5 Ways a Leap into Chaos can Improve your Life

“Courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfortable for the uncomfortable, arduous pilgrimage to some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is gambling, but only the gamblers know what life is.” ~ Osho

We all have that itch. The itch for adventure. Most of us ignore it. The so called “real world” keeps us from taking anything resembling a leap of courage. Under the all-demanding pressure of Mother Culture, it’s better to stick with the known; to stay safe and sound in our typical conformist patterns.

But what exactly is the “real world?” What’s truly important? None of this is guaranteed. Our civilization is just an arbitrary agreement. Beneath all our rules and laws and petty squabbles, we’re stuck on a tiny planet hurtling through an unfathomably vast and ancient universe. Our lives are fleeting miracles caught up in a cascading series of accidents that just happen to go our way. And none of us has any idea what it’s all about.

As Iris Murdoch cryptically stated, “We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.”

That’s why the itch will always be there. We long for reality. We long for truth. We long for absolution. This feeling might dissipate over time. Eventually it will become but a suffocating flame inside an old, wrinkled heart. But it will always be there, hoping against hope, and double dog daring us to dare.

But what would happen if you decided to dare? What if you decided to take a leap into chaos? What would happen if you let it all go? I mean let everything go! The never-ending bills, the daily grinds, all the rats in the cage, the dustbin of domestication? What if you flipped it all the bird and took a leap?

Fear is what would happen. Chaos is what would happen. Things would fall apart. And there might be no going back to the way it was before. But maybe that would be for the best. Then again, and this is the real kick in the teeth, maybe it would be for the worst. Life’s a risk, after all, and taking a leap into chaos is one of the greatest risks known to man. It’s one of the scariest things a person can do. 

So, you must ask yourself, will love conquer fear or will fear conquer love? If your longing is powerful enough it would be a shame to allow fear to get the better of you. Better to risk fear than to regret love, passion, longing, or adventure. As Victoria Erickson advised, “I choose love over fear, always. I’d rather burn in the fire after touching something true than not feel anything.”

1.) Lachesism:

“Security is a false God. Begin to make sacrifices to it and you are lost.” ~ Paul Bowles

What is Lachesism? Lachesism (n): A paradoxical desire for chaos and disaster such that life is thereafter more poignant, exciting, and adventurous. A longing for the clarity of disaster. Etymology: Greek, from Lachesis, “the disposer of lots.” Lachesis is the name of the second of the three fates in Ancient Greek mythology.

You’ve had this strange desire for disaster. We all have. A yearning for Armageddon. For Apocalypse. For a Great Reset. You stare into the storm and a part of you dreams, what if this is the storm that finally washes everything away? What if this is the real deal? What would happen if civilization collapsed? What would happen if the zombie apocalypse was finally made manifest? 

But then the storm passes, and all you’re left with is a glaring metaphor. You turn back into the “real world” face-to-face with the real zombies. Status quo junkies living half-lived lives, gazing stupefied into phones, staring blankly over counters, feeding each other Big Macs and Twitter messages, and grudgingly keeping the cogs of the clockwork churning for the almighty man machine. And you realize that you are just like them!

So, you can’t help but wonder what would happen if it all went to shit. What if you just let it all go, let the chips fall where they may? What would you discover about yourself? Is there courage hidden beneath all that fear? Is there fortitude? Is there a robust character just waiting for a challenge?

Which is what it really comes down to—a challenge. Your lachesism is a longing for challenge. It’s a lust for survival. It’s a hunger for novelty and change. It’s a primordial urge towards a sharpening of the soul. These are not things readily available in the so-called real world. There’s no sharpening of the soul in a dull world. There’s no challenge in domestic bliss. No trial and tribulation in comfort zones. There’s no surviving a zombie apocalypse when you’re the zombie. 

Lachesism: Longing for the Clarity of Disaster

Hence your dreamy lachesism, your strange desire for collapse. But there is a sacred stillness at the bottom of hitting rock bottom. At your lowest point, caught between dashed expectations and gross misinterpretations, between past mistakes and uncertain futures, there is a secret voice convincing you that you can begin anew. There’s finally something to overcome.

As Damian Lillard said, “Rock bottom will teach you lessons that mountain tops never will.”

2.) Inversion:

“The way up and the way down are one and the same.” ~ Heraclitus

A leap into chaos inverts the world. And there’s something to be said for inversion. It can lead to outside the box thinking. It can lead to profound creativity. It allows you to step outside your normal patterns of thought and see situations from a different angle. It counteracts cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias.

Inversion helps you realize just how much you don’t know. It teaches you how to consider the opposite side of things. How to think both forward and backward in the moment. 

Inversion flips reason. What we call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible onto something incomprehensible. Inversion reveals this. It shines a light on “the box” so you can finally see what you’ve always been trying to think your way out of. 

The secret to creative thinking is inverting the ordinary. And the secret to inverting the ordinary is a leap of courage into chaos, into the unknown, into the darkness. You’ll discover something that the “real world” can never teach you: You can learn just as much (if not more) from the darkness as you can from the light.

A leap into chaos is an opportunity to connect all the dots and finally see how everything is connected to everything else. It’s a chance to marry order to chaos, madness to mystery, mortality to lust. And it’s the only way to give birth to the Divine Child, the Primordial Unity, the lovechild of Shakti and Shiva.

3.) You’ll stretch your comfort zone:

“The comfortable life lowers man’s resistance, so that he sinks into an unheroic sloth.” ~ Colin Wilson

Leaps of courage will always be more important than comfort zones. Smooth sailing does not make seasoned sailors. Comfortable beds do not make fierce warriors. Soft times do not create strong men. You get the gist.

There’s a terrible joy in self-conquest that those idle and stuck inside tiny comfort zones will never know. For self-conquest cannot come from a place of comfort. Just as a muscle cannot grow stronger by lifting a feather. The muscle needs to be torn. Likewise, the self needs to be torn so that it can be put back together again as a stronger thing. That’s self-conquest. 

As Georgia O’Keeffe said, “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing—and keeping the unknown always beyond you.”

Your typical way of perceiving reality must be challenged. You must embrace discomfort. Otherwise, the walls of your comfort zone will keep you running in the same old dull patterns. And your unknown will always remain unknown.

Challenge those walls. Gain heroic mettle by going full-on boss-mode against everything you’ve taken for granted. Topple those neatly ordered walls into disordered adventure. To discover your unknown, you must take a leap of courage into the unknown.

As Marcus Aurelius said, “Stop drifting—sprint to the finish. Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.” 

Writing off your hopes is a leap into chaos. All your hopes and expectations are wrapped up in your tiny comfort zone. Write off your comfort, your security, your safety. Discover something powerful inside you.

The adventurer is the redeemer. For what must be redeemed is the Hero’s Journey itself, and it is redeemed from the trap of the so-called “real world.”

4.) The Hero’s Journey:

“The most spiritual men, as the strongest, find their happiness where others would find their destruction: in the labyrinth, in hardness against themselves and others, in experiments. Their joy is self-conquest.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

All our lives the bright lights of culture have been blinding us. Civilization has made us soft. Domestication has transformed our wolf heart into a preened puppy cuddled at the feet of Comfort. We’re weak and lazy overall, fearfully huddled in our status quo bliss, ignorant of the greater reality that surrounds us. 

Today’s Plato’s Cave is the blinding light of culture. A light that has been shining in our eyes for so long that we can no longer “see.” I mean really see. See how everything is connected to everything else. See how our ideals must die for our souls to fly. See how we need to break our heart open for the real light to get in. See how wisdom comes from the sacred wound caused by our leap into chaos. See how the mind of Everything holds the heart of Nothingness and the void of Nothingness holds the core of Everything.

But there is a way to break the cycle. There is a way to transform your boring life into something less boring. There is a way to come alive despite a culture that seems to want to keep you half-alive. 

You break the spell by looking at your life as a quest rather than a grind. There are three ways in particular to do this: The quest for adventure, the quest for truth, and the quest for beauty. Either way you must turn away from the grind. Divorce yourself from the rat race. Un-cog yourself from the clockwork. Trick yourself into going on a Hero’s Journey.  

You have a terrible choice to make. You either descend into the underworld—into your dreaded abyss, into your twisted labyrinth—with courage and honor, or you will be pulled into it at some unexpected time in the future, unprepared, naïve, and fragile. You either integrate your shadow and gain the potential for controlled chaos on your own terms by taking a leap into chaos, or your shadow will come out at some unexpected time in the future as disintegrated, violent, uncontrollable chaos. 

Either way, chaos will have its way. Taking the Hero’s Journey is a way of facing the chaos on your own terms. The Hero’s Journey becomes a whetstone. It’s a way of sharpening character. It’s a way of strengthening the muscle of the soul. 

As Joseph Campbell wisely surmised, “The modern hero must not wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding. ‘Live,’ Nietzsche says, ‘as though the day were here.’” 

Indeed. Campbell goes on further to say, “It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal––carries the cross of the redeemer.”

5.) You’ll be ahead of the curve:

“The very desire to be certain, to be secure, is the beginning of bondage. It’s only when the mind is not caught in the net of certainty, and is not seeking certainty, that it is in a state of discovery.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

When you take a leap into chaos and survive the ordeal, you come out of it transformed into a creature of nonattachment. You see with “Over Eyes.” You’re able to employ your mind as a mirror. You have no hangups. You receive but do not keep. You realize what is truly important.

You realize as Albert Camus did, that “the struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” And you understand that the heights matter less than the lows. It was the abyss that transformed you. It was chaos that molded you. It was your integrated shadow that gave you the courage to even begin to dare the heights. And all because you took the leap.

Chaos has taught you what to trust and what not to trust. Counterintuitively, it has formed you into a more ordered thing. A thing of precision and deep interrogation. A thing that can see through both illusion and delusion. 

You no longer trust answers, especially the people who sell them. You no longer have any faith in black and white thinking. You trust in dirt and bone and flowers. You trust in blood and honey and red wine. You insist on color. You insist on questions. You insist on the Truth Quest over the “truth.”

Your leap into chaos has taught you the power of seeking a beautiful death. You see how chaos is just as much a place for rebirth as for death. Thus, you are reborn. And you’re determined to stay awake. To remain ahead of the curve. To remain vibrant. To remain double edged.

You will be hard yet soft, firm yet adaptable, fierce yet kind. You will perform the paradox of being a human being forced to live in an absurd universe. But your arsenal is healthy. Your love is sharp. You will be a poet of chaos. You will be fully alive.

Image Source:
Art by Ashley Foreman with Seth McMahon and Jonathan Solter

Please share, it really helps! :) <3

Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

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