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Are You Muddled Or Perfect?

From Gregory Bateson's book Steps to an Ecology of Mind.

One day she approached him and asked an interesting question: "Daddy, how come things get muddled so easily?"
He asked her, "What do you mean by 'muddled,' honey?"
She said, "You know, Daddy. When things aren't perfect. Look at my desk right now. Stuff is all over the place. It's muddled. And just last night I worked so hard to make it perfect. But things don't stay perfect.
They get muddled so easily!"
Bateson asked his daughter, "Show me what it's like when things are perfect." She responded by moving everything on her shelf into individually assigned positions and said, "There, Daddy, now it's perfect. But it won't stay that way."
Bateson asked her, "What if I move your paint box over here twelve inches? Then what happens?"
She said, "No, Daddy, now it's muddled. Anyway, it would have to be straight, not all crooked the way you put it down."
Then he asked her, "What if I moved your pencil from this spot to the next one?"
"Now you're making it muddled again," she responded.
"What if this book were left partially open?" he continued.
"That's muddled, too!" she replied.
Bateson turned to his daughter and said, "Honey, it's not that things get muddled so easily. It's that you have more ways for things to get muddled. You have only one way for things to be perfect."
Fluffypanda Fluffypanda 18-21, M Aug 19, 2011

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