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Why Do People Break The Rules?

994 words - 4 pages

Whether you are a well-conditioned airplane pilot, an internationally acclaimed actress, or a law abiding commoner attempting his take at freedom, transgression is equally plausible for them all. However, each scenario’s appeal towards transgression is different, some are justified and others not. For example, in a well-developed functioning society where everyone has a say, transgression without a concrete reason is defined as misconduct, almost automatically being noted as unscrupulous by everyone. Conversely, in a war torn country, transgression can be seen as an act of valor and is commended by the masses despite disapproval of the controlling regime. Although breaking the rules can be equally tempting for everyone, each unique case of transgression must be evaluated based on its circumstances and reasons as to why the rule was broken, despite it being equally punishable by law no matter what the circumstances, shows that transgression can be divided into three distinct variations.
In Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori and Rom Brafman, a first variation is presented, consisting of KLM Flight 4805 and Captain Jacob Van Zanten. Van Zanten was, “one of the most experienced and accomplished pilots in the world” (10) yet, he still chose not to abide by the regulations set forth for the safety of everyone. During his last flight, Van Zanten was forced to take a detour to a nearby small island airport. As time progressed, Van Zanten grew more and more worrisome not because his passengers would be late, but because his prestigious record as a perfect pilot was on the line. According to Chris Mooney, in his article, he states that “we push threatening information away; we pull friendly information close” (45); applying that to Van Zanten’s case, one can infer that he began to ignore the negatives of taking off without permission, such as putting innocent lives in danger. Rather, he began to only confirm his confirmation bias, thinking that he would be glorified even more than he already was for pulling off this dangerous stunt.
In “Stealing Pears” from the Confessions, Saint Augustine states that “gratifying to be held in esteem by other men and to have the power of giving them orders and gaining mastery over them” (16) and in the same way, Van Zanten enjoyed his ranking amongst his peers, his stature in the flight community, and his pitch perfect record. Van Zanten, according to protocol, was prohibited from taking off but his selfish pleasure seeking perceptive part of the brain had kicked in, rather than the selfless, logical, altruistic part, thus he decided to take off without complete clearance (Brafman 140-8). Consequentially, while taking off he crashed into another plane that had accidently ended up on the run way due to the heavy fog, ultimately, he ended his life along with all the passengers on board. Depicting the first variation of transgressions, Van Zanten was tempted to break the law not because he...

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