We seem to be slightly pre-occupied with order in our world and our lives today. Not only do all of our ducks need to be in a row, but so does our understanding of the ducks’ neat organization. We cannot seem to live with the fact that sometimes our ducks are not in such a row and that sometimes we cannot even comprehend that row’s organization. To us, order is when something appears orderly to us. If it looks orderly to us, it must be so. Must it be? Conversely, if something appears disorderly, it must be so. Must it be?
Our preconceived notions must be challenged. Who said that order and disorder is determined by how we see it?
Our eyes are so tuned to screening for order and disorder, that anything we see which doesn’t subscribe to our conception of order is viewed as impaired in some way. Enter our proliferation of mental “disorders.” Some have more proof of biochemical malfunctions, while others consist of clusters of symptoms that are, for one reason or another, deemed as less than ideal to have, and hence our disorder is formed.
Then what is order?
Order in the context of the view expressed by the mainstream mental health industry and to many who fall under its thinking trap in this regard, is living a life with as many positive feelings and as little negative feelings as possible. Under this system, recurrent difficult emotions are quick to be branded as “depression” or “anxiety”. This is a logically flawed conception of mental illness, because deep sadness is the appropriate response to certain events, as is deep worry. There is nothing wrong with these emotions; they exist particularly for the appropriate situations they are suited for. In addition, those moments when we decide to use them indicate to us what matters in our lives and what would cause us to grieve or fear.
I propose that order is when a system is working well relative to its purpose. If the purpose of a human being is to maximize him abilities, create meaning, live a rich life embracing the most the world has to offer, and living a life true to himself and his values, order would be the ability to do so.
If one isn’t able to easily do the above as a result of brain dysfunctions, in the example of severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in which irrational thoughts impair one’s daily functioning, one has a disorder. If one is experiencing very intense emotions and thoughts, even if they are difficult, while trying to accomplish the above, she is living life to her fullest.
Order is also a very individually dependent concept. Order for one person may not be order to another, and vice versa. One person may find equilibrium in her life in one way, while another may find it in another way. In the realm of psychological functioning, certain responses are normal for certain people even if to others they may be viewed as abnormal. For some, emotional intensity colors their reactions to stimuli and shows a liveliness characterized by passionate responses to everything life throws at them. Others have non-linear thinking patterns that may, in some cases, be the keys to their genius. These individuals can create order for themselves if they use these often innate traits in the best way.
The faults of applying the model of the continuum, with two extremes, of a trait lie in applying it without consideration of the context of this trait in a person’s whole being. The same “level” of a trait can work differently in different people because of where the trait fits into the individual’s entire order, his entire functioning. Each human order is its own sequence, with each part playing exactly the role that is appropriate for it to play in the greater system. In fact, it may even help to abandon the need to always think of a trait in terms of having “more” or “less” of it when referring to the holistic being. Traits can change their very consistency when working in different people’s psyches.
Therefore, order has many different looks and flavors. Order forms the structure and allows the content to develop properly. It forms the framework which allows for the fulfillment of particular goals. It is what those goals are that determine whether the framework created for them is ordered or disordered. This reality is what makes order remarkable.