Breaking the rules

rebelCatching up on my blog reading recently, something that Paypabak Writer said really spoke to me:

“People seem to be hung up on following rules and when the rules betray them, instead of letting go and following what their heart tells them, they double down. What I love is when a person picks herself up and lets go of the rules, surrenders the agenda that has made her so unhappy, and embraces the life that has been there all along.”

i couldn’t agree more – for as long as i can remember i’ve been a rebel, a rule breaker and a non-conformist. Almost every time i’ve done the right thing and followed the rules – whatever the situation – i’ve always seemed to end up unhappy, disadvantaged and disappointed, both with myself and my circumstances.

Whilst i agree that there are certain rules that shouldn’t be broken, i’d argue that there are a whole raft of contrived, unnecessary and ill-conceived rules and conventions that all of us fall subject to throughout our lives and which do little to enhance our existence. That’s a point of view that you might fundamentally disagree with- and you’re entitled to your opinion… if you’re happy to conform, play by the rules and when ‘The Man’ tells you to jump, your response is to ask “how high?”, then that’s fine by me, but i’m afraid i won’t be toeing that party line. Instead, you’ll find me – more often than not – sat on the naughty step, and more than happy to be there.

tunnela8_001Rebel without a cause? Well, maybe. i don’t have some great master plan and it’s not a case of being disobedient just to be awkward: my raison d’être is far less straightforward and rather more nebulous than that. Basically, i think it’s pretty well summed up in Pay’s comment above – it’s all about letting go and following what my heart tells me, and often what my heart tells me is at odds with worldly wisdom and common assumptions. All too frequently, i’ve learned the hard way that conformity, normality and the rational and expected are not necessarily always for the best. It is not, for example, true for everyone that to be alone is a bad thing, neither is it an inalienable truth that getting ahead in life, being sensible and dutifully following through all the usual rites of passage are mandatory. And please don’t think that this is a case of making excuses for failings and faults, or a way of ‘looking on the bright side’ – life is actually pretty damn good, thank you very much.

True rebels learn the rather harsh lessons that breaking the rules entail – you will fail, probably frequently; your character and motives will be brought into question; you will get into trouble for your actions, and at other times, for your inaction; you will be misunderstood; and others will either try to get you back onto the straight and narrow, or give up on you in despair. However, true rebels ultimately thrive from experiencing life on their own terms, from seeing their own brand of justice, and experiencing the odd moment of justification, and they find an enormous amount of satisfaction in building their own, personal philosophy. Contrary to established wisdom, self-actualisation doesn’t have to be pyramid-shaped… we can build it whatever damn shape we want, and using whatever materials we choose!

winged1_001Maybe that’s why i’m so caught up in sl, and maybe that’s why sl is so stuffed full of loners, deviants, weirdos, rebels, savants and outsiders… it’s because sl is – to use a phrase from M Linden’s infamous SL5B keynote speech – a ‘disruptive platform’. SL is intrinsically not mainstream, it is niche and non-conformist and it allows its users to exercise pretty much full reign when it comes to deciding which rules, if any, should be followed. Like the early days of the internet – bulletin boards and newsgroups in particular – sl is fundamentally anarchic, irresponsible, open and tolerant of diversity – in many ways it is rebel heaven, and a place where even the most anti-establishment and belligerant rulebreaker can find a space that they feel at home.

SL doesn’t tell me what to do, who i should be, or how i should behave – it suits me perfectly.

s. x

I wanna be Anarchy
And I wanna be Anarchy
(Oh what a name)
And I wanna be anarchist
I get pissed, destroy!
The Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK

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2 Responses to Breaking the rules

  1. Wow! I love the idea of SL being a disruptive platform! That rings so true. It calls to us in different ways, perhaps, but the overall message is “Try out new rules,” which is another way of saying “Stretch!” I know that you are not saying that breaking the rules should become a rule because that’s the other extreme to avoid. I think the main thing is to balance good thinking (common sense) with an unselfish heart. Let me explain my take on this heart thing.

    One excellent aspect of SL is the fact that we look at ourselves from a distance and this detachment makes us always aware that there are other people around us. When I am walking to the stairs after getting off the train in first life, people coming from the opposite direction tend to get into an every-other-person’s-turn to taking the stairs. This is an excellent unwritten rule.

    Every once in awhile, however, there’s someone who is so centered on himself/herself that he/she cuts in line, disturbing the flow. This is not good rule-breaking! That above-the-shoulder perspective (once you’ve adjusted from the odious default of SL–Mona Eberhart will love this aspect of rule breaking!) of SL opens up your perspective in a very healthy way that we need to take others into consideration. And that’s a heart thing more than a mind thing.

    • I like your take on this. The unwritten rules are often those that come the most naturally – without needing reinforcement – and which achieve the greatest gains for the common good. I liken this to courteous driving – something that underpins the set rules of the road, but probably contributes just as much to composure, traffic flow and safety as the laws that govern road users.
      s. x

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