Why do you follow rules?

I have always wondered, why we in India do not obey any of the traffic rules or whatsoever. We don’t want to obey any rules in fact. We sharpen our brain in finding ways to escape from the rule, find an exception to the rule or somehow fake that we are following it. There are many real life cases for these.

It is because of such citizens that our country’s status is not really good in the world’s eyes. And it is true – the status is not really good even in our own eyes! But, again, we never bother about such things since we are already preoccupied with other higher priorities in life! 😉

My question is, why are we not following the rules? Is it because, they are not enforced properly or is it because, we are not well-mannered good citizens by nature at all? (Ultimately that’s the opinion others will form on us when they see our country!)

Well, actually I was arguing with a friend that if every citizen has the sense of social responsibility, even without imposing the rules on him, he himself will follow the rules and be nice. So, my point was that rules need not be imposed harder. The acceptance of the rule should come from within and should be a part of your character itself.

But my friend was saying the other way – rules here are just on papers and are not imposed strictly which is why people don’t follow them or behave well. This also sounds good for me. But still I feel the imposing can only be a starting point. If you don’t like following rules, you can always use your brain in finding ways out.

So, I extended this argument to a person from Europe, where they all follow rules properly. To my surprise, he himself said that they are following rules because, it is enforced very strictly! I was surprised and wasn’t convinced at all with his answer. However, it became clear after small discussion that they were trained to obey rules not because rules are good, but because rules are enforced strictly. And starting like that, now it has become a part of their culture or character or whatever! Even now if they don’t impose rules strictly, they might also tend to be like us.

Which makes me to wonder: “We human beings don’t have self-control on our own? Do we need someone else outside to threaten us to make us stay disciplined? We can be well-mannered, drive with sense & responsibility, pay our tax properly, etc. etc only when punishment is awaiting on failing to doing them?”

It is sad but true that this same tactic is used by religion as well – If you don’t stay good, God is going to punish you! So, you are going to be good to other just to avoid punishment from God? That sounds funny to me!

What is your opinion on this? Do you follow rules? If so, you follow them because they are enforced on you strictly or because your sense of social responsibility makes you to obey them?

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4 comments

  1. girisopinion · · Reply

    Well to be frank, rules have to be enforced in my opinion. I have been in the US for 8 years now and I know for the fact that unless they are enforced strongly people care a damn about traffic rules. Here people of afraid of getting caught if they speed, jump a traffic light etc and they know that the fines would be heavy if they get caught.

    Its the same as everything around us, isn’t it? If what you are saying were true there needs to be no law in any country as people would not commit any crime.

    1. Yes indeed people follow rules when they are enforced strongly. But, doesn’t it become a habit or part of character for them? I mean, if you really value the rules or understand why they are framed in the first place, then even if they aren’t enforced that strict, won’t you just follow them? Because you know their values?

      I am not sure if you would feel like what I am saying. Bcoz I have heard US is very fast moving and somewhat like India. But people who lived in Europe (whether Indians or Europeans) for around 4-5 years, when they come to India, they get tensed seeing the road traffic or situations here. I mean, if what you are saying is completely true, then they should feel like as though the knots are lose and get relaxed that rules are not enforced here properly and probably they should also try to disobey the rules. But they don’t do that. They get tensed and wonder why no one follows rules here!

      But yes.. I know what you are getting at! If everyone were good, then there is no need for rules. I confess I do imagine things in a very idealistic way! 😉

  2. girisopinion · · Reply

    Thats exactly what I mean about enforcing it. Here in the US, the laws are strict and are enforced pretty well for a long time now, so people have gotten used to it. For them that has become the norm which is not the case in India. If we enforce it now atleast the future generations will grow up to those rules and we can see the changes like you said. Until then we have to have our hearts in our mouth while driving or walking in India 😦

    1. “Until then we have to have our hearts in our mouth while driving or walking in India” 😀
      Hmm… Lets see how many generations we have to wait for that!

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