follow the rules, or make them up as you go...?
Sometimes it kind of kills me that the childhood clarity of right and wrong tends to fade and distort as we get older. Morality is a socially constructed phenomena, owing nothing to nature itself, except perhaps inklings. When a pack of wolves organizes itself around an alpha, there is law and order there, but nothing is absolute.Often in animal society, alphas are overthrown.
So, we human individuals decide what laws, morays, and ethical codes to abide by, and which are... flexible. (Sure we vote on matters of law and contruct a system to punish the violators, but regardless, we all decide, everyday, as individuals, in individual circumstances, which laws we will abide and which we won't.)
There can be this intense irritability that comes from realizing that by following the rules, where others do not, we are put at a disadvantage. And maybe that irritability comes from the insecurity we feel when we realize how much choice is involved in keeping any kind of order, and knowing that it could all come crashing down if too many people realize that they can simply choose to be amoral.
Plus, we humans hate it when something feels unfair. (I don't know where we ever got the idea that things aught to be fair, or could be. I guess it's good for civilization and the development for human compassion that we did get the idea... but where it came from I've no earthy idea.) And nothing feels more unfair than being set back because you follow the rules and realizing others makes strides by breaking them.
These are all the things I am telling myself as I ponder my frustration with the copious amounts of copyright violation and general rule breaking going on out there in our blogging / creative sharing community. I'm not going to finger point or go into great detail about the problem. Other's have sparked great discussions by doing so and I can't imagine I might improve upon them. And I also don't want to overstate the issue. For the most part this creative community has been a wonderful experience and does far greater good than bad, in my eyes.
I also don't wish to present myself as one who has been pristinely virginal in this struggle. I've violated copyright. I have displayed others' work on my blog without their permission. I stopped quite a while ago, and have been making strides not to do it again, even by accident or oversight. I've even been angrily called upon to remove such content by the content's creator. I didn't blame him. I admitted my poor judgement and did everything he asked of me. I don't think he ever forgave me though, and I understand that too.
It's easy to see how unnerving it can be to follow the rules diligently, passionately, to one's own detriment even, and then to see others treat such guidelines as wisps of indiscriminate whim. I'm there now too.
On Pinterest you are not suppose to self promote. I don't. Others do. It kills me. What to do. Nothing really. Call them out? But I'm not the morality police. Break the rules myself? If he did it so can I? No. I'll not be a sheep led over a ledge and call out that I was only falling in line. I have more pride than that. But, it's tempting to skirt the rules because it would be a great place to introduce my work. And, I'm trying to be more self possessed, more responsible for my own creative destiny. That's not easy for me, to put my work in front of others' faces. But, I'm doing it. Except on Pinterest, where I'm not suppose to, but others do. Maddening.