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My Questioning Attitude Towards Rules

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Thundery wintry showers


In some discussions on this forum I've often displayed a questioning attitude towards rules and laws, and refused to accept without question that "rules are rules". I think I know where this attitude comes from.

It's by analogy with being picked on for being "different" (years of experience of it at school, and also at Lancaster University to some extent). If you complain about being picked on for being different, you often end up with a discussion like this:

I: I'm being bullied.

A: Well, just fit in then. The peer group make it clear where they draw the line; everyone knows what the rules of the peer group are: you fit in and get accepted, you don't fit in, you are bullied. It's your problem not theirs; fit in, and the problem is solved.

I: No, the problem is the suppression of my ability to be who I am.

A: That's life. You've got to fit in to help give a sense of community, and you've got to abide by what is considered socially acceptable; if everyone chose to abide by what was socially acceptable just when they felt it was right, you'd have the equivalent of anarchy. For example, you could say "it's socially unacceptable to beat people up, but I think that's suppression of individuality, so I think I'm entitled to beat people up".

I: But there's a difference between deviating from social norms in a way that is harmful (e.g. beating people up) and doing things where the only thing "wrong" is its difference (e.g. having unusual interests, such as the weather)

A: Doesn't matter. The peer group have their rules. Rules are rules- if you don't fit in, you get bullied. That's life. There isn't a problem with the rules of the peer group; we know this because if everyone abided by them there wouldn't be a problem.

I: But there is a problem- you can't be who you are, you get ostracised for doing harmless things and treated as you would if you'd beaten someone up!

A: That's life. It is necessary to penalise responsible people because of the actions of irresponsible people, because the minority spoil it for everyone else and that's life.

I: It doesn't have to be that way- you can differentiate harmful different activities from harmless ones.

A: (defensively) HOW do you? You can't, because the minority spoiling it is unavoidable; if it wasn't, it wouldn't be a fact of life.

I think that's the kind of analogy that makes me a bit more questioning of rules and laws than most.

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The problem is not rules but people :(

You are right to feel the way you do, it's other people who have f****d up views on how life should be :rolleyes:

Keep smiling :D

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Hi, it's difficult to comment because you don't mention exactly what behaviour you're referring to, but I do think you should be who you are even if it means being different ... otherwise you only live half a life. Besides, then you'll know who your friends really are.

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