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Could we live in a world without rules?

Rules

We all feel the oppressive presence of rules. We think rules are hampering our freedom and argue that they should be broken.

It is not really the rules that are the problem, but the unjustified ones.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Could we live in a world without rules?

Could we live in a world without rules?

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200220-could-we-live-in-a-world-without-rules

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Rules

We all feel the oppressive presence of rules. We think rules are hampering our freedom and argue that they should be broken.

It is not really the rules that are the problem, but the unjustified ones.

A life without rules

Imagine living in a world without rules. 

  • Language follows rules. Breaking away from the rules of language makes us incoherent.
  • Consider the rules of sport or games, the rules of chess or football. Without the rules, chess wouldn't be chess. A game without rules is no game at all.
  • Daily norms tell us what we can and can't do and make our social interactions run smoothly.
  • Rules about driving on the left or the right, not littering, queueing are the building blocks of a harmonious society.

Anarchy

Some people would prefer a society without government, where individual freedom comes first.

However, a world that promotes anarchy is inherently unstable. Humans continually make new rules to govern and do so as quickly as old rules are overturned.

Spontaneous rule construction

Rules aren't just invented by rulers and imposed from the top down. They often arise from the needs of mutually agreeable social and economic interactions.

When people collectively have to manage resources such as common land or water, people jointly construct rules to govern the resources.

Arbitrary rules

If each of us had to justify each rule from scratch, we would grind to a halt. Because of rules, we are able to learn hugely complex systems of language and social norms without spending too much time.

However, rules can develop their own momentum. People can become so passionate about arbitrary rules like dress code or dietary restrictions that they may impost extreme punishments to maintain them.

Rule-creep

Some rules keep being added and extended so that our individual liberty is increasingly reduced. Regulations on drug discovery can be so onerous that a potentially valuable medicine is rejected.

It is best to always know why you are following a rule. 

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