We Prefer Stability

Homeostasis, from the Greek words for “same” and “steady,” refers to any process that living things use to actively maintain fairly stable conditions necessary for survival.

—Emeritus professor Kelvin Rodolfo

Though the word homeostasis was coined less than a hundred years ago, it describes a phenomenon as old as humanity.4 For as long as we’ve been around, homeostasis—a kind of dynamic stability—has been essential to our well-being. For example, if we get too hot, we have bodily mechanisms like sweating to cool us back to an optimal temperature. And if those don’t work, we’ve learned to apply external balancers: move into the shade, find cool water to pour over ourselves and/or drink. If we get too cold, we put on more ...

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