Tumult and Order

Tumult and order

We humans love tumult just as much as order. We love cacophony—the wildness of ocean, mountain, romance, and youth. Yet, we also love order, concert, fine craftsmanship and straight or fine curves. Look at the “lines” of a beautiful boat or car, or even the majesty of a straight and true building!

Yet, too much of one, or the other, and we tire quickly. The wild tumult becomes exhausting and dangerous. And, when we live in a world too orderly, too straight, too “true,” then sterility and ennui set in, and we become bored, anxious, and all too often we “go crazy.”

We strive to find order in the maelstrom! We revel in the outrageous uproar of unfettered action, and even the idea of being free will send us leaping with a great shout. And yet, when the waves grow too tall, their tops blown off by driving winds, we pine for the bliss of calm seas, still waters, and quiet beauty. Then, in our maddening human way, when the stillness grows and lions lay with lambs, disquiet grows in us and we fidget. Back and forth we go, peace and conflict, in a dance that belies any firm stand we might make. When boredom sets in, we begin to act out and strive to mar the finish. “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion,” says Francis Bacon. We are by nature, predisposed toward change and risk.

This is not to say we don’t become addicted to one or the other. We do. And, we often see the result: In order we may find safety, but also rigidity, fear, hatred, and that special kind of madness that separates and isolates us from the dance. And, in Tumult there is exhilaration and adventure, yet we cannot stand what has gone before, distrusting what is established, driven by excitement, newness, and risk.

Indeed, it must seem these two, tumult and order, are at war, and necessarily so! One leads to innovation, creativity, growth, and destruction; the other to stability, safety (or the illusion of), certainty, apathy, stagnation, and forgetfulness. We love one and hate the other… then it changes.

So, before we attach ourselves to one or the other, we must remember that both are necessary, and both can kill you!

About Ben

Mythologist, Fire Fighter
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