Word of the Day – Equilibrium and the I Ching


Equilibrium lies the moment the ballet dancer balances on her body on her toe or toes, or an ice-skater gathers momentum just before taking a leap into air.

Equilibrium that takes a bit longer is also what our bodies strive to get us back into when we have illnesses. This is something I learned during Covid. Our bodies were built for rejuvenation and safety.

For the five years before COVID attacked, I’d experienced up to 17 serious illnesses that doctors couldn’t solve. Doctors often offered cures that made things worse.

I must have seen 30 some doctors during that time. Finally, my best friend did research online and found that I took a medication causing all but one of those symptoms.

And near the end of my doctor visits, when I was so weak I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without having to rest, two doctors realized that my cardiologist had made a terrible mistake. Just in time both of them gave me the information and words I needed say to doctors to save my life.

Not being able to go to hospitals safely due to my age, I found that body aches and pains I worked on during the Covid years would eventually go away if I worked on healing them myself.

Recently Dr. Lee Albert was one of the sources on TV that I turned to. His book Pain Free Living, 3 Steps added a lot to my understanding of self-healing and of understanding the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes.

Keynesians’ Holy Grail Search for Equilibrium

From the Great Depression up to the end of the 20th century, followers of Economist John Maynard Keynes, Cambridge University Professor in England, cherished the goal of reaching and dwelling in a perfectly balanced economic paradise. Equilibrium was their Holy Grail.

Having created indexes over 20 books written by leading opponents of Keynesian economists who came from the Chicago school of Economics, George Mason University, and UCLA in Southern California, I finally spotted the weaknesses in Keynes formulas for achieving their economic paradise.

In particular, Armen Alchian an engineer at the Rand Corporation and UCLA professor in Southern California, in his 2 volume Collected Works (2006), made me question both Keynes’ multiplier effect as well as the supply and demand theories concerning production and pricing used by both liberal Keynesians and conservative economist professors alike in the 20th century.

In my opinion, Keynesian economists used tautological (circular) reasoning to explain pricing, and misused calculus to prove that equilibrium existed and could be achieved within nations’ economies over the long run—even though used witin in a global world. Meanwhile conservative trickle-down supply-side economists were creating negative multiplier effects by discounting the reality of real demand.

On the other hand, in his favor, Keynes’ and other liberal economists gave President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor the tools they needed to overcome the shambles of the Great Depression and later on World War II in the United States. And during the 20th century, conservative right-wing economists did add several things to the field that left-wing economists had not taken notice of before.

The I Ching – Book of Changes

However, my reason for breaking with the theories of the neoclassical economists who taught me was not cemented by any economists’ books. It was in Taoist books I read—even though not knowing what Taoism was until I moved to California in the the 1970s and listened to Sunday Watercourse Way sermons by Alan Watts and again to California in 1980s and took up Tai Chi with Master Young.

The most well-known, long-lived, and widespread read Taoist book from the first religion in ancient China is the I Ching, translated into English as The Book of Changes.

Based mainly, but not only, on the mathematics of geometry, I Ching tells the story of the ways Equilibrium comes and goes via oppositions caused by a mysterious unknowable force called TAO.

Perhaps it was the same force as ancient Hebrews in the Middle East used the letters Yahweh and other names for, or that the Father of Economics, Adam Smith in 1776 labeled as the “Invisible Hand” in his book The Wealth of Nations.

Here is the ancient Chinese Taijitu Symbol for how equilibrium of opposites leads to changes and changes lead back to equilibrium, rotating in eternal circles until the small seeds inside the two halves change into their opposite image.

Change in the 21st Century

Our century has changed radically in spawning a return to capitalists’ corporate giants (so scorned by Marxist economist Paul Sweeney and author Upton Sinclair Lewis in the early 20th century). And Corporate Giants in our 21st century have ballooned out into Gobal Multinational entities with the help of the Internet and other digital technologies.

Money is the primary mover of our economic choices, and has edged out the ‘Christian values’ of former capitalists. Pleasure has pushed aside duty in this century. Anything goes if people want to believe it or do it. Change has become overwhelming for many, who chose to close their eyes to it or focus on something else.

Meanwhile in the U.S. the Fed is facing chaos on December 3rd—chaos caused by fear, greed, and privatization of property.

Our constipated US. port wharves visually echo the FDR Roosevelt era, when the government stepped in, and ‘went too far’ according to some people in mid-century, to successfully restore equilibrium in the U.S. economy.

I think that political and economic equilibrium, i.e. balance between governmental’ and private sectors’ interests is what we need right now. We need a President who can bring together private sectors with its powers in order to get things done.

This is what President Biden just did by getting the the unions, and the satellite services that serve our ports, trucking, and rail deliveries together to start clearing the chaos in our ports. We need more of that now.

Our Future in Danger

I feel that the fears of D.C. politicians and voters alike about granting too much money or power to government are going to lead to stagflation. Have we learned nothing from the commodity shortages during World War II or of the gas shortages during the Jimmy Carter Presidency era of (low production, high unemployment and inflation) called stagflation?

Equilibrium provides us a time of rest to catch our breaths before change. But to look back or linger too long in it not always a good thing: equilibrium can also be a powerful force for stasis and lengthy periods of  constipation! And worse yet possible collapse and deaths of people and things we love.

This is why Keynesian economics is what is called for right now. It is a short-term change we need right now to solve the crises we’re in. Because there is no such thing as an eternal economic policy that can stop the need for changes. The Tao will bring changes. And right now we live in a universe of changes that are extremely chaotic. We need a break.

Our Federal Reserve, charged with keeping the U.S.’ economy balanced, does not have enough power to stop stagflation or restore equilibrium. If the U.S. government debt limit is not raised this year, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says she will take money from government employees, pensions, and agencies to pay its past-due bills. That will cripple the government and diminish its services to us.

You can bet if the government does do this, the vulture capitalists here and abroad will take all the advantages they can. All hope of attaining government and private sector equilibrium in our economy for a time of healing and rest and building better things will be gone. Is this the kind of change you want and will vote for? I really hope not!


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