As much as these two words resemble one another, their social and political meaning are perceived antagonistic. You would think that revolution naturally follows evolution, as actions follow the desires to act. Are they fundamentally the same thing, differing only according to the time of their presence? Are revolutionists the true evolutionists? At what point Evolution turns into Revolution?
Evolution by definition means the change over time and variation causes in one or more inherited traits found in populations and individuals. Socially and culturally, it means the gradual and continuous development in morals, ideas, beliefs and values. The fearful word, Revolution, is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a sudden, short period of time, resulting in either complete change or modification of an existing constitution, culture, economy and socio-political institutions. It implies the sudden change, entailing some sort of catastrophe and pressure from the great masses below. Most speak well of natural progress of evolution in general, until they resent progress in a particular direction that challenges the norms and ideals of wealth, power and comfort of privileged worth preserving.
Seth’s Godin in his blog, “forever recession,” explains two types of recessions: a cyclical one that comes and goes – and a permanent one caused by the rise of productivity eliminating jobs for good – end of an era and start of another – a revolution. The industrial revolution fueled economy by massive factories and efficient assembly lines. The information technology revolution faded the local mass production. The internet squeezed inefficiencies out of many systems eliminating not only many clerical office jobs, but also enabling the move of interchangeable parts and jobs around the globe for “cheaper.” Every revolution destroys the last structure before the new one becomes profitable.
The revolutions we are seeing around the globe are not just about job eliminations for efficiencies. So many people have already shifted gears, training and changing expectations. People of all races, cultures, ages and lifestyles have access to the same information technology…their own factory. You would expect that this revolution will level the playing fields. But it has moved profits generated through efficiencies benefiting a very few, and the wealth of a nation has become sum of its tradable riches. Companies are holding on to the profit, not spending, not hiring. It is fueled when leaders are hell-bent on running each other into the ground instead of running the nation.
I spoke at a panel last week and was surprised of how women are still clinging to the old archetypes and mindsets, discussing “shift” of power, instead of partnership and linking. The social model needs to shift for women, as well as men. State of abundance replacing scarcity. Caring and relating more than just ‘networking.’ Lasting outcomes, not just short-term payoffs. Creating and innovating what makes life better and provide more meaning and authenticity – not just trading power, domination and money. The incoming tide is bearing us onward towards a future radically different from existing conditions.
So at what point evolution turns into revolution? When the tide gets stronger and voices are heard….when more people join and believe in the same values, causes and beliefs… .when the monstrous status quo has failed too many, too deserving, and for too long. Not just because of the rich getting richer, but at the loss of human dignity and sovereignty over one’s own fate to live a good meaningful life. We are the creators of our future. To make this a meaningful revolution, we must ask ourselves which human outcomes we want to evolve rapidly.