header photo

Project Vision 21

Transforming lives, renewing minds, cocreating the future

Blog Search

Blog Archive


There are currently no blog comments.

Order is just the chaos we became used to

A professor I once met in college repeated quite often that order is just the chaos we are used to. In other words, what we consider "normal" is "normal" only because we see it that way or accept it, although it may not be something so "normal" or "ordered" for other people.

For example, I remember the first time I visited a certain city in Latin America where the two main streets of that city intersected at a certain intersection where, at that time, there was no traffic light, and no one was directing traffic. For me, trying to cross or turn at that intersection was, to put it in one word, chaotic.

After several days in that  city and going through that intersection at least twice a day, the chaos began to disappear, and order began to emerge. In fact, there was an order as to which vehicles crossed or turned first and in which direction. And there was something that caught my attention: everyone respected that order and there were almost no accidents.

Although the magic of that intersection no longer exists (now traffic lights have been installed and the presence of traffic police is constant), I always remember that "chaotic" experience because, if I had clung to what I considered a "normal" circumstance at any intersection, then I would never have been able to drive through that intersection.

The opposite is also true: the “normal” way of driving in that city is not at all “normal” in the city where I live and one way and another cannot (and should not) be interchanged.
In other words, concepts like "normal", "order" or "chaos" are always relative, both culturally and historically. The problem arises when we turn them into something absolute and then mistakenly believe that what is "normal" for us is the only true example of normality and all other behavior is "bad" or "wrong".

Since the sense of “normalcy” is absorbed from the parents, the family, and the society around us from early childhood, that “normality” becomes so ingrained in our unconscious that many times we not only do not challenge that notion of “normality” , but we do not even recognize that it exists within our mind.

As Hegel said (paraphrasing), what is known, precisely because it is known, is never known. For this reason, we go through life imposing (consciously or unconsciously) our "normality" on others, and those others impose their "normality" on us. That is, each one believes that their own chaos, which they take as "normal", should be similar for all.

In the world we live in, where problems are astronomically more difficult and complex than crossing an intersection without a traffic light, those unconscious and uncritically accepted ideas of "normality" (own or others), of "order" and "acceptable" not only they are already inoperative, but are, in fact, dangerous, since they easily turn into fanaticism. (There are many examples of that kind of behavior.)

Apparently, order and normality only exist in our minds.


Go Back