An overly optimistic and “enlightened teenager” view on laws, rules, and social order.

Angst Part 2

Laws only have power over you if you let them. At least, that’s what I tried to explain to my mom before I got my license.

“What are the odds that I actually have to show an officer my lack of a license?” I would ask provokingly.

“Stop with these silly hypotheses and do something around the house for once,” came the reply.

And that was the end of that. But the scenario and its infinite variations continued to annoy me. Why does society impose rules, boundaries, and laws on itself? Why do we not trust ourselves with the wild, natural freedom that should belong to us, roaming the Earth free of artificial structures? That is what these concepts are - constructed boundaries in a system we all buy into. The dividends we expect are safety and order, at first glance. But the reasons go deeper than that, beyond the need for physical protection.

We need protection from our own inadequacies, real or perceived. Social norms provide an unfaltering standard to cling to, like a baby to its blanket, when we struggle to come up with purpose or identity. Relenting to authority, following laws, and accepting rules gives us guidance when we cannot trust ourselves to act, when we fear who we would really be, or what our meaning would be without the structure. We are but clothed animals, carving out an existence on a space rock, attempting to impose order on an otherwise cold and chaotic universe.

No, it isn’t depressing. We have created this problem for ourselves. The solution is easy in theory: erase all forms of authority, government, rules, and structure from the Earth. The very idea of authority ought to be repulsive. How can one person command another or have some perceived supremacy? The mostly democratic world has all people being equal, but the hypocrisy of the system stems from authority - all are equal, but some are more equal than others, having a power coming from nowhere. How can laws (which are just meaningless words written in a place deemed important) have control over our actions? All these constructs do are oppress humanity itself, subjugating free spirits and chaining us to arbitrary restrictions.

Of course, treating the disease of authority would be impossible. Anyone who dares try is an anarchist, a sociopath, or a deranged lunatic. Powers greater than ourselves, be they laws or Gods, are ingrained in us too deeply to tear out now. But one can either try, poking and prodding the grotesque beast of illusory power, looking ourselves in the mirror and knowing that it is always possible to be truly free, that who we are is not founded on some false structure, and we can live. Or one we fade away after years of not living a single day.