Most people can't decide whether I'm a compulsive rule follower or completely dismissive of rules.
In reality, I'm definitely a rule-follower, but not just any rules merely because they're rules. I have high regard for rules as such, but utter contempt for others' rules. That's not to say that I reject others' rules because they're their rules; by contrast, when I agree with the rules, I adopt them as my own, and then they become sacrosanct to me. So, fundamentally, the only rules I actually respect are my own rules, whether I am their originator or not.
Areas to explore:
- my childhood and being obsessed with following the rules
- possible manifestation of "You need to understand and follow the rules before you can break them."
- anecdote from Walter Reed Middle School, when a friend was visiting during PE, and I was anxious about not being in line, and she said "There are some things in life that are more important than following the rules."
- goody two-shoes in school; a willful terror at home
- connection to the supreme sanctity of the truth and Family Arguing
- allergy to authority and dogma
- the spirit of the law versus technical adherence to it; connection to honesty and being open about breaking rules
- I follow some rules only out of perhaps-uncalibrated, risk-averse fear of punishment (eg, utterly illogical traffic laws, like not making left turn at a deserted intersection against a red light), not because I respect the rule.
- permission versus forgiveness
- With respect to children and parenting, there's a difference between seeking permission and seeking guidance. A parent ought to encourage a child to feel comfortable seeking guidance. If a parent demands seeking permission, it encourages power struggles and adversarial dynamics.
- manifestation in terms of diet and fitness
- connection to discipline; is it really discipline if I feel compelled by following a rule (even my rules, once I've established them), rather than having to muster up willpower to do the thing?
- connection to consistency and other psychological motivators; breaking the rules ("cheating") is psychologically horrific for me in the sense of "Well, the principle is lost, anyway."
- connection to (resilience to) addiction
- the value of bright-line rules; what happens when I have fuzzy / non-objective "rules"
- rules and principles
- obsession with processes, especially professionally; tempering what could thoughtlessly manifest as process for process's sake
- parallels to explore:
|Good/Truth determined by social convention or personal whim/declaration||Good/Truth determined by religion/revelation||virtue-based egoism and induction|
|no regard for any rules||must follow rules because they're rules||adopt as inviolable the rules I agree with|
|social approval / whim-worship||inherent (context- and fact-free) goodness/badness||self-esteem|
|descriptivism||prescriptivism||evolution based on cognitive utility|
|fitting in (maybe also withdrawal from connection?)||???||belonging|
|moving toward (pleasing), moving against (rejecting), moving away (withdrawing)||???||authenticity|
|data-rejecting / data-apathetic||data-driven||data-informed|