When thinking of “revolution”, the first thought bumping into my brain was the paradigm shift we learned in unit 2. Unit 2 gave me the best explanation for revolution–a paradigm shift which pushed people to generate new thoughts and change the current way they do things.
I still remember there’s one time in class when we were talking about the revolution of societies, or the whole human race, verses the revolution of individuals. It was easy to think of examples for both: the scientific revolution, equal rights act, women’s suffrage for the former, and simple mind change for the latter.
But think deeper into that–the words in my notes said, “paradigm can’t be layered; paradigm can’t understand each other”–is that what really happened in history, and is that what really defined “revolution”? I would say yes to scientific revolution, since when we accepted a new theory the old one was abandoned, and science is the only place we can define right from wrong and wrong from right; there is no right or wrong in any other places, and everything mingled. Like equal rights act. We can say we abandoned the old theory that white people are the superior race, but the revolution itself is a procedure pushing itself forward, slowly and gradually; there’s never something being defined as “wrong” in a sudden and left behind.
And there stands Kuhn saying that paradigm can’t shift backward–not if he saw today’s world. To me, history comes as a circle, and people can’t avoid repeating their mistakes even they don’t want to. The way this circle works is, when the world becomes way too conservative, then it will reach a point and begin to open up; once it is open and inclusive enough, fear will be generated among crowds, and societies started to shut themselves, becoming conservative again. Look back at the 40s–the point when our world reached its peak of being conservative, and World War II opened it up. While currently, in the second decade of the 21st century, we are going conservative again, because of fear, towards refugees, terrorism, immigrants, etc. So there isn’t really a definition for “forward” or “backward”, because we are repeating ourselves again and again, and inevitably, paradigm shifts backwards constantly.