REPLICATE: to duplicate

Whenever someone comes up with a great idea the question arises: “How can we replicate this?“  It seems like a knee-jerk reaction.  If something is so good, so useful, so valuable, why wouldn’t we want to make more of them?  I suppose that’s part of the American system of economics.  The idea is to continue to grow, expand, be more productive.

However, another way of looking at things is to ask the question: “How do we assure that this remains a unique item?” In itself the item is more valuable as a solitary creation; but if replicated, it has the potential of producing more and more income.  It is a capitalistic dilemma.

What we encounter frequently, however, is what has come to be known as a “knock off.”  It is a product that resembles the original, but is inferior in its content, its quality of production, or its visual or tactile characteristics.  To be replicated is to be more than copied; it is to be duplicated in every quality.

The only way we can come close to true replication is by cloning an item, which entails the utilization of genetic structure and its reproduction without flaw.   It is far too complicated for my mind.   While cloning is known to be utilized throughout the world, it is in limited quantities and with many restrictions.  Human cloning, to the best of our knowledge is illegal throughout the world, although reports of human cloning experiments come to the surface every now and then.

Replication is not restricted to physical items, however.   A method can be replicated, or a concept.  A very successful educational system which increases the reading scores of children from inner city schools is, and should be, replicated in order to benefit the larger society.

I have been thinking about replication over the past couple of weeks as we have watched the events in Egypt unfold.  There are characteristics of the Egyptian revolution which bear attention.

  • It is a revolution seeking democratic reform.
  • It is a movement which began from the ground up
  • This movement was fueled and nurtured by personal media.
  • The dominant age group supporting the revolution was under 35.
  • The revolution in Egypt, while brewing for many years, took place in less than three weeks.

As the concept of revolution spreads to neighboring Middle Eastern nations, it is possible for people to begin to think of these flare-ups as replications of the Egyptian model.   In reality, they are variations on the theme of the Egyptian model.  It would be dangerous for the people of those nations, or for those of us watching from the sidelines, to have expectations of replication.  The people of Iraq or Iran have political and military issues which differ from those of Yemen and Tunisia.  The character of their events will differ, therefore, and will need to emerge according to their own specifications.   Levels of success and failure will be unique to the people involved, the nature of the resistance, and the capabilities required for success.

I don’t think any of us want to watch a “knock-off” of a revolution take place in any of these countries.   Rather, a legitimate and effective action which leads toward democracy of one form or another is the desired outcome.

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