I think the rules are great places to get a good baseline direction, but then you really have to shred it all and find your own feeling. Don't let "the rules" define your art. If you don't even enjoy what you are doing then what's the point?
Most people don't want anything more out of photography than to create images that they really like. The problem often becomes that they start really caring what everybody else thinks about what they are doing and lose sight of liking it for their own reasons.
If you are doing it, or want to do it for professional reasons then, yes, you need to care about the rules. But, if your goal is to be an artist with a camera as a brush and the world as your canvas, then learn the rules and then forget them and find your own path.
It's the only way you'll ever be happy and the only way you might ever make a mark on the world at large.