"Are we able to think clearly when surrounded by mess because chaos is inherent in all our minds, even those of the great writers and thinkers", by Clive James.
< http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7768021.stm >
I think that there's an interesting philosophical point buried in the piece:
Perhaps it's trying to remind me that the best equipped pontificator is the one who is aware of his own propensities towards chaos. Unable to organise his own breakfast, he will be less ready to condemn officials who can't organise an efficient system for sending out student grants, or collecting private information onto a CD-ROM that won't be left on a train. But, even the most self-aware pontificator is still likely to expect too much of the world. Rarely will he be sufficiently amazed that society functions at all, considering some of the human material it has to work with.My philosophical point is this. Plato wrote about an idealized state in The Republic and a more practical one in The Laws. Aristotle analyzed various constitutions. And so the trend continued through Cicero, Aurelius, Augustine, Locke, Marx, Hayek, etc. In the end, every proposal is drowned in the chaos of real world events. Nothing works out the way the philosophers suppose. Should we take our cue from Voltaire's Candide and simply cultivate our small garden while surrounded by chaos and forces beyond our control? Is stoicism the path for a philosopher of the real world?
With respect -Joel