Antikondo: Orderliness is not the same as efficiency

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/11/18/higgeldy-piggeldy.html

6 Likes

Orderliness is not the same as efficiency

I’ll take orderliness over efficiency 5 out of 4 times.

6 Likes

I’ll admit that I’ve only been exposed to Marie Kondo via her Netflix series. I don’t think her philosophy is meant as a blue-print for all of life’s affairs and designs. So maybe it’s a bit unfair to frame it as anti-Kondoism? Someone correct me if I’m wrong and she views her approach as something that goes beyond our bedrooms.

Her approach also seems meant as a spiritual endeavour first; any gains (or losses) in efficiency are secondary. The goal is to come out the other end happier, not necessarily more efficient. It’s also not that prescriptive, at least from what I can tell. In Kondo’s philosophy there doesn’t seem to be a set level of orderliness that you need to achieve - only a level of orderliness that works for the individual.

Some people work best as minimalists, others need chaos. That is fine. It just seems that minimalists write essays bemoaning chaos while chaotics do the opposite rather than doing their best to meet the needs of the other.

7 Likes

If outsiders complain, but people living inside the system seem happy with it, it probably means that the chaos is serving them right, and that it’s just foreign eyes who are unable to perceive its underlying order.

This isn’t about what project planning software gets used at Uber is it? Cough cough Not stopping for unidentified objects in our cars path cough cough.

2 Likes

If you want to learn about the myriad benefits of disorder, you don’t need to read an essay written with ghastly MBA jargon by an Uber exec, you can just read holy scripture revealed in divine hippie jabber by the goddess of discord herself!

Hail Eris!

11 Likes

I have the yellow cover edition myself! There was something about hot dog buns, and, and… er… stuff.

All hail Discordia!

5 Likes

Just got to about the halfway point of “Seeing Like A State” and this point gets orought up in myriad ways. Most glaringly the high modernist hubris that “if we make cities/farms/apartments look orderly, then ipso facto they will become efficient”

A fantastic read: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300078152/seeing-state

1 Like

My wife and I are both unabashed, data drive, spreadsheet loving, efficiency geeks. Her office looks like it was hit by a tornado and my office looks like it hasn’t been used. To each their own.

6 Likes

Orderliness and efficiency often only look different because people aren’t used to the system. Case in point: the arrangement of the trays used to hold the type, back in the day when printing used moveable metal type and that type was selected and placed by hand. To someone who wasn’t used to working in a print shop, the arrangement of that tray made no sense whatever. To a printer, it was clear as glass and was extremely efficient. Another case in point: the mise en place, a restaurant chef’s arrangement of the items he uses most often. To a neophyte it may look entirely random but for someone with professional kitchen experience it’s exactly how it needs to be in order to minimize the time and motions needed.

8 Likes

And all too often, planners and even worse, bureaucrats, either forget or ignore the fact that “orderly” and “efficient” are NOT the same as “livable”.

2 Likes

Orderliness ≠ comfort.
Orderliness ≠ interesting.
Orderliness ≠ fun.
Orderliness ≠ joy.
Orderliness ≠ authentic.

5 Likes

Will someone please pass this message on to whoever keeps removing all the useful bits from every web page and app menu that I’ve been using happily for ten years, in the name of a ‘clean user interface’?

8 Likes

I think we all need a little dose of Disorderlies, the Fat Boys movie.

3 Likes

Lego, my friends. I don’t know about you, but during my own personal golden age of Lego (1990-95), any time spent sorting/organizing always exceeded simply scanning the arena (with an occasional hand stroke).

2 Likes

Pretty much, yes - and even more so as most people are somewhere in between minimalism and total chaos.

Me, for example, I’m a terribly messy person, but I do love minimalism (to a certain extent - “minimalist” web designs annoy me, but I love no-frills, to-the-point ones). Orderly, minimalist spaces have a calming effect on me, even though I’ll turn them into chaotic eventually because that’s just how I function. And even so, there’s a sort of arbitrary line where chaos becomes too much for me, not so much because it’s disorderly, but because just looking at the mess starts stressing me out. That’s when I start decluttering (not following any particular approaches or fads, just plain old tidying up) and paying attention to keeping things orderly… for a while.

Orderliness is not the same as efficiency

Anyone who disagrees has obviously never worked for the government.

1 Like

I’m very wary of any Chesterton’s Fence argument: “we’ve always done it this way.”

1 Like

On the other hand, for some permutation of individual I and situation S,
∃ Orderliness(I,S) : Orderliness(I,S) = comfort, etc.

1 Like

Hidden libertarian sentiments. His statement “When you use zoning to impose your arbitrary aesthetic upon people, you block them from shaping their environment so it fits their lives.” assumes the myth that people shape the urban environment to fit their needs. In reality the urban environment is mostly shaped by corporations to make money. Think low-income housing next to chemical plants. Urban planning is often flawed, but at its best it is answerable to elected officials who are responding to the people’s needs to shape their environment.

3 Likes

4 Likes