Prompt: Disobey


I’ve never participated in a WordPress blog prompt. The prompt is “Disobey.” Here’s my take on that. If you google it, Disobey is a music video, an apparel line, and a website for the discontented.

“The Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge will award $250,000 to an individual or a group for breaking rules. One condition: the disobedience must help society.
The MIT Media Lab is seeking nominations for candidates from all over the world. The best candidates are doing or have done difficult and important work that is not always recognized.” See this link.

Interesting. And this contest sums up what “Disobey” should mean. Going against the grain to benefit a greater good. RESISTING authority, not hurting anyone in the process, to better a worthy cause.

Of course there are pros and cons to disobeying. It all comes down to intent.



Oskar Schindler, Muhammad Ali, Dr. King, Rosa Parks, disobeyers all. And an example of how disobeying can go wonderfully right and effect change that is good and also how it can end disastrously and in some cases still effect good changes.

I love this quote from a parenting site:

“One reason for “disobedience” is that kids are trying to find out for themselves whether it’s really true. They are wired to uncover truth on their own by spotting discrepancies. Between the age of four and eight they are learning that just because an authority figure says something, doesn’t mean it’s true. Once they see their mother filling stockings at Christmas, or their father yelling at the car in front of him, they can’t help asking questions. And that’s a good thing. We want them to think for themselves. Authority “figures” aren’t always trustworthy authorities.”

I haven’t lost this trait. In my 20s Buddhism found me. There are three elements to Buddhism Faith- intuition, reason and experience.

A cardinal virtue in Buddhism is Ahimsa which means compassion; to cause no harm.

Civil disobedience can be fierce and powerful, however. Even deadly.  I do not condone emulating the brave monk Phuntsog, who set himself on fire. But I respect his civil disobedience.

So what is disobedience, to me? All of these things. And these. When I was in my teens, I disobeyed anti-trespass warnings (and the law) and stole from a farm to feed my family corn and potatoes, which I’d stuffed down maternity pants in the middle of the night.

I’m a nonconformist to the core and I believe in rules. I believe in morality , equality , and fairness.  Unfortunately, if one deliberately disobeys a law to advance a moral … there will be powerful interest groups who dominate politics/society and believe their morals are the ones that matter, not yours.

This is where Ahimsa (compassion and doing no harm) comes in. Honor another’s differences. Why is it that for most,  it just seems so damned hard to do that?

Kintsugi. It is the ancient art of honoring broken pieces. 

You’ve seen the pictures of broken Japanese bowls with their cracks repaired with gold. It is woefully apparent when cultures, when society, politics, environment break down,

just as it is apparent that broken bowls are in disrepair. Throw out society because no one can honor broken pieces? To fix a broken system and render it useful again, perhaps a bit of nonconformist thinking is due. Mosaics are lovely.

Sometimes it so happens that the end result of fixing something broken, is that it’s more beautiful for having once been broken.

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