Chaos and Its Enemies

“And the earth was without form, and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep.” Genesis 1:2, NKJV.  Other translations say “all was chaos.” Some people maintain that this is the first mention of lawyers in the Bible, while others sigh and say that obviously, the US Marine Corps had been there (“chaos” translation).

All jokes aside, the idea of everything being intermixed and formless and swirling and without order or form appears in a number of faith traditions around the world. And then a Creator, often aided by different spirits and/or animals, creates order from that chaos and the world comes into being. Chaos is not good. Order of some kind is better. We humans do best when we can find order in our lives—not so much that we are reduced to near-automata, but a basic structure of some kind, sort of a theme that supports the variations.

It seems today that the pro-chaos people are winning. Or if not winning, at least happily sowing chaos and overturning order without having a better system to set in its place.

I got to thinking about this in the context of a discussion about housecleaning, and the discomfort of trying to live amongst chaos, even for short spans of time. You know that eventually the boxes sill get unpacked, places will be found for everything, and order will return. But for the moment, surrounded by half-unpacked crates, packing materials, and the sudden discovery that you need to clean both bathrooms ASAP before you can move the bathroom stuff into them, chaos is miserably stressful and uncomfortable.

For all the jokes about the Marines (and other military branches) and chaos, there is a discipline and order within the chaos. The chaos is imposed on the Bad Guys, while the discipline and planning of the Good Guys creates a new order, one that favors them. Granted, no plan survives the first contact with the enemy, and the Fickle Finger of Fate tends to be the extended central digit, and chaos happily creeps back in when least expected. But discipline and order remain on the small-scale, and they gradually expand to the larger scale. At least, if all goes as hoped.

So, back to housecleaning. Jordan Peterson’s name was mentioned, because his book of rules serves as a very usable antidote to the chaos that society’s enemies seem intent on producing. Peterson has no problem saying “This is real, and True, and Good. That is counterproductive, and leads to bad outcomes.” Because of this, and other things, he is unpopular with the people who think that chaos is better than a flawed order. The Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, do something similar. “These behaviors are good for society and you. These are bad. Don’t do the bad things.”

You might not agree with Peterson’s why, and you might prefer overtly religious dictates and reasoning, but the point is that both ways are about creating order so that people can be safe, happy, and successful, or at least as much as circumstances and Fate allows. Chaos never goes away entirely (see the Second Law of Thermodynamics)*. But creating a framework for people to have set boundaries and definitions of what and who and when, that takes a lot of pressure and stress away. Then, when chaos does strike, people are better able to survive and recover. Without some framework for what one does when, and how to deal with people, and what behaviors are not tolerated, a small flick of Fate’s Fickle Finger leads to personal and sometimes societal disaster.

“But I wanna be me! I wanna be free! I need to express my authentic self, to love the one I want even if he is happily married to someone else right now. You are not the boss of me. I want to do what I want and I’m not hurting anyone. Your so-called rules are just tools for the patriarchy and racism.”

What about yourself? What about your “true love’s” wife and children? How can you know your authentic expression from poor copies of other people’s art, music, crafts, personal style? You want to ingest every recreational pharmaceutical you can afford? What if you end up a ward of the state with the mental capacity of a sun-dried tomato? Or you go nuts, attack innocent people, and cause all sorts of ruin as you try to “bliss out” and instead have a really horrible trip? Peterson would say, “Why are you treating yourself worse than you treat your dog, cat, or goldfish?” Religions say, “You are made in the image of G-d. Why do you desecrate that image?” Why are you beckoning chaos?

The people who want to tear down western civilization because it is not perfect do not have a solid New World in mind, at least not those I’ve spoken to and listened to. They want to tear down the old system, and then Something Happens, and the new, perfect world of total equality and paradise-on-Earth will arrive. They want chaos because they think order will emerge from it, and that chaos can be limited easily. They think they can create a pocket of chaos that destroys “the patriarchy” or “organized religion” and that it will not spread to what they value. I have yet to see a better, happier world appear out of chaos without some really miserable times and an amazing amount of hard work first. They are the sort of people who imagine that a world without legally owned firearms will be like a happy Montessori school, and not like Beirut and southern Lebanon in the 1980s, or parts of Sweden today**. In some of their minds, a world without sexes, without relationships based on mutual respect and responsibility, and without understanding that the sexual act has very major repercussions is one big happy party—pleasure with anyone and anything has absolutely no consequences. They don’t see the serpents in the garden, the jealousy, heartbreaks, the STDs, or the accusations of [whatever]ism if they turn down a would-be lover’s demands.

Chaos is not pretty. Chaos in the beginning was temporary, a state of potential before $DEITY$ created order by shaping and molding the materials of chaos into a world that was (and is) very good. But we are not supposed to long for chaos. We mortals cannot shape society and order out of nothing. We are not happy when surrounded by endless disorder, by churning uncertainty and constantly changing and reforming conditions. We crave order, and try to make it. There are good, healthy sources of order, and unhealthy ones. If the good ones are torn down because they are not perfect, it is not better ones that magically appear in their place.

Good housekeeping is an art and a skill. It takes time, and can look dreadfully dull from outside. Good society-keeping is the same.

*The universe tends towards disorder.

**Those places where European women cannot walk safely even by daylight, and no one, except the Army, dares venture after dark.

15 thoughts on “Chaos and Its Enemies

  1. Ronny Soak would approve of your message.

    The Chaos is by design. See “useful idiots” and “critical theory”. There was a definite plan for what was to come next, but the planners died decades ago. Notice that certain parties, or movements if you will, are already organized to take advantage of any situation favorable to their cause.

  2. This is a good argument against evolution – all of the mutations we have witnessed are detrimental to the creature, or of equivocal good; improving a system takes conscious effort and planning; it doesn’t happen by accident.
    In the same way, as mentioned above, the ‘useful idiots’ think that banning this or that (currently guns, has in the past been white males, racism, democracy, etc) will magically improve their situation – they forget that no action happens on its own and any chance to society will have repercussions. For example, banning guns will reduce self defense, and therefore lead to more (total) deaths and injuries, while maybe, possibly, having a small affect on violence in schools.

    • Banning guns probably leads to civil war. They forget that not all societies are the same.

      Inner cities? Some of the culture there is clearly drawn from the South, via populations that were kept disarmed and terrorized there. Accepting that in the South probably made it psychologically harder to resist that being imposed in the inner cities. That is not true of every native American cultural tradition.

      Other countries? They forget the effects of decades of communist backed civil wars. Not all the anticommunists end up dead, not all of the victims of communism end up in mass graves. People have left the other countries, looking for a place where the communists and the government won’t murder them in batch lots. Many of them found that here. A lot of those people know why they left their country of origin. They know where they have left to run to. They know what happens.

  3. Most of those advocating for chaos don’t actually want chaos, they want THE rules replaced with THEIR rules.

    • They do not realize that the stuff that seems magical is, in reality, really f—ing hard as it is a sort of mining operation to extract utility from a chaotic world.

  4. “The people who want to tear down western civilization”….often, these days, I think about a passage from Walter Miller’s great novel A Canticle for Leibowitz:

    “The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew into richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier for them to see that something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn. Well, they were going to destroy it again, were they-this garden Earth, civilized and knowing, to be torn apart again that Man might hope again in wretched darkness.”

    • A very telling passage. One things that I see, and I feel many don’t, is how abnormal and unprecedented the prosperity of advanced nations currently is; we (North America, more and more of Europe, and other countries who emulate them) have seen an economic and scientific boom since the end of WWII that has given the average person income and possessions which in many ways rival those which only royalty had less than 200 years ago.
      Think of the health, comforts, consistent food supply, entertainment, etc that we have at our fingertips.
      I am concerned that a reversion to the mean is coming where these will increase in cost and scarcity as society returns to something closer to a long term average in terms of average income, food availability, etc.

  5. They don’t see the serpents in the garden, the jealousy, heartbreaks, the STDs, or the accusations of [whatever]ism if they turn down a would-be lover’s demands.

    More accurately, they refuse to see these things as negative consequences. I remember with some skin-crawling the ‘Shout Your Status’ or ‘Shout Your STD’ …pride thing. Where the people who – unsurprisingly, allied or aligned with feminists – declared that choosing not to have sex with someone because that someone has an STD is ‘sexist, ablist, bigoted and also rape’ because it ‘denied the person with STD sexual choices and agency.’ It’s only THEIR agency that is ‘allowed’ – not the other person’s, whose sexual attentions they declare they are entitled to. The other person has no agency, no free will, no right to refuse – notably, this argument smudges when someone brings up “But what if it’s a woman who chooses not to have sex? Or a lesbian woman refusing to have sex with another woman because the latter has a STD?” Cue screaming.

    Similarly, I’m seeing more and more of the complaint that a man who chooses to not date or marry ‘should not be allowed to make the choice’ because ‘then they are depriving women of their choice of date, sex partner or potential husband/father of children.’ The man has ‘no right to make choices that impact women’s sexuality or choices or agency; that’s rape.’ (Yes, it’s possible to be accused of rape now by simply deciding not to have sex, in Social Justice Land.)

    I’ve seen the argument stretched in some places that a straight woman hasn’t got the right to refuse a lesbian because her sexual choices would be ‘bigoted against the lesbian’ and other such nonsense. Same with gay males. Or refusing to have relationships or sex with transgenders, because of sexual preferences. The rather sad thing about this is I’ve seen this a long time ago, in older conversations online (the one I remember the most, the blog owner deleted that post, citing disgust at the anti LGBT bigotry) and now the screams of ‘you will not deny the minority’ are only getting louder and louder, more mainstream because now the majority is afraid of protesting against the minority demanding access.

    What happens if you give in? Then if the woman or minority changes their mind about how satisfactory the sex/encounter/relationship was, there’s a very good chance of being accused of rape.

    This is their ’empowerment’ and they do not see what they do as evil, even when it objectively, logically, and realistically is.

    • Sometimes, the children just need to be spanked and sent to bed without supper. When applied to adults, the lessons are the same, but the tools get more … energetic.

    • I know. I remember when one of the West Coast colleges in the US put in place policies that allowed a woman to claim sexual harassment because a guy turned down her advances. That was two years ago, just after the infamous “Dear Colleague” letter came from the Department of Education, seconded by the Department of Justice.

      I realized how much things have changed back in December, when it hit me that my male friends have to me MORE concerned about being seen alone with a woman than I do with them. For years it has been “Ladies, think about how someone might take your being seen in public/at a small cafe/in an office with…” and now I have to keep in mind the man’s reputation more than my own. *shudder* O tempora, o mores!

      • Requiring that a woman needs a chaperone, or a man requires a chaperone, in business settings or otherwise, will eventually become too expensive. If it is seen as safer for a man to meet another man, and not safe for a man to meet with a woman by himself, thus requiring a third party to guarantee that nothing untoward happened in the meeting… it will eventually get too expensive to hire women, or only have women meet women.

        What they’ve created is a situation where eventually, it’s not cost effective to hire women as representatives, or have only female reps meet with other female reps, etc.

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