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history

Russian Revolution

It didn’t work out all that well the last time it happened and notwithstanding that nothing is quite so human as the cyclical cadence of recurring ideological catastrophes, but I honestly wonder how long a government can grind their people into the dust of poverty and oppression before they rise up and find their own solutions. It is easy to think that popular uprisings are artefacts of a past era and yet, just like imperialist aggression, it represents an atavistic throwback that is not so much a distant past as it is an ever-present possibility.

What to say for emperor-like aggressor that inadvertently cultivates, amplifies and manifests their stated fears through the very acts intended or claimed to quell them? We might be easily led astray by ideological and psychological (if not psychotherapeutic) generalisations here but from a perspective of complex systems analysis we find ourselves engaging an old, archetypical antithesis and dissonance masked by new instances, new names, new catastrophes.

It is a complex topic but notice how the psychological and ideological, cultural and political self is worn inside out, the greatest fears being the seemingly inevitable consequence of assertions against them. This is the visceral, embodied and all too human experience of dynamical systems – we (all) build boundaries but in so doing inadvertently amplify the entities against which they were directed.

In this sense, there is no self-determination in (such) geopolitical aggression, only manifest fear. If an emperor’s greatest fear is that of a revolution that overthrows them, what a mischief they create for themselves by blundering into precisely the geopolitical and socioeconomic conditions that make popular uprisings more likely than not. It is a country that already suffers under catastrophic mismanagement and must surely only be two or three well-placed or unexpected matches away from converging upon a plausibly inevitable bonfire of the autocratic state.

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