It sometimes feels like life is simply about learning to dance in the space between order and chaos, to find the golden mean between, the space where balance lives.
Whether you’re reading Buddhism, linguistics, or physics, the best thinkers seem often to simplify what we perceive as reality as systems and systems dynamics. And I have noticed that systems and individuals (which are themselves systems) need order and predictability for stability; but they also need a measure of chaos to provide innovation and stimulus for growth, to vaccinate against incursions of exterior chaos, and to avoid stagnation and boredom.
A practical example of an unintelligent pop culture war that has become something of an internet staple — the people who scream about exclusive prescriptivism, and the people who scream about eliminating all prescriptivism, are both wrong (or, from another perspective, they are both partially right). Too much regulation, and a language loses the beauty that comes from innovation (and is unable to grapple with new science and technology, hence the eternal need for a scientific lingua franca); but too much chaos, and people stop being able to understand each other clearly due to lack of a shared reference system.
In other words, balance lies between the two artificial extremes. I think that is true of a lot of other “culture wars” as well, from politics to world affairs and beyond. Balance and nuance aren’t cinematic, they lack “teams” and “tribes,” and they make for poor click bait, but then, Hollywood doesn’t make blockbusters about stability, harmony, or times when things go right. That being said, it’s a lot nicer to live in a balanced state.
After the last five years, I’d very much prefer to save the pure chaos for the movies.
Image: Shutterstock (Used Under License)