Are there limits to disorganization?
Whenever someone explains to me that organizing my files, my desk, my hard drive,
or anything else of this sort is unnecessary, I'm more than willing to listen.
When someone explains to me that leaving things disorganized may even be a more
effective means of ... well, or organizing things, I want to give him a prize.
But it's hard not to ask how much farther we might be able to take this. Writing
itself is a form of organization, an ordering. Hypertext breaks up a linear order,
allowing us to construct our own orders for the texts we read. And since each
person can construct his or her own orders, via hypertext they are also able to
find or create new meanings. But if hypertext is already a step in this direction,
why stop there? Instead of being presented with completed paragraphs that lack
any pre-determined order, why shouldn't we simply be presented with envelopes
of words and be offered the opportunity to extract, or make up, whatever
"meanings" we might want from that. Certainly many people would
scoff at this and claim that an "arrange the words yourself" page would
be an exercise in reductio ad absurdum. But I'm quite sure that some people think
that "construct your own order" hypertext is already proof that we've
reached that absurdum long ago.
I'll readily admit that when I post something I want to think that it makes at
least a limited amount of sense - at least to myself - so that whatever readers
understand is at least somewhat related to what I've tried to write. Disregarding
whether I succeed or not, the hodge-podge of ideas that get examined in these
columns isn't only an anarchic struggle between disparate parts to gain some attention
on the page. What ultimately gets posted is actually the result of very meticulous
organizing. Over at least a month (the writing of a column may take one month,
but often I'll be collecting materials for quite a few) numerous thoughts, fragments,
snippets, links and more get thrown into a primordial soup from which I then try
to arrange in what for me seems not only one possible order, but the order that
I think feels right. Admittedly, it's often a cowgirls-blues sort of clockworks
order, but an order just the same.
Go to: Please organize me.