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Unbroken's avatar

How does one balance order and chaos?

Asked by Unbroken (10257 points ) February 10th, 2013

Human psyches require both. Can they coexist? Does one have to conquer the other?

I can see how the traits might be benefical in different aspects of our life but why is there a constant war between the two?

Which side is your stronger side and how do you feel you benefit and or suffer for it?

Can tranquil thought and enlightment embrace the chaotic side or does the achievement of such call for the death or amputation of chaotic creativity? If it does how can it be called stagnation rather then enlightenment?

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10 Answers

bookish1's avatar

Cool question, @rosehips! I feel like my stronger trait is chaos. I am a very abstract-random thinker. It means that I am better dealing with abstract ideas, and I can tackle them in any order. This helps me in all fields of the humanities and makes me good at analysis. But it also shows up in my daily life all the time. For instance, my apartment is an unholy mess right now, because I have been working almost nonstop on a paper for the past 4 days. And if I were to try to clean up right now, it would not be orderly, but random!

Since a very young age, however, I’ve had order externally imposed on my life, because of managing a chronic disease. Numerous people have commented on how responsible I am with it, they’d be in such big trouble if they had to be as organized and on top of it as I am, etc. But it’s just something I have to do, and I am constantly fighting my tendencies toward chaos!

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t know that a person balances them at all. It’s a matter of degree, and our individual temperaments may incline us to different relative degrees. I think some of us require more order than others to feel comfortable. Order will always return to chaos eventually. But order can be maintained with some effort.

Personally, I like a certain amount of physical disarray. Too much neatness and tidiness makes me nervous. I like the cross-connections among randomly situated things; to me it stimulates creative thinking in much the same way that dreams can give birth to ideas.

I also like the fact that everything isn’t exposed. Layers afford some privacy and psychological protection that open surfaces do not. Even though nobody gets into my space or threatens it, I just feel better in an enclosure than in an open field; in a forest than on a plain.

I live with people who prefer system and order. Sometimes, yes, there is a bit of conflict over this difference.

Once I had an office mate who was the opposite of me in this respect. We were Felix and Oscar. I told her, “If you won’t let my mess bother you, I’ll try not to let your neatness bother me.” We managed to get along like that for a year before the office arrangements changed. Each of us took care to keep within bounds and never crossed the line.

Within my generally jumbled personal environment, however, there are some things I keep fastidiously and even compulsively ordered. I can’t explain this.

Someone I know says, “Give in to the chaos, and the order will emerge.” Sometimes I believe this and sometimes I don’t.

flutherother's avatar

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.

Nietzsche

gondwanalon's avatar

First you must accept chaos and pandemonium. Do not fight it. Embrace it. Become relaxed with it and the door to the answer of your questions will be opened.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You don’t (or can’t) balance them. It’s impossible.

You look at chaos as new experience – a challenge to be mastered and overcome. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that sort of thing.

Order is the breath of fresh air that you take when all is right with the world; you know it is temporary, but enjoy while it is present.

Basically, you should embrace the world in that it isn’t boring and mundane, and look at each phase, as it changes, as a new experience.

thorninmud's avatar

Enlightenment doesn’t take sides with either order or chaos, tranquility or bedlam. To your mind of enlightenment, these are just the extremes of a continuum, inseparable from each other. It’s as at ease when things are a mess as when they’re running like clockwork. It sees both as equally wonderful.

Because of that, your mind of enlightenment will be of no use to you at all in the practical business of deciding how to find the right dose. That will be a job for your discriminating wisdom, which has the ability to see when order is needed and when chaos is called for. Which is best will vary with circumstances, and it’s this mind of “picking and choosing” that operates on this level of practicality and expediency.

While your mind of enlightenment doesn’t know how to pick and choose, it will serve to keep you even keeled through both order and chaos, able to nimbly move between them as needed, not personally invested in one over the other, not distraught when one gives way to the other.

choreplay's avatar

Acceptance of the paradox and concession to compromise. Tackle what can change and don’t let the rest be a burr under you saddle.

Blondesjon's avatar

I use alcohol, TCH, and reruns of Hogan’s Heroes.

rojo's avatar

Order and Chaos are relative. They have no real definition or meaning until you yourself define them. They do not really exist except in relation to yourself. They are your own perceptions of actions that are, in all actuality, neutral.
So, there is no need to balance them. Merely accepting them as they are will simplify your life.

Unbroken's avatar

Love what I’m hearing.

I’m just gonna step back and think about it all.

Thanks for everyone’s insight.

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