Everyone knows that societies need laws to maintain order otherwise we would live in utter chaos. Imagine for just a moment what would happen if there were no laws.
We would break down into tribes and these tribes would compete for resources and comfort. That competition would break down further causing war between the tribes, soon after victorious warlords would emerge. Of course there would be those who will not submit to any authority, rogue individuals who travel outside the boundaries of each tribe, yet whose territory encompasses all tribes. Survival of the fittest would have concrete meaning once again. Wait a minute, we don’t have to imagine, such places still exist like northwestern Pakistan, Somalia, and modern prisons.
Eventually these tribes would form alliances, holding that when deemed necessary, established mutual principles would be in effect, kind of like martial law (today, countries do this calling each other allies). Usually this would be done for protection and to resolve feudal disputes. Over time these tribes would further merge forming groups with large numbers and principles that were not transient (meaning specific to a certain situation, time or place) and would be established as a standard code of conduct. This was the birth of society and law. We have now gone full circle: society to rogue individual and back to society.
Imagine the burden of that person who could traverse tribe to tribe, society to society knowing each of their laws, keeping it all straight so as not to lose one’s head, literally. Such a person would have to be extraordinarily brilliant, overflowing with charisma and above all wealthy, correct? Perhaps this was the first lawyer?
As a member of civilized society, I want you to feel the full gravity of comprehending law for just one day. Visualize yourself walking into a great library, sitting down at a quiet well lit table. The librarian approaches you with your first 600 page book. You open it and the print is minuscule but legible. You start to read and before you finish the first page the librarian approaches with five more books, each one filled with law after law after law. Before you reach the next paragraph the librarian returns with a cart loaded with more books than the individual laws in each book. You are anxious, hyperventilating and becoming confused.
The librarian walks softly over to you and whispers in your ear, “would you like some coffee?” You reply with a gladness as if just rescued from a dingy sinking in the middle of the ocean, “Yes, please!” Upon returning with your coffee a hand is gently placed on your back and another soft whisper enters your ear reminding you that in ancient times a person not knowing the law could be beheaded. “Isn’t that crazy!”, they say.
You are now in full panic! The fine print that used to be legible has become a blur and you realize that if you, like that first lawyer, walk out that door without full knowledge of the law you could be locked up or worse. The librarian has brought ten more carts and asks you, “After these would you like to start on Federal Law or one of the other states?”
The full weight of law for just today is resting upon your shoulders like one cube from the great pyramid of Giza. Now you are given the task of learning every law from every land since the beginning. Not the beginning of time but since the beginning of civilization when societies first came about. You start out with the 10 commandments:
1. Thou shalt not have any other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of our Lord thy God in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet.
Then you work your way through the 613 Laws of the Torah (just a few of my favorites):
35. Not to give occasion to the simple-minded to stumble on the road.
69. That there shall be no harlot (in Israel); that is, that there will be no intercourse with a woman, without previous marriage with a deed of marriage and formal declaration of marriage.
107. That the new month shall be solemnly proclaimed holy, and the months and years shall be calculated by the Supreme Court only.
157. To slay cattle, deer and fowl according to the laws of shechitah if their flesh is to be eaten.
228. Not to appoint as a judge, a person not well versed in the laws of the Torah, even if he is an expert in other branches of knowledge.
345. Not to remove the entire beard, like the idolators.
348. Not to tattoo the body like the idolators.
486. That an individual shall bring an offering if he is in doubt as to whether he has committed a sin in which one has to bring a sin-offering. This is called a guilt offering for doubtful sin.
529. Not to transfer a beast set apart for sacrifice from one class of sacrifices to another.
550. That the kohanim shall not eat the flesh of the sin-offering or guilt-offering outside the Courtyard.
613. To destroy the seed of Amalek.
Now it is time to tackle Quranic Law (Islam), Law of Manu (Hinduism), etc. These are religious laws, we have not even begun with municipal law, thankfully Quranic Law is supposed to apply to both private and public law.
You now feel the weight of 1 million stones pressing down upon you. A virtual inverted pyramid of Giza is now resting on your shoulders. You are the lone human who understands what Atlas must have went through. With each gust of wind visibility in front of you is diminished from dirt, dust, and sand. Through the sweat that fills your eyes and the visible absence of dirt and dust you can see an invisible finger moving toward your chest. This finger possesses the entire weight of the universe while appearing innocuous. You now feel the finger-tip pressing in on the middle of your chest not allowing it to expand. The feeling that every heart attack victim knows all to well. You want to wrestle that feeling off but you cannot use your arms because you are balancing that upside down behemoth. Here comes that librarian once again with another cart in the form of a block with wheels, “Here are the amendments ratified today.”
You begin to regain strength as you realize through your own reason that Law is reserved to concepts that are timeless and omniscient. A true law must be applicable here and there, yesterday, 1000 years ago, tomorrow and 1000 years in the future.
You begin to smile at the revelation that there are in fact very few laws and everything else are regulations. A regulation being specific to a certain place and time, and like metal a regulation is malleable bending to benefit a need or desire. Speed limit laws are not laws but regulations, state marijuana laws: regulations, tax laws: regulations, etc.
Suddenly the invisible finger retreats off into the distance and the most refreshing breath of air you have ever tasted rushes past your lips into your lungs. Your strength is once again rejuvenated with your expanding and collapsing chest. Then you hear a voice not in your ear like you have always experienced but at a source beyond your sight which says, “Every crime committed is an act of selfishness and every act of selfishness is a crime.” This one simple principle resonates within you and amazingly the load you bear seems to have no weight. It is as if the Law of Gravity itself has been broken. You know that the burden still exists it is just no longer yours to carry. Your laughter cannot be contained, you laugh not only because of what you have put yourself through but because you know that you will never again have to revisit such a depository.
The fortress that you have dwelled within is unable to contain your ever expanding awareness. You are aware that if you abide by this one principle you can walk among any society, any tribe with impunity. Not only today but you have always had this ability and you always will.
Regulations and laws are very important in a society because they form the borders and boundaries as to our responsibility in relation to one another. Why? Because we have proven that we cannot manage this on are own!
The vastness of this principle may still allude you. Its conveyance is threefold; lateral, vertical and reduction of recidivism:
Laterally: You can now walk upon this Earth knowing where your responsibility lies in relation to others, don’t be selfish! This will keep you from getting locked up wherever it is that you may go.
Vertically: Crime is synonymous with sin, dishonesty is a crime and will get you locked up in a prison of guilt. If you wish to ascend and own that topographical map known as Wisdom you have to remain free. How do I do this?
Imagine that you have that overwhelming desire to venture outside of your relationship with your significant other, this desire and accompanying feeling are normal. You decide to take action on this desire without responsibility to your partner and end up feeling terrible, kind of like that invisible finger pushing in on your chest. When you are heavy with guilt, gravity will pull you down, that is a law. The other option available is to exert reasoning prior to exercising your freedom. Weighing the consequences of your action will more than likely remove the venom from such a desire. Your true responsibility of not committing the act in the first place will arise. In doing this your fidelity, honesty, integrity, self-respect, etc. will remain intact. You will not be committing a crime. If you still decide to act on your desire you may get more freedom than you wish for in the form of two black eyes and a moving truck full of your belongings.
Recidivism: You are now educated to your responsibility, responsibility to others and to yourself. Perhaps for the first time in your life you understand what to do. Continuing to cause yourself and others pain over and over again is an insane, unhealthy, and unproductive way to live life. If you cannot do the time, don’t do the crime. Crime leads to prison, physically or imagined which always leads to alienation and suffering.
Are you able to visualize how laws and regulations provide standard codes so we remain responsible to each other? Do you feel that this will help you live a vast, full, sane, healthy and productive life of freedom? Do you comprehend how living this principle brings ascendance?
Every crime committed is an act of selfishness and every act of selfishness is a crime.
The more I consider the condition of the white men, the more fixed becomes my opinion that, instead of gaining, they have lost much by subjecting themselves to what they call the laws and regulations of civilized societies.
Do you live under legalistic fear? If you could pick one law to submit to what would it be?