How do we rationalize Follow the rules and stay out of trouble vs. Rules are made to be broken? Can both be true?
Indeed, both can be true and often are at the same time. We follow the rules that keep us safe and respectful of others but break the ones unhelpful, antiquated, flawed, or not worth following. As soon as they’re broken change and forward motion occur.
I’ve spent most of my life being a rule-breaker while many of the people I know and respect wouldn’t consider following that path. Both approaches to life work, they’re just individual choices.
My rule breaking habits are fairly consistent: I won’t trespass on someone else’s property but I will not stop at an empty red light in the middle of the desert either. One set of rules sets personal boundaries I find easy to respect, the other is mindless rigor I cannot follow.
In the same vein, I rarely question or disobey the rules of physics, but routinely advertise that electrical engineering rules are meant to be questioned and broken. The one tends to get me in trouble, the other leads to discovery.
If you’re out in the wild the only rules to follow are those that keep you from harm. Those imposed by society are best left in the parks and managed spaces.
When it comes to design I find it ever so valuable to know the rules so that I can relish in their breaking.