From: Death: Friend or Foe 3
We know we’re going to die. But we don’t know when. So, in one sense, there’s a kind of order to the world. In another sense, there’s this chaotic or unordered aspect. Now if you notice anything about people, you will see that they basically fall into two categories: those who like order, and those who don’t. Those who like order we call accountants, those who don’t we call artists. Very broadly.
But you see, we want things one way or the other, but that’s not how life is. And this is why I’m putting these two together. Because by putting these two together, we enter into what some writers and teachers call the core dilemma of human experience. We can’t approach our lives as if everything was chaotic, because we could live for a very long time. And if we didn’t actually plan for that, we could be in trouble. On the other hand, if we live our lives, things totally ordered, as if everything is totally ordered, then we’re unable to respond or take in, or deal with the unexpected.
This is wonderfully brought up by two relatives of mine who are very good friends in a small town in southern England. One was a doctor; one was a retired nurse. And they were very, very good friends. So they decided to go on a trip together. Well, the doctor had a very ordered life. She was the kind of person who, when she fell down in her backyard and sprained her back, said to my younger brother, “If you go into my den, on the set of shelves on the west wall, on the third shelf, second one over, in the middle shelf you’ll find five rows of bottles. In the third bottle three over from the right, you’ll find--.” That was her life.
The retired nurse on the other hand just liked to do things that felt good. So, first day of the trip, “We’ll spend half an hour here, an hour here, fifteen minutes there, have lunch, etc.” And the retired nurse would go, “Oh, this is interesting, why don’t we stay a little longer? I’m just…Oh, and why don’t…, we didn’t consider that. Let’s go and look at that.” After ten days of this, no mention was ever made of the trip to anybody, ever. They returned to being friends but they never traveled again. So, order, chaos.