Why You Can and Why You Don’t Have To

For as long as I remember, I’ve been told 1, what I can not do and 2, what I have to do. It’s not only because I live in Norway, among one of the most obedient populations in the Western World, that daily life seems to be stained by these boundaries. It’s like this everywhere now, and I believe it’s one of many signs of a civilization approaching its collapse.

I’ll save that collapse bit for another blogpost, right now I want to talk about the already mentioned boundaries. And just to give you an idea of where I’m coming from mentally, let me start by giving you an example: My daughter is a swimmer and that means I’m her driver — she trains about 4 times a week. To avoid standing for two hours, the parents are allowed into the swimming hall, where there are seats. However, if you get there a bit late, the people working in the swimming hall blocks the entrance with some sort of gate. It’s not a very tall gate, in fact I can easily stride across it. The funny thing is, I’m the only one who does that and everyone’s telling me I can’t do that. My reply is that I clearly can. In fact, it’s very easy. The gate is very low, about three feet. So it represents no obstacle to me.

Of course, when they’re telling me I can’t do that, they are not talking about my physical abilities. They are telling me to respect the rules the staff of the swimming hall has made up. Well, I don’t respect them. Why should I? They are not based on sense and reason and they’re not fair.

I have the same thing with roads, actually. I believe roads are optional. I have a SUV, so obviously I don’t have to drive only on the roads, as long as I don’t make ugly tracks on the ground or anything like that. It’s the same with my long hair and beard (- You can’t have long hair, you’re in your 40’s. – Well, I’m 43 and I have long hair and beard so clearly I can.) and my disrespect for authorities (- You have to respect him/her, he/she has a badge/title. – I don’t care about titles, his badge could say «Master of the Universe» and I still wouldn’t respect it.). In fact, I am fortunate enough to be unable to respect any person, system or rule that I don’t subjectively agree with. It is only when I am threatened by violence or loss of freedom that I unwillingly follow a law or regulation that I don’t like. Taxes are a good example of that. I would gladly pay for hospitals, longer maternity leave, pension for the old and sick and so on, but don’t come to me and tell me taxes are mostly used for good causes. Unlike most of the politicians in this country, I have a degree in economics and I know that’s not how the taxation system works.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think most people are morally capable to live in a society without rules. We need rules. But if we look at the rules that make up the boundaries in our daily life, many of them are not there to make it harder for people to do bad things. Most of them are there to keep the system running and to protect the system’s representatives.

Maybe you think I shouldn’t be talking about this. I’m Norwegian, after all. And I’m sure you’ve heard Norway is the happiest country in the galaxy. Well, I’ve travelled a bit and I don’t know how they found those numbers. But I do know that here in Norway, the consumption of anti depressants and pain killers is rapidly increasing. Suicide is still the main cause of death among young men and the number of children living in poverty is steadily increasing. When everything is added, we pay about 70% taxes flat, I guess that is necessary because Norway have one of the world’s highest percentages of people who are unable or unwilling to work. Norwegians are also rank very high when it comes to willingness to punish those who don’t conform to the system, it’s rules and social boundaries. And believe me, I know what it’s like to be the one who is being punished. But still, life is so much better if you can grasp the idea that you are actually free. You can do what they say you can’t do. And you don’t have to do what they expect you to do. Believe me, those boundaries are made up. They are not real and you do not respect them. You were born free, so why should you not want to live free as well? Life is better if you dare to live free, much better. If you live free, you will only need your moral compass, some compassion and an idea of where you want to go next. Most people who live under the burden of modern society’s rules and regulations, spend most of their lives chasing money they will never enjoy and waste their days until all they have left are broken dreams. Don’t live your life like that. Do what you want to do. Don’t do what you don’t want to do. Live free.

-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen