When was the last time you were actually free? You know, filled with passion and wildness, the guy with long hair and a headband and the gal in a tie-dyed dress swaying in unison to the Grateful Dead.

Back “in the day”, there was no dream too big or “mountain too high”. March on Washington to stop the war in Viet Nam. Stop racial bigotry! Burn your bra and announce to the world that women have arrived!

Then BOOM, you’re an adult. Career success means putting in 12 hour days. Child rearing entails devoting hundreds of hours to soccer and carpools, and strategizing about college. It’s understandable. They need you and their dream for the future has become your dream.

But what happened to YOUR personal dream? Did you achieve it? Is there time left for a new one? Is life just paying the bills and fantasizing about retiring and watching your kids live their lives? Maybe they’ll march on Washington to stop the disgrace and abuse of our financial institutions; or stop the importing of Middle East oil; or stop Iran before it puts its nuclear ICBM into action? Maybe we can help?

The “establishment” is rigid and usually uncreative (Look at our government). Because we’re old enough to be in the “establishment”, doesn’t mean we have to play by their rigid rules. Bill Maher broke the rule with the movie Religulous, showing the fallacy of all forms of organized religion. John Stewart breaks the rules every evening on The Daily Show.

What rules can we break and move our world forward? Our brains never have to stop evolving. Being a follower without really understanding what we’re following is stupid and unproductive. Cross whatever line needs crossing and break whatever rule needs breaking. We need to replenish the gap that Steve Jobs left. Who says it can’t be one of us?

6 thoughts on “WHAT RULES CAN WE BREAK? by Art Smukler MD

  1. I will always have the memory of that one great wave I had in Hawaii – it makes me feel free even 30+ years later! Now I am just trying to get more politically informed, because I see things happening in this country that I can’t stand. The most radical thing you can do is to never accept the status quo, no matter how comfortable you are. And as long as you’re upright and breathing, it’s never too late to have a new dream.


  2. I guess I missed something….I never marched; my hair has always been short; I worked hard in school (as you no doubt did also!!) and I don’t think I missed out on anything. I think Bill Maher goes overboard and enjoys insulting people (even though most of them deserve it!), but let’s face it. Liberals can’t be right ALL the time, can they?


  3. For those of us with children you have a break from being a rebel while the kids are young and unable to look after themselves. Once you’ve got them ‘up and running’ as it were you can go back to Greenpeace or whatever… but I’m past the age of camping out in tents or hanging off buildings waving a flag. That and I’m middle-aged English so I’d need to be polite and have tea breaks 😀


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