October 10, 2007

A Lovely Mess

Jerry's 12th birthday is tomorrow. We're having a few boys over on Saturday for a slumber party. We'll be painting Munnies, playing ping pong, watching anime, eating cake, listening to music, and having a rollicking good time. I tend to save all my cleaning for just before we have guests, so I have a lot to do! Since today and tomorrow I'll be cleaning house, and the weekend will be devoted to kid wrangling and fun facilitating, I probably won't post anything new until Monday. In honor of all the cleaning, organizing, and rearranging I'll be doing these next two days (all because I don't clean regularly or put things away as I go), I leave you with some thoughts on tidiness--or, more specifically, the lack of it--and why it's not such a bad thing to be messy.

In this interview with theoretical physicist, David Deutsch, at TakingChildrenSeriously.com, Deutsch says he's pretty sure he couldn't be very productive without also being untidy.

When the interviewer asks, "Can you be sure you are not just rationalising this? Could it be that you just hate tidying up?"

Deutsch responds, "I can't deny that I hate it! It is a fact that tidying up is boring. There are so many interesting things to do in life that doing boring things is hardly ever top of my list of priorities. The question here is not whether tidiness is boring, but whether it is necessary, or useful. I think that there are no good practical reasons to be anywhere near as tidy as is conventional in our society. Tidiness is a thing which is foisted upon children, and it results in all sorts of unpleasant things for them like boredom and having their privacy invaded, and so they get nervous and uptight about their personal space, and sometimes this translates itself into hang-ups about tidiness which they then pass on to their children."

Last December, the New York Times ran an article called Saying Yes to Mess by Penelope Green. In the article, Green wrote "An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts." (Finally there's proof!!)

How can you not love a book with the title A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, How crammed closets, cluttered offices, and on-the-fly planning make the world a better place? This book, by David H. Freedman and Eric Abrahamson, "shatters the myths and misunderstandings about messiness and disorder that have led to an often pointless, counterproductive and demoralizing bias toward neatness and organization in our society." Sounds good to me!

And, lastly, I leave you with a quote from that most prolific and profound philosopher, Anonymous:

If the shelves are dusty and the pots don't shine,
it's because I have better things to do with my time.

Hear, hear!

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