This site has hosted articles about a variety of subjects: History, science, philosophy, video games, literature, and so on. All of these can be found under the umbrella of my collected work. But one topic seems to be on my mind more than others.
Here, here, and here are articles about balance. What should we do, and what should we not do? And how much? There are no easy answers to this but I am constantly generating potential solutions. It’s like I’m trying to figure out how to be happy, or something.
If balance in life is such a great thing, then what is the best way to achieve it? There must be other examples we can use as parallels to draw on. How is balance achieved in other endeavors, and how can that be applied to our own existential dilemmas?
II. Act like an Acrobat. Balance like a Ballerina
Few people in the world are better at balance acrobats and ballerinas. They can do flips on a four-inch beam, and spin in circles on their tippy toes. A person with a mind as balanced as an acrobat’s body would be a veritable Zen master. At least, you would think so.
There is a catch to being a high-level acrobat. It takes years of training, supplemented by constant vigilance. Diet, exercise, leisure, all of it must bee rigorously scheduled in order to remain at peak performance. When you are on the highest ridge, it is precarious edge, with steep drops on either side.
The balance of an acrobat or ballerina, any athlete, is great. But it is never really more than precarious. The happiness I am seeking is not fragile. You should not have to struggle for serenity. And it should not take constant work to be happy. That’s not happiness. Its maintenance.
Maybe some physical stress and training can lead to mental and spiritual enlightenment. But it might not work for me. Too much work, and not enough payoff. I need the opposite. Lots of payoff, but not so much work.
III. Keep Steady like a Chemist
Chemistry and baking are similar activities. They both require the mixing of ingredients and balancing their properties. Unlike an acrobat on a beam, the chemist’s form of balance is a bit more forgiving. If you have too much of one ingredient, you can add some of the other. If your solution is too acidic, you can add something with a high pH to neutralize things out.
How does this type of balance relate to our lives? Good and evil. Excess and restraint. Passions and calm. Can we gorge ourselves on all sides and just hope things will balance out? This might work for chemists and bakers, but sometimes after all the balancing they have too much solution. Or too much dough.
The excess must be thrown away. Or, the balancing must be performed with such meticulous calculations that waste is avoided. Happiness should not be wasteful. At the same time, it should not be meticulous.
III. Balance Your Balance:
It appears neither of these forms of balance alone is a perfect fit for me. It is frustrating that there is no easy way to find balance in life. Maybe someone could invent some sort of self-balancing machine.
Happiness should be easy, but its not. Balance should not be difficult, but it is.
They both seem to be governed by a kind of uncertainty principle. The closer you get to defining one, the more difficult it is to pin down the other.
Maybe we should just close our eyes for a little while. Not quit looking for solutions, but take a little break. Learn to live with your off-kilter self, and maybe balance and happiness will just sort of show up on their own.
If not, you can always just insist you have an inner-ear problem.