The Complexity of Rules

Rules are the foundation of order.

Do we choose what rules are to be followed or not?
We may not belong to groups that decide which rules are to be obeyed to or not; however we may select which groups we want to affiliate to and, thus, yield to their authority.
A good example of this is priesthood. For instance, the Roman Catholic Church established that its priests are to obey to the vow of chastity. That is the general rule and priests choosing the Roman Catholic path know this from the moment they join the circle. Therefore when finding out that they wish to marry and have children, these men of God should select another Christian denomination that allows them to keep serving God (in such manner) and constitute a family at the same time.
One may not change the rule, but at least it can choose what rules to follow.

Should we engage in changing rules?
If many hadn’t fought, in the past, to change certain rules, the western world would’ve never learnt concepts such as Human Rights.
Sometimes, it is vital to engage in causes so that rules are changed. For example, Mr. Mohammad Larijani (the head of the Human Rights council, in Iran) said, in Fareed Zakaria GPS, that Iran was the biggest democracy in the Middle East and that stoning a woman is not cruel if one takes into account the fact that she’s being punished for “severe adultery” (whatever that means). He went on saying that cruelty is relative (i.e. what seems cruel to westerners, is not to middle easterners).
This Iranian/Islamic rule should be obliterated all together.
When rules are designed to violate human rights and go against personal freedom (to know, to think, to decide, to express, to choose, to be held accountable etc...) then yes, we must wage a battle against them and change things around (even if takes decades).

Is following rules elastic?
Flexibility of the mind is crucial if one’s dignity is to be respected.
Following rules is imperative to maintain order, since without it there is chaos, which in turn leads to destruction. However, our mind should be able to be elastic enough to discern when it is ok to go around the rules so that anarchy is precluded.
Rigidity of the mind and blind obedience to rules (made by prevaricators) often result in suffering, rage, uprisings, wars, chaos and destruction.

Elastic rules are the solid foundation of order.

Image: The Battle at Pons Milvius by Raffaello Sanzio


  1. The Bible contains what we believe to be God's rules. The interesting thing about God's rules is that if you obey them, you receive blessings from your obedience. If you choose not to obey them, you don't receive the blessings. So it's kind of like God dangles a carrot in front of us to encourage us to obey, but withdraws it if we don't.
    I think when it comes to religion, it isn't a matter of finding a religion that allows you to break the rules you don't like, but finding a religion that you truly believe is God's religion. I have friends who choose a lifestyle that is clearly not what God outlined in the Bible, so they "shop around" until they find a church that allows that lifestyle. That may salve their conscience temporarily, but ultimately, on the judgment day they will find out if it really was God's rule or not! :)

  2. Hi Max,

    Well said...rules create order and prevents chaos...if there were no rules laid down, this world would be in a chaotic condition, we would never want to live in!

    Elasticity/flexibility is also very significant. if a certain rule does not work well to maintain order, then we should create some new rules that would deem fit to our society and where everybody or a majority can get benefited and not a minority!

    A very meaningful write-up Max, thanks for sharing, and may this gain wide readership for we have so much to learn from your words!

    I am with you in your last statement: "Elastic rules are the solid foundation of order".

  3. P.S.

    I am with Delirious' point of view as I am a Bible believing Christian...

    The more you obey God's word the more He will bless you, so it's just a matter of conviction on our part! If we believe in God, then everything else will fall into the right perspective, religion-wise!

  4. It is my firm belief that if the Roman Catholic Church is to increase the number of its priests they should allow them to marry. A big call I know, but being realistic it is the only way to go.

    Having been brought up in the Australian Catholic system, I have seen the numbers of religious nuns, brothers and priests decease to such a number, that sighting one is as rare as hen's teeth. Mores the pity.

    Now, rules are there for a reason, and, without them anarchy is sure to follow. Well, that's how I see it from Down under. Yes, we live in a lucky country and so we are blessed. Although bending the rules seems to be a national past time for many here.

    But living in a country where the stoning of women or removing popular female leaders such as Aung San Suu Kyi, by way of detention and house arrest – just recently released – is allowed, then yes, we must do everything we can against the ruling party to change things around.

    Take Care,

  5. Rules, legal, cultural or ancestral, are important. But changing rules sometime make sense. I wouldn't follow blindly...

  6. Max. I agree with your thought.

    Sabi Sunshine

  7. Max:

    Again you have shone the wisdom of a wise old sage. This thought-provoking topic is right on for today's world.

    It almost goes without sayng that we must live by rules, but those rules must not be overly harsh in their execution, or unbending in their construction as to diminish the quality of our lives. However, I do have a few personal gripes when it comes to rule interpretation and change.

    First is the military. I hate it when I see soldiers countermanding their orders. It's not up to the soldier on the ground, in the heaat of war, to pass moral or legal judgement on the orders of their superiors. If they want to gripe, do it in the right forum, not on the battle field. Now, of course, I understand that there could be a bad egg in the carton once in a while, and in those situations you have to make a stand against the existing rules governing the chain of command. Nobody wants to see blind brutality. But we simply can't have every religious zealot and yellow bellied protestor calling the shots based on their radical beliefs. Everybody can't be a chief. Like I said, there is a proper forum for such things, and every rule system should provide an opportunity for intelligent and non-emotional debate and change.

    Second is the U.S Constitution. I am a constitutionalist at heart. By design, our constitution has built in mechanisms for change. But outright altering the constitution is very difficult. I accept that. Such an important set of rules should not be so flexible that chaos insues from so many changes. After all, you wouldn't want to elect a president and congress that could too easily bring about changes that would ensure personal their long term longevity in power. That was Hitler's first action. So we learned from that observation by adopting things such as term limits. That's an example of a good and necessary change to the rules. It shows that our constitution does allow amendments to broaden our freedoms, and clarify our rights. These I view as acceptable changes, because those amendments or laws did/do not alter the constitution itself.

    Wonderful post my friend.

    Happy trails.


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