Monday, June 6, 2011

Adhering to Standards

The problem is not with adhering to standards; it is adhering to them slavishly.

"Slavish" adherence is recognized by the lack of joy in it. Generally, it will be accompanied by pain and resistance. It is adherence out of fear of the consequences, rather than adherence because one understands the underlying principle that makes adherence profitable.

If adherence to a standard is not profitable to those of whom it is required, then it literally is a form of slavery. Our parents teach us to adhere to standards, and in so doing claim that the standards themselves will eventually be profitable to us. We are taught to persevere, when the standard is painful, because we will eventually learn the value of the standard; or at least, we will learn the value of perseverance.

But how much pain and suffering should one endure, before deciding that to change course might be more profitable than perseverance? Abandoning a standard, or adopting a different one, is changing course. If we misjudge the value of perseverance in a given case, our adherence to the standard was slavish. It is much better to achieve mastery of the art form, such that adherence to any standard is based on perfect understanding of how that standard affects the quality of an outcome. Then, adherence or non-adherence will be undertaken in joy – the joy of creative power.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if in some aspects the Federal Government of the USofA could be seen as slavishly adhering to the letter of the law, perhaps so as to tire the voters to the point that they allow the excellent Constitution to be gradually and finally fully dismantled in favor of a promised more "expeditious" system?

    It is usually the discretion of the police in the exercise of the law that makes life under the rule of law bearable on a day to day basis. If the police enforced every law on the books and to the letter, life would probably be much less bearable than it is. Since this discretion and interpretation may be turned on and off depending upon whether one is confronted with minorities, youngsters, women, men, mainstream or alternative folk it is still a very good idea to have a good and fair system of laws in place.

    Slavish adherence to the letter of the law strikes me as a kind of passive-aggressive way for public officials to undermine the system of government they serve while at the same time being seen as serving it diligently.