In biology, I have learned evolution is a change that occurs over time and relies on natural selection. It does not mean that the species will gain a “better” trait, but instead a trait that is advantageous at the time. The world around us is always changing and people want to be in power. In order to be in power, they will change to fit what could produce the best advantage. It isn’t about what is wrong and what is right. Instead, it is about what is good for the individual or group. They might be looking in the future and want others to receive what they fight for but they are highly engaged with the thinking of the time. Revolution is time-sensitive. It will be revolutionary at the moment it happens but when we look back on it, we might have a different idea of if it constitutes a revolution. As well, evolution involves only using what is there. A human can’t suddenly grow gills, we don’t have the beginning structure for it. The same is for revolution. A revolution is based on the blueprints of the past. Through time, with our diversity of thought and culture, we have created different ways of engaging and understanding the world. When we have a motive and a theory of how to be in power, we look at what was there before. We use past ideas and skew them for our own desires.***
Lewis Lapham states in science, Just how evolution goes back and forth between what could be good and bad, it does so in a revolving motion. Throughout time, there have been revolutions that demolish other revolutions. This can happen in long or short time periods. The short time period can mean that a revolution can start to happen but be replaced by another, in a never-ending cycle until one prevails. Lapham sums this up by stating:
Another word found in “revolution” is love, however, it is written backward. The “love” in revolution speaks to two ways of thought. First, backward love is when people fall too much in love with an idea and do whatever they can do to protect and force it on other people. This can cause mass murder and suffering if the people who fall in love also gain power through it. Second, backward love can speak to how people believe they know what is best for another group.
Revolution is when science (evolution) and humanities (love) connect. It is when the biology of our brains change and through a misinformed love we carry out atrocities or act to “other”/oppress.
The revolution I describe above does not fit with what I want it to be. Yes, I believe revolution is messy and takes time. It always involves taking two steps back for each step forward. But I want a revolution to be liberating. The backward love should be about true altruistic and removing your bias from love. And only then can we start to see the world for a truly free place.
This may be seen as too naive or optimistic, but people fighting hard for their dreams are exactly what this world needs. And maybe trying a little love and hope can combat the destruction and suffering.
*** I discuss the creation of blueprints that lead to the creation of a conceptual scheme and thus revolution in my research paper on gender oppression in Ancient Greece. Keep reading to find out more.
With an understanding of humanities and revolution, what are the ways in which we “other” people? And how can we combat this? I make the case for love with no strings attached.
Jacques Derrida, “Poetics and Politics of Witnessing,” in Sovereignties in Question: The Poetics of Paul Celan, ed. Thomas Dutoit and Outi Pasanen. New York: Fordham University Press, 2005, 65–96.
Lapham, Lewis H. Lapham’s Quarterly: Crowd Control. New York, NY: American Agora Foundation, 2008.