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In matters of order, as in the matters of work or time-management, we tend to think of the immediate and most material aspects, without considering the basic principles involved. When we hear someone speak of order, for example, we immediately think of punctuality, or of our closet, or perhaps even of the consequences of a breakdown of authority in the family or in government. The papers on our desk may come to mind, or the way our tools, toys, bottles, or books are arranged. But this material and utilitarian aspect of order is not, or should not be, an autonomous principle or end in itself. Rather, it should be a consequence of a more fundamental order connected with the Eternal Law. When this is not the case, order —which should really be a means of promoting the happiness of oneself and others as well as contributing to both the beauty and harmony of the world—can become a tyrannical, personal mania, making life difficult for both those who suffer from it and those around them. Material order should not enslave us as the most important of our interests. But we should not disregard order either, lest our lives, surroundings, and activities be characterized by confusion and anarchy. Order may or may not be defined as a virtue; but either way it entails a virtuous way of acting, for not unlike the moral virtues, it is found in a just mean.
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