Dealing with Mess

Every profession deals with a certain type of mess. Doctors deal with the sick and injured, which creates an obvious type of messiness involving various bodily fluids. Sanitation workers deal with another obvious mess. Day care workers deal with the messiness of the pre-school child (both literally and figuratively). Civil engineers deal with messiness of transforming nature into civilization, transforming Rome from a city of mud to a city of marble as Marcus Agrippa did.  The chef deals with the messiness of transforming raw food into something to be eaten while the busboy cleans up the mess of the finished meal. Even accountants deal with the messiness of bureaucratic monetary shell games and the tax code, often dealing with paper receipts and ordering that into systematic data.

A few of us have the luxury of the ivory tower. Our messes are more abstract: turning the jumbled observable facts of the world into coherent theory, turning the jumbled and distracted minds of 19 year olds into ordered thinkers. But we still deal with chaos. Professors are still occasionally killed in the process.

The beauty of the market economy is that people have specialized jobs, so specialized that they can abstract almost everything that is not their job into a comparatively seamless service.