Chaosophy: Being a Missive on the Dynamic Between the Principles of Chaos and Order and the Necessity of Both

Most people seem to look at the relationship between chaos and order as that of negatively charged particles (chaos) and positively charged particles (order). The average person’s paradigm holds that by adding more and more order, we will eventually cancel out chaos. This kind of fuzzy wrongheaded thinking has gotten us where we are today. We collectively think that we can solve all of our problems by making more rules. Then we wonder why nothing works.

One of the primary axioms of Discordianism is “Imposition of Order = Escalation of Chaos.” A minimal amount of observation will show this to be true, but unfortunately the average person is unwilling to take the effort to make this observation. Rather than viewing chaos/order as simple negative/positive, let us look at another analogy that comes closer to showing the relationship as it really exists. First, let us look at our system as a closed box which is in a state of balance. Now, let us apply Order to the system in the form of pressure. What happens next? The pressure applied to a closed system will generate heat (Chaos). Take away pressure and the heat level drops.

Of course it’s easy to pick an illustration like this out of the air, but how does it apply to the dynamic between Order and Chaos in a real world situation? Let’s look at the closed system of the workplace, starting at a fairly even level of rules and freedoms. In an attempt to raise productivity and cut costs, management institutes more rules: all workers must punch in and out for break, forms must be filled out to account for all damaged or wasted materials, et cetera.

In the beginning, these measures will probably do as intended, productivity may rise; attention of any sort will do the same, but as more stringent rules are introduced, we find that two problems arise. First, a bureaucracy must be put in place to implement the new rules and make sure that they are adhered to. This takes energy away from the creation of the product and directs it toward the end of making sure the rules are being followed (in physical terms, this is energy that escapes the system as useless heat). The rules become more important than the original reason for them. Second (and I believe more important in the long run) the directives begin to create dissatisfaction among the workers. More time must be spent watching them to make sure that they are in place when they are supposed to be, making sure that time spent at thier workstation is productive. As the stress from the situation increases, we see more lost time in the form of sick days, early departures, late arrivals and the fact the people quit caring. Creative behavior is applied to finding new ways to goof off.

Of course the opposite is also true. Without sufficient rules in place and the will to enforce them, little will get done. This surplus of chaos will require order to reach a level of balance or the company will be forced out of business. Much like the stereotypical lawless old western town, a tough lawman must be brought in to clean things up before the town goes up in smoke.

Another prevailing assumption is that Order is Good and Chaos is Evil. In fact chaos and order exist outside of good and evil, but contain elements of both. Chaos is the force that tears down old forms as well as the force that envisions new ones. Order allows us to carry out the plans that will build the new forms, but it also wishes to preserve forms that have outlived their usefulness (the status quo). This brings up Hexar’s corollary to the law of Imposition of Order: Too much chaos, nothing gets finished. Too much order, nothing gets started.

Order is what tells us that we should do whatever we can to prevent forest and brush fires. On the surface, this is a good idea because letting fire run loose is hazardous to our own lives as well as that of other living creatures. However, the fires also liberate nutrients and send them back to the earth to feed the next cycle. And we have finally started to get it through our thick skulls that keeping things from burning at any cost only increases the amount of fuel lying around for the fire that will come when we cannot stop it. All of the small fires that we prevent come back to us as one large, devastating fire.

Discordianism isn’t about preaching chaos at the expense of order. It is the realization that one cannot exist without the other. It is the acceptance of the need for balance between the two principles. Order cannot destroy chaos, it can only change its form. Chaos can either be directed in creative forms, or when stifled turned into destructive (or at least useless) forms. Energy spent clamping down can be used for nothing else.

Reverend Doctor Hexar le Saipe

First Church of the Sparkly Ball

“Putting the Disco back into Discordianism.”

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