To obey, or to rebel?

To obey or to rebel or not to care.

Aurora Mazzoldi, Interazioni chiuse (closed interactions), acrylic painting. To obey, to rebel, or not to care?
Aurora Mazzoldi. “Interazioni chiuse” (closed interactions), acrylic painting on canvas.

To obey or to rebel or not to care. This is a topic in the “How to choose well” section of this site. These are the three main ways in which we react if someone forces us to do something:

If we don’t want to do it, we will rebel and want to push that person away. Or, we bow our heads and obey to please them or because we are afraid to say no. But, inside us, we feel, in both cases, that we don’t want to do it.

To obey or to rebel; that is the question.

But there is also a third way, that of ‘who cares?’ Do we really give a damn, or should we hide our rebellion? And then, have we tested what we would like to do or what would be convenient for us?

Do we have other possibilities?

Sure! Here is a fourth way, that of Philomena who:

  • Does not obey
  • Does not rebel
  • Does not care

How does Philomena act?

“… Only when I realized that, having now become an adult, I could choose how to behave, I realized my conditioning and I felt delivered from this obligation. Now, finally, I allow myself a good glass of wine now and then … and I can enjoy it too!”

How did Philomena get out of this situation? She asked herself:

“Am I doing what I like or what my father wanted?”

Others, instead of asking this question, rebel. But is this how we can win the right to be ‘free’?

Rebellion can be useful to get rid of something annoying but, if we don’t come to a complete understanding of the situation and of its causes, we cannot find a solution for the source of the problem.

As we saw at the beginning of this book, Eve, who was rebelling, was as conditioned as Ada, who obeyed.

Those who rebel yield to anger and exasperation that, once calmed, often leave a void that the person does not know how to fill. In this way, they risk taking refuge in some other scheme, perhaps opposed to the one they are fighting, to regain confidence.

In fact, reacting with rebellion often leads us to follow the pattern contrary to what someone imposes on us, and this even if it would not be good for us.

But what if I want to do what I like, or what someone else dislikes?

It is not being selfish but following your own aspirations instead of submitting to (or perhaps to fighting) the judgment of others.

(From: Introspectivity – How to get the best from life by Luis Pisoni and Aurora Mazzoldi, Amazon, 2020 Rules and Limits, pg. 162-163.)