This quote strikes me as poignant:
“I am slow-thinking and full of interior rules that act as brakes on my desires....” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
The reason it has so much meaning to me is how deeply I can relate to the protagonist's insight. For a very long time, I've not acted on spontaneous emotion, on impulse, caprice, for fear of disrupting some balance in society, or my present chunk of it, by breaking some "interior" rule. I've called it Introversion, Social Anxiety, Shyness, Conscientiousness, Obsessive-Compulsive...I've spent many thoughtful moments considering rules. I'm not sure whose rules - society's, my own?
I'd like to step back a minute. Consider this quote by the famous American General Douglas MacArthur:
"You are remembered for the rules you break."
The past two years of writing poetry for publication, and discerning what precisely spins the head off my neck, quickens my pulse, in art (music, movies, novels, visual, etc; my own, others') the chief discovery I made was I most fee pleasure in the act of rule-breaking, or while participating in it with another (reading, viewing, listening; 'another' being the maker).
Beauty breaks the rules.
Today, at every opportunity, every hint of reticence, every mental stopper, push-back, I broke the rule, flicked the angel off my right shoulder and gave heed to the devil on my left (sinister!) - recalcitrant instead of acquiescent, I failed at my usual capitulating and said "To hell with this prison of morality!" In short, I rebelled against myself. The slave revolted against the selfsame slavemaster; an internal servile war.
I've made a profound synthesis: art is about revolt, breaking new ground by forsaking unnecessary rules; living artfully, ignore the limits and unbound your soul, choose the rules (a few) to keep, and live as freely as possible (art is freedom). By rules to keep, of course the Ten Commandments offer some (thou shalt not murder). I like the Hippocratic Oath (maybe I'm biased).
Maybe this only applies to me, but for any of you out there who can relate to Fitzgerald's words (from Nick's mouth) in Gatsby, then maybe you should try what I tried today: break those interior rules. Empower yourself. If not in life - then to my artist friends - in creating!
PS: I apologize this post looks like shit. I don't know why it keeps turning out in these stupid colors. Probably has to do with pasting in the quotes. Mea culpa.