“True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.”
– Tom Robbins
A balanced uncentered person is one who is not necessarily disorganized or uncoordinated. Often, to remain balanced, one becomes off center to compensate for having gone off center. Balancing is a dynamic process of ongoing compensations, a give and take of contractions, and expansions, of tightening, and loosening. For example, when standing upright on two legs, one could say they are centered and balanced. To remain centered and balanced while standing on one leg only, requires adjustments.
Imagine a continuum from left to right, a plank of wood with each end representing a certain amount of force or, in a psychelogical sense, ‘gravitas.’ For example, if the ‘load’ is the psychelogical weight of ‘should’ or ‘have to’ upon you, the counter measure is often experienced as resistance, and in some cases defiant opposition, which may be offensive, as a way of defending, or maintaining, one’s current center and balance.
A fulcrum is the prop or support that upholds the plank of wood such that the plank is level. If the mass or weight of anything on either side is equal, the plank of wood does not tip this way or that; it is level. If it should tip this way or that, anything on the plank would need to compensate for the plank to remain ‘level’ or ‘balanced,’ relative to mass, not distance. To be ‘centered’ by distance is not quite the same as to be centered by mass.
Fulcrum is “a word that means ‘bedpost’ in Latin, derives from the verb ‘fulcire,’ which means ‘to prop.’ When the word first appeared in English in the middle of the 17th century, ‘fulcrum’ referred to the point on which a lever or similar device (such as the oar of a boat) is supported.” (Miriam-Webster online). Another term that relates to balance is ‘center of gravity.’ Center of gravity is “the point at which the entire weight of a body may be considered as concentrated so that if supported at this point the body would remain in equilibrium in any position” (Miriam-Webster online)
A plank of wood with equal mass on each end, or without any object upon it at all, is balanced, in equilibrium, at the center. The fulcrum point for a plank of 10 units in length is 5 units, in the middle, in the center.
But, what if there is 2x units of mass on one end (the ‘load’), and x on the other? Where is center, where is the balance point, where is the fulcrum such that the plank remains level, given the unequal mass on either end of the plank? Although the fulcrum point itself can move to compensate for this, the load can also be moved closer to the fulcrum.
The practical psychelogical application of this is that sometimes, often in fact, getting closer to the load, rather than avoiding or denying it, is the best way to maintain equilibrium, if even it appears as uncentered. To move the fulcrum is to shift center of gravity, to maintain equilibrium, balance, and, in a psychelogical sense ‘level headedness.’
Generally speaking, the center of gravity of the average person standing is in the abdominal area. Psychelogically speaking, the abdominal area is the seat of ‘volition’ or, if you will, our ‘guts’ and where can be found the volatile ‘fire’ for ‘competition.’ If that center of gravity shifts to the chest area, which is the seat of compassion (the treasure in the chest), the distribution of mass must occur, or a shift in the position of the fulcrum, if equilibrium is to be maintained. A shift from competition to compassion would radically alter the framework of all relationships. To begin the excavation of that treasure in the chest, the center of gravity shifts from one when standing, to one when sitting.
The center of gravity, the seat of gravitas, inches upwards, into the treasure. It is as if a square becomes a pentagon.
From a geometric perspective, standing such is a line, seated such is a triangle,
Although a line is perhaps the most basic element in all geometrics, the triangle is considered one of the most stable forms able to support excessive load. By way of analogy, a strong wind can rattle a stick, but a stone remains unmoved.
‘Arithmetic! Algebra! Geometry! Grandiose trinity! Luminous triangle! Whoever has not known you is without sense!’
– Comte de Lautreamont
One of the more intense factors that contributes to psychelogical imbalance, off center, disequilibrium, is fear. Fear is rarely actual; it is much more often fabricated, in the mind. It has been said that FEAR = Fabricated Experience Appearing Real. Within our own mind we fabricate full color audio-visual scenarios about…..what we don’t want to happen. What if that which we fear, that which we don’t want to happen, has become exaggerated, inflated, amplified, made to appear more than it is? The image below of a mouse having more ‘gravitas’ than an elephant is an apt illustration of how what we fear may not only reside in our subjective mind, not in the objective reality, but be distorted, skewed and warped, in that subjective mind, making it both deformed and misshapen as well as terribly unreliable.
Another significant factor that can bring about psychelogical imbalance is ‘romance.’ Romance is a situation in which one person outweighs another person. It is not unlike the image above in which two people of equal intrinsic worth and value in and of themselves, are not equal. One outweighs the other. Both persons in a romantic relationship may ascribe undue importance upon the other person. It has been said that a romantic relationship is two people, each unworthy of admiration, who admire each other. And, just as the above image is relevant to psychelogical fears, romance is often contaminated with the fears of it vanishing. That fear is predicated on giving too much psychelogical weight to ‘the other.’
The fear of anticipated loss (as opposed to actual loss) is formidable but only so because the counter force is insufficient. If you are a plank of balanced wood and all of a sudden a pile of fabricated loss or imagined disruption of lifestyle is dumped on one end of the plank, what is needed on the other end to maintain level balance, to sustain equilibrium? Perhaps a shift in the center of gravity, the fulcrum, from the abdomen to the chest? From competition to compassion.
More common than fear as an agent of imbalance and disequilibrium is general disruption of lifestyle; or, rather, the fabricated anticipation of such disruption. If there is too much overlap between ‘life’ and ‘lifestyle,’ survival can become fused to both. When lifestyle becomes a survival issue, people will fight and kill, to keep their lifestyle. Lifestyles, like cultures, fads and fashions, come and go; Life goes on and on, on and on. Of course, when lifestyle is imposed, and oppressive, it can become an issue of life, and survival. The solution to the problem of mass oppression is mass acceleration, in the opposite direction. Generally, oppression is by the few over the many. It’s like a plank of wood in which a small collection of units on one end outweighs a large collection of units on the other, not unlike the elephant and mouse image above. All oppressors fear a large collection of coherent units, with enough mass and acceleration (force) to bring about social equilibrium and balance. For the oppressor, balance, and equality, and even equity, represents the end of their lifestyle, which may to the oppressor seem as if it is the end of their whole of life, and will fight vehemently to keep it. Nevertheless, historically, the accelerated masses have brought forces to bear and which has resulted in welcome transformations towards Egalitarianism.