The dance between evolution and equilibrium

The often overused word equilibrium is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “any condition in which all acting influences are cancelled by others, resulting in a stable, balanced, or unchanging system.”

Equilibrium is not inactivity but rather dynamic balance. The balance can be in the physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual domains. Life is filled with fluctuations towards and away from equilibrium.

Nature exhibits an intrinsic drive towards equilibrium. The front door of your home is opened in mid-winter, and cold air rushes into the warm interior. Very quickly, though, the imbalance disappears, and the air temperature throughout the room stabilises. It has never been observed that one side of the room gets colder while the other gets hotter for no apparent reason. Just as gas molecules in a small container disperse throughout a larger container in ways that give each gas molecule equal space. You will not find gas molecules gathering in one corner of a container.

Greater forces overpower smaller forces. A too-heavy object sitting on a too-weakly constructed shelf will eventually fall through and may rest on the floor if the floor is strong enough. At the atomic level, the constant move to equilibrium continues, even when the overt appearance is of an object at rest.

Nature seeks equilibrium spontaneously, as nature is always the most efficient and economical.

So, what does all of this have to do with globalisation?

For most of the history of humanity, we have lived as nation-states, pockets of humanity, similar to the gas molecules in a small glass jar. Within our own ‘jar’, we have found our dynamic equilibrium. However, we have also been pulled by evolutions arrow in a constant quest to evolve.

This is the dance between equilibrium and evolution, and it has gone on for all of life as we know it and will continue long after you are I are dust.

Over the last 50 years, as borders have become more fluid, and systems such as money, trade, and energy have become less border-dependent, our ‘jar’ has become bigger.

As I wrote in the article, Eventually we all pay; when I lose my manufacturing job in a wealthy nation-state to cheaper labour in a developing country, I may suffer loss while someone else gets pulled out of poverty.

The world is in the middle of a significant process of dynamic equilibrium. We have one part of the room(world) that is cold, and another that is hot. This is not a permanent situation. Indeed, we have been through many of these movements to dynamic equilibrium already, and will continue, probably at an accelerated rate, as the Universe evolves. The big difference now is that for the first time, we are dealing with the whole world, and not just little communities.

Our ‘jar’ full of gasses is indeed the world. Pollution in China affects the fishermen in Tuvalu. Low wages over ‘there’ mean someone loses over ‘here’. It is how things go when dynamic equilibrium is in process. At some point in the near future, worldwide wages will balance out. There will be no ‘cheap’ wages to be found, which will require a different model than the one we have.

Then, there will be other areas/factors that will fall out of equilibrium. Because this is the way nature works, especially when man gets his hands on things without being mindful of the precessional effects. This constant dance.. evolution.. equilibrium.. evolution.. equilibrium…

We are losing species, but while species die (and possibly humans too), other species flourish. The earth and nature will do just fine in the whole…equilibrium will find its space, in the end. Until another evolutionary event comes along…and then the dance will resume.

The point is that we have to start seeing the world as a whole. We can no longer afford the luxury or indulgence of living in our little glass ‘jar’. And in this whole view, we need to recognise that we are in the process of finding equilibrium within globalisation. Don’t get too comfortable though, because evolutions arrow will find a new target.

Globalisation is in process, whether we like it or not. The real questions lie in how wisely we can support the process of dynamic equilibrium at all levels, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually.