From the moment we are born, to the moment we are put inside our graves, there are rules that have been instated into our lives. From a young age, we are taught that breaking the rules is a great transgression that must not be done. What if aimlessly following the rules at every given moment of the day is not the greatest way to live our lives? Even though rules are there to preserve order, sometimes It is necessary to break the rules because rules are not universal. Breaking the rules can be overlooked when they prevent you from doing the right thing.
In Victor Hugo’s famous novel, ” Les Miserables”, the main protagonist, Jean Valjean, is sentenced to 19 years in prison merely for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. After this desperate move to save his family, society casts him aside, labeling him a con. Valjean is the perfect example of man made evil by a prejudiced society. Javert, a man who has dedicated his whole life to law and order, mercilessly chases after Valjean for a petty crime. As the end of the novel came nearer, Valjean saves Javert’s life. This simple action sends Javert questioning every rule that has ever been placed upon him, as he decides whether to turn Valjean in or commit suicide. The system unjustly leaves Javert thinking that all criminals belong behind bars. As he contemplates suicide he says, “I am the law and the law is not mocked, I’ll spit his pity right back in his face, there is nothing on earth that we share, It is either Valjean or Javert! “.
For the first time since Javert became apart of the system, he breaks the rule and does the right thing. “Most rules are made by people with no authority who want to control and limit you from reaching your true potential. Ignore them, break their rules, and wave at them as you soar past them to greatness” (Dan Pearce).Moral by definition means a person’s standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do. It is important to know that there’s a discrepancy between moral action and following the rules.
As young kids, we are indoctrinated into believing that following the rules is the moralistic thing to do. But that may not always be the case. Shoplifting is against the law and without a doubt, also wrong, but going quicker than the speed limit, whilst against the law, is technically not morally wrong. Before answering to every rule that is sent our way, one should ask themselves whether it complements their moral beliefs.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” (Steve Jobs). In the 19th century, racial segregation was present in many countries all over the world.
This discrimination was against colored people by the white community. Then Martin Luther King Jr. came along with a dream. The people who came from a colored background where not allowed to legally walk, talk, drink, rest, or eat near white people. Fifty five years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was sitting in jail in Birmingham, Alabama, for marching against segregation.
But many people like me are now here because Martin Luther had the courage to stand up for what he believed in, and in doing so, he has paved the path for many people’s lives. “Breaking rules isn’t bad when what you’re doing is more important than the rule itself” (Kim Harrison). It is acceptable to disobey the rules when standing up for something you believe in. Be it your human rights, religion, morals or other. Rules are not universal. They are vague notions, created to apply to most people’s lives. They are not built to explicitly fit one or one’s situation. Thus, carelessly following every rule is just plain ludicrous.
Rules were created by humans so that means that rules are imperfect, just like us. Rules must be broken occasionally, else this will result to large mishaps. “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them.
I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” (Robert A. Heinlein)