Read here about dualities that mold our thought processes regarding scale, eg. up-down. A list of relevant dualities is surveyed, factors for evaluating the dualities are proposed and discussed, and conclusions are reached.


It is in the nature of scales that one scale differs "by an order of magnitude" from another scale. In seeking to refine this difference, we explore more deeply the nature of difference, or duality.

Explanation of Duality

The world emerges from the interaction of dualities of related opposites. It can be argued that any idea can only be considered because it exists in a dialectic: hot makes sense because there is cold, freedom because of slavery, doubt because of certainty and so on.

In dialectical thinking, the opposites, termed thesis and anti-thesis, are usually depicted as the terminal points of a line: the thesis is on the left and the anti-thesis on the right, or vice a versa. The line itself exists in some unstated void, an environment that can support the thesis and antithesis and their dynamic interaction. If you were to construct such a model, the physical relationship between the two opposites would be dependent on the physical nature of the materials between them; for example, if you made it of a wooden beam with two opposing globes, the globes that represent the opposites are held apart due to the structure of the wood between them. Also, the globes would be identical, expressing opposite ideas by signifying those ideas without embodying them, just as a finger pointing at the moon has no craters. Given such a model, we can consider each duality, moving between along the line separating them, and finding a pleasing symmetry in their mental opposition.

Dualities To Deprecate When Considering Scale

Dualities such as big/small, large/small, top/down, bottom/up, top/bottom, up/down are not useful terms for all superscale surveys. They are a result of length and weight growing up human, in a gravitationally-ordered world.

Dualities to Privilege When Considering Scale

The following dualities are found to be scale invariant and are helpful when considering scales of any type:

Duality-creating Prefixes

The following prefixes can define a duality by prefixing them to a word stem.
  • micro-/macro-
  • super-/sub-
  • in-/ex-, im-/ex-
  • inter-/intra-

See also Fuller's use of these affixes.

Dualities with the Same Root

The following dualities share a linguistic root, and define the duality by changing suffix or prefix.

  • subject/object
  • internal/external
  • within/without
  • construct/deconstruct
  • assemble/dissassemble
  • associate/disassociate
  • integrate/differentiate