Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Conditioned to Authority

Someone always knows or understands better! Yes? From the time we are born, through our ‘growing-up-years', then as participating grown adults, most of us may have a sense that for much which goes on in our immediate as well as the greater world, there are others better qualified to make decisions and take responsibility. For reasons that are laudatory, as well as sometimes seemingly practical, the adults around children, acting in what we believe are the children’s best interest, structure and limit the child’s world. “Children are children, you know, and are likely to make mistakes.” We want to protect them, shield them, and direct them in the ‘right direction’. Isn’t it more efficient to experience the right things and be exposed to the right-proven-ideas than to blunder around, explore blind avenues, and waste time not having things work out as planned? We don’t want people or society to ‘fail’. Someone else knows what is best and right for us and is better prepared to make decisions. As adults, do we also then adopt and accept a hierarchy of authority? Do we delegate or abdicate to others, who we perceive as authorities, the decisions and responsibilities that will protect and provide for us? Who has the motivation and self assurance to consider and tackle the uncertainties of our lifetimes, those things that will be “The Black Swans” as described by Nassim Nicholas Taleb? The authorities? Who are they? You? Me? or THEM? . Does this make things run better, or correctly? Correctly for whom, from who’s vantage point, for how long?

As a recently retired middle school teacher, I have experienced during those 40 years what I’m hypothesizing is a large part of the population highly conditioned to accept, desire, and cow to authority, more so as the years have progressed. I will be developing this hypothesis over the next few months through this blog as it relates to all parts of our individual and collectives lives. This will be kind of a debriefing of my world view after the experiences that have shaped me during the past 40 years. Hopefully these writings will raise questions, cause you to reflect and share your understandings from deep within you. I find I typically have more questions than understandings.
I also have biases. I'm sure you will point them out to me/us.

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