Chris Martin
Unevening                                      (page 9)

Becoming Weather really began with my curiosity about a single word: disequilibrium. I first happened across it while studying educational psychology. Jean Piaget envisioned a series of mental schemas that children use to understand and interact with the world. Whenever a novel aspect of the world arises, the child attempts to assimilate it into a preexisting schema. If, however, there is no schema capable of accepting this information, the child is thrown into a momentary state of disequilibrium. In order to escape it, the child must counter the disequilibrium by adapting or transforming her schema to accommodate the novel information. In this sense, all learning proceeds from disequilibrium. And as both teacher and learner, I know how learning tends to gather its own off-kilter momentum. As Piaget said, “All knowledge brings up new problems just as much as it resolves old ones.” I began to think of disequilibrium as an underlying force, not only of thought, but also of physiology, of the physical world and of the body. Again, to bridge Piaget and Ortega y Gasset, one might think in terms of a friction engine, a basic perseveration or wobble that pushes existence further. Not only did it seem inherent to the mind (knowledge) and the body (dance), but I also began to suspect disequilibrium as the root force through which the body expresses its ontological being. So here, as with so much philosophy, we end at the beginning. We return. We waver

and warble, we barrel

oblique, headlong, we wake

a sleepless nerve to herd

pulse into song.

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