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Re: [ox-en] Rules and alienation (was: Re: SpamAssassin and OHA)

* Ref.: »[ox-en] Rules and alienation (was: Re: SpamAssassin and OHA)«
*        Stefan Merten 	(2004-01-28  17:39)

Hi Stefan!

Last month (44 days ago) Casimir Purzelbaum wrote:
In "general", I do very much deny this.  (Not in our current
and a ... Why should there *always* have to be rules?!

I did not talk of always.

Are you sure? You must have changed your mind then, 16 minutes
earlier you sent out this one:

Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2004 17:23:13 [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED]
From: Stefan Merten <smerten>
... There are always structures and rules.

... I perfectly agree with this and in some way this is the
major point I wanted to make when starting this whole debate.

 -- hmmm ;-)

What is a rule?

I think this is simple: A rule is something which influences
individual behaviuor. It does not matter whether this something
is explicitly formulated or not. It even does not matter
whether you are aware of that rule. After all if following
rules would require a conscious decision then children could
not follow rules. Of course they do.

If you look at rules as in mathematics or physics... I would
agree with you.  If you look at them as "formalized
enforcable guidelines concerning the behaviour of the
individuals", then I disagree (talking most generally).

Rules need not be formalized to be rules. A formalized rule I'd
rather call a law.

- Well, there must be something more to a rule than an influence
  -- not every influence deserves being called a rule. 

- I think, in order for a rule to do what you expect it to do,
  people have to be aware of it or will be made aware of it.
  They do not have to be consciencuous of it, they do not need to
  understand the rule in order to follow it, or even to be able
  to explain it, but they must certainly be "aware" of it -- as
  long as we are not talking about "objective laws/rules" as in
  nature etc.

- By describing rules as "formalized guidelines..." I did not
  think of words. Formilization is the deduction of resemblance.
  (E.g. if you drop something, you earn disapproval -- there is a
  _formal_ relationship between action and reaction that you can
  deduce even on a non-rational level). The "formalized
  guidelines for behaviour" are thus guidelines that are based on
  the _form_ of the behaviour rather than on it's concrete /
  individual reason or motivation.

Indeed it is very interesting to look at the process of
formalization and what it does to rules. Also programs are
formalizations of rules.  I think this is what Russell means
when he talks of software in (territorial) communities.

I think, this is a statement on a different level. Even if the
two are linked to each other, that link is not a direct one.

I think the process of formalization as such is very prone to
alienation. As of now I'm not sure why but I think it has to do
with the narrowing you need to do when you want to cast a
complex social process to some words.

... or to some guidelines / rules in general! The difference is
only gradual.

...  * Everybody inside or outside this community has to
respect these rules or otherwise may be subject to some
negative consequences

  In a way this is some sort of self-defense. Also I'd say
  everyone who does not comply to the rules of the community
  s/he's interacting with is alienated from this community.
  Again I think alienation is the key aspect here.

I think -- even more than you do -- that alienation is the
key aspect here: Who would need a rule if everybody would
know to behave himself as to not alienate himself from the
community of the people he lives in?  (and if the community
would take care of not alienating itself from itself...)

By the definition I gave above this is not a contradiction. To
put it differently: Behaving according to the rule means not
alienating from the community.

But, if you are not alienating yourself from the community, why
does it need rules? It would only need rules in order to 

a) prevent you from alienating yourself from it;

b) defend itself from you and your action.

Case a) is what you call oppression and case b) means that the
community is already threatened to be alienated from itself, and
this threat forces it to do something that it would not do
without this threat. This means, the community is already
alienated from itself when there is a need to defend itself (--
unless it defines itself in relationship to the threat from
outside, as the GPL-Community for instance does; but in this case
the whole community is a product of alienation!).

I hope this explains my problems with thinking your claim of the
general necessity of rules and your
strife for emancipation together.


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