Hugo conveys the message that it is easier to resist a physical confrontation than a spreading mindset. Battles and wars can be won using weapons and soldiers. However, if an idea spreads throughout the population of a country, it is difficult to counter it. An example of this is the French Revolution. The idea of liberty, equality and fraternity spread like wildfire in the minds of the French citizens which caused the revolution to begin. Similarly, there have been many incidences where a single idea was the reason for a change in the entire system of a country or civilisation. Ideologies of different people varied in the history of change. Gandhi used the idea of non-violence to lead the protests for independence in India. However, the dictator of Libya was overthrown using extremely violent methods.

On the contrary, an idea or mindset can be dismissed using physical force on a large scale. Dictatorships such as North Korea, Cuba (Fidel Castro) and Libya (Gaddafi) are great examples which describe how mindsets can be overpowered by physical force. Extreme punishments can act as deterrents to prevent the development of revolutionary ideas. In some countries, protests against the leader or leading party are illegal and severe sentences cause people to refrain from any form of defiance. If fear is implanted in the hearts of the citizens, it is possible to dissolve any possible form of resistance.

An idea requires determination and willpower to be successful. If all the people think and act in the same way with the same persistence, an idea can become extremely powerful. In most countries, the army is always smaller compared to the population, quantitatively. If the entire population demanded reform, the army would not be able to stop any protests or demonstrations. However, such protests often take the shape of violence causing many people to sacrifice their lives for a better future.