stat counter

Friday, August 21, 2015

Islands of Order, Seas of Chaos, Messy Desks

 Most people who know me casually think I'm a well-organized person.   If they only knew!  In all honesty, I am organized in some areas.  My herbs and spices are arranged in alphabetical order. Every   cent I spend, owe or receive is entered into a  personal money management software program. The clothes in my closet are grouped  by color. The towels in the linen closet are arranged in neat stacks according to  their size and color. The books  on the bookshelves are arranged by category (more or less). The problem is,  these areas are  little islands of order in a sea of chaos. Open a cabinet  door in the kitchen and with the exception of the neat little  boxes containing the  herbs and spices, you are liable to be buried in an avalanche of various  bags and boxes of  foodstuffs that have been stuffed in wherever they would fit. Laundry  baskets full of  clothes that need to be ironed or folded  are permanent fixtures. And we don't even want to go  into the    files of documents and  photographs  on  the computer containing  heaven only knows what.  I keep intending to tackle some of these problem areas, but am overwhelmed  by the enormity of the task and give up without accomplishing much.

Which brings us to my messy desk.  Or rather Einstein's desk, as shown in this photograph taken  by Life Magazine photographer Ralph Morse the day Einstein died. The photo and several more previously unpublished photos are featured in this Time article. Einstein is  quoted as  asking, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Einstein wasn't the only one with a messy desk; as it turns out, a lot of creative people also   kept or keep   messy desks.  In fact,  several researchers at the  University of Minnesota, in  an abstract entitled Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity,  determined that “order and disorder are prevalent in both nature and culture, which suggests that each environment confers advantages for different outcomes.”

So I will leave you with a picture of my desk. I will no longer worry about it, because with this level or disorder, I must be one of the most creative people in existence! And believe it or not I know exactly where and what is buried in that chaos.

No comments: