Home Blogs Authority is an illusion…

Authority is an illusion…

Authority is an illusion…

Authority is an illusion…The Myth of Authority, the idea that we need a person, a group, a system or our own alienated consciences to tell us what to do, is an inherent consequence of living within the civilized system

By Nazarul Islam

Most of the time, we see only what we want to see, or what others tell us to see, instead of really investigating to see what is really there. We embrace illusions only because we are presented with the illusion that they are embraced by the majority.

When in truth, they only become popular because they are pounded at us by the media with such an intensity and high level of repetition that its mere force disguises lies and truths. And like obedient schoolchildren, we do not question their validity and swallow everything up like medicine. Why? Because since the earliest days of our youth, we have been conditioned to accept that the direction of the herd, and authority anywhere — is always right.

The Myth of Authority is one of the foundational myths of the system, we have created for governance. If man realized, in his own experience — rather than as a mere theory — that the source of meaning is his own experience, his own consciousness, and that he does not need to be told what to think, what to feel, what to want and what to do, the system would vanish like a bad dream on waking.

A creature of this system—the man of delegated authority appears to me, as a pathetic coward; his self, from the moment it enters of the world, is deformed into a subservient appendage to the Way Things Are. As soon as he can walk his steps are directed towards a life made by others; his games are provided by others, his explorations shaped by others, his learning given from above and his life decided for him. The world he looks upon — overwhelmingly, massively, powerful — is entirely mediated, entirely made by other minds.

The Manager assigned to us at the place of work, doesn’t have to learn to submit to these others, or ever even think about them, he is completely dependent on the reality they have made for him and so, by the time he is an adult, he is anxious about upsetting authority, apathetic about resisting injustice, unable to think for himself and terrified of sticking his neck out.

Again, the Human beings come pre-subjugated, with each generation more afraid, more dependent and more subservient than the one before. The system manufactures fear-machines, and with every year that passes it gets better at doing so.

The advanced system, of course, makes it very easy to be a coward.

I often like to ask: should I stick my head above the parapet when I am in a trench full of strangers? Would the world care if a few people die, or simply vanish? Who would care if a few radicals or dissidents go missing? Who would care if someone with integrity gets fired or arrested for their integrity?

Who would really care—I don’t. Not really. I don’t even know these people.

And yes, yes, I know, it is sad and terrible that rainforests are being cleared and communities uprooted and all those poor folk in foreign lands have to work in nasty factories to make my trousers, but I’ve got more important things to worry about.

There is just no real, concrete, reason to worry about my neighbors, my colleagues, the hundred species that went extinct today, or the people who make all the objects I use; and so the courage to do so also appears abstract and unreal.

Compounding this unreality is the glacial progress of the system, which makes it even more difficult to revolt. Those who own or manage the system, understanding that humans are more likely to resist sudden changes, work at the same piecemeal pace, enslaving their peoples and annihilating nature by degrees.

Everything that happens is worse than the last thing that happened, but only a bit worse, so it is bearable, and nobody else is acting, so, again, why risk your own neck? Who knows, the next step downwards might be the one that sparks off a revolution, then you’ll do the right thing, then you’ll join in. Who knows?

Because the Myth of Authority, the idea that we need a person, a group, a system or our own alienated consciences to tell us what to do, is an inherent consequence of living within the civilized system, it is common to all civilized ideologies; to communism, capitalism, monarchism, fascism, professionalism and nearly all religious traditions.

What is high exercises authority over what is low? If you have power, be just; wealth, be generous; knowledge, be wise; titles, be humble; and life, be grateful.

Also read: Power is an Illusion 


About the Author

Nazarul IslamThe Bengal-born writer Nazarul Islam is a senior educationist based in USA. He writes for Sindh Courier and the newspapers of Bangladesh, India and America. He is author of a recently published book ‘Chasing Hope’ – a compilation of his 119 articles.