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I distinctly remember being tidy—everything in its place. But then the tidiness went away. Perhaps pirates did it…or zombies. Anyway, my basement office and the family room beyond look like a hoarder lives there.
I know how the mess happened. I was busy and stressed. I prioritized, and tidying up the basement fell to the bottom of the to-do list. However, I know my duty. I beat myself up regularly for being too lazy—too full of excuses—to sort through the mess. The stress comes and goes; the mess stays.
Recently I found a book that soothes my guilt: THE QUANTUM RULES: HOW THE LAWS OF PHYSICS EXPLAIN LOVE, SUCCESS, AND EVERYDAY LIFE by Kunal K. Das. No, I never studied physics, but I respect good science. According to the reviews on Amazon.com, Das knows his physics, which is good. I gravitate toward the spiritual, but I grow weary of condescending lifestyle directives by self-appointed gurus who are better at marketing than backing their claims. Das doesn’t talk down, but he does translate the laws of physics into regular-people-speak as much as he can. (He occasionally sounds suspiciously like a bachelor or a wannabe bachelor.)
One of my favorite principles is called the Uncertainty Principle which leads Das to conclude “the bigger and more lavish the wedding, the shorter the marriage lasts,” or the one that makes me smile: “the more spectacular the kitchen, the less cooking is usually done in it.” (You can guess what my kitchen looks like; we cook daily and provide all of the holiday meals.)
But we were discussing the second law of thermodynamics: “the net amount of disorder in the universe always increases…we call the level of disorder in a system entropy.” Yes, Dear Reader Who is Also Messy, we have the ultimate excuse. When our spaces fall into tragic disarray, when guests drop in and magazines are tumbling off the sofa and breakfast stains lie on the dining room table beside stacks of business papers and pleas for donations waiting to be handled, we’re merely following one of the basic rules of the universe. Disorder is increasing.
Das explains that there are many ways to be out of order and probably only one way to be orderly (and it may require work), so the probability is that we will be out of order quite a bit. On a higher more philosophical plane, we yearn for freedom because freedom allows us to operate in our own personal state of disorder—our own entropy. We don’t want life to be too predictable.
Even if I haven’t represented the second law of thermodynamics faithfully, I’m still pleased with myself. I look forward to telling my next guests that the mess they see in my home is merely a statement of universal law. I hope they buy that excuse.