Rules? What rules?

stop sign rules

“I thought there were rules?” (Tiffany Aching) “Oh? Really? Did you sign anything? Did you take any kind of oath? No? Then they weren’t your rules.”  (Granny Weatherwax) (‘A Hat Full of Sky’, by Terry Pratchett)

We live, as Morpheus observed in ‘The Matrix’ in a world governed by rules. And as he went on to say, some of them can be bent. Others can be broken.

Some of them we defy at our peril. Gravity, for one. Others, we seem to accept because it makes for an easier life. We accept so many rules about life – the things we should do, and the things we shouldn’t.

So many of the rules we accept though are just products of society. Perhaps it’s time we decided to ask ‘what if”?’

What if that isn’t true?

What if I could do that?

What if I could take that risk?

What if I’m not too old. What if I’m not too young?

What if I don’t need an education?

What if I did?

What if I didn’t?

What if that’s not true?

What would happen if you ignored some of the rules?

Just because someone says it’s so doesn’t make it so. I got a letter the other day that said, in effect, “You are required to send proof of your tax code”. Required by who? No one is saying. So until someone does, I’m not doing it.

Decide what your rules are. Challenge your own rules. Challenge the rules that others create for you. Challenge the rules that society sets on you. Challenge the rules that your religious beliefs create. Challenge the rules that your lack of religious beliefs create.

In ‘Raising Steam’ Pratchett observes that “The Universe, while it requires rules and stability, also needs just a tincture of chaos, the unexpected, the surprising.. Otherwise it would just be a mechanism – a wonderful mechanism, ticking away for centuries, but with nothing different happening.”

We’re the ones who bring the chaos. We’re the ones who create the surprise. We’re the ones who decide that just because someone says it’s so, that doesn’t mean it’s so.

Because beyond the edge of the rules lies the magic. The magic of creation. The miracle of change. The world belongs to the magicians who ask “what if” and challenge the world of what is.

As the Postmaster in Raising Steam observed: “I have to find the edge of the envelope and put my stamp on it, otherwise life wouldn’t be worth dying for.”


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