Flexibility, order and authority

If you ask a question in some countries, if you don't get a joke in response, you may get a novel. This is a defense mechanism against the general state of being uninformed about the status quo. The kind of reality that produces novels like The Good Soldier Svejk.

I really like order. I like good authority. Without it, chaos reigns, and chaos, while written about beautifully by Liu Sola ("the lump of chaos" -- essentially waiting to be defined, which can fly high, but plunge to terrible lows), is ugly, if you ask me. And I am an aesthete. In the sense that I wish to cultivate a beautiful life, beauty around me. Not to consume it. I have fixed ideas of what constitutes the beautiful, that were developed through observation.

And if I discuss observation, I must mention Ravenna. Everyone should go to Ravenna and observe the mosaics. San Vitale, San Apollinare (old and new), Galla Placidia's little chapel with the stars, the Palace of Theodoric. That was the first place where I understood the speech of the visual, and felt the possibility of miracles ("Pick up your bed, and go." - that was at the Palace, if I remember.)

I sat there with the binoculars lent to me by a couple met through the most serendipitous of events in Varenna, where I had been staying. She had been one of the first women journalists, who had covered stories in Egypt. They had met on Corfu. He had been recruited in the language unit of WWII. They told me to go to Ravenna, and may they be blessed for all that they left to me.

A love of Larkin's poetry (the spaces between things), the experience in Ravenna, most of all, her lining up of small objects to photograph them, or her typed up article she tried to get published in the New Yorker, about science, colour theory and a certain modern rendition of a tableau of the Last Supper. Many secrets are revealed through observation.

LOOK. Listen. Cross.

If there are no rules, we get crushed at the crossings. How many times in history have the crossroads been fearful places. I have a deep respect of order, though I would not say I worship it. It is a means to establishing harmony; what is it Voltaire wrote, about freedom being allowed insofar as it does not encroach on another's freedom...

So, there must be some degree of flexibility. But if one is in Svejk's world, flexibility boarders on the nonsensical. It is a world that requires a new order. It is a liminal world.

My question, then, is, what of order in times of transition? I can't just abandon order. I read today that we can choose our circumstances. But isn't choice relative? If you have many friends, will you just leave them? Or will you rally together strength to support each other? Is that not the weave and weft of flexibility and order?

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