Chapter 24

December 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, Uncategorized, World + People + Events | 6 Comments
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I am not much of a philosopher. The only philosophical question that has occurred to me is:

‘What is the point?’

No doubt, you will gasp at the profundity and utter sagacity of this insight. I understand. As deep and thoughtful as this question is (Socrates and Plato would agree), I feel rather concerned that humans do not ask it often enough. Especially the folks at the Parliament, the judiciary, and every law-making body of the world. Those grimy, balding. terribly self-important people with a preference for stale banana milkshakes and an ability to think some of the most pointless rules in existence. Lawmakers, some would call them. A bunch of doddery old fools, is the term I prefer.

Of the many strange and mysterious things and unexplained phenomena that abound in our world, including the  possession of so-called writing skills by Pete Wentz and the re-election of George W Bush in ’04, perhaps no other phenomenon is as mysterious or unexplained as the Law. Indeed, such is the complexity and inscrutability of this dreaded school of thought, that concepts such as the quantum theory pale in comparison.

Now, I’m one of those people who love complexity as such, but love simplicity more. But one thing that irritates me more than anything else is the ridiculous precision, the exaggerated, long winding descriptions, perfectly normal terms hacked to tiniest details, and the tendency to define every term that contains more than one syllable.

I mean, consider this:

The Income Tax Act, 2007

993
An individual ( “A”) is connected with another individual ( “B”) if-
(a) A is B’s spouse or civil partner,
(b) A is a relative of B,
(c) A is the spouse or civil partner of a relative of B,
(d) A is a relative of B’s spouse or civil partner, or
(e) A is the spouse or civil partner of a relative of B’s spouse or civil partner.

Or this gem:

(1) For the purposes of this section a company is a petroleum company if-
(a) its activities include any relevant activities; or
(b) it is associated with a company whose activities include any relevant activities and its own activities include the ownership, operation or management of ships or pipelines (as defined in section 65 of the [1962 c. 58.] Pipelines Act 1962) used for transporting or conveying petroleum or petroleum products.

Like, HELLO! A petroleum company is considered a friggin’ petroleum company when it deals in the damned petrol!

I would give more such examples. but I do not want you, my dear reader, to go into a deep coma.

The basic purpose of law is to safeguard our rights as an individual and make life safer and easier. But modern law does precisely the opposite. Statements and declarations abound on paper. Action is mistaken for  the passing of bills. I wonder if they would come up with an official declaration on that too.

(We’re the folks who pass rules/Never mind that we are a bunch of fools/If you should be stabbed or get your jaw broken/There’s nothing more we can do than pass a token/We’re afraid, that’s the law/We won’t do anything about a broken jaw/’Practical’ is a term for us that isn’t supposed to be/It’s not in the book, you see/Yeah yeah yeah)

Alas, I know I am pursuing a lost cause. I may be the only person on the planet to criticise the Law (the Law is the law, after all) but I do this purely out of concern for my poor little brain, which hurts every time I come across  legal mumble-jumble. It’s been like this for centuries, of course, and no one’s complaining but me. Well, next time I’ll make sure I stay well out of a hundred mile radius of a legal document.

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6 Comments »

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  1. I agree, section e of that first bit nearly blew my cognitive circuits. And they get paid for this kind of esoteric junk. Make that two people on the planet who criticize the Law :).

  2. Haha. That lively bit of prose was from Part XVI, Chapter II of the Income Tax Act. These folks get the best deal. I guess I’ll don a wig and start passing my own rules. :P

  3. Wasn’t there a trial against a microwave manufacturer who “forgot” to mention that cats were not allowed to be put in the microwave?

    What about the “do not swallow” notice on batteries?

    But if laws were less exact, people would argue about what it means to “deal” with petroleum. (Random thought: I think I’ve read somewhere that the American tax laws are so huge that no single person can read them in a lifetime.)

    And what about the other “laws,” like the lizard brain telling guys to look at girls with big breasts, and girls to look at guys with big muscles? What about the law of the jungle, where the “fittest” no longer refers to physical strength but to social skills and the ability to bullshit?

  4. Cats in the microwave! ROFL! What were the people who filed the lawsuit playing at? Dear lord, the crazy world we live in…

    And yes, petroleum would then be an issue but the laws don’t stop folks making illegal transactions in petroleum anyway :D

    You’ve some very good points. We’re helpless against our own minds, it’s hardwired into our brains. But as Mouse in The Matrix says: “To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.”

    rofl @ the modified law of the jungle! and yet it’s totally true :) Poor Charles Darwin. Who would have thought his theory would have gone such drastic alteration? From Survival of the Fittest to the Survival of the Fraudest *sigh*

  5. It was a mice… and it’s an urban legend anyway :o)
    But I don’t find it hard to imagine… I think we would be better off without all of this bullshit. Where are stupid enough the way we are :o)

  6. Why is it that the one blog in which you cry out for help – you don’t allow comments?

    Is it because you know YOU are the only one who can remind yourself you are alone? ;]

    In terms of your self-paralysis by fear – I invite you to a little metaphor I have held in my imagination for sometime now.. It doesn’t help me all the time, but it helps sometimes.

    Once upon a time, no one was afraid of the dark. We understood the dangers that were within the darkness, but we simply remained aware and ready – not scared and inadequate. This is because we knew if these fears were to become a reality, we would have to face them – no ifs ands or buts about it.

    Then comes fire. With fire comes protection – but with fire, comes not fire… And not-fire brings with it, fear. Not fear of the unknown – but fear caused by lack of the known. The more we embrace security, the more we embrace our own inadequacies, our own insecurities, which force us into the use of said securities. There’s an underlying truth in every single thing we do.

    This is why in eastern philosophy, buddha at birth was the most enlightened being in the universe. He could speak at birth, and his first/only words were “I am the most enlightened being in the universe.” This is because he KNEW he didn’t know. If a babys first word was “Dunno.” He would be correct 100% of the time. Then again, if that were true – to us, he would be wrong 100% of the time, but only if he were right 100% of the time.

    HUH? Yeah. Feel free to email me.


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