Ovid (publius_ovidius) wrote,

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The Rules

Beginning programmers ignore the rules. Good programmers obey the rules. Expert programmers ignore the rules. While this is something that I've noticed with programmers, it applies to virtually anything that we do. This is something I've been thinking about.

The sentence fragment. In and of itself, the sentence fragment is not a bad thing. Typically, teachers in high school would mark one an error when used, but this is because it is typically a sign of unclear thought or communication. Of course, one could argue that unclear communication is the same as unclear thought. However, the sentence fragment at the beginning of this paragraph was deliberate and, in my opinion, a perfectly fine way to begin the paragraph. I ignored the rules, but I consciously did so with deliberate effect. An inexperienced writer typically will do so from ignorance and likely will not be as effective. You have to know why the rules are in place in order to know when you should ignore them.

Over the past year or so, I've discovered this behavior with interpersonal relationships. We start out in life being selfish as we do not know enough to appreciate that we must balance the needs of others with our own needs. Eventually, we learn rules of behavior that we obey when interacting with others, but we don't always learn why we have those rules. Without an understanding of why we behave a certain way, we cannot begin to explore transcending the rules to arrive at a place that is more healthy for us. Your rules are not my rules yet much of society says this must be so. I've been hard-pressed to understand why others feel it appropriate to dictate my behavior if I am not harming them.

I think that the past year has taught me much about the rules we follow and the reasons for those rules. I have started to abandon many of them and this at times fills me with fear, but I am enjoying an enriched life and feel closer to those around me than ever before. I am happy.

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