*Geek Badge* – Alignment: Lawful Neutral.
Our esteemed Editor-in-Chief was a little perplexed that I did not respond to his article on disobedience, itself a comment on a piece by Julien Smith. The simple answer is that I don’t believe in disobedience. It is a philosophy, an illusion of unlawfulness created by Man. What follows is the (long) explanation of a personal belief and my opinion. As such, it should not be viewed as anything else.
Think disobedience and you’ve just imagined a puppy taking a piss on your hallway rug, right? Now, think about it again and you will start to see images of mutinous crowds or disorderly drunks refusing to comply with police. Now, why is that? Why do we imagine the worst case scenarios every time? What’s the difference between the drunken retards we saw during the Vancouver Riots and an angry crowd protesting the building of an oil pipeline? Plenty but for different reasons.
Disobedience, as defined, is the refusal to obey guidelines that have been imprinted upon us either by Education (societal/religious morays) and by Experiences (personal conformity). For the majority of us, our parents will be the first to teach us values and ethics, then show us how to use them in the right context. This is the first time we are taught obedience. This is also when we learn that non-compliance to these rules result in punishment. At that moment, we are (supposedly) taught right from wrong. Although that’s different from one person to the next.
We instinctively, when confronted with a set-rule, ask ‘why’. Why do I have to do ‘A’ and not ‘B’. We expect a fair and logical answer that will explain what we want to know and confirm that we’re, in fact, doing the right thing. Any ambiguous or incomplete answer will push us to question the fundamental aspects of the set-rules. Right then, we’re starting a process of differentiation and analysis based on concepts that are intangible but very real. Right and wrong, morality vs. amorality, good or bad…you choose the definition that suits you but they are all a basic human concept that we unconsciously apply. The point is this : what if we believe that the set-rules are wrong…what then?
The problems start when we refuse to follow the ‘Laws’ that don’t conform to our personal interpretation of right and wrong. Now, we ALL have a different opinion on just about everything so a defined set-rule cannot exist as it will never satisfy everybody’s views or needs. Most individuals also have their own set of rules or code of conduct based on what was taught to them and what they’ve learned. So, should a set-rule grind with our ‘moral compass’ we can either ignore it, which may lead to passive-aggressive tendencies or we can react by refusing to accept the rules put before us. We called this action : disobedience.
Unfortunately, the concept of Right and Wrong is a Man-made one, therefore always arbitrary, ambiguous and constantly subjected to interpretation*. Which is why disobedience has always been and will always be. It is nothing more than a concept put forth to explain and quantify an unexplicable behaviour that went against the grain.
*A great example of this is the number of times the Amendments of the US Constitution have been debated in court.
If I believe ‘X’ to be right and ‘Y’ to be wrong then my choices will converge or diverge within those parameters. The guy sitting next to me in the subway has a different view so, who, between the two of us, is ‘right’ ? Whose fault was it that buddy there doesn’t think like me? His parents, teachers or how about his priest or his neighbour? Fact is, nobody knows. We simply separate people into categories, suited to a profile that we’ve establish for them. They might believe they are doing the Greater Good by killing what they consider the ‘bad people’ whilst another would be horrified by the abject violence of these actions therefore labeling them Evil-doers.
I have my opinions on many things and I will always speak what I perceive to be the truth, even if I have to pay the price for it. I will stand up to ‘fight’ for what I consider injustice. Some would rather protest against an oil pipeline because of environmental impacts, others will label them retards because they’re stopping progress. Some will loot and destroy a downtown Square out of a belief of entitlement. Others before me have met with hatred and violence but stood up for what they believed was right. It wasn’t perseverance that motivated them but defiance in the face of injustice and inhumanity.
Even the most peaceful men and women has disobeyed, to prove to the masses that a little defiance in the face of stupidity, fear and greed can go a long way.
You see, disobedience is subjective…it always depends on who defines what is Right and what is Wrong.