Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thoughts on order.

Since my grades got finished (by the grace of God, a pinch of pixie dust, a sturdy set of rubrics, a malleable set of metrics, and a fair amount of cursing), I have accomplished the following:
  • picked up books on hold at the public library
  • paid slightly sad amount of library overdue fines so I could check out the above
  • found loads of books I purchased from Amazon etc. during bouts of stress-induced online buying
  • straightened up my study.
I don't really wish to discuss my method for straightening, since it's more like "moving things off my desk into other locations, such as boxes," but the surface of the desk is tidier, more expansive, slightly more without stuff, more conducive to creative work, which is what I'm after. (Also, my soul feels a little freer, even if I know I'm kind of lying to myself about the true extent of the tidiness--this is my particular bargain with chaos, and I guess I'm sticking to it.)

ANYHOW. I was reading an article in the Innovations edition of The New Yorker, an article about this engineer, Saul Griffith, and his work with renewable energy. Here's the writer's description of Griffith's lab:
Griffith seems to operate on the principle that excessive orderliness is inefficient, and that neatly putting things away is more time-consuming, in the long run, than searching through piles.
If only I had won a $30,000 prize for my innovative invention at M.I.T. when I was a student there (I went where I went, okay?), and then won a MacArthur Genius grant--I could totally be this guy.


  1. You are a genius to me! Of course, my acknowledgment of said genius doesn't come with $500K, but it does come in the form of imitation. My piles will be moving about today as well.
    Word Verif: abili. I'm hiding behind my spelling.

  2. At the very least, I think we can nominate you for an innovation award at the college. One snapshot of the desk and a nifty little 500 word piece on the the paradox of messiness.

  3. I am surprised that Middlebrow did not openly deride the MIT genius. Having taken on the Middlebrow philosophy of "if you haven't used it in X number of years then you don't need it" and his call to purity of desk-essence, I am surprised by his response.

    Did you know there are whole TV shows devoted to de-cluttering?

    I have found the best solution yet to clutter: don't buy a god damned thing. It keeps things un-cluttered and warms my Scots' soul.

  4. What came home with you from the library? Details!



Related Posts with Thumbnails