Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Law

Notwithstanding wherewithal and while, there existed a land of barbaric cruelty and chaos. All of the kingdoms in this land fought fiercely against each other and among themselves. The rulers spent all their time devising ruthless strategies to stay in power both from enemies without and enemies within. This left no time to govern, so the kingdoms remained impoverished and impuissant.

Then, in one of the kingdoms there arose a great and resourceful ruler who devised a plan greater than any that had come before. He created laws. "Law above all!" he proclaimed, and the people embraced him, his laws, and above all his motto.

And so laws were created,
Stated and dated:
For eating and meeting,
Competing and cheating,
Sinning and winning,
Selling and yelling,
Warring and whoring,
And not to be boring,
There was one, just for fun:
A law against snoring.

There were laws for ownership,
Censorship, donorship;
Laws for courting, laws for sporting;
Laws against search, God and church;
Laws of propriety when one's in society;
Laws of compliance, and, yes, laws of science.

In short there were laws for everything. The ruler no longer had to spend all his time savagely fighting, and the kingdom flourished. The people loved this new concept of law and developed a motto of their own, "No one is above the law." Of course there were punishments for breaking the law. In the case of society or science the punishment was ridicule (but sometimes reverence). In the case of governing and the rights of people, the punishment could be death. Against God, the punishment was even worse, death and then more punishment.

And then a law was discovered that allowed the great and resourceful ruler to eliminate anyone who was a threat to his rule. It was genius, and scary, but what could the people do? Some became confused and weren't sure if anything had really changed from the time of barbaric cruelty, but the law was now such an important and respected part of their lives that…well, "Law above all!" had really taken hold. And so the ruler lived happily ever after.


Big Myk said...

Like your earlier post, "How the Universe Got Its Spot," I find myself wanting to ask the very same question that somebody put to God after he told the people a story of sorts in the Crash Test Dummies' song "God Shuffled His Feet":

"I beg your pardon:
I'm not quite clear about what you just spoke
Was that a parable, or a very subtle joke?"

James R said...

I'm probably the last person to ask for explanations of that sort. Like God in the song, all I can do is shuffle my feet and glance up, presumably waiting for how people react. It's the Dasein Methods of Ordering Game again. Of course, I have a great interest in learning what the stories mean. I was hoping for such in the comments.

Neither story came out as I initially intended. If your question is exactly as stated then neither would I consider a joke, but readers may think otherwise. Certainly, some consider God's work a joke. "The Law", I'd say, is more akin to a parable with regards to recent news. That was written relatively quickly. The other took a very long time and changed weekly. Hopefully there is humor in both, but the overriding purpose is to tell a story that astounds.

All this sounds very boring. I guess I would tritely say what all authors say about their work: what I meant is what I wrote. (Again, I would be happy to know what you or anyone else thinks.)

Big Myk said...

Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.

Thomas Aquinas