Friday, February 18, 2011

Chaos Comes for a Visit

It is a coincidence that the comments you were about to make about chaos and order were interrupted most of the day by a chaos caused by a storm that has swept through the city much in the manner of a tour of unruly tourists, leaving you in its wake without power for much of the day, the consequences reminding you of video coverage of such notable storms as those hitting New Orleans and Galveston.  The wake you are left with is the detritus of abrogated commitments, of things not sent, of things needing to be written, then sent.

As you stand forth to argue how order, in particular the order of accord and sweet agreement, is the enemy of story, you by subtext become a fan of chaos.  A Zen garden is relaxing, a thing of contemplative and aesthetic beauty, but so is the forest, the jungle, the unplanned.  As the soaring heights of a cathedral or edifice constructed about the principals of classic balance and controlled relationships offers one kind of response, a sense of gravitas and longstanding tradition, so too does chaos have its own beauty, bringing you toward it with an edge of anticipation you have come to treasure.

Order reassures you; it is the universe in its most sublime perfection.  Chaos challenges you; what the fuck do you make of this mass of information and challenge?  What great simplicity sleeps fitfully underneath its tangle of sheets, pillowcases, and duvet?

Order is an end result; it is, such as you are ever able to produce it, your gift to your landscape, your first or second draft of a temporary reality.  It is easy to see chaos as enemy, leaving order to be your friend, but these are conventional visions of the two.  If we see Huck as chaos and Tom as order or at least the tugging conscience of convention, we get a better perspective of the chemistry they exert on one another.  Remember Tom's clever use of a moment's chat with Huck as his excuse for being late for class, causing him the "punishment" of having to sit next to the new girl,Judge Thatcher's niece, Becky.  Remember as well the magnificent chaos and energy of Huckleberry Finn until Tom returns to tug at the scenery to the point where the ending is a near ruin from which Huck can only be rotten glad it is over as he takes off for the territory ahead.

It is good to have the order of lights and computer, but make no mistake about it, the chaos of being without lights, the concerns related to being without power were not without drama, the tidal shifts of contingency as they break on the shores of routine.

It is always good to restore order to mess, spill, and other disasters, but it is worthwhile to contemplate for moments the presence of chaos in our midst and therein to reaffirm the curiosity of the self in all this wonderful sprawl of existence.

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