Two Dimensional Revolution

Let one for a moment imagine the arcade version of the Super Mario video game. In this game the character of Mario has the ability to go off screen on the left and appear instantly on the right side of the screen. If a player had enough time they could run in a straight line for an endless cycle. Based on such a principle I think that best Drawing #1 best represents Romantic revolutionary apocalypse at work. For all purposes let’s say that the river in the drawing starts from the right and goes toward the left until the drawing ends. Toward the left end the river is just a haze of ideas, a stream of conscience thought and principles continuing traditionally as per usual. Yet, above and even beneath this river is the heralding of chaos to come. Underneath, there are the red blades of grass full of discontent and passionate fury representing the common man. Above there are the lofty intellectuals gathering like clouds or stars in the night sky waiting for events to align.

This sentiment of being on the cusp of apocalypse/revolution permeated all of Europe. Even Richard Price in England said though, “We are at present, I hope, at a great distance from it. But it cannot be pretended that there are no advances toward it” (4). In the drawing the river of tradition continues until it reaches the series of mountains. Each mountain represents a cataclysmic event of the revolutionary apocalypse like the storming of the Bastille or the beheading of King Louis XVI. From that point on not only is the course of the river of tradition changed but one can see a new stream flooding from the last mountain. This stream can be viewed as, “a diffusion of knowledge which has undermined superstition and error” (5). In spite of its new course and content the latest traditions and leaderships fall to the same build up of chaos which proceeded the revolution. Again we see in the drawing along the river the same anarchic red grass (perhaps wet with blood) and the lofty stars on high grabbing at power, this phase is representative of the Great Fear.

At last the river goes off the left of the page where nothing can be seen. This denotes a return to, “All the pleasing illusions which made power gentle and obedience liberal” (Burke 13). As the new society though perhaps equipped with more freedom takes on new prejudices. After a time and at last, the river reappears on the right hand side of the drawing. And I say that it carries the same water that disappeared from the left side. At this point the cycle of revolution/apocalypse starts all over.


~ by bobcat101 on September 20, 2012.

One Response to “Two Dimensional Revolution”

  1. This post really helped me understand the revolution and the apocalypse even more. It is very keen of you to pick up on the fact that the revolution, despite its name and connotation, always returns to what has already come before. It is a cycle that repeats, whether that be chaotically or subtly.

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