It seems to me that every revolutionary movement has had to have a thinker at the top levels of leadership. There is, I think, almost always a member of the top levels whose primary role is not to lead so much as to write, to philosophize, to justify, to explain, to clarify what the movement is about.
Having done no research whatsoever, this statement is more about my view of life than it is about actual reality. What is really on my mind is the self-image I've had since elementary school days. I can remember running around the back yard playing at being the second in command to some imaginary captain in the traditional image of the American Revolutionary War.
Throughout my employed life, I've tried to find managers whom I could support and influence. My favorite work memories are stories such as the ones from Wick Building Systems, where I found satisfaction in translating between the concepts of IBM's DOS (VSE) and their OS/VS MVS operating systems for our director so that Dave Binius could use his own experience and expertise to more effectively run the department.
Rather than be the administrator, I've tended toward being the adjutant. Not everyone will see the difference.
Every game plan has its difficulties. The main problems with my strategy have been, first, to find a candidate leader to whom I could attach myself; second, to avoid being trapped by unreflective career paths. Hidden in that pair of problems is the question of just how revolutionary the work is really going to be. Is it revolutionary to empower computer operators? Is it revolutionary to rewrite government budget tools? Is it revolutionary to track software changes? Many of the efforts I and my managers have carried out could have been revolutionary, could have been influential. But most of them died away as we ourselves moved on.
It seems to me that every revolutionary movement either dies or metamorphoses into stasis as soon as the thinker at the top level turns away. Having done no research whatsoever, this statement is more a reflection on my own life than it is about actual reality.
What one hopes is that the memory of the revolution lives on in someone else's mind, that it will be told and perhaps embellished a bit, that eventually what we have done will inspire someone else to instigate another little revolution at another time.