Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

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gad-fly
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Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by gad-fly »

The correct answer to both: Challenge and Respect, should be Yes and No, with neither being dominant. The rider to on the balance: depending on what is appropriate to the circumstance.

Some would advocate Challenge to the Authority as a key to progress and advancement of human civilization. Some would say that but for rebels and dissidents going out of the norm, we would still in the Stone Age. Genetically, if the genome is copied exactly every time, sooner or later the species would be wiped out in the absence of evolution. This rule would apply to all living beings, including dinosaurs, which were wiped out not because they would not evolve, but rather because the demand to evolve came so abruptly.

On the other hand, Respect to Authority is essential to the smooth functioning of any human society. Imagine everyone trying to reinvent the wheel, without bothering to pay attention to what are rolling on the ground. But isn't there room for improvement? Of course, there is, and there must be, but you don't do it by reinventing. What exists is authority for you to learn, study, and model on with due respect. You know better? Fine, but how do you know better without comparison? Furthermore, better or not is, more often than not, a matter of opinion. You are great? Fine, but you speak for yourself. You are only great if the authority recognize you to be great. You may not be the inventor of the wheel, but you may have created a better wheel if people you come across consider your wheel better.

Hence the question: Who is the Authority, or rather, how do you define Authority? It is a crucial question.
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LuckyR
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by LuckyR »

gad-fly wrote: July 22nd, 2021, 9:23 pm The correct answer to both: Challenge and Respect, should be Yes and No, with neither being dominant. The rider to on the balance: depending on what is appropriate to the circumstance.

Some would advocate Challenge to the Authority as a key to progress and advancement of human civilization. Some would say that but for rebels and dissidents going out of the norm, we would still in the Stone Age. Genetically, if the genome is copied exactly every time, sooner or later the species would be wiped out in the absence of evolution. This rule would apply to all living beings, including dinosaurs, which were wiped out not because they would not evolve, but rather because the demand to evolve came so abruptly.

On the other hand, Respect to Authority is essential to the smooth functioning of any human society. Imagine everyone trying to reinvent the wheel, without bothering to pay attention to what are rolling on the ground. But isn't there room for improvement? Of course, there is, and there must be, but you don't do it by reinventing. What exists is authority for you to learn, study, and model on with due respect. You know better? Fine, but how do you know better without comparison? Furthermore, better or not is, more often than not, a matter of opinion. You are great? Fine, but you speak for yourself. You are only great if the authority recognize you to be great. You may not be the inventor of the wheel, but you may have created a better wheel if people you come across consider your wheel better.

Hence the question: Who is the Authority, or rather, how do you define Authority? It is a crucial question.
Well, in order to have an Authority, respect is required, otherwise without respect you have a group of individuals. Thus respect is required (on average, not individually), it is not optional. Of course within respect on average, it is best to have a vocal minority challenging the Authority, but they are not mutually exclusive.
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stevie
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by stevie »

gad-fly wrote: July 22nd, 2021, 9:23 pm The correct answer to both: Challenge and Respect, should be Yes and No, with neither being dominant. The rider to on the balance: depending on what is appropriate to the circumstance.
...
Hence the question: Who is the Authority, or rather, how do you define Authority? It is a crucial question.
"what is appropriate to the circumstance" is fine but that doesn't necessarily depend on respecting or challenging an authority. E.g. if one doesn't accept an authority as legitimised then one doesn't respect it as such and but challenge such a 'non-authority' isn't a necessary consequence. One may be guided by conventions, traditions, habits that are appropriate to circumstances without the notion of "authority".
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chewybrian
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by chewybrian »

gad-fly wrote: July 22nd, 2021, 9:23 pmHence the question: Who is the Authority, or rather, how do you define Authority? It is a crucial question.
You are the authority. You can't escape responsibility for your choices by claiming that you observed the law, the scriptures, or any other outside influence. Ultimately, you decided to act knowing the reasonably predictable consequences of your actions.

Everything is permitted, but not everything is acceptable. You have to be a sane adult, and not a hypocrite or a self-deceiver following wishes over truth. If you can meet that standard, then you can and should follow your own conscience. Your actions should match what you wish others would be doing, and they should be consistent with building the kind of world in which you want to live. They should be fully considered, taking into account all the ripple effects of your actions in the world, and the example you might be setting for anyone who might pay attention to what you are doing.

You might say that the suicide bomber or the drunk driver is following their conscience, but I don't buy it. They clearly miss one of the criteria above: they are insane, following wishful, unfounded interpretations of reality, or not fully considering the effects of their actions. A society full of sane, educated, thoughtful people carefully following their own consciences would probably not have a lot of serious conflict. Peaceful civil disobedience should be the default method of disobeying, accepting responsibility for your actions and patiently waiting for others to see the light (like Rosa Parks, for example).
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by gad-fly »

LuckyR wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 2:40 am
Well, in order to have an Authority, respect is required, otherwise without respect you have a group of individuals. Thus respect is required (on average, not individually), it is not optional. Of course within respect on average, it is best to have a vocal minority challenging the Authority, but they are not mutually exclusive.
The title "Respect . . . vs Challenge . . ." takes respect and challenge as opposite. The player/actor I would call followers and rebels/dissidents respectively, under the option/selection of 'Either Or'.

Respect is required? Challenge is required? Fine, but neither should be dominant, even as you may take one position or the other.
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Leontiskos
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by Leontiskos »

gad-fly wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 11:10 amRespect is required? Challenge is required? Fine, but neither should be dominant, even as you may take one position or the other.
It seems to me that respect should be dominant. I will give two justifications for this claim.

First, one should only challenge one's equal. An authority is someone who has put in the time and effort to obtain difficult knowledge and the accompanying status of an authority with respect to that field of knowledge. It makes no sense for a novice to challenge the master. The novice must first put in the time and effort required to achieve competence, and only then can he legitimately challenge the master. The novice must achieve a level of equality with the authority before a challenge would be legitimate. The only way for a novice to progress to a state of competence is by finding teachers to instruct him in the relevant field of knowledge. If the novice does not adopt a posture of respect towards his teachers (who are authorities), then he will never achieve competence. Thus without respect for authorities one can never achieve competence, and without competence one cannot justifiably challenge an authority.

It should also be noted that once the novice attains competence he is no longer a novice, and once he attains exceptional competence he himself becomes an authority. Once he becomes an authority in a given field, he is no longer capable of "challenging" authorities in that same field--at least not in the way that is incompatible with respect. At that point he would merely be disputing the arguments of his peers rather than challenging their authority. For example, in our culture the process of peer-review does not entail challenging authority. Rather, it presupposes respect for authority, and only authorities are permitted to partake in the peer-review process. If an authority challenges the authority of another authority, he would not merely be disagreeing with a position, but would also be claiming that the presumptive authority doesn't possess the requisite knowledge and training to be considered an authority. This would be different from "Challenging an authority" in the sense of disagreeing with the argument or position of an authority.

Second, the practical effect of novices challenging authorities is the decay of authority in a society. This leads to the decay of the society itself since the greatest works are achieved by the greatest authorities (or by those with the greatest competence in a given field). Authority is just the way we reliably recognize competence, and so if authority decays there will be no reliable way of recognizing competence. Of course it can happen that someone is falsely recognized as an authority, or falsely given authority in some sphere of activity. That is a story for another day. Apart from these exceptions the general rule holds.

For these two reasons respect for authority should be dominant. Challenging authorities should be the exception rather than the rule.
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AverageBozo
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by AverageBozo »

gad-fly wrote: July 22nd, 2021, 9:23 pm Hence the question: Who is the Authority, or rather, how do you define Authority? It is a crucial question.
The authority is whoever is collectively recognized by a sufficient number of individuals so as to be anointed as their expert. This expertise, acquired by experience or study or both, must be a quantity greater than that of any of those bestowing the title of authority.

Authority is qualitative. As long as the volume of knowledge possessed by the authority is vaster than the amount possessed by those who stand in judgment, the criteria for being an authority are met.

Who are those who stand in judgment, deciding who is to be defined as an authority? Lesser experts—those who possess knowledge but not as much knowledge as the authority. As it is knowledge that is the basis for recognizing authority, expert and authority are nearly synonymous.

Authority is relative. Those who are in authority, who share the title of expert, have their own authorities to whom they go for guidance. There are hierarchies of authority. One may be a local authority or a world authority or what not. There are categories of authority. One may be an authority on subject S while not being an authority on other subjects.

It is vast knowledge, not power or skill, that defines authority, although an expert may lay claim to these qualities as well. It’s answers we seek when we go to the authorities, not strength or dexterity.

When we refer to officers of the law as authorities we mean that they are knowledgeable of what constitutes crime, knowledgeable to such a level that it profits little to disagree. As for their power of arrest, that isn’t what makes them authorities—any underling could have the wherewithal to subdue, for example when directed by actual authority.

The authority of a parent? The presumed accumulated life experience and life knowledge of the parent. The authority of government? The presumably enormous knowledge and information stored there. (Yes, governments have power, but, like the cop, it is a separate but corollary matter.)

This is how I define authority. This is how I answer your crucial question.
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by LuckyR »

gad-fly wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 11:10 am
LuckyR wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 2:40 am
Well, in order to have an Authority, respect is required, otherwise without respect you have a group of individuals. Thus respect is required (on average, not individually), it is not optional. Of course within respect on average, it is best to have a vocal minority challenging the Authority, but they are not mutually exclusive.
The title "Respect . . . vs Challenge . . ." takes respect and challenge as opposite. The player/actor I would call followers and rebels/dissidents respectively, under the option/selection of 'Either Or'.

Respect is required? Challenge is required? Fine, but neither should be dominant, even as you may take one position or the other.
Authority without respect has no authority, so it is required. Unchecked Authority leads to totalitarianism, which I would describe as a negative.
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by Pattern-chaser »

gad-fly wrote: July 22nd, 2021, 9:23 pm Hence the question: Who is the Authority, or rather, how do you define Authority?
Authority cannot stand alone; it becomes meaningless. If something or someone is in your care, you are responsible for its/their welfare and wellbeing. To facilitate the discharge of this duty of care, you are given authority over them. Authority is a tool, nothing more, bestowed for the specific purpose of nurturing and maintaining welfare and wellbeing.

You might think this perspective is distanced from your intended meaning, but I have found that this view of authority and responsibility is more or less universally applicable. YMMV.
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by gad-fly »

stevie wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 4:08 am
gad-fly wrote: July 22nd, 2021, 9:23 pm The correct answer to both: Challenge and Respect, should be Yes and No, with neither being dominant. The rider to on the balance: depending on what is appropriate to the circumstance.
...
Hence the question: Who is the Authority, or rather, how do you define Authority? It is a crucial question.
"what is appropriate to the circumstance" is fine but that doesn't necessarily depend on respecting or challenging an authority. E.g. if one doesn't accept an authority as legitimised then one doesn't respect it as such and but challenge such a 'non-authority' isn't a necessary consequence. One may be guided by conventions, traditions, habits that are appropriate to circumstances without the notion of "authority".
Rider on the balance in dictionary: A small weight that can slide along pone arm of the balance to make adjustment during weighing.

One goal in this thread is to attract comment from you and others on what circumstance applies to respect or challenge on authority. As you have said without elaborating, such circumstance may be conventions, etc.
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by gad-fly »

LuckyR wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 2:40 am
Well, in order to have an Authority, respect is required, otherwise without respect you have a group of individuals. Thus respect is required (on average, not individually), it is not optional. Of course within respect on average, it is best to have a vocal minority challenging the Authority, but they are not mutually exclusive.
I would moderate your statement as follows:

Both Respect and Challenge are essential (or more than required) in the ambit of Authority. Dialectically, Respect and Challenge are non-antagonistic contradiction, to bring Authority to new height. The position taken must begin with due Respect as Ground Zero or starting point. Challenge cannot begin until respect has been fully subsumed.
AverageBozo
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by AverageBozo »

LuckyR wrote: July 24th, 2021, 1:06 am
gad-fly wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 11:10 am
LuckyR wrote: July 23rd, 2021, 2:40 am
Well, in order to have an Authority, respect is required, otherwise without respect you have a group of individuals. Thus respect is required (on average, not individually), it is not optional. Of course within respect on average, it is best to have a vocal minority challenging the Authority, but they are not mutually exclusive.
The title "Respect . . . vs Challenge . . ." takes respect and challenge as opposite. The player/actor I would call followers and rebels/dissidents respectively, under the option/selection of 'Either Or'.

Respect is required? Challenge is required? Fine, but neither should be dominant, even as you may take one position or the other.
Authority without respect has no authority, so it is required. Unchecked Authority leads to totalitarianism, which I would describe as a negative.
Authority with power works just as well as authority with respect.
gad-fly
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by gad-fly »

AverageBozo wrote: July 25th, 2021, 8:11 am
Authority with power works just as well as authority with respect.
Works differently, like forcing down your throat or tasty fine cuisine.
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by AverageBozo »

gad-fly wrote: July 25th, 2021, 10:42 am
AverageBozo wrote: July 25th, 2021, 8:11 am
Authority with power works just as well as authority with respect.
Works differently, like forcing down your throat or tasty fine cuisine.
Yes.
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Re: Respect of Authority vs Challenge to Authority

Post by Stoic Spirit »

"I just obeyed an order" Adolf Eichmann

No one is my friend who points a gun at me. That's all about the authority.

SP
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