Getting Organized – Why We End Up In Low Energy States

Getting OrganizedThere’s a lot to be said about getting organized. And a lot of us would love to consider ourselves orderly individuals. However, clutter usually creeps into our lives no matter how careful we may be.

Why does this happen? Disorder is a natural phenomenon because we usually define “order” in such a way that it goes against how things naturally occur. “Nature abhors a vacuum” because a vacuum is extremely ordered – no matter whatsoever. Disorder is easy because it only takes one particle to destroy a perfect vacuum.

If you were to stack blocks in any particular fashion, then observed them over the next century, you would see a steady progression toward disorder – at least as defined in our terms. In nature’s terms, our “disorder” is its most comfortable.

Actually, we seem to define “order” in direct contradiction to the natural state of things. Orderly crowds don’t push or shove or start riots, but nature shows us through mobs and stampedes what *real* crowds are for. A tall stack of blocks will eventually get knocked down (by a breeze, by someone/something, etc) because the blocks are much more likely to be in that natural state.

Even science shares this against-nature mentality. Items in “high energy” states are unstable (and are usually something we can define as “in order”), and when given the right motivation, will always prefer the “low energy” state (their more natural state).

So it makes sense that our lives end up getting cluttered if we don’t constantly keep them in check. Things tend toward disorder, toward those “low-energy” states. And even if you have a perfect system set up, eventually the system will fail. Systems fail because something changes – and change is just another way to look at the movement from high to low energy states.

LifehackerWebsites like Lifehacker are there to help us avoid moving into disorder by forcing us to continually analyze what we’re up to.

Socrates agrees with the whole Lifehacker thing:

The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being

It’s an overused phrase, but it makes sense from this perspective (probably more sense than the out-of-context form it has taken). Observation of one’s own life will ensure nothing starts deteriorating or falling into disorder. Saying that a disorderly life isn’t worth living at all is a little dramatic. I was going to make a joke about Socrates trolling the Forum, but he wasn’t a Roman. Oh well.

Accidentally holding onto a bad organizational habit doesn’t invalidate one’s entire existence. However crazy it may seem to go against nature’s method of disorder, humans have an innate preference for our wacky sense of how things should be. Life seems to move better when our sense of order is fulfilled, so why make things harder on yourself?


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