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In light of the events of January 6th at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., I am reminded of Jordan Peterson’s excellent book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.” Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.

In the second chapter of his book, Peterson shares about “the world of experience” and its two primal constituents: Order and Chaos; two elements that are in every human life and in creation itself.

Some examples of Order are: the known, the structure of society, tribe, religion, hearth, home, good health, country, and the flag of the nation. It is the floor beneath your feet and your plan for the day. In other words: stability.

Some examples of Chaos are: the unknown, the foreigner, the stranger; betrayal, tragedy, the sickness of your child or your spouse, the ‘monster under the bed’; mental illness, and being out of touch with reality. In other words: instability.

To illustrate this dual dynamic of order and chaos, consider what has been happening in the country since the Election.
Order says Joe Biden won the election fair and square. Chaos says “it was stolen from us” – President Trump and his followers.

Order says if you disagree, have a peaceful demonstration. Chaos says storm the Capitol.

Restoration of order takes determination, courage, and coordination.

Fr. Max Oliva, S.J.

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