Scallywag

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

~ William James ~

Why Can’t People Ask?

January 9th, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 26 secs

How come some people are more interested in rules than in you?

There is a certain condition afflicting some families and communities that can set a mind to concrete. Under its influence, people with ability and sincerity grow up increasingly rigid and narrow-minded. It’s alarming, but it happens, and people barely notice.

Starting off early, this dumbing down begins with the kids. Don’t ask what we don’t know because it’s stupid to ask questions without answers. At least, that’s the thinking, and as always, thinking makes it so. So by and by children grow up to adopt the same mindset. People with this condition frown upon open-mindedness. It’s too dangerous. Instead, they reach for rules for everything. Rules for relationships. Rules for speaking. Rules for accepting others, and rules for thinking. Obedience and fear take priority over discerning because their God is a rule giver. Do as you are told and everything will be fine.

What makes this “obey the road rules” type mentality so disturbing is that it blocks out everything else. So those with creative minds are weird and should be distrusted. Science is fine providing it confirms what we already know. New ideas must fit in or be rejected. Which is why people who do things differently are dangerous and delinquent and should be excluded too.

This limited thinking is harmful because it restricts people’s identity, stifling creativity. Don’t do that. You are wrong. All other people are mistaken, bad, or both, because only our way is right. 

Rigid mindsets like this have more in common with the thinking of the Middle Ages than the 21st Century. Back then, most new ideas were frowned upon, and considered heresies. Sadly, that same narrow-mindedness is still with us today. The “Occupy Wall St” movement tried to raise issues about inequality. But what about people’s need for conscious awareness so we can fully occupy life?

To dare to question anything is not a sin but a sign of enquiry that our personal certainties should never fear. The truth is other people do live differently in all sorts of ways and do very well in the process. But rigid rule meisters don’t want people accepting that. Instead, they use difference to develop suspicion.

Now am I saying that rules are bad? Or that we should flout procedures for the sake of it? Hardly. Both are extremely useful so long as they promote the betterment of people. That’s why some rules genuinely are wrong and deserve to be challenged. There are systems that hold people back. When they do, progress often takes a thoughtful voice to ask “how can we do things better?”

Maturity of mind comes when we grow beyond the legalistic stage. When, at ten, we think life is like a clockwork piece that we pretty much know, rules are enough. But with growing awareness we see there’s a lot more to life that we pretty much don’t know. Life, it seems, is not so much mechanical as mysterious.

To help people learn more, grow more, and be more is my passion. I love to be a part of that process, and encourage people to go beyond what they think are their limits. So if rules and restrictions dominate your life, let me challenge you with two questions:

  1. 1. What would life be like if you could be yourself without disapproval?
  2. 2. Having considered the difference and what you are missing out, why not live boldly and be yourself anyway?

You really do have the power to choose.

 

 


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