The Laws We Follow

Each system, or tribe, or group we take part in has embedded in it its own set of rules. Some are written, or proclaimed, while others carry, generationally, as an omni-present mutual understanding and natural order.

It’s difficult to comprehend the law without full emersion, but we’re often better to participate in groups based on the rules rather than basing our decision to enter the group on perceived outcomes that stem from their function.

Ask yourself, what are the rules of my Pack? What are the expectations upon its members, and have I done my part? Rudyard Kipling is controversial in some circles, but as an allegorical writer, he’ll make you think about who and what we rely on and interact with as social beings.

Every few months, I read a collection of Kipling’s work, “The Law of the Jungle”. It fascinates me. In it, the immutable standards and social contract that the Seonee Wolves live by. For some, it feels confining and unfair, while for others, it feels like a depiction of some dystopian necessary order —the Law— we all must follow if we wish to thrive.

I could dissect Kipling’s work for hours, and I have, but I’ll let you decide how his 100+ year old writing might relate to today’s world, and in particular, you’re life. It’s worth taking 5 minutes to read the entire (collective) piece if you haven’t—click here to read it.

Here’s the opening passage:

Now this is the Law of the Jungle — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

What laws do you abide by? Who sets them? Do we have a say in writing the rules? Should we? Is it possible that the law is natural, not up for interpretation?

I don’t know the answers to those questions, but it’s worth considering when we think about what people and environments we interact with most.

For a deeper dive on Kipling’s work and “The Law of the Jungle” by John McGivering and John Radcliffe, click here.


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