Punctuated Equilibrium and the Lone Wolf

Punctuated equilibrium was developed as an alternative to gradualism, which stresses consistent, cumulative changes to species. Ice core samples from Greenland and Antactica show the same 'punctuated equilibrium' has ruled our climate's evolution as well. Human evolution, same story, millions of years as hunter-gathers, then along came agriculture and huge rapid change 10,000 years ago.

Culture too evolves through long slow periods punctuated by abrupt change. A few minutes on the morning of 9/11 changed the minds of millions, mostly for the bad, it showed the power of fear, the cohesion of the pack in defence against outsiders. Culture attempts to resists abrupt change in favor of gradualism in defense of its dominate icons just as individuals do when their worldview is abruptly shaken by the outsiders, the unknown.

The unknown is powerful, it lives always just beyond the edge of our control, it sits, like the lone wolf, overlooking our valley, waiting. The pack of wolves in the valley changes its leadership gradually, internally, the new leader and old are part of the pack. The lone wolf waits.

Every system undergoes periods of choas at some point. No matter how stable any grouping may appear in the present its future is never totally predictable because of all the things we just don't know. Our system, western capitialism, appears stable, but sitting silently on a distant hill is the lone wolf watching our paradigm crumble, waiting for its time and another punctuated equilibrium.