[OPE-L:8349] Michael Eldred's law of inertia of quotidian social life

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Thu Jan 16 2003 - 08:32:41 EST

Re Michael E's [8345]:

I will pass over your comments on welfare and unions -- which I found
surprisingly conservative.

Re "the law of inertia of quotidian social life" which you claim discovery
of "until proven otherwise":

> With such a law of inertia of human living I am aiming at an _ontological_
> level, i.e. at the habitual nature of human existence. Aristotle long ago
> made  the connection between _ethos_ (habit) and _aethos_ (ethic),
> which is a hint at  the conservative nature of how we regard 'proper'
> living.  The inertia of  habit  weighs like lead on all social practices,
> above all on  the social practice of  thinking. We enjoy and are in love
> with our habits  and resist changing them,  especially our habits in
> thinking.

I agree that different societies have hitherto had different customs,
practices and taboos which have helped to perpetuate the existing
understandings. So, yes,  we have habits which are hard to break free
from -- even if we want to.  But,  I reject the comparison to equilibrium
in the natural sciences that you seemed to be making in [8324] where
you suggested that an "external"  social force was required to disturb
the inertia and lead to a dynamic,  changing situation.  No "external
force" is required for the prevailing "inertia" to change -- we do not
live in a vacuum and the concept of equilibrium as understood in physics
can not be transplanted to the study of social subjects without doing an
injustice to the comprehension of the latter subjects.  Change can and
_does_ happen within all social formations during all historical periods
-- even if the rate of change is very incremental and perhaps
unobservable to the naked eye (like grass growing in a lawn from

> The time span for fundamental
> changes in thinking must be measured in centuries and millennia.

Or years. Or weeks. Or days. Or minutes.

Consider the impact of the womens' movement on popular thought.
Within just a few years in the early 1970's some very long-held beliefs
were eroded, subverted, and replaced in a number of social formations.

Solidarity, Jerry

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