Liechdorrino Legislation : Laying Down the Law [MT112]
Ben Franklin Centre for Theoretical Research
PO Box 27, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia.
In the tiny mountainous republic of Liechdorrino, things were at crisis point, and an
Emergency Cabinet Meeting was in session at the usual site behind the bakery. The problem
was freight -- Liechdorrino's precipitous landscape made it impractical to install modern
roads, and all supplies of food, fuel, videotapes and other necessities still had to be hauled up
by mule over the narrow mountain paths. The ever-increasing freight costs were crippling the
Morosely the Prime Minister surveyed his colleagues and appealed for ideas -- any ideas.
"How about you, Josef ?", he said, addressing the Minister for Health, Education, Transport,
Foreign Affairs, and Canoe Racing
Josef thought for a moment, then brightened. "The whole problem is with Gravity", he
said. "It is gravity which causes our high freight costs in hauling goods up the mountain paths.
All we need to do is call the Parliament together and pass an Act to repeal the Law of Gravity!".
Another Serious Joke . . .
That was another serious joke. A joke because, of course, laws passed by human agencies
have no power to affect the fundamental laws of nature. And serious because, as we look
around, we find no shortage at all of Josefs, or of Liechdorrino Legislation, in the human-based
systons operating all around us.
Probably nowhere in the World will we find a Parliament willing to pass legislation to set
the coefficient of friction of a particular metal. But legislation to set the price of a particular
commodity -- that's quite a different matter. Or is it?
As we progress in this study we will come up against instance after instance of Liechdorrino
Legislation, each invariably reflecting an underlying assumption that human laws, procedures,
and regulations can overcome natural laws. We can call this misplaced belief the Liechdorrino Delusion. Each of these instances is a product of linear thinking.
When Matrix Thinking is applied to instances of Liechdorrino Legislation, their real effect
is seen for what it is -- usually a transfer of a disadvantage or barrier from the point of
examination to elsewhere in the syston, or into other systons altogether. Like apparent
instances of Perpetual Motion, the paradox arises because of the limited field of view. Widen
the scope of the view, and the paradox disappears.
Proposition 112A**. Human laws cannot overcome natural laws, only displace their
Working Out the Rules
In MT108 we started to look at the concept of systons operating by their rules. These
were rules specific to that syston and its level, and the importance of working out which systons
were actually active in any particular situation was stressed, because of the likelihood that
systons at a broader or narrower level might have quite different rules. And, of course, when
we are able to clearly localize and focus on the particular active syston, it will be quite common
for that syston not to correspond exactly in location with the boundaries of other geographically
or philosophically based systons, not to lie entirely within what might be seen as a 'broader'
If we are to avoid Liechdorrino Delusions in setting up an MT design, we need to be able
distinguish clearly between the different types of what are loosely called 'laws'. We can also
have a stab at working out what the general purpose or effect of the different classes of laws
When most people talk about laws they usually mean Jurisdictional Laws. These are
essentially Territorial Laws, that is, they are constraints on behaviour, imposed by human
agencies, which apply over a particular territory. The body of such laws for a particular
territory is called a Jurisdiction, and this same word is often used to define the area of land over
which it applies as well.
Jurisdictions have usually been built up and refined and altered over long periods of years.
Some just grew, like Topsy. Usually, much of any jurisdiction is essentially borrowed or
inherited from other systons. Some jurisdictions have, as their basis, a Constitution, a sort of
base-level jurisdiction upon which all the rest is theoretically built.
In most systons the task of revising, updating, and extending the jurisdiction is performed
by the Legislature, usually a branch of a parliament or similar body. It might be assumed that
no syston really changes so rapidly that a good basic set of laws would not suffice without
continual hacking around, but in fact many countries expend incredibly large sums of money
on this activity. Obviously a great deal more could be said on this topic.
A feature of Jurisdictions is that they are essentially involuntary. In MT103, it was
mentioned that systons could be divided into exclusive and voluntary ones. A jurisdiction essentially applies to an exclusive syston, one in which a systel had no choice in its
For example, if you were born in Western Australia you really had little option but to
conform with the laws of Western Australia, and beyond that with the laws of the Commonwealth
of Australia, while you were living here. When you were a minor you could not influence such
laws at all, now you are an adult you can at least add your vote to thousands of others supporting
or opposing representatives who promise to support or oppose particular legislation.
Of course, you can change your jurisdiction by moving to somewhere else which has a
different one, if they will accept you. But, like changing your religion, this may be easier said
than done, and it may involve tremendous trauma for an individual who goes through such a
In other parts of the world, places which have what is called the Initiative, citizens have
the right to initiate specific legislation. California is an example. There, grass-roots voters
have been responsible for the creation of various laws which have come into effect quite
independently of the political parties or lobby groups which officially form the Californian
legislature. The Initiative is a very potent political tool.
From the MT viewpoint, a jurisdiction is a very usual part of the skin/immune system
which a human-based syston builds around itself, to protect itself against other competing
systons and to define itself as a working syston within the Matrix swirl. As always, the skin
itself consists of infocap/synenergy barriers which must be passed through by any systel
attempting to switch systons. A syston's jurisdiction is a particularly interesting part of this
skin, in that it is a part which the syston attempts to precisely and overtly define -- many other
skin elements have no such scrutiny.
Proposition 112B*. Its Jurisdiction forms an important and defined part of a syston's
This is How We Operate . . .
The second class of laws under which a syston may operate is that of 'voluntary rules'. The
general term we can use for this class is a Code, as in a Code of Ethics. In practice, a Code
may be the set of Byelaws of a municipality, the Rules and Constitution of a scientific society
or sports club, the basic operating procedures of a fast-food franchise chain, part of the contract
or agreement for a mineral exploration joint venture, the rules of a religious order, or many
Clearly a Code is rather different in nature to a Jurisdiction, although there will be instances
which lie on the borderline of both. But essentially, a Code will apply to the operation of a
voluntary syston, one in which the systel has a choice of belonging or not (and where belonging
does not exclude the member from belonging to other similar organizations).
In the sense used here, a Code implies a set of rules which are voluntary because
membership of the syston to which they apply is voluntary. There is no suggestion that if you
choose to belong to an organization, you do not have to obey its rules.
Another difference between a Code and a Jurisdiction is that a Code may be much less
formally defined. Although a Code may have a written basis or component, much of it may
be unwritten, unstated, or even unrealized. Much of a Code may consist of 'common usage',
or even tradition. Even full-blown jurisdictions have an element of this, in their reliance on
'common law' and 'legal precedents' -- parts of the practical operating code which are not
parts of the formal written law.
At a much simpler syston level, say that of a termite colony syston, there is clearly no
possibility of any written basis for the Code, in a human sense. Even here, though, there is basis
for some sort of record of the code, in genetic material active in the syston, or in structures
passed on from one generation to the next.
In an earlier Proposition, 108C, I suggested that Codes can be designed and set up for
particular classes of syston, and that these Codes in fact define what the class of syston is. It
does seem to me that a clear appreciation of the nature of Codes is vital in designing or
upgrading a syston for a particular aim, as a Code is the analogue of a Jurisdiction in that it
forms a vital part of the syston skin, and this skin itself is fundamental to the successful working
of the syston.
Proposition 112C*. Its Code is an important and defining part of a voluntary syston's
A point about both Jurisdictions and Codes is that they are subject to continual Testing, an
unending process of verification here, now, in this instance. The same is true of the third class
of laws -- so-called Natural Laws. Let us now look at these.
Nature as She is Writ
As with the other classes of laws, many and varied are the names which have been applied
to the 'natural laws'. Branch-of-Learning, Philosophy, Science, Belief, Discipline, these are
some of them. Here I will use the last term, a Discipline, in the special sense of a body of natural
laws applying in a particular area -- not only in the scientific arena, where it is normal, but
throughout the Matrix.
There is a general perception that natural laws are immutable and ubiquitous, they are
always the same and apply throughout the entire universe and for all time. Everyone now takes
this for granted. Interestingly enough, this view is relatively recent.
It was not until 1830 that Charles Lyell, a weak-eyed Scottish lawyer who became a
brilliant geologist, put in print the notion that natural laws remain the same in different times
and places. This notion was called the 'Principle of Uniformitarianism'. Lyell, now generally
given the title of the 'Father of Geology', showed that an assumption such as this was essential
to provide a rational explanation of regularities in the occurrence of young and old geological
Previous to the acceptance of this theory -- and there was considerable argument and
furore when it was put forward, general acceptance took some 40 years -- there was no general
presumption that if a physical event occurred in a certain way in England, it would necessarily behave the same way, under the same conditions, in Australia. Today almost the only
remnants of such a belief are in postulated 'alternative universes' -- almost 'fantasy lands' --
where, for example, the value of pi might be different to what it is here.
More on this will come up elsewhere, clearly this sort of talk opens up many endless
philosophical mazes. For the moment I will just comment that the general perception of the
immutability of accepted natural laws is not strictly justified.
Energy is ALWAYS Conserved . . . Oh, Hullo Albert
The status of natural laws and Disciplines could be subjected to much more detailed analysis. Here we will only note that
the components of a Discipline are subjected to the same continuous Testing as are the
components of a Jurisdiction or a Code.
Further, the point was made at the start of this article that a Jurisdiction element -- a law
resulting from a human legislature -- has to be distinguished from a Discipline element or
natural law. Even so, it has been admitted that Jurisdictions grade softly into Codes, and the
same soft gradation is apparent between Codes and Disciplines.
For example, in the termite example, some changes in syston operation may be halted by
absence or presence of particular genes in the termites (a Code difference), while other changes
may be made impossible by biochemical reaction restrictions (a Discipline difference). The
line between these two is a fine one, and the fineness of such a Code/ Discipline division may
be apparent in far more complex human systons too.
In the MT spirit of generalization, it will be as well to point out that Disciplines, also, may
be regarded as systons, systons with skins set by the limitations of natural laws as currently
perceived -- what a scientist might call Boundary Conditions. And, as before, the existence
of boundary conditions both circumscribes the syston and also defines it, hence the Discipline
of Physics embodies a set of natural laws, and only entities obeying those laws fit within the
So the importance of syston skins in MT thinking is again stressed. Let us move on now (MT113)
to look more closely at the operation of these skins.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Go to the "Matrix Thinking: How Society Works" Home Page
Versions 1.0-1.2, printed editions (Matrix Thinking Book I, BFC Press, Australia, 1992-1997)
Version 2.0, 2004, PDFs etc on World Wide Web (http://www.aoi.com.au/matrix/MT.htm)
Version 3.0, 2014 Jul 8, Reworked from chapter 112 of "Matrix Thinking" as one article in a suite on the World Wide Web.