not been prepared to be the master of their destiny, not playing the master’s role.
The shaper of destiny, prime mover of social history, is the popular masses with country or nation as a unit and an individual can be the genuine master of his destiny when he is among the popular masses and takes part in the efforts to transform nature and society.