Why Do You Follow Rules?

Instead of taking recreational drugs I read books like Finite And Infinite Games by James P. Carse. This kind of abstract word collection is very dry and beautiful, like an alien landscape, and without a doubt this is one of my top ten books from the last decade. I’ve been reading and re-reading it for a couple years now.

The picture here of James P. himself is a still shot from a dance movie version of this book. You think I’m kidding — I am not. Check it out here.

But first check out this quote — this is from Part One, Section 9, talking a little about the nature of finite games:

The rules must be published prior to play, and the players must agree to them before play begins.

A point of great consequence to all finite play follows from this: The agreement of the players to the applicable rules constitutes the ultimate validation of the those rules.

Rules are not valid because the Senate passed them, or because heroes once played by them, or because God pronounced them through Moses or Muhammad. They are valid only if and when players freely play by them.

There are not rules that require us to obey rules. If there were, there would have to be a rule for those rules, and so on.

See? You like that? It’s got enough of a beat that you can almost dance to it.

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