Characteristics of Revolutions

July 22, 2020

Part of a series on revolutions.

On this page I’ll keep a list of observations I’ve made about revolutions, as defined here. This represents thinking I’ve been doing since the end of April. Unlinked pages are as yet unwritten.

  • Revolutions occur in conditions of abundance
  • Abundance means the persistence of a far-from-equilibrium state
  • Revolutions stabilize out-of-equilibrium conditions
  • Sometimes abundance results from a glut of resources
  • Sometimes abundance occurs within a protected sandbox
  • Sometimes pressure produces abundance
  • Revolutions are produced by virtuous or vicious cycles
  • Revolutions are preceded by long periods of experimentation
  • Revolutions are preceded by competition
  • Revolutions follow irruption or diaspora
  • Revolutions break bottlenecks
  • Revolutions are recombinant rather than fully novel
  • Revolutions often occur from a change in conditions
  • Revolutions make fuel from previously inert parts of the environment
  • Revolutions must overcome inertia
  • Revolutions create unexpected winners and losers
  • Revolutions change the nature of a game
  • Some revolutions occur when top-down pressure is reduced (increased entropy)
  • Some revolutions occur when chaos is reduced through ordering (decreased entropy)
  • Revolutions create new identities
  • Revolutions are often accompanied by arms races
  • Revolutions require diversity
  • Revolutions result in a reduction of diversity at one level, but often an increase at another level
  • This reduction is rarely (but sometimes) total

Bryan Kam

I'm Bryan Kam. I'm thinking about complexity and selfhood. Please sign up to my newsletter or see more here.