Between Chaos and Order: The Need for a Middle WayI’ve been thinking a lot about the balance between darkness and light, a.k.a. chaos and order.

It’s the tension between authoritarianism and democracy. In a dictatorship, everything can be run perfectly. Things are streamlined because one person is calling the shots. Democracy is messy – everyone has a voice (at least in theory) and the messy government has to balance all those competing and contrasting interests. It’s kind of a shit show.

But we need a little bit of a shit show…just not too much. Recently we’ve been getting too much.

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Shit Exploded

Let’s not pretend the last few weeks have not felt like the Upside Down (I know some of you love Stranger Things as much as I do…).

Innocent children are being ripped from their families – breastfeeding babies ripped out of their mothers’ arms for being born in the wrong place and time. The institutions of the American government are being systematically dismantled.

A man, operating under a complete delusion of being a leadership genius, goes around giving concessions to dictators while throwing temper tantrums and pouting around would-be democratic allies.

Meanwhile, our planet – our environment is threatened.

And children in our schools prepare for the next inevitable conclusion of toxic masculinity mixed with firearms.

Oh, and just to make us all feel EVEN better, some people we really liked decided they couldn’t take it anymore and killed themselves.


During such a time, it’s easy to feel like everything is going to Hell in a hand basket.

But here’s the thing. It’s not the end. Darkness is just one side of things. Chaos is one side of things. And they are necessary (I know, you’re like, Seriously Alexis, how can you say this bullshit?! But stay with me.).

The Vision

Before we get into how darkness or chaos is necessary and built into the fabric of experience, I want to give you a little insight into what’s going on at present.

A little over a week ago I was told about something a certain leader did. As soon as I heard the actions of this person, I Saw and Heard lightening and thunder (psychically). I was just beginning week 36.

I mention this because one of the visions I was given earlier this year was me holding my baby, walking through a terrible storm, somehow unscathed and dry as it raged around me, the wind blowing something fierce, the rain so thick it was impossible to see. It was the worst storm I’d ever seen.

I expect the worst of this “storm” will be happening in the next few weeks. Rather than getting better, I expect it to get worse, especially around babe’s birth. And then it will pass.

Most recently, I was shown a vision of me and a guide sitting on a blossoming hill, in full sun, watching a dark storm in full fury, not too far off. This supports my expectation, as I have a few weeks before baby is due.

I hope this means the things happening are coming to a head – that the full force of the storm will be felt, and like many storms, when it passes, the land will be cleansed, and we’ll be able to move into a new and better place.

But I can only share what I’ve been shown and what I expect based on what I’ve seen.

So yes, chaos. But, like all storms, it will end. And probably will make room for something new and wonderful to replace whatever was there before.

Chaos and Order In Pop Culture

windows to balconies, order (pixabay)Before we get into this being a chaos is bad, order is good – let’s be clear: neither chaos nor order is good or bad. Both are both. We see this in pop culture.

One version can be found in Star Wars – particularly between the Empire and the remnants of the Republic, or the Dark and Light sides of the Force (which interestingly is also symbolic of masculine and feminine Taoist energy).

Order is represented here by the Dark Side, whereas Chaos is represented by the Light. Structure is essential for the Dark, whereas things are nebulous and nuanced in the Light.

I love this tension epitomized in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, particularly between Ben Solo and Rae. They are connected to opposing sides of the Force, incarnating dark and light respectively. Yet they find themselves drawn together – to the point of illicit sexual attraction (Don’t deny you didn’t get that in those scenes – that is room for a fan ship story if ever there was one!).

For a darker version, with the other side being demonized, we can look at The Dark Knight, a Batman movie, where the Joker is the Prince of Chaos, and Batman is an Agent of Order. In this, Chaos is overwhelming and must be kept in check, which is where Batman (and his chosen allies) come into play.

The last conversation between Joker and Batman captures the tension between these two forces. The Joker speaks the truth when he says Batman will never kill him because of his rules, and the Joker will never kill Batman because he’s too fun to mess with. They both need each other, even as they are one another’s source of frustration.

Neither chaos nor order is good or bad. Both are both. #balance #spirituallife Click To Tweet

The Great Book of Amber

Perhaps the best example, even if it the most esoteric, is Roger Zelaszny’s science-fiction work, The Great Book of Amber. In this universe, there are two contrasting points on the spectrum – the City of Amber and the Courts of Chaos. Amber represents order, and the Courts, obviously chaos. And yet, each of them functions with elements of both order and chaos in the highly complex relationships between characters, as well as patterns characters use to create and shift reality.

Neither one can function without the other – and while each struggles to come to terms with this difficult relationship (with little success) there is no denying their important (and perhaps essential) connections.

Chaos and Order In the Real World

When I was studying abroad in Hungary I remember crossing into Austria and wondering what the fuck happened.

Now, I’ve seen some beautiful places in Austria. I’m sure Austrian people are lovely, but honestly, looking at the streets in their towns made me feel like I’d gone into the Twilight Zone or some shit.

There was nothing on the sidewalk. No gum. No papers. No people. It felt…wrong.

Just across the border in Hungary, shit was messy. Architecture ranged from gorgeous several hundred year old churches and synagogues, to communist refrigerator-like buildings. People made out on the streets, still wearing their motorcycle helmets. Trash was around. Old drunk ladies tottered down the sidewalk with their shopping. People crowded the streets. People lived there.

The contrast was stark. Order…and Chaos.Delhi street (pixabay)

A Winding Universal Path

The truth is, we can’t have absolute order, nor can we have absolute chaos. Both are unhealthy extremes. This is why Joker is wretched – because he personifies Chaos. But dictators preaching perfect Order are just as evil. Neither one is good.

We have to live by a middle way.

The truth is, we can’t have absolute order, nor can we have absolute chaos. We have to live by a middle way. #balance #spirituallife Click To Tweet

As they say in Star Wars, everyone has a little light and a little dark in them. No one is all one or the other.

Religion and spirituality give us a middle way through this difficult balancing act. This is why we are given principles to live by, and wisdom to know how to apply such principles in specific contexts.

Rules don’t work because they are too restrictive. On the other hand, not having any guidance would leave us in a mess. Principles are the right middle ground. This is where the path of love is applied. This is where we ask ourselves questions like, what is the most compassionate thing? What would Jesus do? How would Muhammad act? How can we be the hands of Divinity on Earth?

We have our principles, but we practice them with non-attachment. We let go of specific results, allowing for the possibility of something more wonderful. We exert a little control, but just a little.

Because we need some Order and some Chaos. As uncomfortable as that tension is, this is how we live. This is how we become our best selves.

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Alexis Donkin
Between Chaos and Order: The Need For A Middle Way
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