|Henry Fuseli's painting of Odysseus |
facing the choice between
Scylla and Charybdis.
Anyway, back to messes. We all know there are far more ways for things to end up messy rather than tidy. Tidy is an abnormal situation, as are neat, well-run, reliable and useful. Messy, badly-run, unreliable and useless are easy to achieve. Do nothing or do something badly and there you are. Job done - or rather undone.
In a sense, harmful and damaging situations sit there waiting for us to drift into them, simply because there are more of them. It's a statistical thing and very often the path of least resistance too. Like Scylla and Charybdis, messy, unclear and damaging situations will trap the unwary and if we have the unwary leading us then we really are stuffed aren't we?
The iron law of chaos is just that. Chaos will come knocking if we don't smarten up and run our complex world in a simpler and less furtive way, more transparent way. If we don't give people the liberty to adapt or fail because that is how we learn to steer a course through the vicissitudes of life.
Yet a caring society is the modern trend, caring without a thought that we might be taking away the need to learn. We have to learn life's lessons, but how are we to do that without trial and error? A grown-up society needs its hard edges where there are knocks and setbacks and even tragedies, but lessons are learned and digested and genuine progress is the result.
Otherwise the iron law of chaos takes a hand and that's something we really shall find difficult to cope with. In fact we already are.