Le Chatelier said something like…
“When a constraint is applied to a system in dynamic equilibrium, the equilibrium moves in that direction that most helps to cancel out the constraint”
This means, in very simple terms, that if you don’t wash your hair (I tried this for several years) using shampoo, initially it gets very greasy because your scalp continues to produce the same quantity of the sebum that was continuously stripped away by the shampoo.
But after a while your scalp realises that the constraint, the shampoo, has been removed and stops trying to cancel it by producing less sebum and your scalp returns to its natural state.
This is a principle that Chatelier applied to chemical reactions, but as you can see it is very versatile and can also be applied to society I think. I also wrote about it in the context of the events in Washington, USA, on 6th January 2021.
Some constraints (in no particular order) that I see that have been applied, in recent years, to society are:
- Creeping government authoritarianism
- Massive quantitative easing
- Hugely expensive ESG & #netzero policies
- Extreme gender fluidity/LGBTQ+
- Blatant mainstream media bias/filtering
- Bad science
- etc., etc.,
Hopefully you get the picture.
So, in many ways, society is trying to swing in extreme directions and personally this has caused stress and distress.
And I’m not the only one feeling this.
People on both sides of the swinging pendulum are feeling this.
But, being an optimistic soul, I think that Le Chatelier’s principle will prevail in society and equilibrium will be restored
But let’s hope that when this happens, as it surely will, that the constraints are not cancelled too abruptly.
Finally, when I wrote previously about Le Chatelier, it was in the context of a stable system in decay.
And sometimes the equilibrium has to shift, because, after all, it is dynamic.
A bit of chaos, or entropy in chemistry, is what is required to engineer this.
I hope it does shift because, after all, who doesn’t want to live in a greener, healthier, more equitable and tolerant world?