Are we in the midst of a revolution? Given the variety of revolutions that have been presented to us over the semester, the answer is undoubtedly yes. We must be in some part of some ongoing revolution of some sort. The more important question to ask ourselves is how we will participate in the revolution of our choice: What are we going to do about it? Studying the theoretical underpinnings of revolutions of the past has its value, and the series of lectures this semester provided us with a diverse definition of a revolution. The course title “Continuing Revolutions,” invites us to look into the future at the revolutions that are happening around us that will continue throughout and after our lives. How can we take this knowledge to contribute to and start the revolutions that are pertinent to the world today?

While indirectly we probably all contribute to the revolutions in our midst, there is a difference between being a passive observer and actively trying to steer a revolution. The first step in focusing our energy is probably choosing a cause. Would we like to participate in the political revolution that is currently rocking our country? Help contribute to the efforts of environmental revolutionaries? Add our thoughts to less easily defined intellectual revolutions in thought? Perhaps create a new revolution? As we have learned this semester, there is no easily defined beginning or end to many revolutions, so jumping in in the middle can have just as much of an impact as contributing to either end.

Recognizing the importance of whatever revolution in which we participate adds to its power. As we have learned, merely calling something a revolution and convincing others that it is a revolution leaves an indelible mark on the historical record and can influence contemporary thoughts about the cause as well.   Whether it is branding the scientific revolution as such or setting out to build a monument to a revolution in a revolutionary manner, presentation is a key part of any revolutionary action.

In addition to recognizing what benefits may come from the revolution, it is important to consider what harm it may bring to certain individuals or groups. In political revolutions, the transfer of power disadvantages the formerly ruling class. Some revolutions are violent. Some are more subtly violent and involve displacing people or services. Others may expand the horizons of all people they affect.

Armed with the varying perspectives and tidbits of knowledge from this lecture series, we are all prepared to thoughtfully participate in and document the revolutions of our time. Revolutions are rarely individual pursuits. Strong communities, clear goals, and a diverse collection of skilled individuals create truly successful revolutions. With these ideas in mind, go join a revolution! Or, alternatively, start one yourself!