What's the point of a pointless rule?

published Jan 01, 2009, last modified Jun 26, 2013

Pointless rules aren't "pointless" if you look at them from another perspective. Here's that perspective.

Did you ever struggle with rules that are pointless or absurd?

I bet you have.  When you were young, your parents probably set a couple of rules that -- now, in retrospective -- you can recognize as pointless.  Later on in life, when you got involved with your religion, you no doubt found more pointless rules you just had to "take on faith".  And throughout your entire adult life, you will have to deal with more pointless rules in your interactions with the State.

Take, for example, the typical pointless rule adolescents constantly hear: abstinence before marriage.  Anyone with half a brain knows the rule doesn't work.  In fact, it actually makes things worse: today, gay kids are having vaginal intercourse and straight kids are having anal intercourse.

Well, here's a dirty little secret: pointless rules do have a point, but it's not what you would think.  Let me explain by way of historical metaphor:

In the Nazi concentration camps back in 1942, the guards had a special ritual reserved for the inmates: moving rocks in buckets back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, all day long. If an inmate ever wondered what is the point of this exercise? aloud, the guards would simply make him take the rocks out of the bucket, put some nice and warm shit in it, beat the living daylights out of the inmate, and finally force him to continue the pointless ritual.

Now do you get what the point of the ritual was?  Not yet?

Pointless rules are evidently not about "what's good for you"; if they were -- assuming you were of average intelligence -- you'd immediately agree with them instead of declaring them pointless.  So what are they for then?  Well, the idea behind a pointless rule is rather to induce a mental state of learned helplessness and confusion on you, so that you become easier to control and more amenable to following orders without questioning.

In short: the point of a pointless rule is to fuck with your head until you suspend your reasoning and stop questioning your master.  "Be a patriot!  Pray!  Pay your taxes!  Kill the enemy!  Don't question your leaders!  Sing the National Anthem!"... all these mantras come after you've been housebroken, because you would evidently not obey them if your reasoning was working well.  That discomfort and frustration you feel when you are forced to follow a pointless rule?  That's your inner reasoning, silently rebelling against the abuse leveled on you.

And weird phenomenons like the one about teen sex in that article?  Well, they're merely the outward insanity caused by our own modern form of the shit bucket.

So what's the point of this article?  To get you to think.  You may not be able to disobey all of the pointless rules, but at least you'll be able to consciously see the agendas of those who enacted them.  And just by virtue of seeing the agendas, you are a tiny bit more free.