‘Breaking the rules is a good thing – and us Baby Boomers did it too!’

Jul 17, 2019
Julie looks at the most recent lot of 'rule breakers' in those protesting climate change and compares it to years gone by. Source: Getty Images

‘Rules are made to be broken’. This was a motto of our long gone youth. Quite true, rule breaking is part of human progress. Consider this, thousands of generations ago, our supposed ancestors were swinging away in trees, creeping on all fours, eating leaves. One day, an ape stood up. Was it, dare we say, a female ape? Or is that misandrogynistic? Never mind, the first bipedal ape/human broke all the rules. Unfortunately, for the ensuing years ever since, humans have developed ageing musculoskeletal issues, in their joints, or with arthritis, and mobility issues.

A bit later on in history, a human sitting in a fire-lit cave in the rocks, made a simple, crude brush, and daubed a cave wall with a picture. Was it the ‘little woman’ of the tribe? The first shopping list. “Today, go hunt a mastodon for tea. Look and say, mastodon!” Thus reading was invented. From this sprang pictographs, hieroglyphics, cuneiform, and scripts, ancient and modern. Once reading was unknown, now schoolchildren have to learn the rules of reading and being literate. Rules are rules.

Along came more inventors. Even the invention of the electricity we take for granted broke all the rules. Similarly, aeroplanes and space ships make their own rules, defying gravity. Other inventors made more new rules, such as telephones, smartphones, computers and their derivatives.

As Baby Boomers, we broke or bent some of the rules. I look fondly on the youngsters of today, protesting to reinvent some of the rules about climate change. I try to imagine their life in suburbia in 50 years’ time, when they reach 60-plus. Will it be an overhot atmosphere, with no trees, no birds, no insects? Everyone might be struggling to breathe, not much economy left, might be anarchy, with no rules. Or will there be new rules, with all humans confined and controlled with digital mastery, living in high rise blocks of tiny air-conditioned apartments, working online, with strict rules about reproduction, to reduce overpopulation? The dwindling foodstuffs for too many humans might be grown in multi-level hydroponic farms, attached to the blocks of units.

There might be new rules in society then. Eat what is provided, work when we say, travel when you are permitted, go to bed when you are told to by the digital controller.

Who knows what rules the grandchildren of the Baby Boomers will invent, break, or bend? It shall all be part of the human race creating change. The only thing in our society that will never change is progress, whether we consider it to be positive or negative. Rules are rules, or are they? What are your rules, did you ever break them?

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