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Rules

  • ... we like fixed rules because that ends thinking and we can rest. But there is no resting place down here.

  • There's no rule so wise but what it's a pity for somebody or other.

  • Any rules that are made for everybody hurt somebody, sometimes.

  • Rules are absolutely necessary restrictions ... we are lost if we trust to our impulses. What are our bodies but concrete rules?

  • General rules will bear hard on particular cases.

  • ... I hate the word 'ought' — it always implies something dull, cold, and commonplace. The 'ought nots' of life are its pleasantest things.

  • There is all the difference in the world between departure from recognized rules by one who has learned to obey them, and neglect of them through want of training or want of skill or want of understanding. Before you can be eccentric you must know where the circle is.

  • It seems to me there are no rules, only instances; but perhaps that is because I learned no rules, and am only an instance myself.

  • Men are generally more law-abiding than women. Women have a feeling that since they didn't make the rules, the rules have nothing to do with them.

  • Taboos regulate matters of life and death. The difference between our taboos and those of more 'primitive' people is perhaps that theirs are more conscious, often overtly codified into law. They are openly discussed and warned about. In societies of this sort, persons who have broken taboos have been known to lie down under a tree and die, knowing that, having broken a life-governing rule, life is not possible. Much of life in our culture is also taboo-regulated, but our chief taboos are no longer conscious. They do not appear as themselves in our laws, and for the most part are not spoken of directly. But when we break them or even think of breaking them, our unconscious knowledge that we are violating sacred rules causes us to feel as if our lives are threatened, as if we may not be allowed to live.

  • Rules are like flagpoles in a slalom race: you observe their presence religiously, skirt around them as closely as possible, and never let them cut your speed.

  • Men with common minds seldom break through general rules. Prudence is ever the resort of weakness; and they rarely go as far as as they may in any undertaking, who are determined not to go beyond it on any account.

  • If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.

  • It is better to give children a rule to break than to give them no rules at all.

  • When the rules say you can't play, change the rules.

    • Susan B. Evans,
    • in Susan B. Evans and Joan P. Avis, The Women Who Broke All the Rules ()