Hello again. Following is a revisit to an essay I wrote back in the fall of 2001. Even back then I was pondering the ideas of deviating from the norm.
I have lifted parts of it for this post (italicized). The whole of it reads with the emotion and anger I felt, the blame for the shattering of illusions of security. In some ways it heightened the nature of questioning in my mind and looking at the structures of power and control. There are echoes of Thoreau and being civilly disobedient. The choice of deviance rather than disobedience is interesting (a reflection to be more active than simply not following the rule and maybe intentionally breaking it?)
How many rules and laws do we follow, with little question of their purpose? How often in our jobs or interactions with others do we just follow along with the written and unwritten policies? To me it seems like I sleepwalk through weeks at a time if not careful, if not forcing myself to way up from time to time. We go through the motions, the scripted pattern of getting things done. And even if we ask why something is a certain way we settle for horrible answers like tradition or it’s just the way or policy – even if it is inefficient.
I’m not saying there may not have been a valid reason for whatever rule or plan, I just wonder how often they get challenged. We have all heard of laws staying on the books far past their usefulness – spitting on sidewalks and such or running cattle down mainstreet between such and such hours.
All law is counter to freedom. It is restrictive by its nature… Now the question is how much do we need to be restricted. How much do we need to be controlled? This in part – I guess – would depend on your view of human nature. It seems we have chosen in most parts of our lives to give up freedoms and personal control so we can have greater security and stability.
We choose to conform so we don’t have to think about myriad decisions everyday. We fall back on policy to keep order. We alleviate ourselves of being personally responsible ~ for pretty much everything. Then we complain about the deterioration of values and morals in society.
But we rarely practice, we rarely exercise, we rarely rehearse ethics and the use of them in making decisions. We just conform. Just follow the rule. Convince ourselves we are safer this way because without rules it would be anarchy.
I just don’t know if the price is worth it for me anymore.
One can not be both free and secure at the same time. Rise up now – become deviant in thought and action. Loosen the shackles of conformity. Exercise your rights. Be responsible.
This writing space is one way for me to exercise non-conformity (not in the process of having a blog I suppose, but maybe in the content and purpose). I also try my best to question why things are the way they are or what the function of the rule or policy is.
I sign off with a challenge to look at your actions today. Are any of them driven by conformity because it is easier? Is there anything you can rise up against? Thanks as always. With civility ~ Brian