Breaking the Law

“It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law” ~ Cecil B. deMille.

Stunning, isn’t it? An observation made in a movie. Given, this movie is “The Ten Commandments” by Cecil B. deMille. Suddenly, there’s a sense of the “laws made for the human, breaks the human”. As Yasky, I can’t help but think when I see quotes like this. Follow along. Let’s see where this one leads.

First, some disclaimers

  • I haven’t seen the movie “The Ten Commandments
  • I don’t know Cecil, obviously
  • and this quote was gotten from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • All credit for the quote goes first to Cecil, then Steven

That being said, let’s remind ourselves of the reason we are pondering, the quote.

“It is impossible for us to break the law. We can only break ourselves against the law” ~ Cecil B. deMille.

This statement advocates (throw in some law grammar there) the supremacy of the law over all mankind; a supremacy requiring all humans to obey because it is outside the power of the human to change the course (and cause) of the law.

Criminals will beg to differ. They break the law countless times, that’s why they are in jail. Their person hasn’t changed; they were born for this very purpose. Inasmuch as I do not believe people are born to be criminals, purpose does exist. And if you listen to any intelligent convict who truly believes he has not committed any crimes (that kind of belief that comes with delusion), he is most capable of causing your paradigm to shift on certain issues if he applies the right rhetoric. Ask me how I know this? Politicians live in nice big houses. Despite the gravity of the supposed crime some people say they subtly commit (be it political, social or human), a well-designed rhetoric will leave the politician innocent with the masses applauding his intelligence, vigor, bravery, and so on.

But of course, who am I kidding? The law holds its place. If not for it’s supremacy, we would have these criminals ruminating on our legal system like the western world on unpredictable weather. The law puts these criminals in jail. The judge serves the law, and so does the jury. Their paradigms have come from morals which stem from nurture; a nurture bred in culture and a culture which employed rules and regulations to govern it. And we know rules and regulations are children of the Law. It all falls back to law. Law will claim that new species, genius and innovation (amongst the lot) are children born of its never ending argument with Existence.

But Bills will take sides with the Criminal. In any legal system, Bills quantify the law. They dictate which laws are and which aren’t. They aggregate into whatever they aggregate into; I really don’t know, a constitution maybe? And with every successful circumventing of the law, a new bill is born. And since there is no refactoring in law, most bills are born to patch loopholes or intelligently override old bills.

In light of such intelligent escapes by poliminals, has the law been broken? If you read My Tale, you’ll realize I’m not a lawyer and couldn’t be bothered. But nonetheless, this raises a good point of discussion.

It is difficult—dare I say “impossible”—to discuss the supremacy of the law without falling for the seduction of the supremacy discourse. And seeing that this quote was gotten from a movie about rules famed for shaping the course of a religion (autocorrect was in the process of replacing religion with delusion, Apple is doing too much of good job in tailoring this thing), it is also difficult to indulge in the supremacy discourse without its religious frame of reference. But it’s worth a try.

Assume the Supreme made the law. Well, that would show some serious indecisiveness on the end of the Supreme OR incompleteness. But these are bad things to say about the Supreme. Forgive me. Allow me try again.

Assuming the Supreme made the law, mankind is fortunate to be guided by a supreme concept: the Law. And there should be some qualities of the Supreme which we can infer from the study of Law (or The Law)

Checkout this philosophical humor:
God created man. Gave him laws. But God already existed; as the Supreme—self-sufficient. Why make such an inferior being?

Throughout history, man has been running this cycle:

  1. discover a concept
  2. extrapolate and exploit this concept maximally
  3. observe these extrapolations as myopic
  4. return to the original concept and revise
  5. discover a new concept and extrapolate

And with each iteration of the cycle, there is a higher enlightenment. Such is the story of Ptolemy —> Copernicus —> Galileo —> Newton —> Einstein.

If you did not get that cycle, let’s try to understand it more with some simple geometry. Imagine doing this with a pencil; or if you can, do it! To do this, you will need a pencil, a rule, some paper and a lot of mind.

  1. Point a dot on a sheet (the original idea)
  2. Draw a line of a specific length (the extrapolation). This will be the path we walk down this original idea with; the innovations, the realizations and so on.
  3. Look how much paper you have left outside the line (the observation as myopic). Suddenly, we realize there are more and better resources: petrol as opposed to steam and coal, invisible message-delivering pigeons a.k.a wireless cellphone service, and so on. Surely, there much be a better way to harness these resources
  4. From the end of the line you drew, run your pencil back to the original dot (the return). Notice this thickens the line, thereby signifying a deeper knowledge of the already trodden path. We learn more about what we already know and by time we get back to this original idea, we know to look left, right and left again, before making new decisions extrapolations
  5. With your pencil back at the starting point, draw a new line of the same length (the rebirth of the cycle). Now we know more, we have harnessed a new space. But the cycle continues.

Slowly but eventually, you would realize that you have drawn a full shaded circle. Such is the realization process. It sure is slow, but it gets us there.

This is when the curiosity of man mixes with his uppity which comes with achievement. After achieving such enlightenment: arriving at a fully shaded circle only be extrapolating processes as lines from original concepts, there is the temptation to step back and adore the creation. The Circle. Suddenly, the realization sets in: this circle is nothing but a wider dot; a bigger idea. Man, in his very basic senses, will seek to repeat the cycle using this new idea as a starting point. And if s/he is adventurous enough, the two dimensional sheet of paper will be too constricting. Extrapolating a line outward from the paper will be a more fulfilling achievement.

Agora, if we return our minds to the original post topic, we have been breaking laws with this cycle. First the law that binds us to the dot was broken by the line. The law of the line broken by space, the law of space broken by even more space. As long as there is insight and some possibility, man will break laws.

And about the supreme, in following this cycle—not on paper but applying it to our daily lives—we will touch an aspect of the supreme; possibly one unique to the fabrications of our self (i.e. no two people’s experiences will be the same). Slowly but surely, we will find the supreme: know his raw identity and get to understand him better. What happens after all mankind shares this knowledge? Oh, that’s the end of time. Oh well…

Live free. You are your law. Cecil’s observation will only hold true when this is realized.


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