Sprit of Rule

I had one colleague who used to commute by train. That time in our area ticket checking was not enforced very strictly especially during the very rush office hours. But time to time it used to take place and whoever was used to get caught had to give fine. My colleague was daily passenger for 10 years in the same route. One day he told that first two years he traveled paying fare and after that he never bought a ticket. He observed total number of days in a year he has been asked to show ticket. He found that if he pays fine for that many days it turns out to be much less that the cost of ticket of the whole year. After doing the cost benefit analysis he found it is profitable for him to pay fine whenever he get caught than to than to be a regular ticket buyer. I found that he had no guilty feeling for his action. He told that “the day I shall find that cost of paying fine is more than the cost of buying daily ticket, I shall buy ticket regularly.” Some of our other colleague supported him and some did not. People, who supported him told that, let the law implementer make a situation to force him to follow the rule. If the rule is not implemented there is no wrong in breaking it. People who did not support him told that from ethical and social point of view this is not right, whether you get caught or not. Who is correct?

Do you tell lie? Definitely, in real life everyone tells lie, especially if the lie is told for someone’s good. But do you tell your kids or your younger brothers and sisters not to tell lie? Yes, that is also true. So how do you justify yourself? Don’t you feel to say that telling lie is guilt but not always? How do you make the demarcation of when to tell lie and when not?

I feel we all in our real life suffer from dilemma whether to follow rule always or not and when can we loose ourselves to strictly follow the rule. As kids, we are always taught to strictly follow the rules and laws. For a little deviation we are given big punishments. So from childhood we learn how to find the gap in the rule. On the other hand we find our elders to break rules. So we learn that rules can be broken and to take shelter we need to find the weak area of the rule.

We are never taught to follow the spirit of the rule. Had it been taught properly, we could understand that we can not violate a rule even there is a gap, if it is against the sprit of the rule and we can break the rule, if it is not violating the sprit of the rule.


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