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(ILR) Devin Bae: The Contingent Space of Revolution

Updated: Jun 14


Case Study

The Contingent Space of Revolution


In this paper, I seek to unfold the space of intelligence, love, and revolution (ILR), examining their underlying logics as well as the ways they are structured. Recent developments in philosophy have galvanized a topological approach to thinking which I will utilize to map the contingent space intelligence, love, and revolution (in addition to their dialectical counterparts: stupidity/idiocy, fear/hatred, and stagnation). I begin by bracketing the minimum composites of intelligence, love, and revolution, followed by a thorough exploration of their modularity. I argue that the conditions of revolution are always prior to the event of revolution, hence the contingency of intelligence/love for revolution. Regardless of whether one uses Alain Badiou's conception of the Event or Thomas Kuhn's paradigm of scientific revolution, the distinguishing elements of revolution can always be traced to this Borromean knot between intelligence, love, and revolution. Yet, too many historical studies have uncritically separated this assemblage rather than realizing the interconnectedness of each element. I identify three dynamics that explain this difficulty: concurrency, stratification, and fractal recursivity. Importantly, these dynamics are self-reflexive, meaning that concurrency appears simultaneously across multiple strata, recursively among many levels. Here, contingency also works to vertically delimit the space of possibility, preserving the horizontal variety of outcomes but preventing particular paths from interacting. Using this approach, I examine two major case studies: ILR within the Dune series by Frank Herbert, and a collection of major historical revolutions including the Haitian Revolution, Copernican Revolution, French Revolution, Chinese Cultural Revolution, Bolshevik Revolution, Mexican Revolution, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Revolution, Iranian Revolution, August Revolution, Orange Revolution, Arab Spring, Egyptian Revolutions, Rwandan Revolution, and more. By unfolding this space, I hope to unpack the mysticism and dogmas surrounding intelligence, love, and revolution, providing a clearer understanding of their dynamics and how they interact. We may yet find ourselves on the precipice of another revolution (this time in thought).

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