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Life in balance and under control

A Christian Science perspective.

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Newton's third law of motion holds that for every action, there's an equal one, opposite in force and direction. And sometimes opposing forces spin out of control. Quite evidently this isn't just confined to the physical sciences. You don't have to look far these days to see plentiful evidence of extremism, partisanship, polarization, destruction.

Sometimes imbalance stems from forces that seem completely beyond our control. Earthquakes and typhoons are extreme examples. And so often one extreme follows another. For instance, a few years ago sections of the southeastern US were suffering severe drought, with lake levels at historic lows. Recently, flooding has followed, to the point where 14 Georgia counties in that very region were recently declared disaster areas because of extensive flooding. Now the lake levels are largely back to normal, and the concern could shift to one of having too much of a good thing if winter brings excessive rain.

Other times, equilibrium may seem to some extent within human regulatory powers, for example in economics and medicine. But even here it proves illusive at best. The recent world financial crisis is a study in wild stock market swings and boom-to-bust economies, a polarizing of the very rich and the very poor, a contrast between those who are completely out of work and those who feel completely overworked. In medicine, diabetes and bipolar disorder are just two of the growing health concerns that involve fundamental imbalances in the body. "Balance problems are a big public health problem," says ear specialist Dr. Steven Rauch (Judy Foreman, "Health answers," Boston Globe, Sept. 28).

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