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  • Daniel Rodman

Rules

Rules are as valuable as what they serve. Rules like the rule of law, for example, are ideally used to make sure everyone's rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are upheld. If anyone breaks the rules by say stealing something, they are subject to a penalty. The law in the U.S. for the most part serves those rights, although there is room for improvement. Some rules in other countries, for example, may be harsh and not serve freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or equal rights. These rules are meant to be broken or re-written in order to affirm and uphold the truth and the rights of individuals. Ultimately, if the rules are worthy, meaning the purpose they serve is good and right, then they ought to be upheld. Most fundamental things we can agree upon with regards to what that means, like no stealing or killing, while other things need persistent investigation and dialogue.

There are other kinds of rules, rules that we give ourselves to make us self-disciplined and adhere to a higher standard of living. These rules can pertain to eating habits, exercise, how much media we consume, how much we accomplish in our day, how much we relax, or how much time we give to our loved ones. These rules are like promises to act in accord with that which we recognize serves our highest good and helps to enact our best self. These are always recommended, however its also important to not be too rule driven and let your hair down a little.

Other rules can pertain to an artistic craft like painting, acting, or music. You learn the rules through and through: how to apply brush strokes, how to express your feelings, or how to read music and learn scales, all so you can one day use those rules, or even break them gracefully, to accomplish something novel and intuitive. If you always only follow the rules of a craft then you will never be able to fully express yourself, since our truest expression only occurs when we are free.

Rules are guides for our life. They can be rules that allow us to form our own minds like a sculptor reveals the figure from the marble. Inevitably the innate intelligence in us that is our own natural expression of ourselves will need to outgrow the rules we abide by, not to deny what they uphold but to fully embody it. For they are meant to allow us to realize our truest self, to actualize our potential. As we begin to reveal the form in the marble, we let the form live, for the form we are revealing is us. May you come to know and reflect on the meaning of rules, that you may learn them well, use them well, and break them well.

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