© 2023 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Perspective: Order & Chaos

Daniele Levis Pelusi

While I’m more conflict avoidant than I like, I wonder about those on the opposite end of the spectrum. People who run towards conflict or create it where it doesn’t exist.

There’s a scale designed to assess this trait. The “Need for Chaos” scale measures the desire for chaos and destruction. High scorers believe the only fix for society is to burn it all to the ground. Chaos chasers are driven by loneliness and rejection in their quest for power and status and they believe burning it all down will offer these up.

There’s an old Coca-Cola commercial showing a diverse group of people sitting outside in the dark, each holding a lighted candle. The scene evoked a warm sense of community and acceptance back in the 70s when diversity and inclusion were being strived for, not rejected as woke.

Now, envision each candle a powder keg, held by someone who had never felt they fit in or belonged to a larger community. But as their neighbor leans over to light their fuse, there’s a feeling of being seen, heard, and valued for what they bring to the group.

Relationships and belonging are essential survival tools and society’s glue. There’s an intense hunger for acceptance held by those on the fringes – and a deep satisfaction when like meets like. It’s not hard to picture the potential for chaos of a collective fueled by years of marginalization and rejection.

But instead of spending time gawking at the chaos creators, anarchists, and villains wondering “what made them that way,” we need to start asking “what can be done to keep people from turning out that way?” and doing it.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and that’s my perspective.

Chair and Professor - NIU counseling and higher education