I am interested in rules and the extent to which they do or don’t encourage us to act well. On a recent trip to Bali it was noticeable the number of western tourists who were smoking cigarettes in restaurants and coffee shops. It is not illegal to do so in Bali and yet the same people I suspect would refrain from smoking in similar situations when back home. And is that because they recognize that, apart from harm to the smoker, smoking is bad for the health of others and unpleasant for them? Or would they refrain simply because of a law? These same people carry with them this awareness in Bali. So why were they smoking there? Because others were and therefore it made no difference? Because ‘what the heck! I’m on holidays!’ Or because it was liberating not to have to obey yet more rules as laid down by, at times, seemingly rule-crazy (litigation crazy?) societies? Simply because they could? I dunno. All or none of these reasons. Rules…and where they fit…and how useful are they to us as a society? Are there good rules and bad rules?
The following comment is from Wesley Fryor (IT whizz, internet amazing guy and world’s most prolific blogger) 14th September 2008. His comment is not about smoking but is about the value or not, of rules in governing behaviour:
‘I’ll repeat again what I say repeatedly in presentations and workshops about Internet safety and online social networking: There is NOT a computer hardware or software solution, or a policy solution which can ever stop everyone from intentionally looking for inappropriate materials online in a computer lab, library, or other location. Filtering solutions are needed, but ultimately what is most needed are conversations, relationships, and practices which encourage perceptions of accountability for online as well as off-line behaviour.’
Hmmm…conversations, relationships? Interesting yes.