(aka Professor Robert bores you while talking about Chaos)
Welcome Balimora and friends!
I assume if you’re reading this the Guide has pointed you towards the Balimora, or you know someone who has been and you’re curious about us. Perhaps you’re worried a friend or loved one is a Balimora and under the sway of this ‘Great Beast of Chaos’ everyone speaks of. That’s sounds scary, right?
You’re looking at them differently now. Are they crazy? Are they trustworthy? Are they going to randomly turn me into a goat and steal my skittles? These are all fair questions I imagine we have had to answer since time immemorial.
If you’ve just been sorted into Balimora maybe you’ve got perfectly valid questions. Do I have to sell all my worldly possessions and put on a robe and chant at giant rock all night? Do I have to give up reason and logic? Do I have to give up my poker game scheduled every Tuesday night to do something chaotic instead?
I can answer all those questions easily enough, actually. The answer to all of them is ‘maybe’.
What I hope to do here is shed as much light as I can into the mind of a Balimora. Perhaps it helps allay your fears. Maybe it’ll scare you senseless. Hopefully, it does a little bit of both.
When the Guide told me it thought I was a Balimoran I have to admit I thought it was unhinged. Me? I hate the outdoors. I can’t go outside for 5 minutes without getting a dozen bug bites. Other kids made mud puddles and I organized my army men by height, rank and degree of facial hair. I once tried to use hand sanitizer to ‘clean’ potting soil before I used it. Have you seen that stuff? It’s icky and it gets everywhere!
That’s just a point of view though. I remember a time at recess when the teacher told every kid to go inside and get their coat because it was colder outside then they expected. I was the only one who didn’t run inside because I decided for myself I wasn’t cold. I will stop traffic to let ducklings cross the street. I will step in front of a crazy person trying to harm a complete stranger, and then I will seek help for that person.
It took me a while, but I came to understand being in Balimora isn’t about Nature with a capital N. It’s about hearing the truth of the world. It’s about following through on what you believe in no matter what the rules, other people, or anyone else tells you. Is that chaos? Well let’s see.
Chaos 101 – Any system looked at through a small enough pinhole resembles chaos.
For this example allow me to introduce my associate, Bubbles XIII. Bubbles is a fish in a small fish bowl just like you might have at home. To Bubbles the world is their bowl, and sometimes things happen to it. Sometimes it gets fed. Once in a while you clean the tank. Sometimes you’re there. Sometimes you are not. Sometimes it’s light, sometimes it’s dark. There’s no rhyme or reason. All Bubbles can see is Chaos in the world.
Let’s enhance Bubble’s intelligence a bit and give him a bit more credit. Let’s say Bubbles can understand your routine. You feed him at 8pm. You clean his tank every Tuesday. You work or go to school at certain hours. Now Bubble’s world is Order and logic, right?
But Bubbles now sees more. As it watches you to learn your patterns sometimes you leave the house with an umbrella, sometimes you do not. It tries to map what it knows, days, times, schedules to your behavior and it can’t. It’s room doesn’t have a window to the outside, and it doesn’t know if it’s raining out or not. Again, to Bubbles, there is Chaos in it’s world that defies all explanation.
Now let’s make Bubbles even smarter, and most of all give it a view outside. Now it sees the rain, and your umbrella and it knows why you carry it. Order is restored. But one day you get up, and it is sunny. You check your phone, and pick up an umbrella before going outside. Bubbles understanding of the world shatters once again. It doesn’t know what a weather forecast is, or how it works. It doesn’t know about the future, or planning ahead, so again Bubbles is adrift without certainty.
Again, let’s enhance Bubbles intelligence. Let’s explain to it about time, and predicting the future. Let’s explain why we watch the weather on Channel 6 instead of Channel 4 because the woman who does the weather is way cuter on Channel 6. Let’s explain meteorology, weather satellites, and computer algorithms. Let’s explain …… dangit, we lost another fish. It’s always right around the concept of launching satellites into near earth orbit their poor little brains just…explode.
Let us continue this example with my new associate Bubbles XIV…
Chaos 654 – Practical Chaos in the modern world
We all live in our own fish bowls. Our own inner Bubbles XIII tries to find order and certainty in the world so we can find where we stand. Some things we can understand, but much more we cannot. To accept what you know, and appreciate what you do not. This is where all Balimora must start….unless of course you have a better starting point…you be you after all.
To the world this is chaos. To us, it simply is. If you take an idealized valley filled with wolves and rabbits it’s easy to understand the symbiosis here. The rabbits would breed endlessly without the wolves, and the wolves would starve without the rabbits. Balance, yes? If the wolves become smarter, more efficient in their hunts then a Balimoran would come to this valley and help the rabbits. It would shield their burrows and mystify the rabbits.
In time, the rabbits would flourish and as they evaded the wolves with more aplomb the wolves would begin to starve. This very Balmorian who championed the cause of the rabbit could very well turn about and revoke it’s protections without a second thought. It might even aid the wolves from time to time. To the wolves and rabbits surely this is chaos, yes? Surely some insane plotting of a great nature spirit must be toying with them. When the simple fact is, it’s just one soul doing the best they can according to what they hear the universe needs at the time.
The situation becomes even more complicated the more Balimora you add. Surely if the first to arrive in the valley thinks the rabbits will need protecting, then when the second arrives and sees the effects of the first, they may very well side with the wolves? Are either of them wrong? No, because there are no rules. Not only do we balance the external world, but our actions themselves affect that very world, and some further external view point will now see us as part of the world to balance. Balimora know that they more they disagree with one another, the closer to true Balance they really are.
Chaos XYZ – Any sufficiently complicated pattern is indistinguishable from Chaos
(With apologies to Arthur C. Clark for co-opting his well-known phrase)
Let us now confront the three headed elephant in the room, the Great Beast of Chaos. If the Balimora do all these things that others find Chaotic, surely there has to be SOME ultimate logic or reason behind it, right? There has to be some guiding force, intelligence, divinity or natural law that we adhere to, or else why are we even a guild if nothing binds us together?
To those very important questions I give you the only answer I can. I do not know…and I do not care. But, I believe so.
Balimora feel the call to bring balance to the world and they act on it. drops the mic …. then picks the mic back up because he’s not done
Where does this call come from? Some Great snoring Beast at the center of it all? A universal truth? Some old guy in white robes with a long, grey beard? A universal hive mind that we all unknowingly share? That guy you always see at the supermarket who takes way too long picking out which apples to purchase then tries to pay by check for 72 cents? All of those are equally valid answers. Maybe it’s one of those, maybe it’s all of those. But we all feel the call, and any Balimora will tell you there is something out there. Something old, and balanced, and so complicated and obscure that none of us will ever fully understand how it works. To us, in our fish bowls, the outside world will always be in chaos.
I trust there’s something out there, and all this chaos are just single, small steps along a greater path. If you trust that also, great. If you don’t trust that then it’s even better. To be in Balimora is to know no one truth. Not even when someone as pretentious as me presents it to you.
Now go out there and listen to your own call. You are Balimora. Be strong. Be silly. Be brave. Be the force for change when things stagnate. Be the shield when change threatens to overwhelm us. The world will call you chaos. Take it as a compliment.