From my notebook: On Stability

Perceived threat to a self-organizing system will result in simplification of the system to reduce degrees of freedom and response time while simultaneously sacrificing adaptability.

Humans will shift into the sagittal plane to reduce the degrees of freedom to simplify movement creating a more stable state.

This will reduce system complexity and cortical effort and energy demands to allow resources to shift toward generation of motor system output, energy, and effort expenditure.

Simplification of movement may result in reduction of response time but sacrifices mobility in the planes of adaptability, frontal and transverse.

Reduction of movement in the planes of adaptability increases sagittal plane forces of shear, impingement, and load.

Under these circumstances expect increased symptoms of impingement (example:  extension-based back pain or ankle or hip impingement), shear (example:  pain with flexion or recovery from flexion), and load (example:  Achilles or patellar tendinopathy).

The escape is compensatory adaptation that will occur in frontal and transverse plane structures.

These compensatory adaptations may enhance performance (temporarily?) or result in pathology.

Instability is underappreciated and of great value, and in some cases more valuable than mobility, in unpredictable environments.

Mobility is not the opposite of stability as it can be demonstrated in stable states.

The opposite of stability is instability.

Stability in an unpredictable environment may lead to failure as stability may indicate a lack of adaptability.

To be adaptable in a highly variable environment, a self-organizing system must be capable of instability in order to reorganize and adapt to another stable state or remain adaptable to change.

Therefore, instability is not a bad thing as it depends on context.

Instability is essential to remain adaptable to perturbation.

If a tall building is too stable, the wind or vibration from the ground will break it.

Instability provides variability.

What is optimal depends on the environment and the task implying there is a sweet spot.

Too much or too little variability at the wrong time, in the wrong place may result in failure.

There is never one correct answer to what is optimal.

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. 

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” 
– Bruce Lee









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