Category Archives: Order vs. Entropy

Binary States

Old programmer’s joke:

There are 10 kinds of people–those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

Falling into binary thinking is often a fallacy–namely, that of the false dichotomy. But there are things that genuinely fall into one group or another. One example of these is views on acceptable conditions for beds.

Made:

made

Unmade:

unmade

There are advantages to each.

A made bed soothes the anxiety of people suffering from OCD. Making a bed restores order to sheets and blankets dispersed during the process of sleeping–something that must be done before going to bed again. Doing so also fulfills a Kantian sense of duty.

By contrast, leaving things as they are is something Italians do–at least according to someone I knew a while ago. The purpose is to let the mattress and sheets air out before reuse. Letting things lie also saves time at the start of day, pushing off until tomorrow (or later on, anyway) what doesn’t need to be done immediately. And as long as there are enough covers to pass the sleeping comfortably, who needs aligned bedclothes anyway? (OCD people.)

Like many a poem by Robert Frost, there are two answers, and both have their merits. Which is the right one?

Whichever one you’re having to say, “yes, dear,” to.

Yes, dear.