Rules, Regulations and Reformation

Road SignBoth evolutionary, as a species through time, and individually as developing human beings, we experience the effect of rules upon our lives.  First there came the rules that nature imposes upon us.  Nature doesn’t exactly create rules, however, nature creates conditions.  Humans have repeatedly experienced these conditions, noted patterns and consistencies within them and then developed rules or guidelines to assist us in coping with these conditions.  For instance;  don’t stay out in the sun too long or we may get a sunburn.  Wear plenty of clothing when going into sub-zero weather to avoid hypothermia.  As we have lived here on Earth longer we notice finer cues in what nature is doing and we have developed guidelines/rules for working in harmony with nature.  For instance, we look for cues about when to plant and harvest crops.

The forces of nature can push us around sometimes as if we are just leaves in the wind, or pebbles in a landslide.  When the forces of nature are at work we feel it.  We can feel the push, pressure from the wind or water or earth.  When they are strong enough we better have learned to react properly in a manner which takes into consideration the magnitude of nature’s actions or we may very well somehow suffer for not having done so.  When nature’s “on a roll” we are at her mercy.

These experiences in learning to recognize nature’s signs and how to live and work in a manner respecting nature’s power provide the backdrop for how we seem to regard the laws and rules that humankind create within our cultures and nations.  In our own minds we can tend to regard and instill human creations;  laws, with the same immutable authority with which we regard nature.  After all, don’t we sometimes feel the same pressures, the same joys or sorrows from the effects of human crafted laws in our lives as we may feel from the works of nature?  It can seem that both nature’s actions and human crafted laws are somehow part of a fixed reality bigger than ourselves.  The fact is that while we might not have power over nature, we as a species, do have total control over what laws exist within our communities and nations.  Within ourselves, within our own spirits we possess the ability to alter the reality of humankind’s laws.  The thing is for large and lasting change it takes “we” to do it.  Me or you alone may be able to cause a ripple within humankind’s rule-making systems.  However, alone we may well be like an electric fan blowing against a hurricane.  But when we work together we no longer are trying to work against a hurricane, we are the hurricane.

I realized this morning that most of the pressures I feel related to my existence in this culture, in this nation, and in my dealings with others, are entirely due to rules that some human being has made up.  They are rules that I have allowed to have some degree of authority in my mind and I need to ask myself what good are they doing me?  I think most people recognize that traffic laws are necessary.  And they seem to be pretty well written.  Just because someone has a more expensive car or a higher income, or a title or particular job, they don’t have any preference when it comes to traffic laws.  Can you imagine how it would be if the right-of-way in many traffic situations were determined by how expensive your car is?  However when it comes to a whole lot of other areas of our lives the kind of universal benefit that traffic laws offer just isn’t there.

We need laws, we need guidelines for our socialized behavior that help guide and protect us.  If burglary, robbery, rape, assault, murder and a few other activities were not forbidden by laws and if those laws were not agreed upon and enforced by the communities, fear would be running our lives to an intolerable extent.  Freedom from fear is one of the main benefits we should all be receiving from our government and our police.  So what happens when corrupt and overly self-centered men and women manage to take control of the making and enforcement of laws?  What happens when the laws are being written by and for special interest groups with little or no regard for their effect on the community as a whole?   What happens when instead of alleviating fears within our communities our government becomes one of the major causes of fear in our lives?  Well, for one thing at that point it is no longer “our” government.  Have we reached that point in the U.S.?

I think people within different communities would answer that question differently.  However,  just the fact that there are such large segments of the population within the U.S. (and around the world) that would, after sane and thoughtful consideration, say their government no longer truly represents their best interests is something we need to be sitting up and paying attention to.

Humankind has had to overcome some significant challenges in our struggle to have and enjoy life on Earth.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, floods, cold, animal predators, wars, persecutions, diseases, and humankind’s own ignorance;  all these things have fallen upon us at one time or another, and we’re still here.  Now we’re facing one of the most insidious challenges we’ve ever faced;  the desire and ability of some humans to essentially govern or legislate other humans into poverty, economic slavery or even out of existence completely.  It calls to mind the saying coined In 1839 by Edward Bulwer-Lytton;  “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Governments and laws are not forces of nature.  They are human constructs, managed by humans.  They are not immutable like the rotation of the earth and related weather phenomenon.  Laws are some of the easiest things on Earth to change, if we have the will to do so.  We all should ask ourselves if we are, either by our effort or complacency, aiding or allowing the inequities that are taking place to happen.  Humankind has advanced in so many areas even just over the past few decades.  There is so much that is good and worthwhile in what has been produced and in the activities of our day to day lives.  We all need to wake up to the threat that extremist thinking and narrow self-interest pose for world stability.   Laws which support and maintain extremes within our economic reality;  inordinate wealth on one hand and destitution on the other are greatly affecting the U.S. culture at this time.  If we are still among the lucky ones whose lives have not yet been direly affected it is all the more important that we engage in efforts to correct the economic and other social/cultural imbalances plaguing our world.  Two things any of us can do are to contact legislators and boycott businesses which are part of the problem.  Maybe, if our lives are still relatively stable, we can bring some objectivity and levelheadedness to the process of needed change.

If, on the other hand, we leave the dynamics and process of change up to the extremes of our world (of any sort), then the process will also be extreme.  Fear, anger, intolerance, lack of empathy/compassion tend to characterize the motivations of extreme factions.  Those attributes are not going to result in the balance and stability our world needs in order for humanity to thrive.  And when extreme factions begin a large scale action the collateral damage tends to be great.  It could easily take decades, or possibly even centuries in a worst case scenario, for humankind to get back to the level of positive technological, sociological and scientific progress we have the opportunity to benefit from now.

In order for reformation to preempt revolution it is going to take the involvement of sane, educated, rational, levelheaded, dedicated, and determined people.  The issues need to be analyzed and sound, equitable solutions need to be found and implemented.  This process has already started with many people from around the world writing and speaking about the problems they see and offering sound  solutions.  Necessarily many of the solutions we need to implement are radical ones, relative to our existing, increasingly dysfunctional systems.  Unfortunately at this time few if any of the needed radical solutions seem to be taken seriously as viable options by the powers-that-be.

Change is in the wind.  Change is going to happen.  The only question is will the changes happen by way of deliberate, thoughtful, genuinely corrective design?  Or, will the changes happen by way of whatever default actions may manifest when conditions cross one critical threshold or another?  The latter option is far from appealing.  Ultimately, like so many things, it is up to us.

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