Sunday, 6 September 2009

Order Disorder

The elements of existence possess an intrinsic compulsion towards order but not towards an absolute order... or actually it would be better to say there is precisely this compulsion towards absolute order, but were it not countered by some contrary force, pulling towards absolute freedom, then life would end in a state of total stasis; everything compelled by this gravitational pull towards total order, and having attained this pole of centrality, all bound in a state of utter and immobile compression and so of course no further development possible.

And on the other hand without this force inwards working against the outward directed force towards freedom - and absolute freedom being freedom from all structure - life would proceed to one uniform, formless chaos, again without any possibility of development, devoid of any evolutionary dynamic. So life in the necessary form of the life-forms which comprise life is dependent on these two forces in a dynamic relationship of creative tension.

One could certainly look at art through this lens - the tension between the movement towards structure and freedom - and sometimes, as with great late works by Goya, where the equilibrium is disturbed, and the two forces of order and chaos visibly and dangerously wrestling for dominion; this disturbance hardly surprising given the nature of Goya's genius, his personal circumstances and the nature of the political times he inhabited.

So also obviously with an individual human life. For example, if the attraction towards the centre in the form of a society's constraints is excessive and dominant over the individual's contrary drive towards absolute personal freedom, then ignorance of what this freedom constitutes will result, if and when this drive manifests itself, as a destructive force rather than constructive, bound up neurotically with reacting against some perceived forces which deny his freedom rather than as an independent free-working force operating along its own natural lines. Thus arise obviously enough the various forms of seemingly mindless vandalism.

This seems to be an endlessly helpful lens over all kinds of phenomena, with for instance totalitarianism a manifestation of the the drive towards order at the expense of freedom, while decadence freedom, or rather a mistaken sense of freedom, at the expense of a wise order. If anything is made an idol of, the results are going to be the collapse of the false nature of the idol in upon itself, with its faulty logic inevitably working itself out in the field of time.

Follow-up here.

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