Chaos & Order

A certain amount of creativity and rebellion must be tolerated – or welcomed, depending on your point of view – to maintain the process of regeneration. Every rule was once a creative act, breaking other rules. Every creative act, genuine in its creativity, is likely to transform itself, with time, into a useful rule.

Jordan Peterson

The world needs rules. Our species thrives when provided with a set of agreed-upon guidelines in place to prevent (or at least provide boundaries to) chaos. At the same time, the world also requires a certain level of disobedience in order to push the envelope and innovate in ways that common laws or rules would not otherwise allow or tolerate. There is a necessary balance of order and chaos – just as in nature. The morning fog is dissipated by the heat of the sun. The forest fire is extinguished by the rainstorm. The darkness of night is replaced by the light of day. Yin and yang.

Rules are good. Rules are set in place to contain the negative drives of human nature – deceit, corruption, power-vacuums, and jealousy. They provide a sense of predictability and consistency, thereby promoting physical and emotional safety. These rules help guide actions toward desired results.

That said, we also need rule breakers. Rebels who will push the limits of the law for the preservation of the greater good. Just because it is a rule does not mean it is for the best of everyone, or that it is uniformly fair and evenly distributed. As the Peterson quote says, every rule that we now follow was at one time a push against power – i.e. gay marriage or recreational marijuana. The things that were once rebellious have now become part of our natural environment.

We often spend so much time thinking about the consequences of not following rules that we often don’t take the time to think about who created them, and why?

The cliche you hear often is “Freedom ain’t free!” And we tend to attribute this to our armed forces. It’s meant to respect the efforts our military to protect us and to preserve our rights by establishing order. But it is important to remember we are the freest country on the planet. There is no denying that.

Most countries listen to the government to pass down their rights. If the Prime Minister says something, you listen. But in America, you are born with your rights. Free speech, the right to bear arms, trial by jury. Credit to the incredible knowledge and foresight of our Founding Father who wrote those rights into our country’s legal code. The government must not infringe upon these rights. They are inalienable.

*Sidenote – has anyone ever used the word ‘inalienable’ outside of this context?

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In America, we have the ability to fight against imposed orders we don’t agree with and demand that it is not sought through. And many times, but not always, it works. We’re priviliged to be able to say that pushing back actually works in this country. That is something that is severely under-appreciated today.

If you look hard enough, chaos turns into order the way letters turn into words.

Patricia McCormick

Order provides the stabilities that we crave, but chaos creates the opportunities for change that we need. Imposed order breeds chaos. Imposed chaos necessitates order.

Be disciplined internally in order to be free externally.


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