The Toppling of Balance

A column of tholeiitic basalt, part of the North Mountain Basalt lava flows of Jurassic age, between Tiverton and Central Grove in Digby County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

When you think of balance what comes most immediately to mind? Many of us would think of a scale, as in the Zodiac sign of Libra, the old-fashioned type where you had to equalize the weights of each of the scale’s trays. Or, maybe some of you think of a linear line, possibly considering the phrase, I’ll meet you in the middle, something commonly heard or thought of during times of crisis and compromise. And while I think of both, these days when I think of balance, I see in my mind’s eye, the many balancing rock formations precariously located around the world. I imagine them and I ask myself, why not us?

Pinnacle Balanced Rock, Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona, USA

Why is it that we, as sentient beings with a brain and the capacity for companionship, establishing communities and intelligence enough to solve problematic issues, can’t bridge the ever-widening social and political gap currently existing between ourselves? It’s done all the time in nature, so why not humans? Of course, we know that many “balancing” rocks do not truly balance themselves-they’re generally connected in some fashion to each other. Some might think that fact cancels or lessens my analogy. In my opinion, it strengthens it.

For just like the supportive geological stems or pedestals in nature, it’s those connections in humans that should make balancing or compromise easier than what it seems to currently be. As homo-sapiens, we all eat, sleep and defecate, to some degree the same as everybody does. Moreover, we all want the same things; to be fruitful in life, to be able to maintain good health, to have our children grow up in a safe environment, with the ability to receive a

A precariously balanced rock near Searchlight, Nevada. Photo credit: Nick Hinze / Nevada Bureau of Mines & Geology

good, solid education, viable healthcare and have the same opportunities for success as anyone else.

One of the many Latin words for balance is statera. Is it any surprise that it has the word “state” in it? The state, that entity that enables life

for its citizens, must be balanced and equal. Its peaceful existence demands that it recognizes the varied needs and agendas of the many people it serves. But when forced to lean more one way than the other, straying from the equalized middle and the bargaining positions that seek to provide for all, the imbalance created threatens its solidarity and if unchecked, the state eventually topples.

Think of it in this manner; when left to its own devices, like its environmental counterparts in nature, the state could endure for manylifetimes. There are formations near the San Andreas and San Jacinto faults that have stood for years through weather and earthquakes and will continue to do so unless man decides to do something about that. It’s only when we seek to shift the balance-either way, it makes no difference-that the continuity of the state is threatened. That compromise that imposes itself in nature, is lost and that’s where we are right now.

As the GOP seeks to secretly push forth a dangerous and callous healthcare agenda, think about the cooperation that forms in nature so readily. The same type cooperation that pushes a required, yet natural balance between men is gone in America and without it, the stability of our state nation to serve its constituents is shifting, teetering back and forth, this way and that between success and failure.  The winds and tremors of politics notwithstanding, it will be man who forces the final shove that takes us from between that rock and hard place to somewhere far more frightening, where the state, along with the safety it affords us all, is no longer present.

Some photos and copy from Earth Sky, Why haven’t earthquakes toppled these balancing rocks? by Eleanor Imster. Other photos and copy from Wikipedia, as indicated.

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