Anyone who has lived through the last three years of war and revolution could easily forget how rare such uprisings are.
George Soros reminds us in a recent column for Project Syndicate. For masses of people to forget their differences and work against the the force that is supposed to give their national identity its structure — their government — requires a catalyst. And for the most part, such catalysts are uncertain and unknown.
Soros compares tha uncertainty to Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle:
According to Heisenberg, subatomic phenomena can manifest themselves as particles or waves; similarly, human beings may alternate between behaving as individual particles or as components of a larger wave. In other words, the unpredictability of historical events like those in Ukraine has to do with an element of uncertainty in human identity.
People’s identity is made up of individual elements and elements of larger units to which they belong, and peoples’ impact on reality depends on which elements dominate their behaviour. When civilians launched a suicidal attack on an armed force in Kyiv on February 20, their sense of representing “the nation” far outweighed their concern with their individual mortality. The result was to swing a deeply divided society from the verge of civil war to an unprecedented sense of unity.
Basically, the shift from looking at groups of people around you as ‘you and me’ to looking at them as ‘us’ is what is so amazing about revolutions.
And to Soros, it is part of the failure of the European Union project. Yes, European countries can offer Ukraine expertise in terms of organisation and business strategies but until Germany accepts its position as a leader of a new group of united countries — rather than looking inward and seeing fellow EU countries as entities to which it is not beholden — amazing opportunities like Ukraine will pass the world by.
This is deep stuff, people.