This sounds static, suggesting at first glance symmetry, a stolid arrangement of properties that 50’s housewives might call beautiful, but to the eyes and hearts of the postmodern…boring. For the wilder romantic, order means predictability means oppression (in the realm of experience). To be alive means to meet the chaotic mix of experience full-on, without control, without boxing in, without trying to “order,” living instead in a full-on acceptance of the instinctual impulse.
Which leads to me to explore what the notion of “order” means. I almost wrote “dynamic order” in the title, but decided to create a little more tension by just leaving it as is. But order suggests (in my mind, at least) bringing an overwhelming amount of disparate elements together into relationships (as I said yesterday) that allow for effective and pleasing (isn’t there a better word for that?) functionality. That sounds dry, but that is the process of thinking and interacting, isn’t it? Making sense of disparate elements of experience, drawing connections, turning those connections into causal, narrative links in order to create a “story” that gives meaning to experience?
“Beauty is cosmos” would have been a title to make us feel better, but order is what cosmos is made of. If you’re protesting at this point, wondering about the power of tension and the constant pull of entropy, gravity, and other forces against order, then wait for tomorrow. That’s the next step. Part of the beauty of order is that it is dynamic, changing, and in constant danger of disintegrating into chaos.
Order is a word that makes us nervous because of its ties to ideas of command and power. Artists tend to move against the status quo, upset the “order” of things, but still, they have to bring their materials into “order” if they hope to communicate and/or inspire toward change.
I know all of this is abstract. But can you think of a concrete example of beauty that does not demonstrate order in some fashion? Even that art that seeks to shock and pull us out of stupor or equilibrium must do so in an ordered fashion in order to communicate.
What do you think?