“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?” (Buddha). I’ve always been the good girl who consistently followed the rules. I never questioned my superiors whether they were my parents, my teachers, or anyone older than me for that matter. But for a while now, the rebel in me has come out. Which led me to question the concept of “authority”. Is it okay to say no sometimes? How far should the translation of ‘no’ go into action?
Thomas Jefferson once said, “When angry; count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred,” This quote brings up the question of whether or not one should speak at all? If we see or hear something we don’t approve of, should we go ahead and doubt that, or should we accept it out of respect and reverence. Would it be rude to tell someone who is above you in age, rank, or social status, that they are wrong?
Since my rebel lash outs are fresh, I will use myself as an example. I have never questioned or talked back to any of my teachers. But since I’ve been under lot of stress and pressure lately, I saw something and couldn’t stay quiet about it. Normally I wouldn’t interfere with a situation between two other individuals and I would leave the matter for them to resolve privately. Yet, I did something about it because it felt like it was the right thing to do.
But even at that moment, I kept my calm and tried to remain as polite and objective as possible. Even though it felt good to fight for what I thought was right, I felt guilty because the person I respect and admire, might think that I was defying him.
Conceptual, earth, performance, body artist and lately, large-scale public sculptor, Dennis Oppenheim, had a motorized sculptural piece and installation where he used puppets that represented him. The pieces had some of his facial features at different situations. He tried to show in his work how he as an individual and an artist is attached by strings and controlled by different things, art commerce specifically.
Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.” In Oppenheim’s artwork, it seems like he admits to letting some of these strings control him. To sell his work, he had to compromise his beliefs to a certain extent. In fact, as individuals, we all do that; we tend to sacrifice something we believe in to get somewhere. Is it right to do so? Or does it mean that we have given up to these attached strings.
How much noise do we have to make to be heard, or is it better to just stay quiet? When should we compromise and when shouldn’t we compromise? We all face these similar situations day by day, and we each deal with them in our own way. But the question that echoes is: Should we cut those strings or should we play it safe and keep them attached?
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.