So for the next few days I am in Malta. It’s the reason that I have been late in posting this week. I have to say that in some ways it is very different here than at home. The way of travel is, I would say, more free, though others could class it as more dangerous. And I haven’t decided whether it is safer to have no rules on the road or to be bogged down with them?
But it did get me thinking about rules in general. Would it be better not to have any, making everyone more aware of others as we go through life?
The lax rules of the Maltese roads
They literally pull up and park wherever they like. This can be in the middle of the street, on a corner or even on a roundabout. Everyone seems to use their phone when they are driving, and I have even seen a person using their hands to exclaim instead of putting them on the wheel. It means that hazard perception is on point and people are more cautious. Yes, it is difficult not to find it scary, even when you are not driving, but after a while you start to see that there can be some benefits.
You see, the rules we give to ourselves sometimes stop us from taking up opportunities that present themselves. Like me travelling on my own. I am at a unique time in my life where I have the means and no major responsibility, and yet here I am waiting on someone else in order to jump on a plane to a place I have always wanted to go. Why, because some ingrained rule says to me that I will not have fun on my own.
And yet when I was younger and had no self rules, it made me start a newspaper when I was in primary school. A cooking club. And other ventures which eventually went bust.
Tickets however are an example of why some rules are annoying but are probably necessary for the running of society. Like me buying my ticket to Stanstead even though no one bothered to check it on the train and I didn’t need it to come out of the station. I forced myself, even though my £18 single ticket hurt, to remember that buying a ticket enables the services to run and keeps people in jobs.
Still, as I could figure it out myself, why do I need someone to give me rule on it?
Rules in general are basic laws that anyone can and could have thought of, all based on the ‘do no harm to others’ principle. It is the reason you cannot consent to be killed. It is the reason they have banned smoking in the car with minors. It is the reason you are punished for theft.
But you have to think, would it not be better to have a general ethical notion instead of a nuts and bolts expand upon the ten commands type system. Does everything have to be laid out?
Why not just let people figure it out as on the Malta roads. Would it not help people be more aware of others and more inclined to that kind of behaviour. What would happen if there were no laws and just the principle? Would it inspire bravery?
I mean I haven’t got any statistics. I don’t know if this no rules for driving thing in Malta causes less or more accidents when it is compared with England. What I do know, is that being here has made me pause for thought.