Society needs more than laws.

Long Spoons……

There is a parable, fable, or allegory about long spoons.  The fable goes as follows.

Swami was having a conversation with Lord Shiva one day and said Lord, “I would like to know what heaven and hell are like”.

 

Lord Shiva led the Swami to two doors.

 

He opened one of the doors and the Swami looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the Swami’s mouth water.

 

The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. However, the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

 

The Swami shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. Lord Shiva said, “You have seen hell”.

 

They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man?s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking.

 

The Swami said, “I don’t understand”.

 

“It is simple”, said Lord Shiva, “It requires but one skill. You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves”. [Source]

Keep this parable in mind as you continue to read the rest of this post.

Baltimore just passed a new curfew law.  The law has been dubbed the Strictest Curfew Law in the United States.

The existing curfew law allows kids under 17 to stay out until 11 p.m. during the week and midnight on weekends, but the new law pushes those times earlier by two hours in some cases. Children under the age of 14 have to be inside by 9 p.m., while teens ages 14-16 have to be inside by 10 p.m. on school nights and 11 p.m. on non-school nights.

Violators of the new law can be picked up by police and taken to a youth connection center. Once there, officials said a representative would try to get in touch with the kids’ parents, who would be fined a minimum of $30 and a maximum of $500, depending on the circumstances. [Source]

Utah also recently passed 274 new laws.  These new laws range from an abortion waiting period to restrictions on cell phone usage.

A new law going into effect Tuesday will add tighter restrictions on what a person can and cannot do with their cell phone while driving their car.

 

While it was already illegal in Utah to send a text message while driving, the new law will update Utah’s code to also restrict practices such as playing games, checking a Facebook status, and reading or writing an email on a cell phone while driving.

 

Basically, if drivers are doing anything other than using the device for a phone, they might be cited for using their cell phone illegally. The only exception is if the phone is being used for directions via GPS. [Source]

All of these laws are band aides for a more severe problem.  They are laws that are passed on top of laws that already make activities illegal.  For example, if you are a teen in Baltimore, it is already illegal to do ALL of the things they are trying to stop teens from doing.  It is already illegal to trespass, tag things with graffiti, rob, etc.  You get the idea.  The only thing this law does is make it so a police officer can stop you if he thinks you might be doing these things.   The Utah cell phone law fits in the same category.  It is already illegal to use a cell phone while driving.  If you are distracted because you are using a cell phone, texting, etc and you get in an accident, it was already illegal to drive while distracted, and you would be cited for it.

My suggestion is that these laws don’t fix the problem.  The problems they are trying to solve were already protected with laws on the books.  There are already laws to protect property and people from mis-guided teens, and distracted drivers.  Why do we need more laws to protect us from stuff that is already illegal?

These band aides will not fix the underlying problem.  The underlying problem has to deal with society itself and the mindset that people have.  Laws are not going to change that mind set.  The people who actually care about the laws are not the ones you will find tagging property with spray paint, or texting while driving.  Those people will continue to do it, but hey we may get some more money out of them by having them pay fines.

Society on a whole has one thing on its mind, and that is the individual.  I am not saying we should become a socialist society, but I am saying that people need to think more about their actions and the harm/help those actions cause on society.

We as a society are so stuck in the, “What is in it for me” mentality that most people can’t see that their selfish actions will lead to hurt and pain for others.  People are making choices with blinders on.  Those blinders are self imposed so that they don’t or can’t see the effect that their selfish actions have on others.

If society does not start living the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, we will never fix the ills we are currently seeing.

My hypothesis is that society has turned so selfish, that on a whole, that people have stopped looking at what they can do to improve mankind, but only have the gains of themselves in mind when making choices.  It does not matter how many laws you pass, they will not fix society.  Society can only be fixed by following deep, unselfish principles.  The golden rule is not new.  It has been around for a long time, and is found in most religions.  The tenant of, “We must treat others as we wish others to treat us” can be found in the world’s major faiths, including Baha’i Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people out there that are living the golden rule, but until we can get the majority of society to live it, we will keep seeing laws that try to fix the issues.  Time to rip off the band-aides and fix the underlying problem.

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