RULES: regulatory decrees or expectations which serve to control behaviour and to resource comedians

Rules are assertive decrees or expectations within a domain of authority. They may define an initial condition or an operational behaviour. They may specify a course of action when a situation arises which requires special consideration. Rules may need to be broken or rewritten as circumstances alter and may well be appropriate at one time but not at another.

Rules usually have quite specific arenas of jurisdiction. In the game of chess a castle is not allowed to hop diagonally over another piece. If board and pieces were used to play checkers however, that particular move might well be valid. The rules of the road generally apply on all public roads, but not to the airways, tree-cropper committee meetings or at the dining table.

A fruitful source of comic invention is to suggest the translocation of a set of rules designed for one arena into a different arena controlled by regulations of its own. The rules of ballet and theatre for example, with their set pieces, stage direction, dramatic posturing, masks and player's egos, would provide plenty of humorous possibilities if transferred over into the arena of politics.

Rules tend to be thought of as the grammatically correct written contrivances of humans aimed at constraining some form of behaviour or other. Never-the-less it is not so unreasonable to also categorize as rules the natural and social constraints that any living entity is obliged to conform to. A solitary duckling swimming alone on a pond with a hungry hawk circling above could quite reasonably be seen to be breaking a few rules. Even in human terms, rules in many cultural and sexual situations are neither written nor verbalized, so it can be quite difficult to understand exactly what they are. Once the rules or expectations or constraints are appreciated, then the comedians take their cue and devise non-fatal scenarios for breaking them. Comedians and rules were made for one another.

Rules are only relevant if there is an effective agency administering the consequences of breaking them. Adherence is usually enforced to a greater or lesser degree by nature itself, or by the officers of an authority created for the purpose. Police, referees, bouncers, priests, soldiers, judges, marshals, or committee members of the local chess society are all rule enforcers. If they are not efficient in detecting breaches and delivering consequences, then the rules cease to be relevant.

The consequences of breaking rules are so diverse that it is a very pragmatically beneficial exercise to take the trouble to actually find out what they are. In the game of chess, breaking a rule essentially means instant loss of the game... so if you don't like that you should only become involved with those activities where the authorities either 'turn a blind eye' or offer some form of 'forgiveness'. Several come to mind. In certain physical contact sports, the players spend most of their time and effort trying to break the rules without the referee noticing. This situation arises because the penalties are often trivial and the benefits derived from breaking the rules outweigh the penalties. Circumventing financial rules is often considerably more advantageous than adhering to them. Business schools are even set up to train people to specialize in this activity. In fact in some jurisdictions, a demonstrated ability to acquire vast monetary gains without any authority detecting how the rules have been manipulated, is rewarded by conferring the very highest state honours. Under the rules of war it is generally deemed to be acceptable to kill the enemy in ones and twos up to a platoon or village sized group all at once, but the annihilation of city sized groups and entire nations is deemed illegal, because it tends to place the rule makers themselves in jeopardy.

The cosmos is so complex and imbued with the capacity for chaotic disruption and exception, that no social behaviour rule-statements can ever accommodate the diverse possibilities. To help in evaluating each unique situation some individuals might find it helpful to adopt certain broad principles such as egotism, altruism, or creativity. Attempting to conduct one's life according to a set of intransigent articulated rules though, is to be endlessly afflicted by a compromising hypocrisy.