Living outside of the wall leaves you in charge of yourself and your tribe if you choose to be a part of one.
Living this way seems like an invitation for vice to make a permanent stop. These are not the intentions. In spite of this, the aim is to live and experience something greater than the immediate satisfaction of a quick high.
Beyond the wall, what guides the sense of honor is a finely tuned moral compass. You don’t need the threat of eternal damnation or a fear of God to do the right thing; you do the right thing because that is what should be done. Those who believe that a world without religion or faith would turn into an apocalyptic wasteland of violence, misdeeds and violation need to do some introspection. If the only thing stopping them from pulling the trigger against another is the image of their deity above their front door, then they’re preaching for all the wrong reasons. Other people make the moral code they choose to live by whether they like it or not. They accept a worldview out of fear of being left outside the wall.
You go out and make you own version of the world you choose to see. You don’t need the fear of a watchful eye over you at all times to make decisions. You choose to live a certain way; you don’t allow your fate to be decided for you. When you go outside, beyond the stability of what everyone else considers normal and acceptable, you isolate yourself. You are no longer protected by those laws and mores that govern everyone’s life. All you have is yourself. All you can give is your word. The law you live by is a code of honor. You are only as good as your actions; your actions give credit to your words.
It is lonesome outside the wall. Making the decision to leave can be the best or worst decision you’ve ever made. Many can spend their lives simply standing on the edge. They dare not step over it to see what they will find. When you live in such a manner that people will know exactly what you stand for, good or bad, before they meet you. Your reputation precedes your name. You do not fall among the crowd because you have chosen to live outside of it. You live as the outlaw.
A criminal and outlaw are not always the same. A criminal acts through means-to-an-end, actions taken for immediate gain. A criminal operates within a narrow frame of “that is what I want, and I will stop at nothing to get it.”
An outlaw acknowledges that certain roles may have to be broken. But they are done so for a greater good. A rule may be broken for selfish reasons of course. A utopian society does not yet exist (I am optimistic, not ridiculous). However, a role may be broken if it is established with malicious intent. The outlaw breaks the rule not for the base pleasure of it, but because the rule gets in the way of a healthy existence.
Laws were made to protect those who needed someone to tell them what to do. To create “peace and harmony” we need to have some sort of agreement on how to behave. Somehow in the midst of all this, we decided that the best way to enforce stability would be at the end of a barrel of a gun or a collection of words called scripture. It makes no sense to keep pledging allegiance to a system that is designed to entrap you.
Confucius said it best: treat others as you would want to be treated. Without the protection of common law, how many people would continue doing what they do? If a loophole exists that will bring me to the fringe of criminality, but get me what I want at the expense of someone else, why wouldn’t I do it? After all, isn’t that what we do already?
We all carry a bit of an outlaw inside of us. We have to. Otherwise, this existence really does become Orwell’s vision of the future. We follow every law to the dot, we think along party/religious/ideological lines on both extremes, and we play the game by always taking the safe road. There is where we find community. There is where we find connections. Even if they are connections we don’t even like in the first place.
The outlaw lives with choice.
The outlaw knows that s/he is only as good as their name.
The outlaw lives where few ever go; because they go where there is no trail.
The outlaw lives and dies by her/his own personal convictions because their life is their own to live, and no one else’s.