Order is where people around you act according to understood social norms, and is predictable and cooperative. It’s the world of social structure, explored territory, and familiarity. The state of Order is typically portrayed, symbolically as masculine. It is the Wise King and the Tyrant, forever bound together, as society is simultaneously structure and oppression.
Chaos, by contrast, is where—or when—something unexpected happens. Chaos emerges in trivial form when you tell a joke at a party with people you think you know and a silent and embarrassing chill falls over the gathering. Chaos is what emerges, more catastrophically, when you suddenly find yourself without employment, or are horribly betrayed by your spouse. Writing this I thought of the chronic CHAOS I have seen in those in Law Enforcement marriages.
Dr. Jordan Peterson, clinical psychologist, professor from University of Toronto and author of “12 Rules for Life, An Antidote to Chaos” has set himself the task of making general, but true claims about what happens – and what ought to happen – between the bookends of birth and death.
Peterson’s goal, however, is more abstract. As he states in an interview, the real problem is the fact that people have problems. Recently three Chicago Police Officers committed suicide while ON DUTY. Yes, after reading this book and watching several of his Youtube video lectures, I am reminded how we must all work daily to improve ourselves. Now more than ever, we must find to to improve –by being who we ought to be!
Dr. Peterson’s mission as a clinician is to make peoples’ lives better one minute, one hour, and one day at a time. There are countless officers currnetly suffering chaos in their lives.
Dr. Peterson speaks about doing the little things well daily. He speaks about how erratic sleeping and eating can interfere with healthy function. Sound familiar? Uncertainty can throw us for a loop. The body, with its various parts, needs to harmonize like a well-rehearsed orchestra. Every system must play its part properly, exactly the right time, or noise and chaos ensue.
It is for this, he states often that routine is so necessary. The acts of life we repeat every day must be automated. They must be turned into stable and reliable habits, so they lose their complexity gaining predictability and simplicity. This can be seen most clearly with small children, who are delightful, comical and playful when their sleeping and eating schedules are stable, and horrible and whiny and nasty when they are not.
Does this nasty behavior remind you of anyone at roll call?
LAW ENFORCEMENT CHAOS
The lives of those in Law Enforcement are so chaotic that many times we only can react to issues as they come without really taking the time to analyze our steps and to plan a strategy that will give us lasting benefits.
Consider Dr. Peterson’s 12 simple rules to work on bettering yourself:
1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
2. Treat yourself like you would someone whom you are responsible for helping.
3. Make friends with people who want the best for you.
4. Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today.
5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world.
7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).
8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie.
9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t.
10. Be precise in your speech.
11. Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding
12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
There are many systems of interaction between brain, body and social world that can get caught in CHAOTIC feedback loops. These loops can turn officers into misanthropic peons feeling useless and burdensome, as well as grief-stricken and pained.
How many officers do we know that are withdrawn from contact with friends and family? The withdrawal makes them more lonesome, isolated, and more apt to feel useless moving them to withdraw more. In this manner, depression spirals and amplifies.
We wonder why so many of our brothers and sister are committing suicide?
Peterson explains, “Blaming others for your problems is a waste of time. When you do that, you don’t learn anything. You can’t grow, and you can’t mature. Thus, you can’t make your life better.” He adds, “You can’t change other people, but you can change yourself.
It is difficult and takes courage and discipline to change. It is much easier, and initially more gratifying to blame someone else for your misery.”
When some of us get too caught up in the everyday temptations of life, we struggle to get back on track. Order brings solace in a world of chaos and offers a quiet time for us to leave the stress of our lives. It provides time to build a relationship with the Master of the Universe. We need to create order in whatever way we know, and believe in ourselves even in our darkest moments of self doubt.
Dr. Peterson notes that there is no easy solution, but taking practical steps to change is a good way to start. “Start small,” he advises. “Ask yourself a few questions: Have you taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to you? Are you working to your fullest capacity tp be your best self at home and at work? In other words, set your house in order!”
At the bottom line, it’s all about saving just ONE life.
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