Define Order

“O.K. hotshot, you’ve just defined something that applies to everything, what does it mean? Give me some examples.”

The above statement is correct. If we define the best of states to be one in which order is gradually increasing, we need to talk a little about what that order is, so we know when we’ve got it, and when we don’t.

In sitting down to type this blog post, I “dialed” in some old radio stations, by simply asking for “70s and 80s” music (my version, rock and pop). This is the stuff I grew up with, and it brings back old memories. To others it might mean nothing. It gives me more energy to do the work I need to do, as it is connected to the energy I used when I worked in the machine shed on the farm where I grew up, welding, cutting and drilling steel, fixing, building and repairing. Whatever we needed to have done, we did it ourselves. No question. Only rarely, if we were really stuck, did we bring the item in to get repaired, or (horrors!) have someone come on site to do the same (this happened only once to my knowledge).

So, order on the farm is what I did. The feed room shelves got dusty and messy. I cleaned them. Wasn’t asked, wasn’t rewarded, wasn’t reprimanded. Just did it. I liked doing that, I guess. And when I did so, after the job was done, there was this mild glow of satisfaction. Of course, someone else paid the bills, cooked the meals, provided the transportation, but when left to my own devices (which happens frequently when your’e the only boy on a hundred acres), I generally found things to do, along those lines.

While we’re on that topic, we didn’t always increase order (harrumph!). No sirree bob. We had an old white hard top car from the 1960s sitting out back for the longest time. I can’t even recall what make it was. Sorry. But it hadn’t moved for years and years, so one day, my friend and I took the wrench set to it and tried to take it apart. Any bolt that would move, we loosened. Nothing actually came out. Then we jumped on the roof. Yup! That was pretty solid. Actually we didn’t end up doing much to it, except dent the roof a bit. So, you might call that an example of increasing disorder or decreasing order. This is how you learn. (We were pretty young then, perhaps eight or nine, can’t remember). But along with that range of activities, we built a wooden go cart. Then I bought an old powered lawn mower from the neighbours next door for $100, and converted that into a powered go cart. Geared up the transmission, lowered the seat. It was a lot of work! All was fine, until I did a sliding stop, let up the clutch and “hit it”, and then the engine when “Kapooey!”. More disorder. Harrumph.

And so it goes.

Bought a snowmobile and kept that going for a couple years. A motorbike, and it actually ran, until I could sell it for a third of the price, etc. So, you get the idea. I think that people instinctively know when they make things better, and when they don’t. For me it is a gut feeling that I am on the right track, and when I am not. And part of this whole process is that ya gotta have a playing field on which to do all that. You can’t just daintly look up into the air, go “Ah!”, and then right down a perfect idea. It doesn’t work like that. But many people (myself included, I hope) can come up with parts of an idea that might work. And if it is built well and it all dovetails nicely together, then we have order that is symbiotic, or synergestic. That is orderx + ordery = more order, which should be self reinforcing and thus build a positive feedback loop.

The main idea here is that we have an idea of order that is then translated into three dimensional order. It is not just an idea that remains an idea, or an idea that is merely written down, it eventually gets turned into a cleaner feed room shelf for the same overall price of the total system. That is, as a kid, I could have simply done nothing or played video games (which we didn’t have back then) for the same total system cost, instead I took some of the time, energy and ability I had within that system and tried to make it a little better. This was done instinctively. No one told me to do it, no one rewarded me for it, I just did it because it seemed the right thing to do. And years later, I came across one of the forty mini drawer chests I had carefully labelled and filled with parts, and still had that same warm, glow of satisfaction. So maybe there is something to it!

Let me know of your own experiences of increasing order, on your own, without anyone rewarding you directly, and I will post the best ones here. Thanks for reading. cbos [at] tnoep [dot] ca.