The Order Of Things
23 Jan 2023

There is a charm – as well as a kind of deep reassurance – in neatness and order. The universe might well be an unpredictable and random place, gyrating this way and that on the whim of chaos theory or unknown, imperceptible structure (a distinction without a difference). We think there is sense and meaning to things but there well might not be. We think there is logic or sequence or reason – and likewise – it might all be a façade.

And yet – neat patterns and ordered structures speak to the soul – not just to Quakers or Confucians – but to all of us.

Order might well be manmade, imposed by us, a fickle and temporary illusion we project on a canvas which in actuality recognizes none such. But does that discount its value, or its beauty? Or for that matter – its utility? Simply because something is not permanent, does not mean it has no value.

One could see our imposition of order on the world as a impotent, empty and ultimately useless gesture… that is certainly the easy route to take, the self-assured but lazy reasoning of the nihilist or Marxist.

But we can also think of the order we impose as acts of defiance. Brilliant displays that assert themselves and announce the fact of their existence at one point in time. We are real, we are here, we exist, we impose on this ball of randomness fine arches, pleasing lines and – by God and my right hand – the ability to queue.

Splendid Englishness, perhaps.

But it grows on you.