Social forces often have paradoxical and "unequal and unopposite" effects.

Social Physics and Unequal and Unopposite Reactions

In physics things have equal and opposite reactions, but in social dynamics things often have “unequal and unopposite reactions”. This can seem paradoxical. One expects the pendulum to swing in a uniform and calculable fashion, but it often does not. A single action can have many complex reactions and then those reactions have their own complex effects. Such is the nature of social physics.[1]

For example, if one ignores someone of the opposite sex, they may become intensely interested in you.

Or, if one starts a movement to pave the roads with jellybeans, it is likely a pro-pavement movement will spring up.

When prohibition became a popular issue, anti-prohibition arose and so did crime related to alcohol.

Things have opposite reactions in social systems, but unlike in physics they aren’t purely opposite.

The KKK was, for example, not “an equal and opposite” reaction to Military Reconstruction. Nor is a strict Crime Bill an equal and opposite reaction to crime. Nor is the War on drugs an equal reaction to the problems of addiction and related crime.

Social systems are complex, things have paradoxical effects, and results are often rather “unequal and sideways” more than equal and opposite.

The Polarization of the Political Parties as Unequal Opposites

To offer another political example (remember we are discussing social dynamics and no dynamic is more social than politics), as America went in a progressive direction since the FDR New Deal era, an “unequal and mostly opposite” pushback against progressivism arose.

We can see this in the Sixth Party Strategy, which is a explanation of the head-to-head between Free-Enterprise Small Government Vs. Big Government Progressivism from 1932 to today.

Now, why do I use this complex monster of a story of an example of “unequal and opposite” reactions? It is because it is a great example of complex social physics in-action (the physics of social dynamics; what we are talking about).

Speaking very roughly, as one half of America became progressive in complex ways from the 1900’s forward, the other half pushed back in complex ways (with each taking their formation as single-voter-issue factions banded together in the Big Tents Republican and Democrat).

We get a Rush Limbaugh, and then an Ed Schultz to counter it, they say “Lock Her Up”, then an investigation into ties with Russia moves forward. This is the invisible hand and invisible governments at work (concepts that explain “synthesis” in social physics… they explain self-interest acting as a force on social dynamics).

This overarching story contains countless other examples of social physics and its “unequal” reactions and paradoxes.

Progressives expand the safety net, assuming the effect will be “more security”, but things don’t always have a calculable exact effect in terms of complex social systems. Reagan deregulates to fuel trickle down, but one missed calculation means there is little to no trickle. Not only are reactions not always equal, they sometimes aren’t even opposite.

Sometimes the reaction to inequality is, more inequality, sometimes the reaction to extreme equality is… inequality.

Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis in Social Dynamics

A thesis by its nature has an antithesis, and somewhere in the middle a synthesis occurs. However, in social dynamics both the anti-thesis and syn-thesis can manifest in a sideways manner.[2]

Ballism as an Example

If in space one pushes a ball, it will travel in a straight line forever if unimpeded.

In social physics, if one embraces the ideology of ballism (the ideology of a ball; a made up example), there is an almost certainty that anti-ballism will arise.

However, if ballism is an honest ideology that tries to explain why round is good, anti-ballism could very well arise to try to propagandize some crazy theory that the ball is square, going as far as to say that we must purge the world of those who think balls are round. This will mean purging intellectuals, reporters, liberal colleges, liberal Hollywood, etc.

(NOTE: It isn’t that there isn’t some merit in pushing back against a ballist who went straight from their undergrad to masters to being a professor who never tried to fit a square ball in a round whole in their life. It is just that, “purging ballists” is a little more extreme than quoting empirical geometry with a left-leaning bias, even though the liberty to believe that balls are square is important in a liberal nation.)

Extreme stances on the geometry of a ball by the anti-ballist could ultimately, if they go far enough, result in being forced by ballists not to trust your senses, and this would almost certainly cause a anti-ballist uprising as an effect. It turns out, anti-ballism was opposite, but no, it was not equal at all.

Now what if the same thing occurred, but the predominate ideology was pro-squareism instead of anti-ballism. This would not be equal or opposite, but yet it would have been a reaction.

In physics if I get hit by a truck, I hit the truck as hard as it hit me. It is predictable. In social physics, the impact of a social force is only roughly predictable. That complex social system can be calculated, but actions often have paradoxical and unequal and unopposite effects.


Social physics is more complex than physics. Sure that is metaphysical, but it is actually less so than actual metaphysics. Think about it.


  1. Social dynamics
  2. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis

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