A thermodynamic depiction of four positions of a bound state entity, e.g. ball or bound couple, on an energy surface (Gibbs surface or Gibbs landscape for couple), wherein the “metastable” position is a local low-energy well (left valley) and the only “stable” position is the lowest possible energy configuration (right valley). (Ѻ)
In science, metastability, or metastable equilibrium or “metastable state”, is []

Social metastability
In 1987, Indian-born Pakistani organometallic chemist Mirza Beg, in his New Dimensions in Sociology: a Physico-Chemical Approach to Human Behavior, discussed metastability as follows: [1]

Societies have been compared in this book with solids, liquids, and gases. A highly disciplined society observing the desired norms and following the same set of laws is suggested to be like a crystal whose constituent atoms or ions are placed at fixed points and they are at the most stable energy level. These societies are to be found in posh urban localities. Societies putting less emphasis on the rule of law, abounding in exception and being indifferent to many of the norms, are like liquids which have no shape of their own but assume that of their container. Energetically they are metastable and are at a slightly higher level compared with solids. Then there are societies with very few norms, they have a behavior pattern similar to gases which also have no shape of their own. They can get aggregated into liquids on condensation. Their atoms or molecules are irregularly placed and or loosely held without cohesive force. This is analogous to the random placement of houses and or huts in slums. The title cover [adjacent] depicts just these three kinds of societies.”

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In 1991, American philosopher Robert Solomon, in his Love: Emotion, Myth, & Metaphor, employed metastability theory to explain one of the states of the ending process of relationships, e.g. wherein jealously begins to arise as an emotion, amid which he cited the following definition: [2]


Solomon, citing Jean-Paul Sartre, defines metastability—or relationships that are in a metastable state—as follows:

“It may have all of the appearance of stability, but the violence of the forces in balance are such that, should there be a single slip, a momentary imbalance, an ill-considered comment or careless act, that stability shatters into disaster.”

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In 2007, French physicist Bertrand Roehner discussed metastability of revolutionary societies in a thermodynamic context. [3]

1. Beg, Mirza Arshad Ali. (1987). New Dimensions in Sociology: a Physico-Chemical Approach to Human Behavior (abs) (intro) (pdf, annotations by Libb Thims, 2014) (individual, pg. 23). Karachi: The Hamdard Foundation.
2. Solomon, Robert C. (1981). Love: Emotion, Myth, & Metaphor (Goethe, 7+ pgs; quote, pg. 25; Elective Affinities, pg. 38; metastability, pg. 271). Prometheus Books, 1990.
3. Roehner, Bertrand. (2007). Driving Forces in Physical, Biological and Socio-Economic Phenomena: a Network Science Investigation of Social bonds and Interactions (§4,4: Metastability, Seeds, and Forms of Post-Revolution Societies, pgs. 75-). Cambridge University Press.

External links
Metastability – Wikipedia.

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