Week 5 post- Denny

3.  In Ted Chiang’s “Exhalation” the narrator/protagonist worries abou the “fatal equilibrium” (752) that will occur when the air pressure evens out between the reservoir and the surface of his world.  How do you see the idea of a “fatal equilibrium” relating to politics, and particularly to an ideal communist society?  Do you think that a truly egalitarian society would flourish or become stagnant?


                In exhalation, Ted Chiang explains that, ” with every movement of my body, I contribute to the equalization of  pressure in our universe.  With every thought that I have, I hasten the arrival of that fatal equilibrium” (Chiang, p.752).  I think he is trying to point out that the day where all beings of society become equal, no greater, no less.  He worries about that because he explains that everyone would become motionless and not contribute because one would not see the benefit in it.  In the end because of the evening out of the air pressure, other universes can use the air as a source to power their lungs.

                The fatal equilibrium in politics could mean that anyone could have a say in what law could be passed or stopped.  Let’s take the United States for example, if things were to even out and reach equilibrium, citizens would not care too much about helping the United States grow as it would not benefit them in any way.  I would not say equilibrium in a communist society would be good or bad for them, but it would mean the communist party leaders would listen to opinions and value the commoners opinion.  But that will not happen because they are a communistic society.  In the end I think the fatal equilibrium would flourish in a truly egalitarian society because everyone is already treated as equals.  In any other society, it would truly hurt them because inequality is what creates innovators.

This is just how I interpreted the reading, let me know if you have another opinion.

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One Response to Week 5 post- Denny

  1. 1drod says:

    Hmm. I do like your interpretation of the reading. I always have problems seeing deeper into readings like this. To me, all I see is a bleak realization that this machines society and universe is doomed to collapse. When thinking about “fatal equilibrium” in the story, I think the author is referring to the inevitable dooming of earth, the fear of this balance of the world and it’s fatality to its race. In context to politics, I still remain unsure… In context to your interpretations, if there were a true balance and equality, my ideal was that everything would be perfect. But you do make me see how equality and balance could lead to stagnation and weaker ambitions.

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