This passage, also from Happiness by Theodore Zeldin, strikes a chord with me.
“A library was a place that suggested the most perfect order, with every book allotted its exact place, and a record kept of its every movement, in and out, and yet a library eventually converts its readers to the view that the world is not in perfect order at all, that most things are increasingly difficult to understand, that no two books ever quite agree; it seemed designed to be a polite hint that the god Chaos is still very present in the universe, unveiling new forms of chaos all the time. ….visitors who spent long enough in her library would become connoisseurs of misunderstandings, not just of authors and readers misunderstanding each other, but of the universal dither, of how people changed their minds about what they meant, of how words were used in ways no one could make sense of….a library was very far from being a place where nothing happened, for in it the world was rearranged a million ways; rigidities dissolved, and reformed and dissolved again; a library was a great mountain of lies as well of truth.”
A thought that occurs to me reading this is whether the universe is perfectly designed or not. On the one hand a beautiful order seems evident, especially in nature, while on the other hand everything seems to be in (or tends toward) chaos. The reason I bring this up is I’m wondering whether markets and politics are trending toward chaos or order at the moment. At a first glance chaos seems to be in the ascendant.