So, yet another year has come to an end. And our list of new years’ promises is breathing us in the neck, once again…
Though, one question disturbs us in the first morning of 2013 (as in every first morning of the New Year): how is it to have complete, total order in oneself, is that possible? And can we (do we have too!) bring ‘order’ in our life? Is the perfect order- meaning to say ‘the perfect life’ ever possible? That is, to learn the art of putting everything in its “right” place, where we believe it belongs, including ourselves! That is order.
Is it really?
Conversely, we can ask: what is disorder in our lives? Disorder can mean contradiction in oneself, thinking one thing, doing another, saying one thing and then do the opposite to what you have said, or being uncertain, not clear, contradictory, and so on.
Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory however suggests, that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in absolute harmony and avoid dissonance (disorder).
For example, when people follow their own intuition (that wrenching ‘gut feeling’), ‘they are getting closer to the truth of who they are meant to be’. This behavior, this ‘being you’, on the other hand, is often not enough to be considered successful, attractive, appreciated, loved and so on…as we are continuously told. We are driven by a great deal of pressures from outside. But psychologically, maybe the greatest pressure is desire- the cultivation of unfulfilled desires- with most of us!
From this condition derives a conflict, or better, this condition is a conflict. A conflict which causes a great deal of anxiety in us, understandably so! It is this uncomfortable state of being and feeling that Festinger calls ‘cognitive dissonance’: a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors simultaneously present in ourselves. This ultimately produces that well-known feeling of discomfort, unease, which often manifests as a sense of restlessness (‘uro’) in us, which we just want to get rid of, and that preferably here and now. We want this ‘heaviness’- or maybe rather this ‘unbearable lightness‘ – just to vanish, to go away- we want it locked up forever so not even our memories can hold on to it anymore. This will of not to see it-meaning to say not to see the disorder within, the ongoing conflict- often leads us to an alteration of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance… On the other side, there is a price to be paid: being less true to ourselves. In this way another discomfort circularly comes up, creating a kind of loop…
So, at the beginning of each year, more precisely, the 1st of January, we again and again surrender to that feeling of discomfort caused by wanting to be ‘more or less’ of ourselves, confronted, at the same time, with being the same old version of ourselves… In truth (in case we choose to opt for our personal ‘Truth’) we still breath life into the same patterns of negative thoughts, indulging in unhealthy behaviors (at least that is what we are being told!), fighting against (or burning for) the endless cultivation of our unfulfilled desires.
So… Knowing consciously, aware that one is in ‘disorder’ psychologically, what is one to do? How is one to bring about order? Because without order psychologically – inwardly as well as outwardly- one must live in chaos…
The question then changes: Why is it so difficult to ‘see disorder for what it is and then accept it’? Why do we fear that ‘conflicting disorder’ in our lives (or in us) so much? What lies behind this fear of chaos?
Maybe the basic root of fear in which most of us live, is time. Chronological time as yesterday, today and tomorrow, and also the whole movement of our complex thoughts and emotions, our thinking, feeling and simply: being… Another factor in that can be the remembrance– the unending preservation of our memories. Often this is the memory of a past fear that we hold on to and project as a future fear.
Nevertheless, it seems that what we fear the most is that ‘disorder’ lies within us and is not something separate from us. If that is so, the ‘disorder’ that we perceive in our life is not longer something different from us, it is not ‘separable’ from us. How can we than do something about it? Will it suffice to change the patterns of our behavior such as do even more yoga, eat even more healthy, etc, basically move from one corner to another corner- or bring psychological order by suppressing, by control, by this and by that? Can we afford not to do something about it- can we afford not to cultivate the perceived disorder (the imperfect life) in our life?
But if the disorder is not different from me- which is a fact, that the disorder is me- then the problem arises, what happens then? Meaning to say we are that- we are conflicting beings, we conflict with the other, both outside and inside us… Maybe these conflicts are nothing else than our intact inner world where we can freely cultivate our unfulfilled desires, our dreams for who we could be and visions for our future: as it is our hope that we can will get better, we can grow and change…
So, again, and with more emphasis: why do we want to become order, silencing our conflicts?
Maybe what we need to do is just to see that we live in disorder and that disorder is not different from us, fundamentally, basically we are that disorder.
You just have to see it.
This is where we need to begin: by accepting that we cannot put things in their right place unless the human being who puts the thing in the right place is also very orderly. Disorder can be dissolved only when we stop cultivating the disorder itself: the division between me and the other ceases to be, psychologically. And the person who is seriously concerned not only with the world outside of us but also inwardly- to give everything its proper place- is to learn the essential value of freedom. Without that there is no freedom.
One can understandably ask now, what is actually taking place? Before, believing in the order, we could at least cultivate the frustrating hope of ‘the first of January’ for a new desired order, where we stop smoking, we have healthy habits, we loose weight, we are being more friendly, open, lovable…Now the fact is that you are disorder. We are that disorder made of smoking, weight, not so lovable and at times, not even so friendly.
A Norwegian saying pops in my mind, ‘trollet må ut i sola så sprekker det’… ( ‘the troll rather be taken out in the sun in order to burst’). It is not only a matter of accepting the darkness in us, but learning how to dance with it…
What if you don’t have to wait for it to happen anymore? At the end, it’s up to you.
Your quote for a disordered New Year 🙂
“Order is virtue. And order isn’t a thing to be cultivated; you can’t say I will be orderly, I will do this and I won’t do that – then you are merely disciplining yourself, becoming more and more rigid, mechanical. Such a mind is totally incapable of coming upon this beauty that has no name, no expression. Order, like virtue, cannot be cultivated-if you cultivate humility you are obviously not humble; you can cultivate vanity, but to cultivate humility is not possible any more than to cultivate love. So order which is virtue cannot be practised. All that one can do is to see this total disorder within and outside oneself-see it! You can see this total disorder instantly and that is the only thing that matters-to see it instantly”
Quotes by Krishnamurti.
Godt nytt år! Happy new Year to ALL! 🙂