Everything we care about lies somewhere in the middle, where pattern and randomness interlace.”

James Gleick


Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood.”

Henry Miller


People tend to freak out over the whole idea of randomness, chaos and confusion. Well. Let me suggest that, on occasion, a little randomness, chaos and confusion is good.


I just said that.

I have even said great organizations tend to linger on the edge of chaos or ‘bedlam’ as I called it. and while I stated that with multiple people dynamics in mind, I tend to believe most of us, individually, would find that life is just a bit ‘greater’ if we allowed it to linger more often on the edge of chaos or bedlam.

I say that because what appears to be chaos is not really chaos, and what appears to be confusion, is not really confusion. It has the same feel, the same smell, the same look, but it is not those things. it is simply a pattern, or an order, we just don’t recognize – yet.

Here is the tricky part. It is quite possible we will never see the actual pattern or create the order as ‘learning’ from the confusion. Instead, we may only see the outcome of the seeming chaos and confusion and that outcome is most often a new idea or a new thought or a new experience.


“Invention … does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.”

Mary Shelley


New shit always confuses, and scares, the crap out of us – at first.

This mainly happens because our standard operating life procedure is to seek consistency & order & patterns of behavior that we can manage and guide toward the holy grail of life – efficiency <which means, in some weird way, that you are optimizing your time, i.e., Life>.

Shit. Efficiency is not the holy grail.

The holy grail is ideas, experiences, and thoughts.

Efficiency tends to grind those three things down to dust.

Chaos and confusion tend to create the friction necessary to spark those three things to fire.

Maybe that’s it.

Great lives burn like fire. Okay. Maybe not all the time, but often enough.

The problem is that we confuse the flames as chaos and confusion and only see our lives going down in flames. Instead, maybe we should see some chaos & confusion as the phoenix.

What I do know for sure is that more often than not … chaos and confusion in Life is not really chaos & confusion <despite all the people running around you waving their hands trying to get things back to the way they were – orderly>. Most times it is simply something happening in which we have yet to recognize the pattern, i.e., some NEW pattern your Life is adopting. Yeah. I just used the word “adopting” instead of change. Circling back to the opening, everything we care about is found in patterns. So, typically, when we ‘change’ we are simply adopting a new pattern which already existed, or exists, which we are now just morphing to. Ponder that a bit. Ponder it because most of us adopt new patterns all the time and its not some radical change or some radical anything, but rather simply un-radically adopting new patterns, new rhythms to our life, and embracing a new cadence to our daily lives.

Which leads me to end with Jevon’s Paradox.

Jevon’s Paradox suggests, in the long term, an increase in efficiency in resource use will generate an increase in resource consumption rather than a decrease. Patterns are NOT efficiency; they are more like flow. But I end reinforcing why efficiency is not good for optimizing Life because, well, its not. Paradoxically, an increase in time efficiency will not increase things being done within time as a whole, but rather decrease the resource itself – time. And, well, less time means less experiences, less thoughts, and less ideas. Efficiency suffocates everything we care about. In particular it squeezes out anything good where patterns and randomness interlace. Ponder.

Written by Bruce