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General Concept of Revolution

1. The goal of this work is to discuss revolution from the most general points of view. We want to understand its dialectic as a whole. However, as the whole exists only together with some concrete, we take the English revolution as this concrete, although for illustration of some phases we use examples from different epochs, and even from totally different spheres of reality.

2. The concept of "revolution" is used today widely, but few people bother to think about what it means. It is as though this is understood by everybody, and hence there is no need to think about it. However, real knowledge starts to appear when we question that which is "self-understood" and accepted as an axiom by "everybody".

Hegel says, in "Phenomenology" that when something is "known" in general, it is known as a popular opinion, but not really known. For example, in times of Hegel, such concepts were accepted as "known" as "God", "substance", etc. and no effort was made to analyze their meaning, i.e. break up a concept into its constituent parts. This is what we need to do today with the concept of "revolution": break up the concept into its constituent parts.

3. Revolution is the subject. That means, on the one hand, that it is the reality itself, and on the other hand, it is a study of this reality. Similarly, when we talk about history or economy, we mean, on the one hand, the process of reality itself, and on the other hand, a study of this reality ("economy" & "economics").

4. Revolution is a totality. Hence, we should treat it as Rene Descartes advises in his "Rules for the direction of mind", i.e. a subject should not be studies alone by itself, but rather all subjects should be studied together, and not for the sake of solving a concrete problem, but rather to gain a general understanding of things.

5. The concept of "revolution" is used by astronomers to designate star, or any other stellar object, returning to the point where it came from. For example, our planet makes a "revolution" around the Sun once every year. But, we should notice that the stellar object doesn't really return to exactly the same place, as the Sun, the Galaxy in which we're in, and the whole Universe, are moving. Hence, we can make a hypothesis that the general movement of things is shown to us by images of spiral-shaped galaxies. Here, things move as a totality in a kind of a circle that is constantly increasing in radius. We can call it "a spiral", or rather a system of interrelated spirals. 

6. Thus far we talked about the form of the most general movement. But, as for its content, the most obvious characteristic is the initial explosion, followed by an evolution of forms. All those who concentrate just on the explosion part of the picture cannot understand the events which have led up to it. Moreover, they don't understand what happened as result of the explosion, and hence cannot understand why such explosion was necessary, i.e. what it has helped to accomplish.

F. Braudel (1902-1985), in his "Material civilization, economy and capitalism of XV-XVIII centuries" writes that Industrial revolution is a very extended process, and sometimes it is barely noticeable, as it grows and matures very slowly. Hence, the three basic phases of a revolution are: 1. a continuum (an evolution); 2. an explosion (revolution in the narrow sense of the word); 3. a new continuum. 

Every revolution is preceded by an ever-increasing crisis that cannot be solved in the framework of old concepts, or relations. The atmosphere in physics at the end of XIX - beginning of XX century Einstein characterizes thus: "The feeling was as though the earth has slipped from under the feet, and nowhere did we find solid ground upon which to build". I think that words of Einstein are applicable to any crisis, which precedes any revolution.


1. A revolution is a universal-concrete

2. A revolution is both a reality, and a subject of study.

3. A revolution is a totality, or a system of concepts.

4. A revolution has a shape of a vortex with several spiral arms extending from the center.

5. A revolution includes: 1) a prior movement, a building up of a crisis, 2) an explosion, leading to an new state of reality, a qualitative change, 3) a development, which is the result of the explosion.

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