Sounds like Witchcraft


That was the response I got when I said “You need to expand your idea of order to see the order behind the disorder.”

I was lightheartedly (I hope) responding to a thread of comments about OCD. The thread was referring to this article: “30 Infuriating Images that will Trigger your OCD.”

For the record, I am not OCD. I am whatever the opposite of that is. The originator of the thread assured me that the OCD thing was not a choice. Even though I joke I certainly do not mean to diminish the burden of being OCD.

Yet when I said “You need to expand your idea of order to see the order behind the disorder” I intended there to be a deeper truth here.

The truth I wanted to share was that order is often a matter of perspective, that the existence of order may depend on the lens through which you are viewing it. So though you may have the OCD lens in front of you, are you willing to learn to look through a different lens, if only for giggles?

You OCDers may already do it and not know it. All the examples from the article above were visual, often violating symmetry or another preconceived normal construct. I get that.

But what if it’s not visual. What if it, say, musical? Think of good, interesting music. Like all good art, what makes good music good is conflict. Art without conflict is usually pretty bland. How does that manifest itself in music? Well, a couple examples are unexpected changes in rhythm, discordance and suspensions. These would be like visual asymmetry. And there is definitely meaning in it. Possibly your OCD is not as all powerful as you think.

Perhaps I need to amend my initial comment to “You need to expand your idea of order to see the meaning in the disorder.”

So it is like witchcraft. There is meaning in witchcraft. It’s just obscured by the aura around it that people are unwilling or unable to look through.

It’s not unlike the theories of complexification, or Chaos Theory as it is more often referred to. Chaos Theory is not really about chaos. It’s about the belief that there is order behind the chaos or order in the apparent randomness.

My favorite example of this is that with the advent of computers scientists where able to iterate formulas thousands or millions of times. Especially formulas that had hitherto been considered random. And the list of results still looked random. Until someone decided to chart these results. And the results created a discernible pattern. And so while I may not be able to predict what the next number might be, I can predict that it will end up somewhere near this pattern.

Not so random after all. We just needed a different lens.

So though you may not be able to rid yourself of the discomfort caused by disorder when viewed through your lens of OCD, perhaps you can you teach yourself to look through different lenses.

Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass” was perhaps aptly named.


About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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