Rejecting authority

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Pineal, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. Arioch Valued Senior Member

    @wynn --

    Hey, an article I actually liked. I don't see many of those here.
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  3. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    I don't trust power.
    I only submit to power when I am forced to for survival reasons, and I do that with ill grace.
    You may naturally advance doctors as authorities...
    I've found that many of them don't seem to always know what to do or what the h3ll they are talking about either...and that I had better jolly well know everything I can about my own medical conditions and treatments.
    Locke (if I remember aright) said that there's a difference between power and authority, authority being legitimacy of holding control.
    Power I'll concede. It grows from the barrel of a gun, the end of a fist.
    I don't consider that anyone has authority.
    Particularly in the realm of spirituality...saying that one must depend on the goodwill of other fallible humans to get to that which is divine?
    One has to trust someone else's goodwill entirely, instead of one's own intuition?

    It seems a very perverse and disgusting concept.
    Tired and crabby, I shall go to bed now.
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  5. Big Chiller Registered Senior Member


    Going to nitpick here a bit. When you say other fallible humans you realize that you shouldn't exclude yourself as one because if you mean all humans which apparently you do you should really include yourself. When did spirituality say anything about entirely trusting the goodwill of another, what authority does the goodwill of someone else have and intuition isn't always correct that's exactly why we need the authority of an expert within a certain situation.
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  7. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    This is true, and a good point.
    OTOH, I'm the only person who has to put up with me 24/7. Therefore in my interest to be as content in my own skin as possible. This cannot be said of anyone else.

    I don't entirely trust myself. I trust others even less.
    Basically...I would take advice from a book...I might take advice from a person. then say "I am submitting to that person's authority..." as in an Eastern-style guru/disciple relationship...
    If I recognize that someone has superior knowledge, they offer the knowledge, I take the am I submitting to them? I am not inherently inferior to them.
    They do not get to degrade me in order to get their knowledge.
    For me, the idea of submission to authority comes with the flat expectation that said authority will be misused...
    I consider power something that will inherently be abused by its' very nature; if through nothing else but clumsiness.
    I fear and often detest those that have power over me...while I recognize the reality that there always will be such persons.
    I don't want power over anyone else-too easy to muck it up.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    One more thing about conventional medicine and doctors:

    In the health care system of most Western countries, a doctor of conventional medicine has power beyond health issues - namely legal and economical power.

    Some of the problems that we have with the authority of the doctor thus have nothing to do with medicine and his medical expertise as such, but with our concern over the legal and economical consequences that refusing to follow through with a doctor's recommended treatment may have for us.
  9. Pineal Banned Banned

    Absolutely and this is a very good point on the practical side of things. I deal with this quite regularly in fact. One often has to be very careful what one tells them about anything else one is doing and be very careful how one explains any non-conventional treatments to conventional doctors.

    I know one person who was being treated for cancer and told he would die within a year or two. He refused further chemotherapy - which the conventional doctors thought would give him that length of time. He started a non-conventional therapy. He is alive now 3 years later, and they refuse to give him MRIs - because he did not follow their protocol - even though he would have recieved MRIs if he had done chemo and should have been dead according to them.

    So he does not know the size of his tumors, which means it is hard for his alternative doctor to reduce the dosage of his alternative treatments, which are not cheap and not covered by insurance.

    He could do the chemo and get the MRIs, but he was wasting away on the chemo and considered it life threatening.

    Other patients are aware of this bind and handle it, with anxiety, in various ways.
  10. Pineal Banned Banned

    Well, no, that is not the case. The people in question were not thinking of survival rates. Their bodies rejected the treatment, as far as they were concerned, and they accepted this rejection.

    I've done this myself with more minor treatments.

    Sure, this happens. Some doctors are willing. Others are not. And there can be subtle to dangerous ways they react when they are not willing or are on the surface willing.

    But the point is that the patients do not necessarily need to have another authority to engage in this negotiation.

    I have nothing against conventional medicine per se. I think it still suffers from a warlike bent and a reductionist bent and that pharmaceutical companies limit options to ones they can make money from. But conventional medicine is incredible at many things. I use it as a matter of course for some things. And anyone shoots me, there is no question where I will want that ambulance to go.

    I feel the exact same way about religion, religious leaders and even God.
  11. Pineal Banned Banned

    I'm afraid I find these rather huge questions, though I absolutely admit how relevent they are.

    Let me focus on one issue. I tend to like, respect and work with authorities - if I have any choice in the matter - who recognize individual differences, needs and desires and who consider the situation a learning experience for both parties, even if the learning is not necessarily of the same kinds. The authority has knowledge and perspective based on gifts - innate ability, or experience - usually repeated practice of some kind. In recognition of this I expect that I will do more of what they suggest than they will do what I suggest. I do expect my reactions and 'learning style' to affect how the relationship moves forward, with adjustments as a part of this.

    When it comes to 'religion', I expect the authority to consider my autonomy - my own decision making/ability to move in the direction I want and need to - as a core part of the learning. Rather than say - I learn to follow the rules.

    LG is convinced that there is nothing new of significance under the sun. He, I assume, thinks that enlightenment has been reached many times before, going far back in time. This is not my experience. I think learning is taking place on all levels.

    Even the religious leader/religion relationship with women is evolving there has been a fundamental confusion, on all levels, about female and male. And I mean all levels.

    And that is just one example of why things have been so terribly messed up here on earth. Most religions have given up on so much right from the get go.

    and then there is the built in hate in religion about emotions, sometimes tied to the above issue, sometimes not.
  12. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    It seems that as human culture matures we dither more and more between the opposing views that "authority" can manifest itself as either "authoritative" or "authoritarian".
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I am now even more inclined to think that your issues with religious authority stem from trying to be part of a religion (in some way) while not actually having much interest for it.

    Ie. it seems that you want them to approve of you, respect you, welcome you, and all on your terms, while you refuse to grant them the same.

    You are not being fair toward him.

    All those who are pursuing expertise in a field have an aversion toward intruders, time wasters, the indecisive, the inconscientious.
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    A person can presume themselves to have authority.

    Whether that means that they in fact have authority, is another matter.

    IOW, a person always chooses to submit to someone or something: whether it is what some other person says, or whether it is a particular thought in their own mind.
  15. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Authoritative though, you don't so much submit, as are guided by. You don't surrender autonomy by taking an authoritative person's advice.
    "Submitting" to "Authority" to me inherently means giving up ones' dignity, equality, freedom, a greater or lesser portion of your humanity...and whatever else the authority requires.
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    From the article I quoted earlier:

    Fanaticism usually stems from fundamental distrust toward one’s own thoughts and feelings. Stifling them results in a state of inner numbness, where the individual no longer knows what he wants and feels. In an attempt to give his life some order and meaning, he may try to supplant his lost “inner guide” with the voice of external authority. For such a person, religious authority with its claims to absolute truth has a deep appeal. [xxiii] His surrender tends to be fanatical and blind, since he has discarded his capacity for critical evaluation. Actually, however, such surrender is not as unconditional as it appears; the person would ignore or distort, for example, teachings on emotional literacy or self-reliance, as they undermine his coping techniques. /.../ His “radar” picks up selectively on those teachings that can be used to justify blind following, self-abnegation, and hurting others.

    You are doing this too: you selectively pick out those teachings that are in line with your rejection of authority, and ignore those that present a different view of authority (one that you actually find acceptable).

    And there is plenty of teachings that emphasize this kind of relationship that you sketch out above, between the person in the place of authority and the student.
    But you ignore those teachings.
  17. Pineal Banned Banned

    I can understand that interpretation, it is not the case.

    Nope. I feel mutual respect and it has been quite a long time now I have been in this one.
    And taking that line out of its conext is not fair to me. I got specific directly after that quote.

    None of which has anything to do with what I meant.
  18. Pineal Banned Banned

    I presented what I wanted and do in relation to religion and religious authority, and have found a tradition to work within where this is a given as part of the process. I spent time and effort with other religions and did not find this to be the case there, that I was allowed to do this or in fact that this was wanted there, in the ways I feel are important. I do not think you are correct. It would mean there really was a good fit and I refused to notice it. You can't know this and I can't see where you think you can tell me this.

    Actually, I have reminded you of these practices in religions, when you were saying there was no room for you in religions, when I first came in here in my latest name. I pointed out that there was room for doubt, etc.

    What I want however was not present in these religions. In fact you accuse me of not having interest in the religion, my issue around emotions as showing that I am at least one of the following: intruders, time wasters, the indecisive, the inconscientious. And yet at the same time what I really wanted was actually there. I fit in, my needs were actually there to be met, but I was too much of a jerk to notice this. When in fact I had real specific needs around emotions, for example, that were not met and in fact were specifically problematic in these religions. Despite your judgments of me and my process and how I behaved, I was not rejected by the religions. I, through dialogue, found that what I needed was not there. With one particular religion this was a fairly cranky dialogue at the end. It took a long time to reach that stage. But this dialogue made it clear to me it was not for me. Which was important to me, obviously.
    I am not sure how you know so much about what they were really doing or me for that matter. This process led to where I feel my needs are met and my expectations also of what the process will be like around negotiation and a wide range of other issues.

    If you have now decided that I am the kind of person implicit in the above couple of responses to me, let me know.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    My comment was in reference to the traditions that you have rejected or otherwise found lacking.

    As far as those are concerned, it indeed seems that you want them to approve of you, respect you, welcome you, and all on your terms, while you refuse to grant them the same.
  20. Pineal Banned Banned

    This seems off topic, not referring to anything I am doing in the thread and just you finding a context to write judgments of me.

    The topic in this thread is not about this or that bad religion or religions in general. It is about people being able to decide they are going to reject an authority - could be the scientific model, conventional medicine, alternative medicine, a pastor, my religion, whatever - and my assertion that they do not necessarily need to have a second authority to make this move away from an authority.

    You have read this in a way that allows you to attack me and presented off topic issues where you can bring in these judgments, but your reading is not relevent.
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    No, it doesn't mean that, and I don't see how you came to the conclusion that this is what I meant.

    There are teachings on how the prospective student should take responsibility for whom he takes advice from, and those teachings could make that prospective student realize that they need to distance themselves from the tradition (because they cannot live up to the requirements, or because the tradition doesn't offer them what they want etc.).

    IOW, it is possible to even distance oneself from a tradition by utilizing its own teachings for that purpose.
    So it's not necessary to rely on some other authority or try to fathom the depths of one's intuition.
    In fact, I think the existence of those teachings and studying them can provide closure and a quick and natural exit/distancing from the once prospective student.

    Ignoring those teachings and instead trying to manufacture one's own way out of a tradition, with all the associated strife, might not be necessary at all, as the tradition may already provide a suitable way out.

    Indeed, and I have since then clarified my stance.

    Then why did you stick around with them?

    I think you mean this in " "?

    Well, an alternative would be to clarify one's goals right in the beginning of one's search, even before engaging with a tradition, and then approach a tradition with that set of questions and standards that one expects that a tradition fitting for oneself should fulfill.
    This should minimize the amount of effort necessary for the search.

    Of course, if one is the kind of seeker who doesn't really know what he wants, then such a rational and efficient approach as I sketched out above will not be possible, and the seeker will have to try out a lot of things before he even realizes what it is that he wants.

    You are certainly not the kind of rationalist I am/aspire to be.

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  22. Pineal Banned Banned

    I have never asserted that it was necessary. I said it was possible to do this.

    It took time for me to realize. I have said this before.

    This is not the topic. The topic is not how one should act or what is the best approach to dealing with authorities. The topic is around whether it is possible and can be alright to reject an authority without having another one supporting that change or as an immediate replacement. The authority can be religious or secular.

  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Not at all. Mine were merely factual statements. I do think they apply in situations where people present to have problems with authority.

    I think that the examples you have given and your analysis of them so far is inaccurate or not detailed enough.

    For example, when a patient rejects to continue a treatment prescribed by a doctor of conventional medicine, this patient is not rejecting the medical authority of the doctor or conventional medicine at all.

    Conventional medicine is based on effectiveness statistics. This patient could simply be one of those for whom the treatment is contraindicated.

    If the doctor said that the patient must follow the treatment or he will die, then that doctor made a statement that is not within his medical authority to make to begin with; thus rejecting his claim would not be rejecting any medical authority.

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