I’ve spent much of the last couple of weeks working on making sense of complicated things. I’ve been setting out ways we can measure and quantify how large numbers of people interact with informal learning experiences.
This morning my porridge reminded me of this timeless line from Stoppard’s Arcadia.
When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backwards, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?
A welcome reminder that everything tends towards chaos. It’s only by our own construction that we try, temporarily, to bring order to things. I think this is particularly evident when we try to understand complex things with numbers.
Most of the time when we are creating things we are trying to bring order to the chaos. I wonder what would happen if we embraced the chaos more often. Rather than trying to turn the spoon backwards, what if we focused on trying to get that porridge the perfect shade of pink?