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On the Importance of Rules -- How They Effect the Human Mentality

Updated: Mar 10

A mysterious man saluting.

Why We Need Rules, Even if We Don't Like Them

If there were no rules, there would be no cooperation, for rules are there to ensure the procedure of cooperation, and enforce its continuation. Without cooperation, the continuation of complex organizations and advanced technology wouldn't exist, for there must be cooperation to develop and maintain them. This, in turn, could lead to significantly fewer humans on the planet, and to far less advancements in any field regarding human knowledge and invention.

With the power of cooperation, now available on a planetary scale, we are able to ensure the procedure of many complex cooperations, required for the initiation, growth and preservations of countless projects. And without rules, AKA, agreed terms of conduct, these cooperations would either go badly, or less-than-optimally.

Why, then, do we so often despise the authorities, even if they are there to maintain order? We all have our own reasons, and that includes myself with my despise of social conventions. However, it cannot be denied that we need to agree on how to behave, or how to conduct, in order to co-exist with one another and to perform and oversee many collaborations.

Without laws, we'd likely see a fragmented landscape of small communities, or even gangs or warbands, like in a post-apocalyptic scenarios. Some might be controlled by tyrannical leaders, relying on raw power and fear to maintain order.

Others might be held together by bonds of friendship, but these groups would be fragile and vulnerable whenever conflicts poses a threat on their collective existence. Still, others might be manipulated by charismatic, charming figures, deceived through grandiose visions and empty promises. In such a world, security would be limited to the immediate strength of your own group, against that of other groups. Money and finance would lose their meaning in the absence of stable institutions and safe trade. If anything, barter would be both the norm and the last resort.

Rules and authorities, for all their flaws, serve as the grounds for cooperation, advanced technology, a chance for societies to prosper, under the limitation and regulation of individual behavior. They provide a framework for peaceful coexistence, and create the conditions for economic growth, as much as they can provide the opposite: A setting ground for oppression, exploitation and conquest.

While we may disagree with specific policies or actions, despising the very system that underpins our well-being might ignore the general picture, to say the least.

Can We Truly Love Naturally Under the Tyranny of Law?

Because laws are necessarily there to limit the individual, we cannot expect general society to freely enable love between humans. For the best way to love a person is to let them be the best version of themselves. And you cannot do that when you strive to limit them in the name of collective interest.

In a sense, under the tyranny of law, the individual is exploited by having his or her freedoms stripped from them, in the name of the collective ambition, or procedure, the laws are there to enforce and regulate.

As such even in the most liberal of democracies, some limitation is to be applied, so the procedure of the democratic system would commence smoothly. You cannot expect people to simply love each other naturally when their natural behaviors serve as grounds for conflict over authority and even ego.

Loyalty originates most especially when the individual allows themselves to be limited, not only by consent, but also by a genuine will for a certain procedure to occur. As such, syndicates, in whatever field of human organization, occur when individuals collectively strip away their own personal freedoms in the name of a common interest/s.

And you might not have that in countries, where the law applies on you without either consent or honest desire. Because the country can be quick to disregard you as a human being who is entitled to both features, you might feel a burning passion to disregard the country as well.

As such, since the country does not care for your desires and agreements, as long as you'll do what it will say, they will leave you alone. The only exception, unless there are others, is its own consent to give you welfare.

As such, "naturally", feelings of hatred and distrust may stem from the populace towards the country, despite the perks it gives them, by limiting them and enforcing its will on them without considering their thoughts and opinions beyond the democratic forms of resistence (such as protests and private media).

A state/country that naturally disregards its citizenry cannot contain as much true love as it was more considerate of them. As its anti-love approach is normalized, people may gradually forget how is it like to love one another as human beings. To love one another, and let one another be themselves. As such, even without good feelings towards the country and its government, people may act as oppressive as the country itself.

How can humanity be desired in such societies? No. When we disregard others, we can be quick to create unnecessary foes. And as such, our world is built out of an endless series of wars, struggling over gaining power and reducing the freedom of others.

All in the name of allowing interests to come into fruition, in the form of procedures, and their enforcement.

Due to the country's (any country's) inconsiderate nature, I'd like to suggest this as the reason for psychopaths and sociopaths getting high in the ranks of society. That's because a common trait both types of people have, is disregard towards others.

The Relationships Between Chaos and Order

Imagine a world without rules, a lawless anarchy. It's easy to romanticize the freedom, but the reality would be far bleaker. Without limitations, motivation too cooperate the operation of small-scale interest would be hindering the formation of large, cooperative societies.

No government? No collective potential realized thousands and even millions realized. We might as well remain in the Stone Age or some other primitive era. Yet, despite the frustration of a parking ticket or a speeding fine, the police are, ultimately, the guardians that preserve this potential to exist in its current state (for good and for bad of course).

Even in this hypothetical, enforce-less world, rules would eventually emerge, vital for the survival and growth of small bands. Slowly, these bands will form coalitions to maintain their interests and prevent future conflicts with one another, leading to order. This is, by the way, how cartels form: Competition leads to conflict, and conflict is bad for business (sabotage of rival operation for instance). So, in order to increase overall business, organizations re-organize into cartels.

As such, it is within collective interest to limit one another, and it can be done either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Fear of punishment or the hope for justice would justify the enforcement of laws, deterring traitors and thieves. Little love can actually be found between humans and it's one of the many reasons figures like Jesus Christ, fictional or otherwise, are considered exceptional. But in a world devoid of such exceptional love of humankind, outlaws and criminals would beg for redemption, serving as a grim example for others. No matter how much we crave dynamic, unrestrained behavior, some form of law is inevitable for smooth functioning, whether formally or informally.

And those who resist that system, if powerful enough, can have the power to tear it down, thus leading further into chaos. This fantasy about humans living happily ever after in eternal co-existence is far fro realistic because we are driven more by interests rather than by genuine love for each other. Along with alienation, this leads to society continuously being a stage for conflict, thus eliminating the absolute possibility for long-term peace with one another.

With community growth comes the extraction of collective potential, leading to advancements in various fields. Technology has freed us from many premature deaths, yet it also carries the potential for immense destruction, especially if global laws are broken. Execution for violating laws remains a reality in some parts of the world, highlighting the ability of some states and countries to take away lives of human beings under the value of the law.

A Short Guide To Decent Rulership

While we may be irritated at the constraints of rules, their role in shaping and safeguarding humanity is undeniable. Whether just or unjust, these limitations have been, are, and will continue to be the fabric of which our collective development and preservation rests. Imagine a hypothetical "purge" where all laws were temporarily dissolved. The ensuing chaos would be a grim reminder of the fragility of order, potentially leading to the deaths of countless individuals, should their enforcement fails terribly.

It's this crucial role of order that once sparked my childhood fantasies of becoming a police officer, like the originally imposing figures of Imperial Stormtroopers, originally being portrayed as an elite military force.

The idea of upholding the law, of reducing crime and its devastating consequences, held a certain allure to me. To actively contribute to the entity I would have served, to see criminals face legal repercussions and prevent future harm – that, for me, would be the essence of impactful work.

But in the end, there is no law enforcement force that will not have, at least in potential, apply violence on its own populace. This further escalates the possibility of a great distrust between the government and its citizenry.

And how can you love the very entity that can send out people to harm you in the name of the law? The very entity that calls to limit you, as well?

If you want people to obey your inevitable rule, to comply, consider remembering how to be a decent human being first. Make people want to comply. Consider the human element that is within your subordinates. Consider their interests, and they will consider taking you in higher regard as well.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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