Cabinets Bring Order to Chaos

I’m listening to a fascinating book by Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. He discusses chaos and how it affects human beings from a scientific viewpoint – biologically, medically, psychologically, etc. It seems we homo sapiens are wired like crazy to cope with constant chaos, but the coping itself wreaks havoc on our health and well-being.

Dr. Peterson describes chaos in a very basic way. He holds that chaos is simply the opposite of order. Certainly, our world is plagued by earthquakes and forest fires, terrorism, active shooters and such – the stuff of disaster movies and, sadly, every evening’s 6 o’clock news. But Peterson contends that calamitous calamities of a much milder sort also qualify as chaos and take a nasty toll on us, too.

One of his many interesting examples of chaos is the feeling you might get if you go out on the proverbial limb to tell a slightly bawdy anecdote at a dinner party. You’re surrounded by folks that aren’t necessarily your closest group of friends but are, at least, people with whom you feel relatively comfortable. You spout off a bit of edgy, in-crowd repartee which you expect will elicit peals of laughter. But, to your mortification, your clever little quip is met with stark, cold silence. Eventually, crickets begin to chirp and, to your horror, people are staring into their canape plates and clearing their throats. The reaction you receive is not the reaction you expected. Instead of the order of social connection and camaraderie, you are thrown into a total state of chaos. Talk about fight or flight responses – you’re fighting for your dignity and flying headlong toward the nearest open window.

Unfortunately, we cannot create order from the chaos of the modern world. Neither can we protect ourselves from the chaos of society and social interaction. But it is fully within our power to bring order into our daily lives and into our immediate surrounds. Just as children thrive in an environment of regular waking, sleeping, playing and meal schedules, we grown-ups thrive when our work and home environments are organized, comfortable and equipped for smooth sailing and order.

The psychological security of arriving at one’s home with a place for everything and everything in its place is more than a nicety. Turns out, it’s a necessary prerequisite for glowing good health and happiness. Predictability and consistency are the antidotes for the chaos the world throws our way. It’s official – outer order equals inner peace. Somebody should print that on a tee-shirt. Then they should fold the tee-shirt into tidy thirds and put it away.

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