There are a lot of rules

Rules. We all follow them. Even those who say they don’t. The sub-groups and the trends and the stylish rebellious people of the world are the most conformist I know. (not that I know many of them, I never seem to get invited to the right parties…) Even if non-confomity is what they conform too.

There is possibly nothing less rebellious than being a goth or a 14 year old smoking. They only do it cause their friends do it. No one really wants to be different, they just need to have a group of a certain size where there’s others the same.

I’ve heard it said that everyone does what makes them happy. Even the man who comits suicide. The most altruistic, philanthropic act you can do is still motivated by a desire to be happy. Whether it’s the simple joy of doing the right thing or the joy of having someone see you doing the right thing. Morally there’s a difference in the two joys but that’s a whole nother story.

But in the same respect we all have rules that we follow. It’s part of our personality. Some will be dependable by one set of rules, others will be easy going. Some will be annoying to be with because of them and others will be a pleasure. We all have rules and we all conform to them because that is the only way we have peace and contentment and joy.

I have lots of rules. Many are basic moral codes, pretty much anyone will follow, many are moral things that I do only because of Christianity. And there are many I only do because I believe them to be important.

There’s lots of reasons I choose which rules to follow and which rules not to. I think about those reasons and analyse them and feel bad about them, then good about them, then bad about feeling good about feeling bad about them. This is the essence of my life.

Occasionaly this is therapeutic and beneficial and GOD honouring and occasionally it’s just neurotic and damaging and outright sinful.

And so in the beneficial/therapeutic sense here’s a taster. (and when I say therpeutic/beneficial I mean solely for myself, I am under no illusions).

1) thou shalt not be late.
Where I got this from i’m not sure. Perhaps from being in church twenty minutes before it started for most of my life. This gets to the point that I get nervous and anxious when i’m waiting to go somwhere or do something, or worse when i’m waiting for soemone to pick me up. Cause then it’s out of my control, and i’m never good with that. This flows partly from rule number 2.

2) if you say you’re gonna do something then you do it.
Strong believer in this one. I marvel at people who can talk about going somewhere or doing something and then change their minds shortly before if something else comes up. (i mean this in no critical way, the situations are mostly benign, frivolous things and no one, bar me gets excited if someone pulls out or doesn’t show. And the thing itself in most cases will be in no way affected by their absence. Yet I worry all the same.) I can’t mamage to do this. I view all plans and requests as concrete and set in stone once the initial agreement is made. Naturally there are good sides to this but there are many downsides. If someone, say, organises a kick about for a certain time and I agree, and then someone asks me to do something more useful, beneficial and simply more fun (yes it’s hard to imagine what could be more useful, beneficial and fun than footy but work with me here), then I will be simply unable to miss the footy for the other opportunity. I will simply fret and agonise over the silly rules that I follow.

3) that I will only be weak and wrong in the past tense. And I must insert that there is a world of moral difference between being weak and being wrong. As a freudian slip I put the two beside each other in the first sentence of this paragraph and perhaps that says more about me than anything else. Anyhow. When I talk about weaknesses and struggles I will never talk about them when i’m on the midst of them. When I talk about them it is always in the past, as some defect in me that I have wonderfully overcome and put behind me in no ones strength but my own. Which is all nonsense of course but this is what I would have you believe. And if i’m in the wrong, expect not an apology at the time, or an admission that someone else was right, but simply a long brood and a belated apology so full of justification and self-righteousness that you would probably have forgotten it began as an apology by the time I had finished.

4) that I must be all things to all people. Not so that by all means I may save some but that all will like me. I get on with nearly everyone. It takes an awful lot for me to say ‘i don’t like so and so’. But I depend on getting on with everyone and fear confrontation and creating a negative image of myself before anyone.

5) happiness is to be feared. The golden rule, that all men do what pleases them, even the man who comits suicide, was something I wanted to pretend did not exist. That happiness and joy in anything I did was obviously because it was wrong and ‘selfish’ in the old childhood sense of the word. Like in vanilla sky, where david screws up the lucid dream on purpose cause it’s like the sweet without the sour and he knows it’s all too good to be true. (i probably got much more out of vanilla sky than was actually there!) I suppose that’s like me. My whole life just seems a bit too good to be true and instead of thanks and praise I question its whole essence.

With luck most of you have either drifted off or have no idea what i’m talking about. This is just a taster of what I could go on for hours about, I haven’t even got to the rules about women yet. But i’m not quite ready for that one yet.

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September 2006
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