The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The rules of the game

Everyone plays by a set of rules.

One can also describe these rules as the protocol we’ve learned along the way. The protocol then is “the way we do things around here”. It starts in one’s family and continues in any group we join.  The more groups one is used to,  the more flexible one becomes at adapting to a given protocol.

When heads of state or diplomats meet, the protocol for example is a well-thought-through plan that is established before the meeting. It includes where someone is being greeted, where they are invited to speak, how long they will meet, etc. It is a game of status that is established and that will be evaluated in every detail by the spectators. The result of the meeting will be measured by the way the heads of state interact and respect the protocol or not. Naturally, people who have to follow the protocol are well trained at it and have a deep understanding of the rules they are using.

In everyday settings, people have to guess the rules of the game whenever they step into a group or meet someone. They do the guessing according to the rules they know and understand. It is also how they evaluate the way other people succeed and how they see themselves in relation to the other. It can become a source of envy.

When people have gotten used to one another they will expect that they know all the rules people play by. They will also expect that the rules have become permanent. Anger and frustration then can result from situations in which new rules appear and even more so when someone decided to change the given rules.

Whenever there is a gap between the rules of the games used and those expected, intentions will be questioned.


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