What does it mean to be revolutionary? To go somewhere no one’s ever gone, to do something no one’s ever done? This might be true on a personal level but what does it take to be revolutionary in a world view with thousands of years of history in between. This is one point Dan Cohen was making in his lecture. To be revolutionary on this scale means you have to be able to affect the world. One reason I feel like some “revolutions” aren’t very powerful is because the events in and around them are too small and affect too little people. Revolutions like the French and American stood against tyranny yet tyranny in our world is ongoing. The technological revolution is amazing. The new ways of communication are wonderful and truly revolutionary to those that have it at their fingertips, but if only a handful of people have phones and computers it in fact isn’t very revolutionary at all. The rest of the world has to be “tied in” to the amazing feats of specific areas. This is so history doesn’t repeat itself and ignorance can be put away for good.
The subject of a revolution can be obscure especially in the beginning stages. This is one point that Cohen stated about the infamous scientific revolution. He pointed out that it actually wasn’t very scientific and a lot of the unprecedented “science” events often happened by mistake and did not involve much science in them. It was only after the fact; with the study of history that we realized the beginnings of science. In fact, the ‘scientists’ of the day were usually thought of as wrong and blasphemous. The evolution of a revolution is common throughout history. Many revolutions start as a step or solution against a small problem that evolves into a massive radical movement supported by many. What fuels this evolution? What propels a movement to grow larger and gain support?
For this answer we have to look at the root of the word revolution, which is to revolt. The forces acting directly against the revolution are what feeds it. The taxes in the American revolution, the bankruptcy of the French government in the French revolution, the church in the scientific revolution. All forces acting as gasoline to a small kindling flame. The more pressure and force they exerted on the revolution, the more it evolved into something bigger than itself. If it weren’t for the forces acting against it a revolution would have nothing to be fueled by.
So what does it mean to be revolutionary? You have to be big of course, as big as the world. And you need an opponent. Something that drives you to the breaking point, something that drives you to a point that you never thought you could get to. And then you need support. You need to make others believe in the same thing you do with the same passion you have. The world needs to be against you, then with you.