Quote Originally Posted by Wigwam Jones
The rules simply are attempts to codify what learned eyes have observed as being pleasing to many people.

If one is concerned with making their photograph pleasing to many people, the rules are a good place to start.
I completely agree. However, when I setup a shot, I don't necessarily think about the "rules" of composition, but subconciously I they are there. Those times where I do break the "rule", I realize it.