Brules of Life

In his latest book, ‘The Code of the Extraordinary Mind’, Vishen Lhakiani explains his concept of ‘brules’.

Brules he says, are ‘BS-rules’ that exist in the ‘culturescape’ in which you and I find ourselves and that people adopt to simplify their understanding of the world.

The ‘culturescape’ is his word for the cultural landscape, and like real landscapes different culturescapes can be found in different parts of the world.

The people who live in these different culturescapes have invented millions of ‘rules’ or conventions that govern the way they live, operate and co-exist.

Some of these conventions/rules are quite sensible, like everyone driving on a particular side of the road according to the direction in which they are travelling – even though different countries apply this in different ways and in some countries it doesn’t seem to apply at all!

The reason why a particular side of the road was chosen in the first place was probably a brule, but it has now become (in most places) a quite acceptable rule.

Sometimes it’s happened the other way round. Long ago in various cultures it was considered that certain animals were ‘unclean’ and must not be eaten. At the time this was a sensible rule as these animals carried parasites which infected the human body if the meat was eaten.

Perhaps this idea of certain animals being unclean has now become a ‘brule’ although in some culturescapes there may be other reasons why it has not.

One can look at ‘laws’ in much the same way.

There are real ‘physical’ laws like the law of gravity and the other ‘laws of physics’ that cannot be broken – even in Star Trek.

Current research shows that these laws may not yet be fully understood but in most cases they have been proven to be true and to ‘work’.

‘Human’ laws are a different matter.

Within each culturescape laws are written by people – but not by you and I and not by ‘ordinary’ people.

Laws are written by people who represent vested interests and people who wish to maintain an established power base, or build one.

True, some laws are in the best interests of the population – the ‘criminal’ laws that are intended to prevent people harming each other in various ways.

They don’t always stop it happening, but people will face some form of official retribution or punishment if they are found to be breaking these laws.

Other laws are much more dubious in their provenance and are usually enacted to reinforce the brules.

You and I inhabit a culturescape or society that is governed by brules.

The education brules: you must get good qualifications to guarantee success.

The work brules: you must get a ‘good job’ with a good employer and sell your time for money. You must work ‘hard’ to guarantee success.

The leisure brules: You can only enjoy yourself and do what you want to do when you’re not ‘working’.

The loyalty brules: You should adhere to a single religion. You should adhere to and adopt the views of a single political party.

And so on . .  . and on . . . and on . . .

Lhakiani cites five key ways in which you and I take on all these brules:

Young children take on ideas from their parents and are thus indoctrinated into their brules.

Brules are promoted by authority figures such as celebrities, business leaders and politicians. Fear based politics is a classic example of ‘brule-building’.

People (but maybe not you and I) take on brules because they feel the need to ‘belong’ to a group or ‘tribe’. An extreme example of this is ‘gang culture’.

The media, advertising, ‘reality’ TV and so on create a sort of social proof that encourages people to take on more brules, many of which, especially those that come from mass media advertising, are totally wrong and misleading.

Everyone (including you and I) have internal insecurities and limiting beliefs. Thinking ‘you can’t do that’ is simply the result of responding to a brule.

You and I have taken on board a lot of brules.

The thing is – what influence do they have on our view of the world and the culturescape in which we live?

It’s summed up neatly by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars:

“You will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view

Who’s more foolish, the fool? Or the fool who follows him”

You see

You and I need to question the brules we have inadvertently or unconsciously adopted – and this is Lhakiani’s ‘Law #2

“Extraordinary minds question the brules when they feel those brules are out of alignment with their dreams and desires. They recognize that much of the way the world works is due to people blindly following the brules that have long passed their expiration date.”

I’m off to ask some questions.

And you?

Have a questioning week.