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2 of Force: Ideology | by Arenamontanus
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2 of Force: Ideology

Each electron is surrounded by a shell of virtual particles - positrons, electrons and photons - that polarize the vacuum surrounding it, softening the electric field on the outside. And each of these virtual particles can in turn be seen as surrounded by their own cloud, and so in. Feynman diagrams all the way down. Naked electrons cannot exist in quantum field theory, and if we ever encountered such a beast it would be something very different from the tame electrons we know of.


Each ideological idea is surrounded by a shell of other ideas - rhetoric, arguments pro and con, criticisms, heresies and reinterpretations. They hide and change the meaning of the original idea, turning it into a complex rather than a single meme. One hears about political visions filtered through layers of journalism and interpretation, some one's own (picked up along the way), some belonging to others. Ideologies are coated and softened by the counter-ideologies they create around themselves. Encountering a naked ideology is a strange experience, especially if it is a view oneself thinks one believes in.


"Force" has an everyday meaning giving connotations of energy and action. But in nature most forces are not spending their time acting. Rather they keep things

balanced. The reason is simply that unstable, changing states by their nature often leads to stable states, and it is more likely to find these since nature remains in them (again by definition) most of the time. At least if one lives in the slightly parochial low-energy world we happen to have grown up in.


When two opposing forces meet they tend to form an equlibrium. If one increases

slightly, the other responds by increasing slightly more back, and the situation

is restored. Weaken one, and the other weakens.


Quite a few ideologies have ended up in similar equilibria. Their cores still shoot out ideas, analysis and criticism, but that is counteracted by the response from the neighboring ideologies. People pick up the views they like and repeat them, eliciting the usual responses from their debating partners who have of course read their own views.


But equilibria are seldom permanently stable. Throw in a new ideology or some energy and what was static turns dynamic. The old ideologies oscillate and may move from their old positions. The new ideology upsets the balance, complicated matters enormously and draws the ire of all the old and stable.

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Uploaded on April 2, 2009