AWOL. Most people recognise the term AWOL as being a military term for some one who is absent without leave. In other words, they are not where they are supposed be. Going AWOL is a serious military offence that is punishable as a crime. If you go AWOL from the military, they will not come after you. What they do is essentially strip you of your citizenship. They put a mark on ‘your file,’ which makes it illegal for any employer to hire you. You become a wanted person, and if found, are meant to be turned over to the ‘authorities.’
AWOL as it relates to the ‘establishment,’ means that someone is not playing by the rules, they are not conforming to what is considered to be a normalised way of acting within the collective society. For example, when the Rock and Roll made its entrance on to the scene, the early rockers, the youth, were considered to have gone AWOL from the establishment and needed to be reined back into the fold. For those who didn’t re-conform, they were labelled as dangerous and degenerate and to be avoided.
AWOL has taken on a new definition and has become the rallying cry for people who want to do their own thing, who want to be non-conformist. AWOL is now A Way of Life. It means to purposely choose who you want to be and have that be consistent with what you do. Your way of being becomes your way of life. Even if that way of life is outside the parameters of what is socially acceptable as normal.