Stability in Motion, and the Segway

Emphasis on process — and the complex interweaving of continuity and change — plays havoc with old-fashioned conceptions of liberalism and conservatism. As Peter Drucker** has pointed out, in a world buffeted by change, face daily with new threats to its safety, the only way to conserve is by innovating. The oldest stability possible is stability in motion.

John W. Gardner (1912-2002) in Self-Renewal | **Peter Drucker (1959), The Landmarks of Tomorrow

This passage reminded me of the early Segway freestanding transportation machine. A long time ago when I learned how to use fuzzy logic to control mechanical systems, I remember how the trick to making a self-balancing machine work is to accept the fact that it’s always falling. So the first question is how do you stop it from falling — by creating counteracting forces. If you can do this fast enough, and in a coordinated, conscious fashion, you can actually control the direction of travel. Not just controlling whether it’ll fall down or not. I believe this is an example of Gardner’s stability in motion.

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The only problem, of course, is you might look a little nerdy to start. And even after many iterations on the concept.