In terminology, govern, as in governing or government, means to exercise continuous sovereign authority over; to control, direct, or strongly influence the actions or conduct; or to exert a determining or guiding influence in or over an entity. [1]

In modern culture, the notion that human movements are "governed" by the same laws of the universe, e.g. conservation of energy, second law of thermodynamics, reaction stoichiometry, second law of motion, etc., that govern atoms and smaller molecules is, for many, a very contentious notion, and for a few outspoken individuals a lunatic notion, if not outright blasphemy, and something to be condemned and some cases its author banned, excommunicated, and or jailed (see: human molecule (banned)).

The following 1858 statement by American sociologist Henry Carey and so-called "extreme" social mechanism theorist, to exemplify: [2]

“In the inorganic world, every act of combination is an act of motion. So it is in the social one. If it is true that there is but one system of laws for the government of all matter, then those which govern the movements of the various inorganic bodies should be the same with those by which is regulated the motion of society; and that such is the case can readily be shown.”

according to the views of Czechoslovakian-born English sociologist Werner Stark (1968) is characteristic of someone, supposedly, in "back in his strait-jacket", as Stark sees things. [3] Dividing lines on this matter continue up to the present, see for instance similar views expressed in respect to the "one nature" theories of Johann Goethe, Henry Adams, and Libb Thims, as discussed in the "crackpot" article.

Prior to Carey, in the 18th century, the so-called "one nature" point of view was the apex of the intellectual renaissance. In the 1770s, French chemist Antoine Lavoisier considered the "elective affinities", or force of reaction, to play the role of the governing influence over all of nature, chemical to plant to animal. As American historian Peter Reill, in his 2005 Vitalizing Nature in the Enlightenment, summarizes: [3]

“Elective affinities, in Lavoisier’s eyes, governed all chemical reactions, from the simplest to the most complex. For him, the physical universe was teeming with continuous combinations and reductions ... and such was the case in the 'animal and vegetable kingdoms'.”

German polymath Johann Goethe, independent of Lavoisier, beginning in 1796 (see: Goethe timeline), likewise considered the "elective affinities" to be the governing aspect, not just for chemicals, vegetables, and animals, but for human movements and relationships as well, as he outlined in his tripartite "metamorphology" theory. This theory, likewise, has since gone on over the last two centuries to be Goethe's "most dangerous work" Goethean biographer Herman Grimm put it in 1880.

The following are related quotes:

“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”
Bertrand Russell (1956), “What I Have Lived For”, Prologue to Autobiography [9]

See also

1. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (2000).
2. Carey, Henry C. (1858-59). The Principles of Social Science (Vol I , Vol II, Vol III) (V1, pg. 200). J.B. Lippincott & Co.
2. Stark, Werner. (1962). The Fundamental Forms of Social Thought. Routledge & Kegan Paul.
3. (a) Reill, Peter Hanns. (2005). Vitalizing Nature in the Enlightenment (elective affinities, 16+ pgs; quotes, pgs. 108-110). University of California Press.
(b) Peter Reill (faculty) –
(c) Peter Hanns Reill (publications) –
4. (a) Russell, Bertrand. (1956), “What I Have Lived For” (Ѻ), Prologue to Autobiography, Jul 15.
(b) The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell – WikiQuote.
(c) Palmer, Michael. (2013). Atheism for Beginners: a Coursebook for Schools and Colleges (pg. 209). Lutterworth Press.

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