Order As an End in Itself

I just read something really brilliant:

Order, I think, should be an end in itself. Its “goal” should be something wholly abstract and transcendent, like cultivating a “love of God”, if you are inclined towards such things. The orderly lives of monks are not intended to make them more efficient or productive (though they no doubt get their chores done). If they read, write, pray and exercise every day it is because order as such is valuable to them. Their submission to God is simply realized in their submission to the disciplined life of a monastery. It is this order itself that they seek.

I love order, routine, and a fixed schedule. But I find them very difficult to attain.

13 thoughts on “Order As an End in Itself

  1. That’s somewhat serendipitous, yesterday I was thinking of how I could use blogging to make my life more orderly and to help me follow through on my goals and be consistent with my principles. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Although, I love order too, I cannot help linking it to monotony. Is there a way to disentangle the two?

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      1. So, do you mean order only in the non-creative aspect of one’s life? Not to belittle things like housework (laundry, doing the dishes etc) but they can be done quite mechanically. I think what confused me was whether “order” could be applied in the creative process too — a lot of what we do can be very algorithmic so I guess one could be orderly when it comes to these things but can one sustain this orderly state of being days on end? At some point can a repetitive regimen not seem monotonous?

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  3. I am a fan of the unexpected, of chaos, since therein lies creativity, in my (informed by experience) opinion. In particular, I have never been able to settle in to a regular sleep schedule. Some mornings, i am awake and eager to begin the day at 4;30 am. Some days I sleep until 11:00 am, unless awakened by an alarm clock. There is no pattern so far as I can discern.

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    1. I don’t think order has to mean a regular schedule. I also like the unexpected so I don’t like regimentation, that regiments out the possibility of such. Order to me means following your internal order, putting first things first (knowing what the real first things are), etc., and also being free to go about things in a calm way.

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  4. SB – see my comment to Bellamy. On creativity, I think it comes from having order. You need it so you can have a space in which to follow out that creativity, and not just have to make a note of ideas and keep them for later.

    Repetitive is monotonous if imposed from without or as a should. There are some rhythms I’ve lost though and that I wish I still had.

    In one era: always going swimming after work; always working on research not teaching in the evenings; always taking off Friday nights and always going out at least to the movies; always driving into town Saturdays to walk around and do research at the main library; always staying to do something interesting afterwords, even if it was just a long walk on the beach; always dedicating Sunday morning toward going through the research materials I’d gotten the day before; always going to hang out at the pool Sunday afternoons; always going out, albeit to something low key, Sunday night.

    In another: automatically drive off to the beach colony every Saturday. During the week, always go out after the 10 o’clock news, to hear the first set; you could still be home by midnight and get up early.

    See what I mean?

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  5. I started the day today with organizing my finances. Then, I organized my files. After that, the whole day went really well. I even felt like my cold was lifting. So order is definitely good.

    “In one era: always going swimming after work; always working on research not teaching in the evenings; always taking off Friday nights and always going out at least to the movies; always driving into town Saturdays to walk around and do research at the main library; always staying to do something interesting afterwords, even if it was just a long walk on the beach; always dedicating Sunday morning toward going through the research materials I’d gotten the day before; always going to hang out at the pool Sunday afternoons; always going out, albeit to something low key, Sunday night.

    In another: automatically drive off to the beach colony every Saturday. During the week, always go out after the 10 o’clock news, to hear the first set; you could still be home by midnight and get up early.”

    – This is a description of paradise.

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    1. I was told I was “decadent” then, but I wasn’t at all, was just enjoying life. Got a lot done, too; all my best publications are from these eras.

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  6. Thank you, Z! I am grad student doing a phd in Physics and it is always a struggle to find the perfect balance between order, spontaneity and the demands of the real world (like deadlines!).
    I think I am beginning to appreciate that order does not necessarily have to be layered — like setting lunch time between 12-12:30 works but fixing what I want to eat for lunch everyday is being repetitive. And yes I do go neurotic sometimes and start listening to even the same music over and over again, which is counter productive and also more importantly does not convey any semblance of order!

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