Dynamic Equilibrium

If something is complex, like an ecosystem, the inclination of people in our ‘western’ agricultural society is to simplify it to, for example, a monoculture. The issue with this is that you need to invest more and more energy to maintain the system. You could compare this to a convex surface. If you place a ball on it, it is inclined to roll away. Only when you, the balancing artist, exert force to keep the ball in place, will it stay temporarily at the top of the slope. But then you will need to invest more energy to achieve the same thing; you have to exercise more and more control. And this makes you lose it. After all, control is an illusion.

Complex systems are rich in relationships and seek a dynamic equilibrium. They are never static — they are always changing. When you let go of control, the number of relationships in a system increases, and, eventually, this leads to a self-organising whole. You could compare this with a bowl. If you throw a ball inside it, it will always roll towards the centre without any further effort on your part. If you kick the bowl, the ball will move neatly to the centre. That is resilience. But ultimately, this resilience is limited: with a forceful enough kick, the ball would irrevocably fly out.

This concept applies to human communities, ecosystems, soil — you name it. It also applies to our living planet: when complexity declines, it becomes more difficult to maintain homeostasis. Every ecosystem is necessary for a healthy world, and these systems have to be enormously diverse, too.

The same applies to people. People play an intrinsic part in the recovery of diversity. I believe people are a key species. We have immense creative power. Did you know, at least one-third of the Amazon rainforest was established as a food forest by people? Without people, the recovery of our home would be much slower, possibly even too slow.

We are a key species. We are essential. Every one of us. We are being called. Find the silence and you will hear it.

Original title: Dynamisch evenwicht, translation by Aveen Colgan