Saturday, May 5

The Rules of The Game

     After decades of studying the human race, I've noticed some interesting rules that keep popping up despite attempts at common sense and logic.
        The Law.
        From the death penalty to school dress codes, laws are meant to teach us how to behave, you know, like not killing each other and wearing plaids with stripes. So far the death penalty is useless as a deterrent and nobody gives a shit what you wear.
         Except- a girl was denied a place on a boys baseball team because the rules state she must wear a protective cup- the league smugly declared. So she started wearing a protective cup- around her ankle, got to follow the rules.
         A golfer with a walking disability was denied use of a golf cart at a PGA tournament, because the rulebook says everyone must walk and the cart is an unfair advantage the chairman of  "rules are rules" insisted. Turns out there was a loophole in the same rule book to use one. The Grand Poobah wasn't so happy then.
          Don't get me wrong, rules are important, they help define society and set boundaries to keep it under control, but absolute obedience to written rules can be ruinous, even lethal, when taken to extreme.
         Like the epic tragedy of the women denied an abortion -which would have saved her life- because abortions are illegal in Catholic Ireland. Praise be to God that law was upheld. The ramifications of breaking the rules can be debated later but you can't fix dead.
         Did these people really think upholding the rules with no exceptions would make them look good? Mind you, these were not some petty tyrants in the bowels of an organization- although they certainly acted like one, they were people in charge. I guess there is such a thing as bad publicity.
         They adhered to the law as a symbol of order and failed miserably. They exposed the limitations of fixed rules when they meet shifting reality. That brings us to the next rule.
          Reality is a collective hunch that we pretty much make up as we go along.  Australia has strict rules on how climate change can be discussed-if at all and our darling EPA insists you not use certain words in climate reports like -anything connected to real science. Meanwhile coal and gas companies in the US have a free pass to continue to pollute an already strained environment. Meteorologist in Australia had to add another color to describe the record breaking temperatures during a ten year drought, followed by half of Brisbane under water from Winter flooding.
         "Hey everybody, all we have to do is simply disregard what's going on and it will go away." Yeah that's working out. There is no climate change, nobody is abusing children and, my favorite delusion of all-the Earth is flat.
         There are people who believe the earth is flat after watching videos on YouTube made by morons with no concept of science. Don't you see, NASA is concealing the truth with armed guards patrolling the ice wall that is Antarctica and the Arctic circle so we don't discover the truth and they can keep their budget. These are supposedly educated people who work without adult supervision. You're mocking our beliefs with your elitist snickering. They complain.
         No, we're laughing at idiots. I'm guessing this is a wholesale rejection of science because these same scientists are telling us how our discoveries and improvements on nature are destroying the world. If they got the shape of the earth wrong, what else did they get wrong? goes the weird logic. Science does get things wrong occasionally but not with this one.
         Ever since Descartes had his epiphany  "I think therefore I am" we have bought into the notion that the world is like a machine which can be controlled to do our bidding. Only now because of our attempt to tame it, we have screwed it up. Oops! Oh no wait, we had nothing to do with that. You can't have it both ways.
         Which brings me to delusions evil twin -denial.
         "Hey everybody, all we have to do is deny a problem and it wall go away"-like racism, child abuse, and persistent dandruff. Racism didn't go away even though black people can sit in a restaurant with white folks and get elected President.
         A white guy was harassing a black waitress in a restaurant to the point of her having to call the cops. He defended himself with- and I quote- "I'm not racist that nigger is making stuff up."            Facepalm. PC is not a cure for racism, it's just a vaccine shielding us from it's presence- until some unvaccinated dumb shit reminds us it's still there.
         The baseball league tried to kick a girl off a team because they really didn't want her to play with the boys- so they used the rule of law for another common tactic-
         The Work Around. When we don't like a staunch outdated rule, we simply find a way around it.
         Orthodox Jews respect the law that dictates that one cannot travel beyond their property on the Sabbath. Someone got the bright idea to collectively buy up a row of houses so they could visit the Bernstein's three doors down and not violate the law. See?
         Politicians and lawyers are notorious for fiddling with technicalities for a work around. The 13th Amendment bans slavery-except for prisoners. Corporate America has taken advantage of this loophole to brazen levels. They scored a trifecta with this one: cheap labor, re enslavement of minorities* and-in many states- keeping those convicted felons from voting. It's a winning loophole!
        The biggest rule book is the Bible of course, but there is not enough time to cover the cherry picking that goes on with that, it's threatening certainty created the work around.
        If it sounds like I'm picking on everyone -I am- because we all do these dumb, judgmental things, it's in our DNA along with arthritis and acne.
        You want to hate blacks, Jews, whatever, fine, you have the right to believe in whatever  suits you. The line is drawn when you force others to your belief.
         The Golden Rule is universal and promptly ignored for a reason. We like to judge and sneer down on others, it makes us feel special and superior but it just reveals how small we can be. In all the literature I've read on philosophy, religion, and metaphysics, the biggest rule is: don't coerce your will on others-it's bad karma.      
         The official denying a disabled golfer in a tournament does so because otherwise he would have to accept him as normal when he would rather see him as broken and beneath him.
         The law, parents and friends would rather think a young lady is lying about being sexually assaulted by that beloved teacher, coach or priest because the alternate is realizing they trusted someone who was evil.
         A politician or religious authority finds a loophole in sacred law because it interferes with their weekend plans or is a handy way to condemn a group they deem inferior.
         See how that works? I hate Rush Limbaugh and Nazis as much as the next person but they have a right to be here like the rest of us delusional folks.
         There are solutions to these behaviors. Acknowledge them, question everything. A reality check every once in a while is a good idea. Honestly is easier than trying to remember than what lie you're telling to who-including yourself. Denial, delusion, pedantry, loopholes simply put off the enviable realization that we're not as clever or enlightened as we thought.
         Let a law be a servant not a poor master. "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became an adult, I put away childish things."- St. Paul.
         When reality overwhelms you, have a drink, loosen up and remember, none of this is real anyway.
* The black population is only 12.5%  yet make up 24% of prison population.

1 comment:

paula said...

Good points! Thank you for writing down so many of my own thoughtS and observations.