when i was in high school my german teacher once said a sentence that followed me in my life ever since: if the pendulum goes to the right, it also goes to the left.
what i did not realize at the time was that this simple metaphor describes one of the most fascinating underlying dynamics of society, of history, and of politics.
did you ever ask yourself, why in times of globalization the call for tradition gets louder? why having all the options and possibilities in the world can make some people wish for a regulated system without so many choices? because if the pendulum goes to the right, it also goes to the left in a society.
i find a very interesting case in the transition of “modern” (western-societal) values of democracy and the rule of law to other “less privileged” countries. not only is the evaluation of traditions and points of view highly subjective, which is one point to be criticized, but also the thought of forcing someone for its own “good” is to be questioned. it is to be challenged whether a bottom-up system like democracy can be taught in a top-down enforcement, especially if the force is coming from outside the “own” country. to me it seems to be a rather natural reaction, that resistance gets bigger equivalent to the amount of force used to get a result that is not desired by the consignee. the more the pendulum goes to the one side, the higher it will flip back on the other side.
or consider the course of history instead – the closed times in the middle ages, with no freedom of thought or of action (to the one side) and the following eruption of resistance in the form of science that started questioning religious doctrines and the call for liberty and political power.
of course, society and of history does not follow the perfect model of a pendulum, yet it manages to capture the essence of movement and the core of contrast being an everyday companion in reality.