In recent times we’ve experienced unprecedented pendulum swings in global politics, trade relations, human rights, wars and conflicts, etc. In particular, American politics have taught us that you can never take anything for granted. Populism is having an upper hand over democracy. Individualism over collectivism. The unintended consequences of some of these unfolding events and human psychology will ultimately bear long term negative effect on the lives of other people elsewhere in the globe. This chain reaction (cause-effect) will be felt at global level, continental, local (country), family, and ultimately, at an individual. This shows that global issues are complex and structural in nature and in the long term, do impact somehow on the lives of ordinary people, especially the poorest of the poor.
This blog places an individual at the centre of the above-mentioned global issues. Individuals constantly react to pressures placed upon them; at home, work place, community and society as a whole. This begs a question; are we emotionally ready to absorb the daily beatings we encounter? Have we found coping mechanisms to deal with these pressures? Do we know what makes us happy? Are we aware of our daily emotional roller-coaster rides and the effect these have on our mental and physical health?
We need to understand our situations and find a balance. A pivot. Life without problems or challenges is boring. What we need is a coping mechanism to identify, understand and manage our situations. We need to know life dichotomies or doubles. Pendula. Swings.
The most fascinating doubles/opposites can be found in economics (boom and slump), finance (greed and philanthropy) and mental health (sorrow and joy). These swings reveal what we are and where we are likely to be in future. They manifest a human behaviour not always easily understood. The one reinforces the other, and vice versa. For example, government policies (economic, finance, trade, etc.) reflect the very feature of how politics influences our lives. Policies governments design and implement influence our well-being, either in a good or bad way. That is to say, there is an abundance of swings in the pendula. Everything is in a state of flux.
Life is indeed a pendulum. If you have watched an old wall clock pendulum swing back and forth, left and right, then you’ll understand the logic that things swing between two opposite ends. For example, from one end (birth) to the other (death). The following Bible scripture (Ecclesiastes 3.1-8) provides a clearer analogy, that there is
“a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”
Nothing is constant. Hence it’s very important to know one’s pivot(al) point. Know yourself. Know people around you. Be aware of the law of the pendulum because it regulates everything in this universe; politics, health, economics, finance, relationships, trade, etc.
We can see the law of pendulum in nature, for example, in the change of time from day to night, change of season from winter to summer. We can see it also in the world of human phenomena. For example, the swings from calm to anger through community protests, war to peace, from prosperity to recession. We can also see the law of pendulum in ourselves as we swing from feeling cold to feeling hot, feeling hopeless to feeling hopeful, loving to hating. In time some pendula hit their opposites more frequently than others, i.e. they are moving faster in time than other pendula. Becoming angry and becoming calm, or calm and becoming angry. For example, driving to work, in a joyous mood when suddenly you become involved in a road rage.
Life is full of opposites. These opposites force us to have a counterbalance in all things. Sometimes we need to go through rough experiences, to be able to appreciate life and other fellow human beings.
We therefore need to be ‘conscious’ of time and space in order to understand how things in life influence each other. This means that everything comes to an end in time, so that one thing is replaced by its opposite. In turn, this means that the end of political stability is political instability (protests), peace is war, the end of winter is spring and if we have a good time today we may have a bad time tomorrow. If you embrace the concept of sustainable development you’ll understand that decisions of today can have desirable or disastrous consequences for future generations.
Pendula swings are about change. We should try to find our strengths and weaknesses. Begin to be conscious of opposites at the same time. Be able to anticipate, adjust and manage of our lives because change is inevitable. We should try to see pendula in ourselves, others and the environment around us.
As you embark on a journey to discover your own pivot, take time to read the following quotations:
“Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself” (Og Mandino)
“Happiness is an inner state of well being. A state of well being enables you to profit from your highest: thoughts, wisdom, intelligence, common sense, emotions, health, and spiritual values in your life” (Lionel Ketchian)
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” (Aristotle).