“Order Is Simply a Thin, Perilous Condition We Try to Impose on the Basic Reality of Chaos” (A Citation from William Gaddis’s Novel JR)

by Biblioklept

Near the beginning of William Gaddis’s sprawling novel J R, erstwhile protagonist Jack Gibb’s rants about knowledge to his students:

Before we go any further here, has it ever occurred to any of you that all this is simply one grand misunderstanding? Since you’re not here to learn anything, but to be taught so you can pass these tests, knowledge has to be organized so it can be taught, and it has to be reduced to information so it can be organized do you follow that? In other words this leads you to assume that organization is an inherent property of the knowledge itself, and that disorder and chaos are simply irrelevant forces that threaten it from the outside. In fact it’s the opposite. Order is simply a thin, perilous condition we try to impose on the basic reality of chaos . . .

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