Sunday, January 08, 2017

Ignoring reality has consequences

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for December 7, 2016)

When you ignore the rules of reality, you get hurt.

Notice I don't say when you break reality's rules, because those rules can't be broken. They can only be accepted or ignored. Ignore them at your peril.

Take gravity, for example. If you ignore gravity you will suffer, and you may even fall to your death. Once you accept the reality of gravity, you can use the rules governing it to fly or even to experience "weightlessness" in orbit. Neither is a case of defying gravity, but of using it to do things which seem to go against what you expect from gravity. You don't even need to know why gravity exists, or how it works, to accept and use it. You just need to know it exists and be able to measure its effect.

If someone walks off the edge of a cliff, you can expect them to fall to the ground far below and splatter like a ripe watermelon. Maybe bushes will slow their fall, or deep water at the bottom will cushion their landing, but don't depend on it. Nothing will truly defeat gravity unless you can turn off the rules of the Universe- and you can't.

There are also rules of civil behavior you ignore at your own risk. Those rules weren't dreamed up by any legislator and don't rely on anyone enforcing them.

If you choose to use violence against the non-violent, a chain of events will be set in motion. The same goes if you violate the property of others.

You may believe you are exempt from the effects due to imaginary rules someone created. Rules designed to give the illusion of authority to those who feel entitled to break the real rules. Their dreamed-up rules can't change reality.

If you decide to steal, trespass, or shove people around, even if you claim authority under made-up "laws", there will be repercussions. The fallout may not be what you or your victims expect. It may not even be timely- you don't know precisely when you'll hit the ground. Usually those who use the "political means"-- non-consensual tactics resulting in a winner and a loser-- to get what they want deny the possibility of unpleasant consequences to themselves. They will be surprised.

You won't avoid the costs you incur, even though the bill may not come when you'd expect and may not be what you expect.

No one is immune to consequences. Reality doesn't allow that option.


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