The Cosmos in the Chaos


“In all chaos, there is a cosmos. In all disorder, a secret order.”

                                                                                       — Carl Jung

Ever since I saw this video of salt responding to changes in vibration and sound frequency, I’ve been mulling over how chaos wants to be art.

Salt is randomly spread by a salt shaker on a flat, black surface and subjected to different sounds and vibrations. After each round of sound and vibration, the salt shape-shifts into distinct, repeating patterns. It’s exquisite and mind-boggling. Worth a look.

I believe that writing, which is a physical activity, shakes the ‘salt’ loose inside of us. Fingertips to keys or hands moving across a page in a constant rhythm – in combination with concentrated thought – invites energy, frequency and vibration, the three elements from the Tesla quote from the video.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe,” Tesla wrote, “think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

This is the added beauty in writing personal narrative. We aren’t only making art from life, we open up the channels for personal discovery. The secrets of our own universes. Out of the chaos of experience.

It’s not only true about the written arts. The photograph below is a close up of frost on a window in the second floor of my house. See the patterning?

winter frost window

In the photograph below,  ivy vines take a pleasing shape on another upstairs window.

summer window

In the photograph at the top of this post, a leaf that fell onto a Chicago street brings out the pattern in the concrete.

We think of falling, freezing and growing as random acts. Organic to life itself. But there can be, as Tesla wrote, a secret order in the disorder. An entire cosmos to discover in the chaos.

A reason, if you needed one, to sit down and write.

Window photographs by Ellen Blum Barish. Street photograph by Gary Lang.