Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Note On Distinguishing Chaos From Order

I was just remembering a moment at work --3 jobs ago -- when I was talking about cooking to my work partner. She learned that I eat chili out of a can instead of making it from scratch, and she just about ripped my face off.  She told me that I had no right not to make my own chili. "It's EASY," she snarled at me in a positively glowing rage.  By not making my own I had really, really offended her. She was angry at me for some time over that.  In fact, it got so that everything I did was wrong, at least according to her. 

Now, that's a genuine "what the funk" moment for you, am I right?  

I never thought of it as being more than that until recently. It finally occurred to me that this is the sort of scene that many people would think of as Chaotic, evidence that nothing and nobody makes sense. If you want to look at it this way, don't look past the interpersonal conflict. Say, "Gee, you seemed so nice. You've changed. I sense a growing rift in our working relationship."

But try this. Seen from another angle, the same conversation is proof of almost the opposite: that Order kicks all our asses sooner or later. See, by revealing that I buy ready-made, store-brand chili, I had offended against one of her non-negotiable fantasies (i.e. her sense of Order). Therefore, in her mind, I had attacked her personally.  At least that's how she acted, because she retaliated by attacking ME personally.

This is a good example of destructive Order. I could have stirred things up more by making an issue of it, taking up the flag for canned chili and going all Braveheart on her ass. Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me. 

Sometimes, don't you just want to roll a hand grenade into the office?


Blogger Ur-spo said...

or a lit can of chili.

6:09 PM  

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