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24 October 2003 @ 12:51 pm
Order and Chaos  

In the first few pages of Karen Armstrong's History of God, she talks about the Babylonian creation myth which, not unlike the one found in the Torah, involves imposing order upon chaos. (Apparently the notion of creation out of nothing, creation without there having been a pre-existing sacred raw material or something, is just too wacky or weird or impossible or far-out or something for most (all?) people/religions.) It occurs to me that it may be far too easy for (some?) people to get carried away with this notion that imposing order upon chaos is the business of gods and that therefore for them to do so is emulating the gods or being godlike themselves. That is to say, perhaps it is too easy for people who are inclined to value "orderliness" above all else to feel justified or validated or supported or encouraged or somesuch in their inclination/drive to impose order on, you know, other people or "messy," complex social systems, or.... Well, anyway. I must think upon this more....

Stephen Leighsleigh on October 24th, 2003 02:28 pm (UTC)
In some ways, current scientific theory on the creation of the universe would seem to indicate that chaos was created out of order. One of the questions that had to be answered was, if in the instant before the Big Bang, all material was compressed down into its smallest possible size, then why is the universe now not uniform in appearance -- which it obviously is not? At some point in the first few milliseconds after the event, something happened that caused material to clump together in some places and move apart in others...

In that sense, chaos was created out of order, not the other way around.
figment: pensivedemonicbirdfigment on November 11th, 2003 07:01 am (UTC)
Do you think that some "messy" people might seize upon this idea as an excuse to justify their messiness, claiming that imposing order is the domain of god(s), and therefore not theirs to trespass upon? (Much like vengeance, etc.)
Fred A Levy Haskell: Me&Cheech 1fredcritter on November 12th, 2003 12:34 am (UTC)
Hmmmm. Never thought of it that way. Interesting. I suppose that someone could very well come to this.

Although I guess when it comes right down to it, I'm much less concerned about how individuals choose to live their lives (messy or orderly or whatever) and the thought processes that go into justifying or explaining or even determining their mode of living than I am about people who desire to impose their choices upon other people. I mean, somehow the idea of someone forcing a "loose" or "messy" social system on the rest of us worries me less than the possibility that someone may wish to impose an "orderly" or regimented one. Besides, my guess is that people inclined toward the "messy" will be less methodical or less persistent or, you know, less generally able to impose their modes upon others....

Seems to me, anyway.

Thanks for the perspective. Always good to take a step back and look at things from a different angle.