Beating the System – Religion and Politics

Kurt's Religion and Politics

It’s a booming business! Teaching people how to beat the system in some way.

I have problems with the idea at times though. To begin with, the expression itself is somewhat indistinct.

What precisely is, “the system?”

The fact is, there’s no single answer for that question. And frankly, that’s problem one with the idea.

If the system is just some process in place at some entity like a casino, when you talk about beating it, it’s hard for me to care one way or another.

That said, there are systems in place that’re built on law. Sometimes when someone works to beat them, I consider it a good thing. Sometimes it’s neither good nor bad. Other times though, it’s somewhere between mildly problematic and horribly wrong.

In general, when somebody uses the expression, “beating the system,” you can be sure it sets off alarm bells in my head.

I’m not a great fan of some systems, even if I understand the reason for their implementation.

It’s always bothered me immensely, that supermarkets have twenty to thirty handicapped spaces, for example.

That said, I never intentionally park in such a space without cause.

It’s been years ago, but I used to have a friend—he’s long since passed away—who, when I first met him, walked with difficulty. From there, he moved to a walker, then ended up in a wheelchair because of an infirmity with which he was afflicted.

He was a great man, and I rarely ever heard him complain, even when things were very hard for him.

As much as I dislike huge numbers of handicapped spots in front of stores, he was a clear example of why one or two (or more) were a good idea.

When I came to a place where there were handicapped spots, and they were parked full—either by people who had no handicapped sticker or plate, or by those who were “beating the system” by having them when they were anything but necessary—the man would have to walk that much farther to get where he was going, which for him, was probably not too far from climbing mountains at times, for others.

You can be assured I was displeased when we found ourselves in such a situation, and I promise you, my ire was not for wrong done me.

For my part, I’d generally rather park in the back of a parking lot, the walk does me good and frankly, I’m relatively healthy.

Even so, I still have burned into my brain, images of that man as I guided him to a chair, exhausted at times, from the trip he had to take from the car, to wherever we were going.

This is the kind of thing that comes to mind when I hear about people working to beat the system in some fashion.

I get it, not every instance of someone figuring out how to get over on a given way of doing business, is even bad, much less is it anything like the picture I just presented you.

Sometimes, figuring out a way to get around obstacles placed in one’s path is not just a time or space saver, it’s literally hugely advantageous to you and others as well.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind there are times where, when something seems harmless, or even beneficial, you may be entirely unaware how someone or some ones are affected by your actions.

My little example is one of who knows exactly how many scenarios, where you think nobody is being hurt by what you’re doing and you could hardly be more incorrect in that belief.

I consider the start of the COVID-19 crisis when people started hoarding various things to themselves. Remember when there was no toilet paper on the shelves? Well, while some folks were buying up all the stock with zero need so to do, even people like me were being mildly inconvenienced by what they did.

I tend to keep “backups” for most of my needs. That’s particularly true for toiletries. So in my case, there was a period when I was a little concerned I might run out.

There are others for whom that shortage—where not nearly as terrible a thing as the situation I described with my unwell friend—was a comparatively big deal, since maybe they did run out.

That’s an example on a much smaller scale, but still, gaming or beating the system by buying huge amounts of a product you really don’t need is an example of the type of thing I’m talking about.

How many times have you chosen to do something you thought wouldn’t have serious effect on another? Can you believe it may’ve done so far more times than you realized?

For you, it can be the simplest thing, something that overall really gains you little to nothing. For somebody else, it may be working to climb a giant grade as a result of some inability, failing, or unconsidered matter.

Remember, totally without that sort of thing, people often have a great deal on their plate. Add to that some additional stressor, that results from somebody thinking it’s cool to take advantage of some situation or circumstance, where they’ve found a path around the normal way of doing business, and you may push them into serious hardship.

And what makes this harder yet is, sometimes it makes a difference to you. It improves your lot for a time.

As well, much of this sort of thing hurts nobody. The problem is, you might not know when someone will be horribly badly affected by what you do. It takes just one time for someone to be somewhere between inconvenienced and irreparably harmed by the fact that you skirted some system.

Does that mean you should never do it? No. It does mean that most of the time, the risk isn’t worth the small amount typically gained.

I know it seems cool or good to find a way to beat the system. I get there’re times when you may be able to accomplish good things doing so. All I ask is, please keep such activities to times of need where possible. One never knows who might suffer the consequences otherwise.

Thanks for reading and may your time be good.

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