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Both Order and Chaos are Dangerous

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"To choose order over disorder, or disorder over order, is to accept a trip composed of both the creative and the destructive. But to choose the creative over the destructive is an all-creative trip composed of both order and disorder. To accomplish this, one need only accept creative disorder along with, and equal to, creative order, and also willing to reject destructive order as an undesirable equal to destructive disorder."

Order Versus Chaos is used as an alternative to good vs evil but oftentimes it gets simplified to Chaos Is Evil. In this case, Order Is Not Good either. Where Chaos has Bomb-Throwing Anarchists, Order has the Knight Templar. That's not to say that there are no good people on either side - but this trope is in effect whenever a good number of either sides are taking their "order" and "chaos" way too far. In this case, the work may present a third option in the form of Balance Between Order And Chaos.

The creators can present the two sides of the conflict as Dramatically Missing the Point, and the Good thing is to Take a Third Option, by balancing the two extremes. Too much "order" would result in a static and unchanging world. Too much "chaos" would destroy it.

This works out similar to Balance Between Good and Evil but with a crucial distinction. Namely, Good comes from the balance between the agents advocating conformity and the agents advocating individual choice, rather than some unspecified meaning of "balance". Creators can now use a Morality Kitchen Sink of characters in the conflict, as both sides believe their side is morally correct behaviour. Due to this, the story often is classified as Grey-and-Gray Morality.

See also:


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Psycho-Pass has the Sibyl System being Order and Shogo Makishima being Chaos. The Sibyl System has essentially removed almost all free will and individuality from society, and turned it into a "happier" version of Nineteen Eighty-Four where people have to be happy or calm, or else be arrested or killed just for thinking negatively once they step outside. Makishima despises the Sibyl System, and wants to free people from its control...but he also loves violence and the darker sides of humans, often finding ways to free people to commit the crimes they've imagined of but were forced to hide from the outside world in order to wonder about them. Oh, and Makishima also believes societal collapse is an admirable goal to work towards.
  • One Piece: Pirates and Knight Templar Marines are two kinds of this trope. Pirates that aren't the Straw-Hats tend to terrorize and pillage, which is characteristic of them. However, some marines go to extreme measures to take down pirates and other criminals who go against justice. And they sometimes don't care if innocents get caught in the crossfire, either coming up with an arbitrary reason to convince others they were "guilty" or considering it a necessary sacrifice for "justice".
  • Rurouni Kenshin: It's hard to say which side is better between the Isshin-Shishi and Shogunate. While the former group initially portrayed as freedom fighting, various characters such as Sanosuke note that power has only changed hands. Shishio seems to be a product of this. The Shogunate, wanting to maintain their order, opposed the Isshin-Shishi and their tendencies show with Knight Templar Saitou.
  • Soul Eater: For a while, the series firmly held the stance Chaos Is Evil with the existence of Kishins and Witches with their Pull of Magic. Then, as the later chapters are published, everything grays. When Death the Kid is trapped in the Book of Eibon, the Great Old One of Power gifts him with... power. Kid, as a Shinigami, represents "Order" and when he temporarily goes mad, he takes it to the extreme, believing nothingness to be the ultimate form of balance and order. Later on, it's revealed the Madness of Order, which Shinigami like him and Lord Death have, has the potential to create a mechanical cycle of life and death in humans.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: The main characters are Sociopathic Heroes who cause wanton destruction wherever they go, while the Demon Sisters, their rivals, are obsessed with rules and order, wear military-looking uniforms, and are enforcers to the Big Bad, who runs the city as its mayor and looks to Take Over the World. It is worth noting that Panty and Stocking have explicitly been exiled from Heaven, so while Heaven as a whole does espouse freedom, these two were apparently taking it too far.
  • Dragons in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid tend to be members of one of three major factions: The "Order" faction who serve the gods, the "Chaos" faction who seek to overthrow the gods, and the "Spectator" faction who want nothing to do with the overall Order Versus Chaos war. Within the Order faction are dragons who go out of their ways to cause strife among the humans, such as by demanding Human Sacrifices to solve problems they could easily amend, others who abuse human laws to make themselves revered as gods, some who just want the excuse to lawfully kill Chaos dragons, and some who are borderline Lawful Stupid. Dragons in the Chaos faction include Knights Templar who think that Humans Are the Real Monsters who kill their friends and family, many who object to humans labeling dragons as Always Chaotic Evil, Social Darwinists who think that dragons are never morally fallible as long as they can kill anyone who tries to stop them, and many who are simply evil.

    Comic Books 
  • From The DCU:
    • Prominent villains Lex Luthor and Joker embody these opposite extremes. Lex seeks to stand above humanity and control them like a God, while Joker is completely chaotic and does whatever he wants. Though funnily enough the pair manage to maintain a solid professional relationship. Sure, they insult, undermine and backstab each other a lot but that's the nature of the job.
    • There's also the Lords of Order and Chaos, opposite ends of a Blue-and-Orange Morality scale who all consider themselves Above Good and Evil and have little regard for humanity compared to their views on how the world should operate. Both sides have empowered and antagonized both heroes and villains.
    • The Sandman (1989): Representatives from both Order and Chaos show up to try to claim Hell after Lucifer decides that he's done managing Hell and it's time to move on with his life. Neither comes off as better than the other: Order seems to suffer from quite a case of Creative Sterility, has mindless slaves, and wants to take over Hell and make into a "more efficient" realm, while the representative from Chaos incarnates as a psychopathic brat who threatens Dream with eternal war should he turn Hell over to anyone else, and later reveals that Chaos never really wanted Hell, but simply wanted to prevent Order from getting it. Both are surprisingly Graceful Losers though, when Dream doesn't give Hell to either of them, albeit in different ways and for different reasons.
  • PS238: When the forces of Chaos and Order (resembling demons and angels) find a way back to the earth they were barred from, they turn superheroes against their own children.
  • From Marvel Comics:
    • The Ultimates (2015) casts both Order and Chaos as antagonists (with Order in the driver's seat). They both disapprove of Galactus' transformation into the "Lifebringer" and try to forcibly revert him to the status quo, kill the Living Tribunal and try to take over creation to create an insanely oppressive new universal order, playing into the hands of the comic's true Big Bad.
    • Runaways: In the "Dead End Kids" arc, the team gets sent back in time to 1907, and finds themselves in the middle of a gang war between the Upward Path, who represent legal and religious authority, and the Sinners, who represent the various vices. The Runaways quickly realize that neither group would make good allies.
    • The Saga of Crystar, Crystal Warrior pitted Crystar's forces representing Order against his brother's Magma Men representing Chaos, with their uncle playing balance by keeping either of them from claiming the throne until they've reconciled. Crystar's the hero, while Moltar's an Anti-Villain, but despite both being generally reasonable guys, they refuse to settle their differences in any way besides attempting to kill one another.

    Fan Works 
  • Wheller presents us with Prince Zephyr / Overdrive, representing Order, and Prince Maelstrom / the "Siblings Nightmare" (it's complicated), representing Chaos. Even as Overdrive in the present, Zephyr imagines his ideal world as a machine, with all the sapient creatures in it (such as Ponies, for example) as cogs, incapable of free will and thus rebellion, and himself as the operator of the machine; while Maelstrom is a Type-5 Social Darwinist whose Chaos is intended to induce Strife which culls/subjugates the weak and allows the strong to prosper. Both of them oppose Discord, their transformed father (as well as Celestia's and Luna's this time around, but that's too wide a tangent for this page) after his wife dies and he goes mad with grief, Maelstrom for the reasons above, and Zephyr because he's Order and Discord is Chaos. Both are eventually removed for a thousand years, Zephyr in the bodies of Monty Uhlan's family down to Monty himself, at some point taking the name "Overdrive" for some reason, and Maelstrom... somehow... splits into three as the Siblings Nightmare, who are all male (told you it was complicated), and both brothers become the first two Big Bads of Wheller's stories.
  • In the Gravity Falls prequel fanfic Flat Dreams, Bill Cipher is originally from The Second Dimension- a rigidly controlled, monochrome patriarchy with a strict caste system (inspired by Flatland). When Bill takes over he turns it into a chaotic nightmare hellscape.
  • Sincere Deceit: The Serpent/Abram is Chaos, as he is the source of The Corruption turning the denizens of the world into mindless, grotesque monsters destroying the world out of a desire for vengeance. God/Zaphkiel is Order, and wants to eradicate the Corruption only to turn the world into a "paradise" where he and his Corrupt Church have destroyed individuality via an Assimilation Plot. You can choose to obey either of them, and you have no choice but to obey at least one for most of the game, but a few endings are unlocked by rejecting both of them in the endgame, and they are generally portrayed as the best endings.

  • This is the theme of Demolition Man: A cop is brought from the past to enforce order but quickly shows everyone that strict order can be just as evil as absolute chaos. Simon Phoenix, an Ax-Crazy and chaotic warlord who loves being evil and terrorizing people, and Dr. Raymond Cocteau, the founder of San Angeles who uses order to repress anything that might offend any of his citizens (including bodily contact and swearing), are both portrayed as evil. In the end, the two moderate leaders that represent chaos and order — Scrap leader Egdar Friendly and Chief George Earle — find they have to negotiate with each other in order to find a good balance.
  • In The LEGO Movie, Lord/President Business represents Order to a fault, wanting to keep all of the Lego realms separate and freeze them in place with the Kraggle so that their "perfection" can never be altered. Cloud Cuckoo Land, a place with no rules, is initially presented as a preferable alternative, but main character Emmet ultimately finds a lot to admire in Lord Business' ambition and meticulous attention to detail mirroring Finn's reconciliation with his father. At the end, a more threatening personification of Chaos invades: the Duplo Planet aka Finn's younger sister.

  • In Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion sagas, it ultimately does not matter if the Champion serves Chaos or Law. In the end, every manifestation of the Champion - and the Eternal Enemy - discovers his purpose is to maintain the Balance, a state lying beyond Chaos and Law, two states which in their absolute form only bring sterility and barren endings. And in less extreme forms, both excess Law and excess Chaos make for unpleasant societies, with the former leading to oppressive totalitarianism and the latter brutal lawlessness. The champion Corum goes one further - he is the unwitting servant of the Great Old Ones, who physically destroy all the Gods of chaos and law, demonstrating that Mankind doesn't need them and must make its own way.
  • In the 5 books focusing on Merlin in The Chronicles of Amber, both the Pattern (the symbol of order) and its chaos counterpart the Logrus turn out to be sentient. They're both cold, inhuman forces willing to use the lives of its initiates like chess pieces as they try to win their battles with each other. The second pattern that Corwin created has far more empathy for human life, however.
  • In The Adversary Cycle this is done in a manner somewhat similar to Black-and-Gray Morality. Chaos wants to destroy all indigenous life on Earth To Create a Playground for Evil. Order opposes chaos... purely to win some unknown, possibly galaxy or universe wide conflict between the two, and doesn't give much of a crap about living creatures, including its own champion. But while order may ignore humanity and not lift a finger to help it unless chaos is involved, at least it's not looking to snuff it out either.
  • The two masterminds behind Westerosi politics in A Song of Ice and Fire. Lord Varys represents order, and his goals are restoring order to the Seven Kingdoms by this, he means undoing Robert's revolution and returning the old dynasty to the throne. Lord "Littlefinger" Baelish represents chaos, and his goals are fomenting unrest and civil war and raising himself in society. Both are lethally dangerous, especially if your TV series counterpart is played by Sean Bean.
  • In Discworld, the ultimate representatives of order and chaos (the Auditors of Reality and the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions respectively) are both menaces whose victory would destroy the Disc. The Auditors deliberately try to destroy life and especially intelligence because it's bizarrely unpredictable and messes up their filing, whereas the Things are simply too much crazy for the universe to contain.
  • In the Dragon Knight books, the Dark Powers' constant goal is to tip the balance between the forces of History and Chaos, in either direction. The success of History would result in complete societal (and possibly temporal) stasis, while the victory of Chaos would shatter all authority and stability and leave the world a kaleidoscope of terror.
  • Honor Harrington has the two main villains of the People's Republic of Haven and the Solarian League. The PRH didn't set out to be chaotic, but its constant disruption of leadership, ever more extreme ideology and habit of destroying anything that smells like tradition puts them firmly there. Meanwhile, the League's attempt to create a harmless legislature more or less did just that, but also resulted in a Vast Bureaucracy answerable to no one holding all real power instead. By the time of the story, the League has become hideously corrupt, fuels itself by economically plundering frontier worlds, and is widely considered to be immovable and unstoppable.
  • In The Lost Fleet, Geary comes to the conclusion that both extremes are dangerous to the user. The Alliance's old way of a fleet of unorganized lone wolves was plainly idiotic, but the perfect hierarchical order of the "bear-cows" they encounter later is little better because it eliminates all initiative, so they can never have any ideas better than the herd-leader's.
    Too much discipline and too little discipline were two sides of the same disastrous coin, which could only purchase defeat.
  • In The Invisible Library and sequels, dimensions dominated by the Fae are maddeningly unpredictable worlds run on personal whim and the Theory of Narrative Causality, while those controlled by the Dragons are rigidly physical places where nothing happens except because a dragon king has decreed it. The role of the Library is to maintain the worlds in the middle, where humans get to be something other than supporting cast, and stop the Fae or the Dragons getting too much power. It's also mentioned that high-chaos and high-order worlds affect the Language, the not-magic that give Librarians limited Reality Warper powers - in highly ordered worlds everything resists being told it's something other than it is, whereas in chaotic worlds everything is all too eager to change its nature and the problem is maintaining control. Both use more energy than in balanced worlds; in the orderly ones you have to push, and in the chaotic ones you get pulled.
  • In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, Ruin (chaos) left to his own devices would smash the universe back down to its component atoms, while Preservation (order) left to his own devices would freeze everything into a state of immobile perfection. Neither state would be hospitable to life as we know it, though Preservation generally gets to fill the "good" niche more closely by virtue of being less powerful, and therefore less likely to achieve his goals (and acts as a counterbalancing force against Ruin, who is very close to achieving his goals). The series ends with both gods dying and their powers being fused into a new being, Harmony, who can hold both forces in balance and make use of both as needed.
  • A major theme of Prophecy Approved Companion:
    • Each elemental temple invites the player to make a choice between two competing sides, each aligned with either the Exiled Princess (order) or Exiled Prince (chaos), but either way, the loser is getting a raw deal. Naturally, he's chaotic enough to Take a Third Option and claim both sets of rewards.
    • The Shadow Temple manifests a dark copy of the player, who is supposed to play on his insecurities, including chastising him for whichever path he took. Sadly, the effectiveness of the speech is rather diminished by hearing both the order and chaos dialogue at the same time; the player bursts out laughing.
  • Morgoth from Tolkien's Legendarium caused all evil, in all its forms, in Arda. He was motivated by a desire for sheer control over all the beings and the destinies of Arda. What he couldn't control, he would destroy by sowing in chaos and discord, so Tolkien showed the danger within both philosophies. In counterpoint, the forces of good in Tolkien's worlds sometimes work by order— in loyalty and tradition, and by faith in Illuvatar's plan— and sometimes by chaos—free will, change, and courage.
  • The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign has several examples.
    • The world of summoning is split between three factions; Freedom (a catchall term for individuals going it alone), Government, and Illegal. All of them have heroes working to mitigate their faction's worst excesses- such as Government's secret slave industry and Illegal's war criminals- and all of them had elites directly involved in the Garden assassination that made the world so much worse. Basically, each faction has so many different members that it can't be judged morally.
    • The main conflict is between the White Queen, who wants to brutally massacre anyone who gets in the way of her 'love', and Kyousuke, who tried to eliminate the Queen's ability to feel love entirely, because it presented such a danger to the majority. Eventually a Freedom summoner makes them come to a compromise that doesn't involve violence or brainwashing.
  • The central conflict of Star Wars: Bloodline revolves around the battle between two factions of the New Republic Senate - Populists, like Leia, who want to keep power in the hands of individual worlds to prevent the rise of another Empire, and Centrists, who want a stronger central government. As Ransolm Casterfo, a young Centrist that Leia befriends, points out, what it all boils down to is that Leia and her generation grew up fighting an authoritarian government, and fear the rise of another one, which is valid. But the lack of any centralised authority in the New Republic has allowed the two factions to deadlock the entire government so that nothing is getting done, and allowed the First Order to rise. A stronger central authority - like a constitutional monarchy, which he's in favor of - could force reforms through, but it also runs the risk of letting another Palpatine come to power down the line.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Babylon 5 the Vorlons, representing Order, and the Shadows, representing Chaos, have been fighting a war for millennia and manipulating younger races into acting as their proxies. The series' Myth Arc concludes with the Babylon 5 races collectively telling them to take their war and stick it where the sun don't shine, refusing to fight for them anymore.
    Sheridan: It doesn't matter which side wins this today. A thousand years from now, it'll start all over again. You're as trapped in this cycle as much as we are. But we can't afford it anymore. We don't need it. We don't need you! We've learned how to stand on our own. We'll make mistakes, but they'll be our mistakes, not yours! ... We refuse to take sides in this anymore. And we refuse to let you turn us against one another! We know who we are now. We can find our own way between order and chaos. ... It's over because we’ve decided it's over! Now get the hell out of our galaxy! Both of you!
  • Firefly and Serenity end up implying this as a sort of Accidental Aesop. In the Core Worlds people are prosperous and live in relative luxury, at the cost of the Alliance controlling everything and being able to do virtually anything they can remotely justify—like experimenting on teenage girls and using an entire planet as guinea pigs in a social engineering experiment Gone Horribly Wrong. On the Rim the Alliance has little presence. Life is much harder and more anarchic, but you can always look your enemy in the eye and settle things the old-fashioned way. The argument seems to be that a healthy society needs both, where the strengths of each mitigates the flaws of the other.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • At least hypothetically this is why Yin and Yang must be balanced according to several East Asian philosophies like Taoism. Yin is darkness and chaos, but also water and instropection, while Yang is light and order but also aggression and fire. Excess in either direction is responsible for all manner of ills from diseases to social problems. In practise, this has been used to justify some unpleasant aspects of China's history like gender roles.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer:
    • The setting has Gods of Law as well as the more infamous Chaos Gods. But they're not particularly popular in setting (and thus less powerful) because even The Empire considers them a bit extreme.
    • One Well-Intentioned Extremist vampire count tried to turn humans undead, which would free them from the influence of Chaos once and for all.
    • The Slann, giant frog-like servants of the Old Ones (who planted life on the world and opposed Chaos) to their best to follow their disappeared master's plans. Unfortunately, while they're the best chance the world has against Chaos, their morality is so far removed from human's they sometimes do more harm than good (rearranging some mountain ranges, which completely destroyed the Dwarf empire inside).
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • This time there's the forces of Chaos and the Necrons. The Chaos gods need life to exist, manifesting in disease, mutation, rape and mass murder. The Necrons are trying to destroy Chaos by annihilating all sentient life in the galaxy.
    • The Imperium represents Order in that despite the ever worsening decay, they refuse to change in any way. The Machine Worship cult that services their machinery forbids any form of experimentation (to them all knowledge was once held by mankind, and must now be found rather than discovered) and unknowingly worship one of the Necron's gods.
    • The Eldar, Space Elves who have their own vendetta against the forces of Chaos and also represent (to a degree) the force of Order. However, they are incredibly elitist with prejudices against almost every other race out there for being inferior to them and are so dogmatic that they'll only listen to their own kind. But whereas the Imperium demonstrates a manifest destiny to conquer the universe at all costs, the Eldar are on an increasingly rapid descent from the greatness they once held (That is, until they brought about Slaanesh with their own depravity) and constantly struggle to survive.
  • Players of Dungeons & Dragons has a... considerable history with this trope.
    • This is the original definition of the True Neutral alignment; somebody who sees Law, Chaos, Good and Evil as all being equally dangerous, and thusly works to keep all of these forces in check. In practice, this tended to come across as Stupid Neutral, and so the alignment's definition was reworked.
    • In the Greyhawk setting, this is the belief of the iconic character Mordenkainen, who founded the Circle of Eight in an effort to influence the world by balancing out the forces of Law, Chaos, Good and Evil.
    • Being set in The Multiverse of Dungeons & Dragons, Planescape makes use of this trope in several ways.
      • Both Law and Chaos-based factions are shown in extreme negative lights: on the Chaos side, the Revolutionary League (aptly nicknamed "The Anarchists") embody Chaos as pointlessly rebellious and destructive, whilst the Xaositects are whimsical to the point of insanity. On the Law side, the Harmonium are brutally repressive Knight Templars who believe in The Evils of Free Will, the Fraternity of Order are elitist Obstructive Bureaucrats, and the Mercykillers are brutally savage justice freaks.
      • The races that embody the alignments of Lawful Neutral (Modrons) and Chaotic Neutral (Slaadi) are both portrayed in a negative light; Modrons are mind-numbingly bureaucratic and just as destructive as the violently insane and impulse-driven Slaadi.
      • The Rilmani, as embodiments of True Neutral, naturally are motivated by their belief in this.
  • The Druids of Iron Kingdoms believe if chaos or order gets too powerful, the god of the other side will destroy the material world to stop the other from drawing power for their endless battle. Currently they are spreading chaos because the rule of civilisation and law has become too strong.
  • In the Old World of Darkness, especially Werewolf: the Apocalypse, the balance was between three different forces, the Wyld (creative chaos), the Weaver (order and stasis), and the Wyrm (destruction and corruption). Although the Wyrm usually came off the worst of the three, the game repeatedly tried to hammer home that none of the three should "win" because that would end the world.

     Video Games  

  • In Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat: Deception introduces the realms of Orderrealm and Chaosrealm to the greater cosmology of the series. Orderrealm's characters consist of Hotaru, a Knight Templar who aids the Big Bad, Onaga; Darius, a man rebelling against Orderrealm's establishment who set up the deaths of Dairou's family to get turn him against the Seidan Guard; and Dairou himself, a Hired Gun who is said to take jobs no matter how inhumane they are. From Chaosrealm, there is Havik, a Cleric of Chaos who managed to help get Kabal back into the Black Dragon after he tried to reform, goes and aids Shao Kahn in his Deception ending, and is part of the Forces of Darkness in Armageddon.
    • This is to say nothing of the Elder Gods, who have shown their share of questionable behavior, such as reviving Scorpion's clan as undead beings after fighting against Onaga in Deception.
    • A more perverted version of this is the backbone of the entire series' plot, as revealed in Mortal Kombat 11. While "order" and "chaos" tend to oscillate between them, on one side is the Elder Goddess of Life, Cetrion, and on the other is the former Elder God of Death, Shinnok. Both of them have been at each other's throats since the original dawn of time, and the living of Earthrealm and Outworld have always fought the undead and demonic forces of the Netherrealm. So why's it perverted? As it turns out, both deities are complicit in sustaining this war, with Shinnok going full-bore into assaulting the realms with his forces whenever he is able and Cetrion only doing the bare minimum to ensure that Shinnok is brought down. Even worse is that both of them are doing this at the behest of the greater mastermind — their mother, the Keeper of Time, Kronika, who seeks to perpetuate this conflict as part of her twisted sense of balance in the cosmos. Kronika only ever really worked behind the scenes to ensure that this balance is sustained by any means necessary, but when Raiden permanently incapacitates Shinnok at the end of Mortal Kombat X, Kronika takes direct action for the first time.
  • The Voidsent and Sin Eaters in Final Fantasy XIV are two faces of the same coin: they're both normal creatures that were mutated by an abnormal amounts of Dark and Light-aspected aether respectively, and both are very hungry for living beings; however, Dark and Light represent Activity (Chaos) and Stagnation (Order). The Voidsent are intelligent schemers with an ever-shifting hierarchy, as well as being able to make Faustian deals with mortals to exit the Void. The Sin Eaters are unintelligent, have a strict power-based hierarchy and their version of 'order' is a completely blank world of everlasting light.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • The game has lawful vs chaotic alignments. The lawful alignment represents God, order, and security, and the chaotic alignment represents Lucifer, freedom, and war. At their extremes lawful characters want an elitist dictatorship ruled by God, with the few judged worthy of being alive under its rule doing nothing but worshiping Him for eternity. Extreme chaotic characters want a world of anarchy, unchecked vice, and endless war where strength is all that matters. You can also essentially say "screw everyone" and chose the Neutral alignment as the page image attests.
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is perhaps this trope at its worst in the series, due to both factions wanting to achieve their goals by either Mind Raping humanity into mindless, droning shells worshiping God for all eternity or reducing humans to slobbering, bloodthirsty animals via a Hate Plague. It's telling that the Updated Re-release added three more endings that tone things down.
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne further underscores the point by showing how easy it is for both sides do to basically whatever they want by tying themselves in logical knots. The Angels (Law) side with a Might Makes Right faction, because in a world where the strong subjugate the weak God would be at the very top, which is a proper expression of order. A large number of Demons (Chaos) side with an attempted World of Silence because in a world of total equality, everyone is equal to God, which is about the biggest middle finger one can give to YHVH. In the Updated Re-release, the trope gets muddled further-the three Reason Holders are now different offshoots of Law, with the actual Neutral ending being called Freedom. The Chaos ending only comes about with the True Final Boss fight with Lucifer.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse ups the ante on this trope, to the point where choosing to go Law or Chaos results in No Final Boss for You and early bad endings. Though in an interesting play on this, the Neutral-aligned villain Krishna points out neither are dangerous in themselves but YHVH forcing order to be angelic and chaos to be demonic causes people to suffer.
    • Downplayed in Shin Megami Tensei V: Both the law and chaos have the usual downsides associated with them in the series (the eradication of free will and endless carnage with the weakest among us most affected respectively). However, a lot more emphasis is placed on their upsides this time around (those being societal harmony resulting in a prosperous world and those with the will to determine their own path being unimpeded in doing so respectively). Also, the neutral ending isn't the unproblematic "definitive best option" it's usually depicted as, with the narrator flat out informing the player "Did you make the right choice? Hell if I know. I don't think anyone really knows."
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion — Shivering Isles has Sheogorath, Daedric Prince of Madness, and Jyggalag, Daedric Prince of Order. Sheogorath is as likely to treat you to a sumptuous banquet as he is to kill you in amusing ways because it amused him, while Jyggalag's idea of order is to turn the Shivering Isles into a lifeless wasteland where nothing ever does anything. The trick is, they're the same guy: the other daedric princes thought Jyggalag was too powerful and cursed him into spending most of his time as Sheogorath. He changes back once every few centuries and depopulates the Shivering Isles, then turns back into Sheogorath and rebuilds the place. But then the hero of Cyrodil frees Jyggalag from the cycle and becomes the new Sheogorath.
  • Destiny falls under the subtrope Balance Between Order And Chaos. In the setting, a cosmic war between two gods is being waged, the "gods" can be split in 3 categories, the cosmic forces of Light and Darkness, which are universal constants, the entities behind each force, the Gardener and the Winnower, and the avatars of each god, the Traveler and the Black Fleet. The Light desires life, abundance, change, and difference, and is associated with peace and collectivism; Darkness craves simplicity and necessity, and is associated with violence, death, and individuality. Even though, morally speaking, the Gardener is the correct one (at least as far as human morality can be applied to a cosmic being, which also leads to both a justification, and somewhat of an inversion of the Order Is Not Good trope, as the Light and Creation deity, which normally represents order, actually represents chaos. Her frustration and later disobedience of the rule set of the game which she and the Winnower played led to the accidental creation of the universe), the universe still requires both to exist, and even if it didn't, a universe composed of only one of the extremes would be a horrible one to live: the Winnower fears that unrestrained Light will lead to a cancerous, sickly universe where nothing is allowed to die, but its own vision for the universe involves a single Ultimate Life Form slaughtering everything else that lives and letting nothing new ever arise again. Some characters speculate that "balance" does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split, saying:
    I believe in balance. But to seek balance is not to seek equity. A sea half of water and half of poison is not in balance. A body half alive and half dead is not in balance. Given the choice to live in any world, any world at all… we would need a little Darkness in it, I think, to keep the balance true. But not so much as we would need the Light…
  • For the majority of the Soul Series, Soul Edge is the central antagonist, its will carried out by Nightmare (the Brainwashed and Crazy wielder of the sword, then later the spirit of Soul Edge itself bound to the Azure Knight's discarded pieces of armor) and various servants of the evil sword. To combat its wanton murder, destruction and madness, many characters seek or wield its polar opposite, Soul Calibur, which was specifically created to destroy Soul Edge after Algol, the Hero King and the only man able to bend the cursed sword to his will, had to slay his own Soul Edge-possessed son. However, after a few very subtle and dubiously canon hints of a less than pure side to the spirit sword, Soulcalibur IV revealed that Soul Calibur is just as bad as the cursed sword, in its own way. While Soul Edge seeks destruction, death, and everlasting torment, Soul Calibur wants stability, peace, and everlasting calm... by freezing the entire world over so that nothing can move. And Soulcalibur V shows that it's not above manipulation or possession of its host to get its way, either.
  • Throughout the Metal Gear series, Solid Snake and his allies are constantly caught between two sides who represent these two extremes. On one side, terrorists such as Big Boss and Liquid Snake want to throw the world into never-ending war, believing that fighting to survive is the only way to be free. On the other side, Government Conspiracies such as the Philosophers and the Patriots want to destroy free will to maintain their power over world order.
  • This is the case for the World of Light Adventure Mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For Order, there's Galeem, the Lord of Light, who has power over order: he manifests as a glowing orb surrounded by geometric "wings" and creates a very orderly, even pretty world... by destroying worlds and reassembling their components according to his designs. Chaos is represented by, Dharkon, Embodiment of Chaos and Darkness. An eye surrounded by a mass of tentacles, he creates a twisted world of chaos and darkness, also by destroying and reassembling worlds. In order to unlock the Golden Ending, the player has to, in the third and final world, defeat an approximately equal number of Light and Dark spirits to ensure one of the two gods does not get too powerful and destroy both their nemesis and the fighters. To drive this point further, the Golden Ending starts with Master Hand and Crazy Hand — themselves lesser embodiments of Order and Chaos, respectively, having spent most of the story brainwashed by their greater counterparts — working together to punch a rift in reality so that the fighters can finish off Galeem and Dharkon at the same time. In contrast, Galeem and Dharkon prove incapable of putting aside their differences, even taking potshots at the other during their final boss battle, and it ends up proving to be their downfall once both of them are killed by the fighters.
  • Overwatch: The two main evil factions are Talon (Chaos) and the Vishkar Corporation (Order). Take your pick; do you like the sound of The Social Darwinist terrorist organization, or is the shady Mega-Corp starting their own privatized borderline Police State slums more your speed?
  • Telltale's Back to the Future: The Game presents a Chaotic future where Hill Valley is a lawless backwater taken over by the Tannen crime family, as well as an Orderly future where Doc Brown is head of a coalition that's taken the town over and imposed extremely strict laws... on top of lobotomizing troublemakers.
  • Telltale did it again in Batman: The Telltale Series:
    • Season 1 pits an anarchistic, vengeful gang of unjustly institutionalized criminals against the new mayor, Harvey Dent. Both are all too willing to tear the city apart to wipe out the other. The leader of the Chaotic faction proves to be the Big Bad, though.
    • Season 2 does something similar; the Pact are also twisted anarchists who don't mind blowing up public landmarks to get what they want, while the highly ruthless and unethical government agents tracking them aren't exactly fun to work with either.
  • In the world of Fallout, life in the Wasteland is a hell of mutated wildlife, savage raiders, and lingering radiation. A few fledgeling civilizations are out to re-establish pre-War standards of living, but joining them usually means having to sort out the lesser evil (do you like the sound of the often-corrupt and dubiously-competent NCR, or perhaps the totalitarian slavery of Caesar's Legion?).
  • Armello initially had Light Is Good Wyld versus Dark Is Evil Rot, but lore has since complicated the relationship. In the Dragon Clan novella, Oxana explains that this is why she's aligned herself with the Rot. She uses it to trim away the chaos and brutality of the Wyld, something the protagonist gets to see firsthand, so that civilization can grow. Unlike others in the Dragon Clan, she doesn't worship it; she serves the Balance first.
  • No Straight Roads: NSR represents order, as they have placed a ban on rock music in favor of EDM, stifling all individuality and creativity on top of its increasing infrastructure problems and their top performers shelving their mental baggage rather than resolving it. Meanwhile, Bunk Bed Junction represents chaos, as them hijacking the NSR performers' concerts, beating them up, and venting their grievances towards NSR and their EDM empire instigates riots all over Vinyl City, as well as cause a Colony Drop that was just barely averted once NSR and B2J found a peaceful middleground.
  • Persona 5: The Palace Rulers represent chaos, with how their distorted desires serve as the root of their atrocious acts in the real world (Ex.: Kamoshida's abuse, Madarame's exploitation and plagiarism, Okumura's inhumane working conditions). Meanwhile, the Prison of Regression, a.k.a. Mementos, represents order, with everyone believing that societal harmony in Japanese culture is the only ethic worth upholding, even if it means ridding themselves of desires completely. This desperate and self-destructive adherence to societal harmony eventually manifested itself into Yaldabaoth.
  • The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners features the conflict between The Tower (order) and the Reclaimed (chaos). The Tower is a large, well-organized force with the actual potential to restore civilization... but they are also brutal authoritarians with a strict With Us or Against Us mentality, and will have you executed if they so much as think you might be up to no good. The Reclaimed represent individual strength and independence and will happily accept those who don't fit in with the Tower... but they also strongly prescribe to a Might Makes Right philosophy, and their leader actively opposes attempts to restore the old world in the belief that doing so promotes stagnancy.

  • Dominic Deegan: In the "Storm of Souls" storyline when a cult devoted to chaos threatened to consume the world it initially seemed that Dominic was the "Champion of Order" to counter their "Champion of Chaos". But later it was shown that the founder of the cult was once the Champion of Order as a brutal tyrant who sacrificed dozens of people to create a golem from their souls. Rather Dominic is the Champion of Balance, like Acibek the gestalt golem who turned against his creator.
  • In the concluded webcomic Indefensible Positions the avatars of order and chaos are wizards who took on the personas of Generals Grant and Lee respectively. When Grant is first introduced he is preparing a ritual involving Human Sacrifice of sexual deviants in an attempt to reduce perversion, and Lee thinks 9/11 was a good thing.
  • In The 10 Doctors, the Tenth Doctor is given the choice of either siding with the White Guardian in establishing complete order or with the Black Guardian in establishing complete chaos. As both choices would lead to the end of the Universe as we know it, he, with a little help from his previous self, advocates a balance between order and chaos. The Guardians even lampshade this trope, pointing out that during his travels the Doctor brings both chaos to places where too much order has become oppression, and stabilizes chaotic places to reduce suffering.

    Western Animation 
  • Exemplified in the second half of The Legend of Korra by the last two primary antagonists. Zaheer is an anarchist whose powers are tied to spiritual freedom. He wanted to free the people from (what he considered to be) tyrants, believing that chaos was the natural state of the world. Kuvira is a dictator who's hellbent on bringing a continent under her heel. She wanted to protect people who were suffering in the absence of a strong government, believing that any disruption to uniformity had to be crushed. Ironically, Kuvira helped Korra bring down Zaheer in Book 3 and Zaheer helped Korra bring down Kuvira in Book 4. The title of the final book, as well as a major theme of the series overall, is "Balance", indicating going to either extreme is wrong.
  • The primary antagonists of Reboot, Megabyte and Hexadecimal, represent order (possibly tyranny) and chaos (possibly anarchy), respectively.
    • Later on in the series, there is Daemon, who despite being Affably Evil, aspires to control the net. She later does battle with Hexadecimal, who having gone through a Heel–Face Turn, is fighting on the side of Mainframe.
    • The contrast between order and chaos impacts the heroic side, too. Dot is more methodical and tries to solve problems through planning, while Bob is more impulsive and tends to lean towards the Indy Ploy.
  • Young Justice (2010) mostly focuses on Chaos Is Evil, but occasionally plays with the idea that order is equally as bad. Nabu for example requires enslaved hosts and doesn't much care for anything unless it involves chaos, while the trial in which they speak through Phantom Stranger reveals them to be apathetic to the chaos Child is causing on earth. Vandal Savage himself is flat out compared to a Lord of Order by Child, which wouldn't mean much coming from her if he wasn't in competition with Darkseid (who himself also represents Order as tyranny) for control of the universe.

    Truth In Television 
  • The whole Universe basically works on this principle - the two profound forces of Gravity (Order) and Entropy (Chaos) are both disastrous when either gets the upper hand. When gravity (order) gets to dominate, the result will be a black hole: when entropy (chaos) gets to dominate, the result will be the Heat Death. The universe as we know it is possible only because neither dominates.