Static & Dynamic Equilibria

breakdown-of-nationsp. 85-8: - The Stable Balance of the dead - "balance of the stagnant and the huge" - "fixed and unchanging relationship" - instead of harmony, moulds diversity into unity - universal principle only if universe were still, non-moving, lifeless - The Mobile Balance of the living - self-regulatory - coexistence of countless mobile little parts - moving, breathing, dynamic universe - ordered by harmony, not unity

For what seems wrong with our political universe is, of course, not that it is balanced, but that it is badly balanced. And it is badly balanced because, unlike the physical universe, it is no longer composed of a great number of small mobile units which, as we have seen, are essential to an orderly pattern of behaviour, but of a small and shrinking number of immobile, though still moving, huge units—the great powers. With their emergence, the mobile balance, dependent on manifold littleness, could no longer function satisfactorily, and had to he replaced by a stable balance. This does not mean that a stable balance is without merit. To be adequate, a balance must furnish an automatic equilibrium which relieves its creators of the absorbing and sterile task of keeping it under constant supervision. It must rest in itself. In a world of dead matter, a stable balance meets this requirement to perfection. In fact, it is the only form of balance that keeps inanimate things in their fixed relationships. But, while it fulfils the requirement of adequacy in an inanimate, non-moving world, it loses its self-regulatory character when applied to a moving and living system such as a society of nations. Here a mobile balance is required to ensure proper operation and the necessary correlation of perpetually occurring changes. But a mobile balance, as we have just seen, is dependent on a multitudinous small-cell arrangement which is disrupted when cell unifications take place and large solidified organisms are created in the form of big powers in the political body or of cancerous overgrowth in the human body.

breakdown-of-nationsp. 88-9

antifragile Things that gain from disorder


breakdown-of-nations Kohr, Leopold. 1978. The Breakdown of Nations. Dutton. ↩︎ 1 2

antifragile Taleb, Nassim Nicholas. Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder. ↩︎ 1