I seem to spend an increasing amount of time on the road these days, so it was with some excitement that i treated myself to a new travel bag: wheeled, to avoid carrying it when loaded with books, small enough to just manage a few days and, best of all, highly organisable. Yes, surprising as you may find it, i’m a highly organised traveller, and the best thing about Eagle Creek bags is their shared predilection for organisation. Each bag is filled with cubes, roles and folders to keep you organised, with everything in it’s place, ready to hand and ready to go. No surprises.
If only life were like that. Contrast my desk to my bag and you’d get a different sense altogether. Books piled high, often with magazines or printouts of articles used as bookmarks, like some kind of Russian doll filing system with knowledge inside of knowledge, stratified into an overall chronological representation of my diverse and divergent interests. Knowledge, it turns out, is far harder to organise than socks.
Sometimes i think organisations view learning like my bag: a space to control, to regiment, to tidy up. Everything in it’s place, everything lined up in serried ranks and stored on the LMS, everything reviewed, categorised and controlled. They tend not to like mess. And yet, the way we learn is messy: show me things, talk about things, play with things, pile them up and leave them for ten years. There’s something inherently chaotic about the ways we learn, as well as occasional fortuitous convergence.
Maybe we need to create space for a little chaos if we really want the creativity?