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The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning. This is a truth nearly all great minds have taken as their starting point. It is not this discovery that is interesting, but the consequences and rules for action that can be drawn from it. ~ Albert Camus
Any fool can make a rule
And any fool will mind it. ~ Henry David Thoreau
If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it. ~ Wikipedia:Ignore all rules
Declaring yourself to be operating by "Crocker's Rules" means that other people are allowed to optimize their messages for information, not for being nice to you. ~ Eliezer Yudkowsky
Love rules without rules. ~ Anonymous

A rule is a regulation, law, guideline or other determinate method prescribed for performing any operation.

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  • Not only may particular decisions made according to rules result in material injustice, but a rule may systematically discriminate against the poor and the oppressed. In such circumstances, to be committed to applying the rules, however fairly or impartially administered, come what may, is to ignore the more obvious and direct demands of justice and human welfare.
  • It is paltry philosophy if in the old-fashioned way one lays down rules and principles in total disregard of moral values. As soon as these appear one regards them as exceptions, which gives them a certain scientific status, and thus makes them into rules. Or again one may appeal to genius, which is above all rules; which amounts to admitting that rules are not only made for idiots, but are idiotic in themselves.
    • Carl von Clausewitz, On War (1832), Bk. 3, Ch 3: "Moral Factors", as translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret.


  • Man is as much a rule-following animal as a purpose-seeking one. And he is successful not because he knows why he ought to observe the rules which he does observe, or is even capable of stating all these rules in words, but because his thinking and acting are governed by rules which have by a process of selection been evolved in the society in which he lives, and which are thus the product of the experience of generations.
  • It is the nature of man to build the most complicated cage of rules and regulations in which to trap himself, and then, with equal ingenuity and zest, to bend his brain to the problem of wriggling triumphantly out again.
    • Bridget Ann Henisch, Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society (1976), p. 41.


  • Do not lay down any rules beyond what I appointed you, and do not give a law like the lawgiver lest you be constrained by it.
  • Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.
    • Carl Jung, The Psychology of the Unconscious (1943).


  • Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.
  • In today's regulatory environment, it's virtually impossible to violate rules … but it's impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time.
    • Bernie Madoff, remark in an interview (20 October 2007), "Quotations". QFinance, the ultimate resource. London: Bloomsbury. 2009. p. 1777. ISBN 9781849300001. 
  • Power over the rules is real power. That's why lobbyists congregate when Congress writes laws, and why the Supreme Court, which interprets and delineates the Constitution – the rules for writing the rules – has even more power than Congress. If you want to understand the deepest malfunctions of systems, pay attention to the rules and to who has power over them.
  • History admits no rules, only outcomes. What precipitates outcomes? Vicious acts & virtuous acts. What precipitates acts? Belief.


  • Those who break the rules ethically are those who have mastered them first and disciplined themselves to understand the necessity of those rules, and break them in keeping with the spirit rather than the letter of the law.
  • The majority of parents are poor psychologists and give their children the most questionable moral trainings. It is perhaps in this domain that one realized most how keenly how immoral it can be to believe too much in morality, and how much more precious is a little humanity than all the rules in the world.
    • Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (1932), Ch. 2 : Adult Constraint and Moral Realism.
  • Pedantry and mastery are opposite attitudes toward rules. To apply a rule to the letter, rigidly, unquestioningly, in cases where it fits and in cases where it does not fit, is pedantry [...] To apply a rule with natural ease, with judgment, noticing the cases where it fits, and without ever letting the words of the rule obscure the purpose of the action or the opportunities of the situation, is mastery.
    • George Pólya, How to Solve It (1945), (p. 148 in the 2004 Princeton Science Library Edition).


  • Hillel HA-Babli, in the thirty-first book of The Sabbath in 30 B.C., raised the Golden Rule to the ultimate moral principle: "Whatsoever thou wouldst that men should not do unto thee, do not do unto them. This is the whole Law. The rest is explanation."
    • Michael Shermer, The Science of Good and Evil : Why People Cheat, Share, Gossip, and Follow the Golden Rule (2004).
  • Rule, after you have first learned to submit to rule.
    • Solon, Diogenes Laërtius (trans. C. D. Yonge) The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (1853), "Solon", sect. 12, p. 29.
  • Ces règles ne sont que des barrières pour empêcher les enfants de tomber.




  • If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it.
    • Wikipedia:Ignore all rules policy, first expressed in the form "If rules make you nervous and depressed, and not desirous of participating in the Wiki, then ignore them and go about your business." by Lee Daniel Crocker (17 April 2002).


  • Love rules without rules.
    • Anonymous, translation of the Italian saying: Amor regge senza legge; as quoted in Dictionary of Foreign Terms Found in English and American Writings of Yesterday and Today, 2nd Edition (1934) edited by Christopher Orlando Sylvester Mawson
    • Variant translation: Love reigns without rules.

See also

Wikipedia has an article about: