HMMM…THE RULES, YES.
Susan Christiana, I agree, playing by the rules is a challenge. Especially to a natural born anarchist like me.
There are the unspoken rules that every person with a healthy sense of morality and ethics will respect and follow per default, without having to be policed by a delegate of a higher authority.
Then there are a million of other rules more of a random kind. Those not essential for the functioning of a society or for the safety and survival of an individual. They are the kind of rules we employ when playing all sorts of games: cards, chess, backgammon; or sports: football, tennis, basketball; or when we dance: foxtrot, paso doble, tango, cha cha cha…
Okay I am just kidding a bit here, but yes — there are some rules we choose to subject ourselves to occasionally, temporarily, or periodically, in order to be able to participate in some group activity, or to accomplish a certain task. Stuff like that.
Then we have the rules on Medium.
In the beginning of my acquaintance with Medium, what had appealed to me most, was exactly the absence of the rules. It was such a refreshingly accessible and easy going place. It simply invited one to come closer, to look around, speak up, express him/herself and engage in a conversation with others, to join on one’s own terms. Medium had managed this quite simply. Just by being there and holding its doors open, asking for nothing, demanding nothing, imposing nothing.
Things have changed.
There are, just like there will always be, some folks who are born bureaucrats. They will create the rules and impose them on others even if nobody really needs nor asks for them. No matter, these guys will happily volunteer. They will generously make us a (dubious) gift of their services. They will do it because apparently they can not function otherwise. They need everything lined up, sorted and organized. A solid steel infrastructure.
When your imagination does not suffice and you can not improvize, organize.
And so, gradually, Medium is no more that loose, easy going, accessible place for the free spirits, young and old talents to step in, to create and express themselves … Those wonderful exceptional individuals who could not fit so well in all the rigid, strictly structured, precisely outlined, formalized and institutionalized environments that we all know — rules on top of the rules that inevitably come with the endless forms to fill, as well.
Just to think of all the countless precious trees sacrificed and the tons of paper wasted throughout our history (before we had the digital option) on that unoriginal, meaningless, blasted bureaucratic paperwork! We are forced to deal with that starting with the kindergarten and on, until the day we die!
So, here I am, back on Medium after a little break, suddenly plowing through a long and elaborate list of rules about how to produce and share with others …Wait. To produce and share what? ONE SINGLE LINE! And I have to fill in the form too!!! A proper government style application!
Well… when the rules take so much more space and more of one’s energy then the actual activity they apply to, my sense of proportion (to begin with) is certainly challenged. While the Muse is running out of the back door, screaming. Running for her dear life.
There is nothing like the old bureaucracy to kill the inspiration.