Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Are YOU a Rebel with a Cause?

I’m a rebel with a number of causes, but the one I want to mention today is our conformance to “The System”.  There are any number of things we do in our daily lives that are pointless.  We do them because everybody else does them, or because someone with a big stick will hit us if we don’t do them.  Some people notice that they are doing pointless things in their lives and it begins to eat away at them, building stress at having to comply, growing their sense of gloom or depression at the lack of living a worthwhile life, or causing bouts of anger and frustration at being unable to work out just what is wrong.

Consider health and safety compliance codes.  All electrical equipment in schools must be tested and tagged annually so see whether it is safe to be plugged in and used by the kiddies and teachers.  This assumes a number of things that demean and devalue the worth of people.  It assumes that people can’t see damaged cables or equipment for themselves, it assumes that they might just use something anyway, it takes away their ability to choose how they spend their time and money in making this a compulsory activity, it devalues the work of others who have put other safety features in the system (such as circuit breakers).

Other such systems that are totally arbitrary are:
The speed limit, having to get a marriage certificate, being forced to get a building inspector in, following curriculum when teaching, assessing using NCEA assessments, tucking your shirt in or wearing a tie, having to wear matching clothes, being allowed to ask only certain questions in class, or being able to discuss only certain topics in certain company, having to learn particular subjects in school.  The list goes on.

Some of these things are good systems, but the point is that you need to know the purpose of them to get the most out of them, to follow them properly, and to feel like it is worthwhile in doing so.  Also, how can there be any change if you do not know the purpose in order to discuss whether that is a worthy purpose?  Even if they are good systems, if you, personally, don’t know the purpose and don’t buy into that purpose, then you will feel like you are being dragged into something you didn’t agree to.

So, the secret to being a rebel with a cause is to know what is right and just, and then to compare that idea of justice with the purpose of a system to see if that system is just.  From there, if it is not a just system, you can take up the cause!