Purification: Order and Chaos

December 19, 2008

The human condition is one of being confronted at one end with the ravages of nature and at the other end with the failings of the frail human mind. Nature shall, eventually, unravel what we have done. Ancient civilizations, as the years pass, find their artifacts buried increasingly deep by nature, and today our nation is not so advanced that it is beyond the grasp of a hurricane.

The human mind, novel though it may be, is also not sufficiently advanced. The shortcomings of our species are obvious, and we've been consistent in eradicating our most promising instances.

Given this Scylla and this Charybdis, what means do we have of emerging from any given day with our sanity intact? I recommend cleaning. Yes, that's right -- simple old cleaning. Nothing, I've found, soothes my mind quite like reorganizing what carelessness has disheveled, sweeping what dust has coated, and cleansing what grime has conquered. In my most troubled mindset, you'll often find me in my room, dueling with Entropy.

To duel with Entropy is to grapple with that most basic of human challenges -- the struggle to make order out of chaos. We are born into a capricious and haphazard world, a world inhospitable and threatening to human life. From that storm, we humans first crafted civilization; we grabbed the reins of nature and carved out a section of the universe not quite as subject to chaos. As time progressed, our means have become more sophisticated, and the societies we have created have become increasingly complex. But at their core, they serve a similar fundamental purpose: to protect order in the face of the chaotic Leviathan.

We humans are conceived in chaos. We are born after undergoing a chaotic nine months. And right after birth, we are immediately welcomed into civilization by willful acts of control. The doctor removes the fluids on our bodies, and we are bound in clothing. We are sorted into male and female and labeled, through our first blue or pink costume, accordingly. As we grow, we continue to battle with Entropy. Cancer is chaotic cell growth. War is a chaotic human affair. Death is the precursor to the final submission to the entropy which we call decay.

In life, though, we achieve temporary victories over the chaos. When we adorn our bodies, we are choosing how we look, rather than accepting what we are given. When we decline a tempting dessert, we are choosing to exert our will over the appetitive aspects of our mind. When we undergo those endeavors which mark us as unique and distinct from the bulk of humanity, we are choosing to proclaim our control over ourselves -- we are proclaiming our humanity.

And so, if you need me, I'll be in my room, battling for the good of humanity. With a vacuum.