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On balance: Our ignorance, our obsession

As a noun, balance is a perception of the distribution of proportions; coincidentally, as a noun, balance is also a majority of proportions. Humans tend to overlook the latter if we feel the former is maintained to our liking. In other words, the world is viewed as being fair if we are treated fairly; we tend to not visualize others’ views, then, because theirs are overshadowed by our own. This is our ignorance. Inversely, if we feel we do not have a majority of or equal proportions, we look intently at the distribution of proportions to provide insight into whether another does have a majority of proportions, and, if another does have a majority, we analyze why they have a majority. In other words, the world is viewed as unfair if we are not treated fairly; we tend to visualize others’ views in relation to our own, then, because theirs overshadow our own. This is our obsession.

Beyond the simple definitions above, we innately depend on balance as a means to both perceive and interact with our existence. We treasure symmetry as a sign of perfection and familiarity, to the point where asymmetry is valued to offset symmetry’s ideal with its opposite. Balance is integral to our species, and to that end we make obvious representations (yin & yang, tortoise & hare, light & dark,…) to remind ourselves how we strive for balance. We also use a perception of gravitational balance to physically position ourselves as we see fit; we use balance for our basic means of mobility.

I do not know the struggles my daughter will go through, just as I do not know the struggles her grandmothers, protestors for peace & equality, went through. I also do not know the life-altering situations she will go through, just as I do not know the life-altering situations my uncle, a retired police officer, went through. I do know, however, that she will face both, and that her race will be a factor, no matter how hard her grandmothers and great-uncle fought to free her from that burden.

Justice is not blind; justice is a glacier slowly, surely, melting from the ever-burning sun of societal changes; justice denies more balance than is granted, until the denials pile and fall off the scale, replaced by, but still weighed against, the balancing of society.

We value balance in all things. We find symmetry to be beautiful, and feel so strongly that we must also find asymmetry to be just as beautiful.

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musings & scribbles