No One Has The Rules Of Life In Their Back Pocket: You’re So Free it’s Scary!

Did you know that you are free? More free than you ever thought possible? Did you know that if you realise just how free you really are it would scare the hell out of you? So many of our limitations are invisible, created by belief systems, thought processes and social conditioning. So many people go along in life without giving very much thought to why exactly they do what they do, and by the time they begin to question the assumptions they’ve always made it’s often too late to enjoy their new found freedom. For most people this may not be a very big deal, the majority do seem to be quite content to follow the paths laid down before them by past generations. To continue the traditions, to conform to the rituals and not question the systems.

I’m not being disingenuous here, I think there is something to be said for keeping a tradition alive, I think of folk music and dance, family tales and lore. And it is always sad to see when a tradition dies out, like that of the nomadic “Travelling Man” of Ireland. Before widespread and accessible telecommunications, super markets and MP3 players, there were a number of wandering men in Ireland who would travel on foot from town to town. These solitary men would bring news from other towns, picked up on their journey, and in return for food and a place to sleep they would build pots and pans for their hosts out of tin, as well as serenade them with ancient songs usually played on the fiddle. These were highly skilled people who as son followed father, continued this tradition for god knows how long. The people of the village anticipated and welcomed these wandering men for the tales they would tell, the things they could fix and build and the beautiful music they could play. But of course as telephone communication became more widespread and as pots and pans could be purchased any time with the advent of the super market, these travelling men became obsolete.

Tradition has its place for sure, but so does ingenuity and non-conformity. There appear to be two basic types of people, those who conform and continue the traditions handed down without question, and those who are not satisfied with the old ways and seek to find new ways, or to improve on what was handed down. Both types of people are equally valid and important, however conflict will always arise when the two types come into contact. This post is not written for those happy to follow the majority, honestly if you are in that group then you have more than enough support. This post is for those who would be free thinkers, and in turn free ‘livers’. I want you to think about this sentence: “No one has the rules of life in their back pocket”, maybe it won’t click with you the same way it did with me, maybe it will take some time to fully realise the power of this sentence. What this sentence showed to me in a moment of absolute clarity is that every person born into this world comes with the same stuff as everyone else, and when we die you can’t tell the rich men’s bones from the poor. We are equal. And if we are equal that means that we all have equal ability to think and live exactly as we choose.

The politician on the television, the judge, the police chief, the high priest, the school principal. Everything that makes them ‘great’ is based on assumed and invisible authority. These ‘leaders’ are given a mandate by the majority who decide to give up some of their own power and responsibility in order to be protected by another person or group of people, but it’s only a concept, you can’t actually ‘give up’ your power. There is nothing in our blood, bone, brain, heart, or skin that can differentiate Hitler from Socrates, a beggar from a banker or Bon Jovi from me. These ‘Pillars’ of society make their living and remain in positions of authority by convincing you that ‘they know best’, that somehow, by God or magic, they have been bestowed with the ‘Rules of life’ and that only through them can you find peace and freedom. Give me a homeless man and a high court judge, shave them, shower them and then stand them naked before an audience, which one is which? Can you tell? Does the judge glow with the holy light of justice and retribution?

Seems legit.

This post is not about political activism, or anarchism, it’s about personal liberation. I give these examples as a means to try and shock you into the same powerful realization I had when I understood that “No one has the rules of life in their back pocket”. I am a man, born into this life, just as every other person was before me and everyone will be after me. I came into this life, naked and screaming from out of my mother just like everyone else. Every priest, politician and pillar of society poops and farts and masturbates just like you and me. They eat, they sleep, some are cruel and some are kind. They have doubts and fears, they don’t know why they are here, do you?

Perhaps it was easier for me, spending about half of my young life being home schooled, travelling around Europe and Australia with a family of musicians, to see the chaos behind the order. To see beyond the matrix. To see that there are as many ways to live as there are people in this world, and that it’s up to you to choose. Thanks to laws and social pressures you may not always be able to live out your preferred way, and part of living as an ethical human being is respecting the other people of this world. But nothing can stop you being free in your thoughts. The saddest thing is not when people must conform physically to society, as we all must in some way, but when people lose their will to think freely, to stop questioning the norm and to actually start to believe the stories without critique. Self-censorship of thought and cognitive dissonance are far scarier than any physical prison.

Do you realise that you can have more than one sexual partner? Do you realise that you don’t have to go to school (except in countries where not attending school is a jail able offence like Germany)? Do you realise that you could move to Thailand? Do you realise you could change your sex? Do you realise that the leader of your country is just a person like you? Do you realise that you don’t need a job? Do you realise you can wear odd sock? Do you realise that you don’t need to wear underwear? Do you realise your country used to be another country? Do you realise that “No one has the rules of life in their back pocket”.

YOU create your rules, and only YOU can choose what to believe. Maybe the laws where you live aren’t great for what you’d like to do, or you are limited by circumstance, but no law or circumstance can stop you wanting it. Become totally free in your mind, think about things that scare you, that excite you, things that you’re ‘Not supposed to think about’. This is freedom, then, and only then can you begin to exercise your freedoms in the physical world. Laws change year on year, what’s perfectly acceptable now could be highly illegal years from now and vice versa. Countries are but a concept, borders shift and change with time. Every one of us, from president of America to new born child, from Afghani shepherd to military commander, we are all making it up as we go along. We’re all just doing our best. Be wary of those who proclaim to know the “True Path”, the only true path is what’s true to you.

And in terms of so called ‘Great’ people? Oh they exist, but you won’t find them running countries or religions, or leading armies. All it takes to be great is to tell the truth and be decent to the other people you come across, that doesn’t sound so hard now does it? You are so free to do and think whatever you like it’s scary, are you scared yet? ;)

Thanks for reading :)


Rohan Healy is the author of “Greeks to Geeks: Practical Stoicism in the 21st Century” and “The 7 Things That Made Me Genuinely & Irreversibly Happy: And How They Can Do The Same For You”

Click the book titles to visit their Amazon pages, read the reviews, and sample or purchase the books.

3 thoughts on “No One Has The Rules Of Life In Their Back Pocket: You’re So Free it’s Scary!

    • Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you like my post :)

      I think it’s fun sometimes to just imagine all that we are capable of and maybe question some of the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ that we place upon ourselves or have been placed upon us.

      Thanks again, I like your blog :)


  1. Pingback: 7 Things I Learned In My First Week as a WordPress Blogger! | rohan7things

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