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Power Is Not Authority; A Case For Authority As Equality
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Power is Not Authority; A Case for Authority As Equality

Mention the word authority and quite a few of us prickle; sometimes due to fear; sometimes due to loyalty. We perceive authority as everything from that which protects us, to that which punishes us. Yet what is authority; why do we prickle under its perceived presence in our life?

I suggest it is because we primarily think of authority as that which knows better than us; or is better than us. That is, we often think of authority as superior somehow; which infers we think we are somehow inferior. This leaves us in a position in which authority is the catalyst for that tension which comes from an interface between inferior and superior beings; or vice versa.

The archetypal modern interface between perceived inferior and superior beings is of course the Holocaust of WWII, and just now; the increasing religious tensions of our species. Therefore, this posited link between authority and the perception of inferior and superior beings; is no small matter. Genocide can result out of this link; this phenomenon.

Personally, I am not an authority on authority. For all I know those proclaiming truth might be right and those who deny truth might be wrong; but their positions could well be flipped so that they are in the wrong and right respectively; or a bit of both.

I try not to proclaim being right so as to remain open to being wrong. But I freely admit to being pushed into kneeling before an authority proclaiming or being proclaimed as right. Why?

I feel it is because I live in a world where authority is simply a mis-understood concept. Authority is understood to be that which it is not; superior.

Quite often we see those ‘in authority’ as having power over us; yet if we allow ourselves to ponder upon this perception we see a flaw; that flaw being, that penny for penny there are always more of us ‘out of authority’ than those ‘in authority’.

This means that we mistakenly perceive the lesser to have more power than the greater; which seems odd. This is the same logic which would be used to state that the individual existence carries more power than the group existence. Yet we live in a society, implying we perceive the greater to be more powerful than the lesser. The Group is greater than the individual; even if the individual is still great in and of herself.

So how come we seem to belief that The Group is greater than the individual, yet an individual; or maybe a few more, in authority are greater, more powerful, and superior than the group?

It looks like we are stating that ‘The many are more powerful than the few; but the few are more powerful than the many’. In other words we are saying that we are more powerful and they are more powerful. This is a contradiction; which is arguably the seed of genocide.

If the seed of genocide is a contradiction, then logically the seed that will not grow into genocide requires being free of contradiction. It looks like we have to either drop the notion that we are more powerful; or drop the notion that they are more powerful. Or do we? – There is another option.

Above I wrote that Authority is understood to be that which it is not; superior. If authority is not held to be superior then it dispenses with the idea that those not in authority are inferior; it brings us to a point not of having an interface between inferior and superior beings; but opting for a notion of human -beings seemingly wishing to have authority in life; but not as superior to them.

But if authority is not to be held to be superior; what is it to be held to be? Not inferior; for that has been shown to be tension raisig. So if not superior or inferior; what else is there?

If we drop the suffix supe and infe we are left with erior. Authority as erior! What does that even mean?

Well, straining the science of etymology it means Authority as rank, but neither above nor below the rank of that which the authority is held in relation to. It basically means Authority is Equality. And neither those in authority nor out of authority are inferior or superior to one another. Each must consult the other and be accountable to the other and be mutually agreed upon any action.

Wherever balanced consultation and accountability becomes imbalanced; authority disappears. Whenever action is not mutually agreed upon, authority disappears. Authority is only and can only be present when Equality is present. No Equality; No Authority.

Of course this leaves us in a strange place. If Authority is essentially equality and involves consultation, accountability and mutually agreed action; then technically, there is never a battle between those in authority and those in authority; because consultation, accountability and mutually agreed action are not battles. Those who ‘fight’ authority are not in fact fighting authority. So who or what are they fighting?

I suggest they are fighting the actual or perceived abuse of authority; the mis-use of authority; but sadly so many who claim to fight abuse and misuse of authority end up hunting authorities; people; human beings.

Sometimes they succeed in hanging them, assassinating them, deposing them etc. But they fail to end the abuse and misuse of authority and in doing so abuse and misuse our common authority by carrying out unauthorised, uncommon actions.

It really is quite simple to understand all of this if we sum it all up as saying that:

Authorities never abuse authority; abusers abuse authority; abuse equality.

We ought to address the abuse of authority prior to the abusers of authority. Those who abuse cannot attain authority if authority is nothing more than non-abusable -equality.

But if it is seen as having power over us; then authority is open to abuse; as is power. And we all know what power does.


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