Friday, September 7, 2012


Turn right; turn left. A rule. They're everywhere and it doesn't seem like you can get away.  Rules are all around us in all shapes and sizes. They tell us what they can do, what we can't. It seems like everywhere there are adults with wagging fingers and crossed arms, the consequences often shown in the subtlest ways. Many deem the rules as necessary, but I deem them as restrictive. I say rules in moderation.

Today, we had to listen to all of the school rules that we heard thousands of times before. Or at least we were supposed to. Sophomores had this assembly third period and, being a sophomore, I was forcefully evicted from my Creative Writing class. I was supposed to head down to the auditorium about all of this, but, of course, I found Brave New World more worthwhile (even if I did read it in a bathroom stall, faced a certain way to avoid detection).

One of the most startling things about school for me is how legalistic it is. How it's about every little detail.  Every little rule- no matter how useless- matters somehow. Learning (stupid crap) is the most important thing in the world in their eyes, even though learning how to socialize is a much more useful and needed skill that could be learned in that time period. It doesn't even matter if the rule is pointless or if breaking the rule will harm someone. It's almost like adults can't put anything into perspective but it's all just bad. Why do I care if the girl next to me wears provocative clothing? Is a stoner? Ditches? Is texting her boyfriend? No. While these things might be the worst things in the world to the principal, I honestly Don't. Care.  Of course, all of the people who are lauded tend to be the ones who are just terrible, mean people in general and that actually does bother me. 

Another part of how legalistic it is goes into the shades of gray involved in this. At least school is clearly written out. Socially, it's much more complicated and especially if one happens to be a girl. Examples: You can't be too smart but you can't be too dumb. You can't dress like a prude but you can't dress like a slut. You must like certain things or else you're weird. You must act prim and proper at all times and only be obnoxious in certain times and about certain things. Ultimately, you must conform. The consequences of breaking these rules are very profound- guys seem much more forgiving (except, of course, if a guy does anything "gay". That's different). I would much rather deal with all the school rules than social ones because at least those are laid out properly. Yet both of those are incredibly stupid and mostly with consequences much too harsh. 

Of course, kids break these stupid school rules left and right but adults are still stern in their attitude and punishment (although adhere to social ones religiously). It's always been so fascinating to see what rules stick and what rules don't. 

I suppose it is a great irony that I broke one of those cardinal rules when attending an assembly about rules. However, I probably got much more out of Brave New World than I could ever get out of that stupid assembly. 

I'm not against rules all together. If anything, writing about an anarchist society proved how necessary they are. At the same time, I don't believe that no rules should exist. I just think they should be much more general and much more broad, looking at the bigger picture instead of little details. Rules, if followed up by consequences, often instill fear instead of an atmosphere of respect. Strict parents and strict schools are taking the easier way out- instead of giving kids freedom to roam and freedom to express themselves, they are putting them on a short leash just because they can. A tight leash will only make the dog want to tear through it even more and is something incredibly alienating. 

Rules, ultimately, need to be used in moderation and within reason. To govern every aspect of a child's life is absolutely unnecessary. When you put too many rules in place and when you don't dare to break some, you are only cheating yourself. To break stupid rules is to break free and to think in an entirely different way. 

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