Order and chaos

Order out of chaos? Order from chaos? I don't know about that—sounds alchemical.

Order in chaos? Maybe.

Order and chaos? There we go.

I think there is a tendency—I feel in myself a tendency—to equate forms that I don't understand with chaos. Strange music. Weeds at the edge of the garden. Sensor data that defy immediate explanation. Unusual flavors. (Strange or unusual for me, at least.)

Gardens are fantastic examples of order and chaos. Why do we plant things in nice, straight rows? It looks good to us. Orderly, planned, organized—all positive-seeming words that give us humans the central role in creation, or stewards of a greater plan.

Disorder—as seen from our perspective as creators of order—never really goes away. It shows up in weeds, in rain, in no-rain, in fungi... and on and on and on. Push that rock uphill all day in the garden, go to sleep, then wake up to find the rock back at the bottom of the hill again.

And on and on and on.

I like order—but not too much. Too much order, and you start to see the world as a place full of things that need to be ordered. Some of it does, I think, but it's a matter of taste. I like a little disorder left in the system because the disorder will be there anyway whether you like it or not and it can be greeted and welcomed as a part of the ordered design.

What we sense as chaos is not necessarily chaos. There is a logic in the weeds below. They are native residents, and they house native residents, and they keep the dirt from eroding away, and internally they are biologically mechanisms that have their own mechanisms for staying alive. They look ugly when you don't want them there, but after you welcome them they look fine. I don't get the final say in anything, really, they look fine to me, but they look better with a few domesticated flower sprinkled in.

And all it takes, really, is a slight shifting of the head to bring in the straight lines hiding in the midst of the wild curving stalks.

I'm not an advocate for total disorder. I'm not an advocate for total order, either. The person who believes that chaos can be tamed into order is the same person who doesn't see the chaos hiding in order—a blind spot with consequences.

May I never be content. May I never be perfect. Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete.

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