Revolution is about ideas governing the choices and deeds of individuals and factions, as purported by Richard Price, Edmund Burke, and Thomas Paine. Similarly, Re-volution is about the reiteration of ideas which govern the violence and drastic changes that is considered revolution. I say this because of the focus on “re” through the ‘slash’ in the word “revolution.” Re-volution, in my view, focuses on “re,” which can be considered a way of doing things repeatedly (i.e. ‘redo’). Putting the dash in the word does not make one lose focus of the concept of “revolution,” which is a lot of change (whether by speech or violence). Instead, the dash in the word reminds one of things that are repeated, reiterated, with the concepts being heard again and again.


With that being said, the third drawing from the bottom is the most exemplary of both “re-volution” and “revolution” as described by Price, Burke, and Paine. The third drawing is more chaotic than the other two. It is more drastic, with less organization. Parts are not divided with clearly-cut boundaries, as in the first and second drawings from the bottom. The third drawing is more dark, with lots of lines. There is no sunshine or separated parts. Everything is put together with darkness and commotion, as if no one has escaped from revolutionary violence and all are packed together while hidden from the light. `

Price believed people could take ideas from one revolution and use those ideas to participate in another revolution; “after sharing in the benefits of one revolution, I have been spared to be a witness to two other revolutions, both glorious” (5). This circumstance in which revolution births revolution and disaster ensues is very much like the opaque aspect of the third drawing. There are consequences to revolutions. These are inclusive of “the ardour for liberty catching and spreading; a general amendment beginning in human affairs; the dominion of kings changed for the dominion of laws, and the dominion of priests giving way to the dominion of reason and conscience” (5-6). For Burke, revolutions control lives by causing change; “but now all is to be changed. all the pleasing illusions which made power gentle and obedience liberal, which harmonized the different shades of life, and which, by a bland assimilation, incorporated into politics the sentiments which beautify and soften private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason ” (13). Revolutions can be outside of perceptions and cultural preferences.

Paine likewise noted, “but what we now see in the world, from the revolutions of America and France, are a renovation of the natural order of things, a system of principles as universal as truth and the existence of man, and combining moral with political happiness and national prosperity” (28). Revolution, or rather, re-volution, changes the order of things and brings about new perspectives, new methods and unseen effects. The third drawing appears to be heartrending but cool, like the appearance of what used to be familiar turning into foreign land.


~ by boxcar9 on September 20, 2012.

2 Responses to “Re-volution”

  1. Thank you so much for exploring this idea and elaborating on the word “revolution” and its meaning in the context of these works. You seem to really understand the cyclical nature of revolution, and it is really an experience that illuminates new ideas and perspectives while retaining its roots in the changes that came before it.

  2. I agree with you; interesting way of reinventing that idea of a revolution working again and again. The illumination is supposed to be the glorious aspect.

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