Here’s a little something I wrote for another site a few months ago:
Today as I was driving to work (on a wonderfully dew laden Sunday morning), I noticed a field that had been emptied and readied for a construction project. My first thought was of how nice and neat the field was. All the earth had been methodically smoothed, and to one corner all the brambles, branches, leaves and what-not had been placed.
I considered momentarily what ingenious organisers humans can be. How we constantly strive to bring order into chaos. But then another thought struck me; a messy open space full of tall grass, weeds, tangled bushes and mildly stagnant ponds is viewed as chaotic. Yet isn’t it in truth natural?
In contrast we have the destruction of that natural environment, and the subsequent organisation of its parts into neat piles, perceived as “order”.
Doesn’t that highlight the condition of the human mind? To me it gives pause for reflection on the entire notion of just what chaos and order are supposed to be. Civilisation is an ordered gathering of human potential, needs and resources. And from that order arises all forms of constructions, systems and developments that benefit us. So called order causes all this to arise out from the chaotic mess of otherwise spread out humanity. People who would be living day-to-day without much in the way of long term goals, using and tending to their surroundings in perhaps mutual benefit.
Yet what does that order or civilisation bring? It surely doesn’t bring order to the environment, or the displaced animals. Neither does the constant “improvement” of genetic stock, unending mass-production, or development of the “wage-slave” bring much in the way of order.
Yes – there is certainly a degree of control and power to these aspects and just about every other part of civilisation; but it seems to me that humanity long ago confused the notion of order with control.
Control requires an element of chaos, because control requires power. And power invokes the ability and sometimes necessity to reorganise that which is natural; it creates an imbalance which is temporarily perceived to be beneficial.
When we stand back and look at nature, it may appear chaotic – but there is an unbelievable amount of order present. In truth it is much as the Tao states; a constant balance of both. It is this notion that speaks to the spirit, an inner sense of balance which has nothing to do with order or control, but rather the simple presence of inner-peace.
Unlike the spirit our somewhat conditioned thinking believes in extremes. Order or Chaos. Order from Chaos. The descent into Chaos from Order. But all of these principles only exist when we stand too close to a situation or event. In these times, balance is perhaps a difficult notion to grasp, but it is one which will eventually afford us the best possible future. We can begin with the balance of our selves; and this quite naturally brings about a balance with our environment and all those around us.
Even if it is a slow process – one person at a time – each step is an important part of the journey.