Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Of Order and Chaos

The concept, institutionalization and adherence to ‘order’ in response to a confluence of factors, events and activities might be an apt definition of how human society functions. It may perhaps be an offshoot of the complex nature of man in quenching his innate curiosity regarding his existence vis-à-vis the world around him and his pursuit to discover his ultimate purpose. These ideals, of course, might be over the top when already at the most practical and obviously indispensable level, he is concerned with the basic needs that all living creatures on Earth require to survive (and then some). Humanity, of course, is much more capable with his tools and intellectual capacity, but one must tread carefully lest he be led to believe that the concepts of anthropocentrism and naturalism are the absolute truths. I, for one, do not intend to opine on the ethereal topic of the metaphysical and if indeed there is a Divine hand in control, it would simply be too contentious to prove a point and will inevitably lead to a long and meandering attempt to define a topic so unavoidably philosophical, but in any case, when one pays attention to nature, it cannot be denied that there is a sense of order to things. Between order and chaos, there lies the commerce, conducts and sensibilities of man. As with all living creatures, people, are also just trying to get by. But, unlike the species that do not manifest self-consciousness, self-contemplation, retrospection and a higher level of intellect, homo-sapiens are somehow goal oriented. This is probably an extension of man’s innate nature to search for his purpose. Society’s systems, processes, practices, laws and institutions are the instruments by and through which he thrives on.

Regulatory frameworks and policies are extensions of man’s intentions to create order as well. In the industries of banking and insurance, risks are all around and the threat of the ‘unknowns’ disrupting the order that bankers and insurers have intended to preserve are ever present. More so are risks given special attention by insurers because unlike bankers who have threats and opportunities to hedge against and explore, respectively, insurance companies contend with business opportunities that are embedded with the threats that people want to relieve themselves of.

Frameworks and policies can be strange instruments in the commerce of man, they can be blamed for a lot of failures and misfortunes, but people also tend to cling to them because that is how systems work. They relieve the fear of the uncertain and serve as the wall to lean on; the only thing outside of them is chaos, which may probably be too overwhelming for any one person to face. As societies have advanced, the complexities of systems have progressed, undertakings (including business endeavors) have expanded beyond single localities and entered a more global stage and the objectives/purposes of people and institutions have gone beyond any one person’s aspirations/ambitions in life, the more critical these institutionalized tools of ‘order’ are to the preservation of civilization’s progress and development.

There are, however, those who argue that systems (or the system) only look to install absolute order and control on society’s populace. As society has become an amalgam of policies, frameworks, laws and systems, the more suspicious some people have become. Is free will being chastised or is there true purpose to instilling ‘order’ to a society ever vulnerable to the whims of chaos? I, at this point in time at least, believe that there is a ubiquitous struggle for balance, which defines a civilization’s existence. The extremes of the spectrum may not be conducive in allowing human society to last (i.e., absolute order on one end and absolute disorder on the other). Change is absolute and adapting to the uncertainties of society’s tomorrow is man’s challenge in responding to his unique situation as a creature capable of intellect and the utilization of tools and technology, among others. It is man's unique circumstances that it can be said that he has special motivations and means by which to respond to the adage 'survival of the fittest'. I believe that a morally motivated mechanism of the will of a people (or a species) is beneficial to its advancement. Frameworks, policies, and law and order are only as useful as the extent to which it allows the people under their dominion to grow as human beings. Then again the last two statements are definitely points of contention that many may find interesting and intriguing to expound on.

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