Order and Chaos: the Intricate Patterns of Creativity in the Human Nature and the Universe

Leopard’s Heart | 2000 | Painting by my daughter Mia, when she was 7 y.o.

I find it fascinating how people are always trying to impose rules and regulations on various aspects of life and strictly follow them, creating the feeling or illusion of safety, predictability and also believing that will solve all problems. Whether it’s acquiring knowledge, maintaining a diet or following certain guidelines, we tend to feel safer relying on this structured thinking. The thing with creativity is that it doesn’t entirely conform to any predefined rules, which makes it challenging to evaluate or measure creativity in any form. The only way we truly appreciate creativity is by experiencing its benefits and finding inspiration in it.  

The big question in everyone’s mind nowadays is how we can nurture our innate creativity, probably expecting that there is a specific set of instructions or guidelines to follow to get back to you creative beginnings. The truth is the only rule is no rule. 

Creativity is a remarkable and complicated aspect of the human nature. At its core, creativity is the delicate interplay between various elements of human existence: structure and chaos, play and discipline, freedom and constraint, direction and free flow. In this opinion piece, I’ll explore the concept of the balance between these opposing forces that make creative humans. 

The concept of thinking outside the box has always stricken me as odd, to say the least. I was never able to grasp the idea of who created the idea of the box in the first place and what our thinking would look like if there was no box at all. Giving it a bit of thought, also looking at it from a different angle, I’ve come to realize that having a “box”, a specific framework or some form of order is necessary in order to break free from it.

Order and chaos are fundamental principles in the human experience. Order provides structure, stability, predictability, enabling us to make sense of the world around us and function effectively within society. It provides a framework, rules and boundaries that give shape and direction to our ideas. Just like any “box”, at a certain point too much structure stifles innovation, limits exploration, and generates conventional outcomes. 

That’s when we strive towards chaos –  the realm of uncertainty and unpredictability. Chaos represents the realm of limitless possibilities and uncharted territories. Chaos challenges conventional thinking and allows for unexpected connections to be made. In a way, chaos is the catalyst for transformation, pushing us out of our comfort zones and challenging the status quo.  Until reaching a point of unrestrained chaos that results in confusion and a lack of coherence, that drives us to a new form of order. 

The true essence of creativity is the balance between order and chaos that nurtures creativity, allowing us to maintain a sense of structure while embracing the unexpected.

When it comes to fostering creativity, the same principle applies to all other recommended guidelines, including elements such as play and discipline, freedom and constraint, or direction and free flow.

Playfulness encourages experimentation, curiosity, risk-taking, liberating us from the fear of failure, creating an environment where ideas can be explored without judgement. But you also need discipline to focus and commit to perseverance to refine and manifest your ideas into tangible forms.

You need the sense of freedom to think without limitations, transcend boundaries and conventional wisdom. And you need constraints to find alternative paths. The interplay between freedom and constraint allows for the expansion of possibilities while grounding our creativity in practicality.

The inner conflict that I have always had was about final destination and free flow. 

Final destination is the idea of an end goal. What’s more important, having a final destination or having sense of direction? Sticking to the end goal and aligning all your actions to get there is the most responsible and reasonable thing to do. But where else could you get if you were really not attached to he idea of an end goal? If you knew where you were going but didn’t know where you were getting? It’s probably the main reason why I never liked collecting the puzzles. Not because it was difficult or time-consuming, but because I couldn’t see the fun of knowing the picture I was putting together. I would always be way more curious to be surprised by the end result than knowing the end result I was striving to. So in a way, I see that final destination is important, it gives you the sense of direction at least, on the other hand it has a bit of limitation attached to it. I believe, creativity thrives when guided by a sense of direction, rather than the final destination. It’s a roadmap, a vision that acts as a compass for our ideas and actions. Direction helps us set goals, prioritize, and align our creative endeavors with a purpose. However, too much focus on the final destination stifles spontaneity and hinders the flow of unexpected breakthroughs. 

The concept of duality of the opposing forces inherent in human nature. From our complex emotions to our diverse perspectives, human nature embodies a constant dialogue between light and darkness, order and chaos, innovation and tradition, fear and courage,  joy and sorrow, love and hate, hope and despair and so much more.

By embracing these inherent contradictions, we tap into the wellspring of our creative potential and contribute to the ongoing evolution of our world. 

From a science perspective, the concept of chaos in physics is about the study of nonlinear systems, where small changes in initial conditions can lead to dramatically different outcomes over time. The one famous example is probably the “butterfly effect,” which suggests that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in one part of the world can trigger a chain reaction of events leading to significant consequences elsewhere. And this concept wonderfully highlights the limits of predictability. But by unravelling the patterns within chaos, there is a beautiful underlying order that emerges from seemingly random processes.

Order is obviously necessary to make sense of the physical world and it’s manifested through fundamental laws and mathematical equations that describe the behavior of particles, waves, and fields. 

Chaos and order coexist in systems self-organizing themselves, where patterns emerge from the interactions of individual components. The examples of the complex shapes of snowflakes or the way trees branch out demonstrate the harmonious and delicate balance between chaos and order existing in nature.

So, the rule is no rule. Embracing your creative thinking and potential, is not about one thing or the other. It’s about the entirety, being everything and embracing ever-evolving oppositions and paradoxes that are already within us.