III. ORGANIC STABILITY. 29
the shorter diameter of the oval, it stands in its most stable position, and in one from which it is equally difficult to dislodge it by a tilt either forwards or backwards. So long as it is merely tilted it will fall back on being left alone, and its position when merely tilted corresponds to a simple deviation. But when it is pushed with sufficient force, it will tumble on to the next edge, B c;, into a new position of stability. It will rest there, but less securely than in its first position ; moreover its range of stability will no longer be disposed symmetrically. A comparatively slight push from the front will suffice to make it tumble back, a comparatively heavy push from behind is needed to make it tumble forward. If it be tumbled over into a third position (not shown in the Fig.), the process just described may recur with exaggerated effect, and similarly for many subsequent ones. If, however, the slab is at length brought to rest on the edge a D, most nearly corresponding to its longest diameter, the next onward push, which may be very slight, will suffice to topple it over into an entirely new system of stability ; in other words, a " sport " comes suddenly into existence. Or the figure might have been drawn with its longest diameter passing into a projecting spur, so that a push of extreme strength would be required to topple
it entirely over.
If the first position, A B, is taken to represent a type, the other portions will represent sub-types. All the stable positions on the same side of the longer diameter are subordinate to the first position. On whichever of