Guest Post: Revolution Is Evolution
Submitted by The Needle blog
Revolution is Evolution
This article should not be read as support for violent revolutionary political change but hopefully it will demonstrate that, far from revolution being unnatural and contrary to evolution, it is actually a process of evolution.
All organic structures can be modelled using evolutionary theory and governance, politics and economics, which involve the cooperation of millions of human beings are no exception.
Because everyone is more familiar with evolutionary theory being used to model changes in the natural world, we’ll start by looking at examples in the natural world where revolution occurs as part of the process of evolution, demonstrating that revolution is not an artificial human construct but actually quite normal under particular circumstances.
Revolution occurs in the natural world when a lifeform becomes extinct because the environment it depends on for survival changes at a faster rate than it can evolve.
This can happen in two ways, either the environment is subject to sudden change, as in the case of the dinosaurs or, far more commonly, the environment changes gradually and the lifeform finds itself increasingly ill-adapted before becoming extinct. Because each lifeform has a relationship with other lifeforms there is a knock on effect.
Evidence of extinction in the natural world is the history of the end of one regime precipitating a revolution. Under circumstances where a better adapted lifeform survives occupying a similar ecological niche to the lifeform that becomes extinct, the consequences or upheaval due to this revolution on other lifeforms within the environment can be minor. Where there is no lifeform already naturally adapted to assume dominance within that ecological niche the consequences can be complex and considerable until evolution restores a balance once again.
Having outlined the circumstances under which revolution occurs in the natural world let’s look at two historical political revolutions. The first we’ll look at is the American Revolution. In this example the dominant ’lifeform’ which became extinct would be Great Britain and the environment would be what is now the eastern seaboard of the USA. Great Britain was surpringly ill-adapted to this environment, it’s dominance was due primarily to the fact that other ‘lifeforms’ were even less well adapted. Great Britain ruled and projected it’s power over a great distance [it is interesting to note that it could take up to 6 weeks to send instructions across the Atlantic to put that in some perspective it took Apollo 11 in 1969 a total of 3 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes to fly to the Moon] In the end a better adapted ‘lifeform’ evolved within that environment. Although the American Revolution was not without conflict and upheaval, because a better adapted political model had come to dominate, the transition was relatively smooth.
Our second historical political revolution is the French Revolution and the ‘lifeform’ which became extinct is the Ancien Régime of King Louis XVI. These circumstances are completely different from the first example. The Ancien Régime had in the past been fairly well adapted to it’s environment but that environment had changed and the Ancien Régime had not sufficiently evolved to meet that change. In 1789 the regime became extinct but there was no better adapted entity to take it’s place within that environment. Bloody revolution was followed by bloody counter-revolution. It is interesting to note that it was not until almost 80 years later when, in 1870 the French Third Republic was formed, that a stable regime had evolved to govern within that environment.
These two examples stand in stark contrast to each other with the former, relatively smooth American Revolution, being the exception rather than the rule. Still both examples clearly show that political revolution is part of the process of evolution, just as extinction is.
Right, now let’s look at the current economic system because it too has evolved to be incompatable with it’s environment and now faces extinction. It is like an animal which has consumed all of the resources it needs to survive within it’s environment, it is now consuming what it has previously excreted. It has polluted thE environment thus irrevocably changing it but it has also evolved to be extremely specialised within it’s niche and can not evolve, therefore it will become extinct.
But there is no alternative economic model that can easily take it’s place. Therefore, my conclusion is that it’s inevitable extinction will be followed by an extended period of turmoil and unrest potentially bloody, before an alternative economic model evolves.