‘it’s too many rules- rules, rules, rules! none of them make any sense!’ she said, then she ran away to get more papers and pens to draw more rules. And when the house was filled out with papers of rules, she realized she couldn’t sit, eat, sleep or poop in the house. But she revelled in the fact the house was now ruled completely, without compromises, difficulties or irregularities. The first time in weeks, she felt happy, trying to sleep outside her entrance door, crammed and curled like a small mouse, cold and wet under the winter rain. never mind, if you bring up irregularities, she may tell you about the great constipation she had recently, when she had to give a birth to a warhead. and really, the details aren’t pretty.
i should continue that thread and turn it into a short story. sounds mad eh? tell me if you can sniff a sellable movie script. we shall draw a deal.
recently, ive been watching quite a bit of tv through internet. one of my favourite web channels is ted.com. ranging from an idea to combat droughts in the african dessert, to bringing compassion into our society, ted never fails to grab my attention. i subscribe to the weekly newsletter and often i have to be careful when i open that html update, as i can frequently waste a whole day away. and some of the ideas will stick with you, wherever you go- to the kitchen, to bed, to bathroom, even when you try to concentrate on chopping veggies with just sharpened knife- it’s there, sticking to the very nooks and crannies of your brain, slowly taking over a small part of you- a change!
a change that is fundamental enough to change a person’s being! i think some broadcasts did change several molecular structure of my being, as some ideas can be deeply impacting. like receiving a big blow to the chin hence losing some teeth and looking silly for rest of one’s life, the recent post discussing rules/regulations and the need for flexible bending of the rules has been a real attention grabber.
this twenty-minutes talk deals with the rigidity of rules and the trap of rules, and by consequence- demoralization of individuals, crushed under the weight of the rules- a hard iron cage, is a reality, as of: now, today, here, within us. he uses very silly yet shocking examples, such as judges who are required to sentence-by-chart. they become anything but ‘judging’ persons. they are simplified, as of small elementary school students doing multiplication chart- 3 times 3 is 9, an armed bank robbery without death is jail time of min x year to max y years, to be ‘fair,’ there will be no judging! the lady justice is equal to everyone and therefore she no longer is needed nor appreciated!
a society where a judge is not allowed to judge.
quite a statement. but it is true- isn’t it.
ridiculous! funny! hilarious! tragic!
all of the above!
how did we get here anyways?! We often meet people who cling to rules as if their life depended on them, and because it is so important for them to have rules, they often try to make more rules. pretty much every time there’s a shooting spree, people scream for tighter gun control, therefore more rules and rules and rules, rules, rules, so obscure and complex, and the silly thing is that the initial bill was complicated enough for the laymen like us, and much like a kick in the shin after one falls over, the most of the gun crimes are committed by rather determined people- they would have gone through the complicated bills. So did our resources spent on drawing up of ‘safer’ rules create safer society? well, it usually doesnt, really. never did. there always be another shooting incident as long as there are insane, angry and determined people who will jump the hoops to get guns. same with school testing- the infamous ‘no child left behind’ and the like-schemes. and unfortunately, with this paranoia around the rules, people often lose themselves, and become ‘rules’ themselves.
mad? yes. crazy? yes. dangerous? yes.
you don’t believe me?
well, do you remember this famous example then:
two-legs bad, four-legs good.
ooeer. bugger. ouch.
what does it mean, they become ‘rules?’ well, here’s one of my sarcastic view on life. there are some stereotyping to be done to explain this. mind you, this is only my silly non-serious point of view. there are exceptions to all assumptions yet it’s quite entertaining to laugh at ourselves, so do forget it if it offends. So what is this offensive stereotype? Well, it’s the group of people defined by three different occupations: parking cops, elementary school teachers and nurses. and what binds them together? well, haven’t you notice? They are always right!
for some reason or the other, these occupations can be quite dangerous because it promotes loss of self-awareness in exchange of basking in the glory of ‘structure.’ i understand that the society always needs some sort of structure, ie. one should not punch other in the face for fun. if one is to hog a parking spot all day long in a busy street, it is triple unfair to everyone else. But oooh youve seen those parking cops,
they slowly start to dig their pen on the paper as you run your out-of-shape-ass across the vast parking lot, all the sudden, the size of siberia. And as you draw closer to them, waving madly your keys in the air with face red and heart about to jump out of your very own throat, they smile, blind you with their white teeth and well, write a parking ticket. as you collapse on the sidewalk, writhing in anger and physical agony, they drop that small piece of paper on your i-wish-i-could-punch-you body, cantering back to their police mobile with a lilt in every step.
same with lots of elementary school teachers. they treat everyone else like a ten-years old. I understand that’s what they do for a living, ie. least 40 hours every week in north american standard. and they are always absolutely right. of course, it is pointless to argue with certain things like 2 and 2 would be (well, ‘is’) 4, that ‘wednesday’ is spelled with an inaudible yet visible ‘d’. and yes, you should stay in line and when he/she says ‘quiet,’ you should shut the trap. that is, if you are ten years old. and in a class. however, with non-ten years old persons, it’s quite amusing (for a short time) then infuriatingly incomprehensible and maddening(for the rest of one’s life) why he/she is expecting you to act like a ten years-old.
anyways, you get the idea. and these people love their rules and structures. when they say ‘write your answers in blue ink,’ they mean business. god forbid you use black ink! cant you read, child?! and by some bizarre reasoning, once you complete your ‘punishment,’ somehow things have evened out, as if your action never have happened.
see, this is the challenge of working within such tight structure. one can so easily lose their sense of morality or ethics. by being intellectually lazy, bit by bit, one then surrenders one’s sense of independent justice and self, in exchange for rules and more rules. as long as it is done by the rules, it is right. and by rules, nothing else shall be acceptable. at that point, it’s almost a lost cause to ask them about their opinion of the world. It’s only a reflection of the current agenda of someone else- probably the newest education or medical policy or something, summarized and chopped neatly in 90’ angle squares to fit the questions. if the answer does not fit the question, they will tell you that your question isn’t valid, as there cant be an appropriate answer for it. it’s like saying if you are inbetween pants size 8 and 10, they will tell you and say ‘you are either 8 or 10, which one is it?’ trying to tell them that there can be infinite points between two points, like size 8 and 10 is not only unnecessary, it’s inappropriate.
single handily, such people defeats not only the big-mouthful book of bertrand russell and alfred north whitehead’s principia mathematica (an easy intro to work is given by douglas Hofstadter in his book: godel, Escher, bach: an eternal golden braid), but of the very common western basic philosophy on daily basis. they do this not because they are interested in stretching everyone’s mind beyond the boring and predictable world of arithmetics and newtonian physics, but because they love the rules so much that the in-between-size is impractical and WRONG.
So what do we do? Well, the speaker talks of outlaws and system-changers (yep, im short-cutting. trust me, just spare that 20 min for the clip; it’s only enough time to go through a rough manicure or a mcdonald’s meal, if you are lucky). i would like to fancy self as an outlaw, but it’s really a bit too arrogant to say, haha. but it is true, the system will always have outlaws and changers- it was even discussed in tron! The original tron- the movie! tron was an outlaw program! hahaha.
anyways, it’s becoming a long rant. but i have thoroughly enjoyed discourse with self (and minnow) on this subject. and i hope the same for you, dear reader, if i have not lost you yet. how great is it to be flexible and alive- well, you tell me. without flexibility, you wont even be able to lie down or walk up-straight. without the spaces inbetween things, there will be no self. a self is a subjective accumulation of things/thoughts/actions. a self is made of many different overlays and shared thoughts within the world it exists. one may be different or similar, may be in or out-of-phase, most likely to be inbetween, as the points of phase cancellation or trough amplification are anomalies between two different waves. a duality exist not for the sake of its existence, but to define the million gradation between the extremes, and without the stuffing inbetween, no such markers can exist themselves.
so now what? well, what of being aware of the existence of the system? once you have lost self to the system, you probably are no longer aware of the system. you are the system. dangerous. and this is not dangerous just for the self, but also of people around you. as a person in a society, you do interact with your fellow citizens and your lack of self-responsibility and awareness will have consequences to others. like those shiny-teethed parking cops and damned bossy elementary school teachers. and this, to me, is a true crime toward the society and tragically no one can fix it for you. only you can be you. consequences and penalties never stopped determined individuals from damaging the world.
so please, take care of self, as then it will take care of the rest of the world. and should the adventure become a bit challenging and difficult, do take a breath and relax. most likely, there are enough overlays and mingling of different minds and times, lives and thoughts that it will hardly result in a important, non-reversable, true disaster.
it sucks to be the first one out on the limbo party. and all those people who told you that if you don’t stretch, you will be stiff, well, it’s true. so stop waiting. be flexible and proud, be probing and alive. It’s easy to break a dead, dried-out twig. It’s bloody difficult to rip a rose branch out from a bush- it will bend and fight for its life. so difficult that you may even forget about the desire to ‘have’ the rose, but let it live with you, smelling of its sweet self throughout the garden, into long-lasting memory, past its season, may be even passing its life-span, but staying alive, even more fragrant in memory.
only point of finality in human life is death. why live as if you are already dead? and please, remember you being ‘dead’ wont end the matters for the others- be at least fair, don’t be ruthlessly correct and pig-headed. after all, life is about unexpected, exception and changes rather than strict boring rules- you didn’t expect your own self to be born on your birthday did you? that was mom/dad’s doing.
let’s do the right thing.