“It is only rules that make a thing right or wrong,
and any judgement is in the authority of the rule maker.”
— Terry Minion
This thought came to me today on a drive, and I’ve been thinking about how it applies in several areas of our lives.
Things are not inherently right or wrong. Whether it is a stop sign, a contract, a mission statement, or the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it is the rules that are made that makes a thing right or wrong and the rule maker who makes judgement. These come in terms of laws, edicts, commandments and statements of facts.
So, it’s the middle of the night and you come to a four-way stop sign, and you can see for miles in all directions and there is zero traffic. Do you stop, or slow down and cruise through? Is it wrong to drive through and right not to? Or is it right to stop and wrong not to? What makes it right or wrong? It’s only the rules, and the sign is just a physical representation of the rules.
Does that make rules wrong? No, but I think it is important to just conceptualize and accept that it is the rules that make a thing right or wrong, but not the thing itself, and that whomever is making the rules is the judge, or their assignee.
In one of my training classes, I talk about laws and the many ways to view them. I say that the speed limit on the freeway out there is 65 mile per hour, but the majority of the traffic is probably going faster than this limit. The rule maker states that if this speed limit is exceeded, there is a judgement of wrongness and a tentative fine as punishment. However, I say, there are not enough cops to stop all the people exceeding the speed limit, so another way of looking at this is that there is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. One is written or spoken, the other is not, yet they both apply. The letter of the law is that the speed limit is being broken, the spirit of the law teaches us to flow with traffic. If traffic is flowing at 75 miles per hour, it is potentially wise to flow with them rather than strain against the flow.
Suppose you lost your job, or your income was substantially reduced and you could no longer pay your credit accounts in even the minimum amounts they demand. This scenario turns into a longer term situation and the creditors are very demanding. You want to pay the bill, and you want to demonstrate your earnestness in that desire but all you can offer is a pittance in comparison. If the creditor really was interested in allowing you to pay off the debt, they could do so by accepting those new terms, closing your account, stopping the interest and letting you make those payments and hopefully in the near future as things change, you can increase them until it is paid in full. It won’t happen because of the rules, set by the rule maker–the creditor. They will only accept a minimum amount they determine and your amount is far below, so it is unacceptable.
The problem here is the rules. It is the tail wagging the dog. The consumer feels that not paying the debt is “wrong” but they cannot pay the amount the creditor wants. But it isn’t really right or wrong except for the rules. This is but one example, but there are hundreds like them in all kinds of businesses, churches, households.
Consequently, there is infinite gray area in rules, and unlimited interpretation. So, even with rules, it cannot be so cut and dried as right and wrong, and that is mainly because regardless of the vastness of the gray area in rules, these are just rules, and the judgement is made by the rule maker. Ultimately, we make our own decisions by accepting others rules as our own, or making our own.
Of Course, The Advantage Of Making Your Own Rules, Is That The Judgement Call Is Yours Since You Are Thereby The Rule Maker.
Spread Some Joy Today–Make some of your own rules today. How about making a rule to have joy in your life every day!