I remember a scene in the movie Devil’s Advocate where Al Pacino’s character was explaining to Keanu Reeves’ character on something about rules and it goes; “Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow”.
And for some reason, we sometimes touch, we taste, and we swallow.
Or as the late WWE superstar Eddie Guerrero used to say...
I often think, here are Ten Commandments that are written in stone, and yet there are those who commit sin against it. Written in stone. By definition it means it is fixed, it cannot be changed, and you can’t have a workaround for it. If this can happen to something carved unto stone tablets, what more to rules, policies and procedures that are only set on paper.
I’m no saint and I had my small share of rebelliousness. One of them would be during my 1st year in the BPO industry, the IT team for the company I worked for kept raising a concern about me for always enabling the internet connection in my PC, which obviously was not allowed. It came to a point where they escalated me to the Senior Operations Manager already. So one day, he approached me and simply said, “JPP, you have greater things to do than just break rules. Do you think you can do greater things?” He was right. I am not a better or greater person by simply disobeying protocol and showing how cool I am that I can browse the internet during work while others can’t.
So what drives us not to comply? How difficult is it to follow a simple set of rules?
Take for example this new “No Contact” apprehension policy of the Metro Manila Development Authority. Why should we fear this if we are confident that we are really following the prescribed traffic rules? There are roads signs, and we are pretty much familiar with driving etiquette. But we know that there is this habit within a person where we think that it’s OK to violate the rules because no one is watching, so we go ahead and do it. So it begs the question again, what drives us not to comply?
Is it because others are doing it anyway, so should you? Are we so forgetful that it slips our mind every now and then?
There is such a long list of things that we do that don’t conform to the norm. Whether we feel that following rules is so bureaucratic or much of a hassle, we are in a hurry or trying to cut corners, when we feel that we are the authority and we can do whatever we want so rules don’t apply. Rules, no matter how simple they may be, are there to guide us and remind us of the right thing to do. There are even rules that are not written and are simply part of the natural habitat or environment. People with common sense can easily comprehend to this.
Other say that when you play by the rules, you get left behind, you lose. My take on it, if I play by the rules so damn well, I can actually bend them without breaking it. As the saying goes, “The pain of discipline is not as great as the pain of regret”.
But I guess there are some idiots who have a high threshold for pain, and can take huge amounts of regret.
Well, it’s their rebellious life…I have greater things to do.