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.