Revolutions, Exponential Curves, Fractals, Chaos Theory

A revolution is a moment of social boiling point, when incremental social stresses add up to a general outbreak.

These incremental social stresses seemed previously like they would go on forever, just continuously piling up to the sky, like we could absorb literally infinite abuse and contradiction and never push back.

And suddenly, it all snaps.

This is essentially the Luxembourgian explanation of revolution, in Reform or Revolution – until it happens, it seems impossible; once it happens, it seems necessary.

In dialectics they call this a transition from quantitative to qualitative change.

In chaos theory they explain this as a moment when a fractal hits a critical mass point of complexity, going from a simple angular shape to a truly strange curved beast.  This was explored well in this Slant magazine article, that discussed how the seventh iteration of the Dragon Curve is that very breaking point, at how it resembles the breaking point of an enormous wave in its curves and proportions.

great wave of kanawaga

seventh iteration.jpg

Here are some Jurassic Park quotes from Ian Malcolm that drive the point home:

“But we have soothed ourselves into imagining sudden change as something that happens outside the normal order of things. An accident, like a car crash. Or beyond our control, like a fatal illness. We do not conceive of sudden, radical, irrational change as built into the very fabric of existence. Yet it is. And chaos theory teaches us…that straight linearity, which we have come to take for granted in everything from physics to fiction, simply does not exist. Linearity is an artificial way of viewing the world. Real life isn’t a series of interconnected events occurring one after another like beads strung on a necklace. Life is actually a series of encounters in which one event may change those that follow in a wholly unpredictable, even devastating way.

“And that’s how things are. A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there. . . . And at the end of your life, your whole existence has the same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day.”

“Living systems are never in equilibrium. They are inherently unstable. They may seem stable, but they’re not. Everything is moving and changing. In a sense, everything is on the edge of collapse.”

“They believed that prediction was just a function of keeping track of things. If you knew enough, you could predict anything. That’s been cherished scientific belief since Newton.’
And?’
Chaos theory throws it right out the window.”

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