Balance and imbalance (equilibrium and disequilibrium) do not constitute an inamic pair. They are not inamichuan and hence not inamic partners. The importance of this fact cannot be overstressed. Balance and imbalance are not mutually competitive, complementary, or completing. Rather, balance - or more precisely, balancing - is generated by the ceaseless back-and-forth alternating of two imbalances - excess and deprivation, or excessive indulgence and excessive deprivation - just as becoming is generated by the back-and-forth alternating of being~nonbeing (life~death, etc.). The relevant agonistic inamic partners here are the two imbalances: excess and deprivation. Balancing occurs by middling these two extremes; it occurs in the middle of two extremes. Balancing is a triadic relationship, whereas an agonistic inamic pair is a dyadic relationship. Balancing, therefore, belongs alongside becoming, second-order ordering, and transformation as a tertium quid. Balancing is not subject to agonistic inamic unity but rather is a consequence of agonistic inamic unity. As our earlier discussion of walking showed, balancing is an overarching macroprocess consisting of a rhythmic series of mutually interdependent and reciprocally influencing imbal-ancing microprocesses. Balancing is dynamic and diachronic. It is not a static state of affairs or condition. Willard Gingerich and Barbara Myerhoff argue that what I am here calling agonistic inamic unity has its roots in Mesoamerican shamanism. The process of agonistic inamic unity yields what Myerhoff calls “shamanic balance,” which she describes as follows: “Shamanic balance is. . . not a balance achieved by synthesis, nor a static condition achieved by resolving oppositions. It is not a compromise. Rather, it is a state of acute tension, the
Kind of tension which exists. . . when two unqualified forces encounter each other, meeting headlong, and are not reconciled but held teetering on the verge of chaos.”82
Western theologies and philosophies overwhelmingly equate balance and equilibrium with peace, serenity, and harmony. Aztec metaphysics does not. The unity of agonistic inamichuan is neither peaceful, serence, nor harmonious. Inamic partners make war upon one another and subdue one another. Since agonistic inamic unity defines reality, it follows that agonistic tension is built into the very fabric of reality. Although the cosmos has always consisted of balancing agonistic inamic partners, it has never enjoyed peace, serenity, and harmony.
Center and periphery are not agonistic inamic partners, either. This fact is also of paramount importance. Center - or more precisely, centering or well-centeredness - is defined in relationship to two (or more) peripheries. Well-centeredness in the Fifth Era, for example, is defined in relation to the four directional inamic pairs: east~west, south~north, east-west~south-north, and above~below. Center is generated by the back-and-forth alternating of inami-cally defined peripheries - just as balancing is generated by the back-and-forth alternating of inamically defined imbalances. Like the balanced needle of a scale, center is situated equidistantly from peripheries. The relevant agonistic inamic partners here are the matched peripheries. Centering occurs by middling these peripheries; it is defined as the midpoint of these peripheries. Centering is a triadic relationship and as such belongs alongside balancing, becoming, second-order ordering, and transformation as a tertium quid.