The Current Social Chaos in France: Lessons from Religious Literature and Mother Nature To Navigate Through And Deal With Chaos

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Let’s talk a little bit about disorder and chaos. 

To be precise, we’d like to talk about the creative benefits of chaos and Mother Nature's wisdom to navigate through moments of trouble.

If you’ve been in France last and this week, you must have been affected directly or indirectly by the ongoing nationwide strikes that are paralyzing the entire country and its economy.

No need to remind you what the whole story is all about. France 24 has extensively reported on it.

Far from the arguments completely devoid of consistency that the Unions and government are throwing at each other, our interest is in the level of tension and chaos this situation has sparked.

As the world keeps on changing, moments of chaos like these will be more and more frequent. It’s important to be equipped so that you’re able to react assertively in case you have to.

It is a wonderful thing to have order to our lives, to simplify and have routines and systems that make things peaceful, organized, and calm.

Unfortunately, life likes to throw chaos and disorganization our way.

The ongoing strikes and transport standstill in France are perfect examples of chaos in a seemingly well-functioning system.

When chaos gets in our way, things get disrupted, people interrupt, email requests and Tweet mentions pour in, our neatness gets messy, schedules get thrown into disarray, things get busy and hectic and complicated.

 

How does one stay sane in the middle of all this chaos? 

 

How can we take the chaos and busy-ness and messiness, and use them as opportunities for our benefit?

 

What tools do people use to cope with chaos? 

 

How do totally responsible people deal with uncertainty?

 

We don’t have answers to these questions and without going deep into complex theories, below are a few suggested ideas Mother Nature shares with us all the time. 

 

Certainly, Mother Nature is a far superior mechanism, from which we can learn many lessons to improve ourselves and deal with problems and challenges that life throws at us.

  • If you want to survive in a harsh world, you must readily adapt to different situations. Accepting and adapting to change is the way to go. As the Serenity Prayer, written by the American theologian, ethicist and public affairs commentator  Reinhold Niebuhr, famously goes: 

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

(there are multiple versions of this poem that can be found on Wikipedia)

 

  • Learn from failures. Nature is not deterred by failure. In fact, Nature is a perfect example of how you can integrate failure into your success by learning from it and improving upon it. It makes use of failure to improve and perfect itself and its systems, processes, and mechanisms. It learns from both success and failure to manifest better life forms and living systems. 

  • If you are flexible, you will have more opportunities and possibilities for success. Nature is flexible. It creates diverse life forms that can thrive in a wide range of climates, from the coldest places on the planet to the hottest places, on land, in air and water, miles above in the stratosphere, and miles deep in the oceans. 

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” 

― Bruce Lee

  • Discipline and lawful conduct are vital to successfully navigate through chaos and uncertainty. Nature is a very powerful mechanism. Although it has unlimited potential and is invincible, it is still bound to a certain discipline, norms, patterns, programs, universal laws and predictable behavior. Mother Nature remains bound to and operates within a set of universal and inviolable laws of physics, chemistry, gravity, space and time. Following the same principle and by cultivating discipline, practicing rules and restraints, honoring time-tested traditions, values and code of conduct, it’s possible to protect your soul and keep negative and self-destructive behaviors under control.

  • Be open-minded, receptive and you will have more choices and opportunities. 

Nature is an open-ended system. It does not plan in advance, nor does it have any specific goals. Its only aim seems to be learning to thrive in diverse situations and circumstances. Most of the natural functions are mechanical and predetermined. Yet, Nature uses them according to its needs, and as the situations demand. Thus, even though it has programs, it is spontaneous and open to all opportunities and possibilities. It tries to fit in rather than control the environment or limit its choices.

 

Let's conclude by adding that, while citizens are having a hard time getting to their work-places, accessing medical assistance or sending their kids to school, it’s important to keep calm and remember the fact that we’re nothing but an aspect of and a personification of Nature and we, therefore, can learn a lot from it. 

 

Nature lives in us like our very mind and body. By understanding its methods and mechanism, we can greatly increase our chances of survival through chaotic moments such as this. 

 

Now that I think of it, I'm sure it’s even possible to benefit from these moments of trouble.