Lately, I’ve been feeling that people nowadays need an image of authority. In fact, I think that people are starving for the image of authority. It’s a ‘sign of the times’.
And so, here we are in the world. The cold war is 20 years gone. The US, in particular, has undermined a lot of the worlds governments and tried to put its authoritiless government in its place. Everything is about the ‘people’. Everything is about me and what I want. Religion and belief have been undermined by science and logic. We look out, and see that there is a big world out there. We are seeing ourselves in the perspective of a world community. There’s insecurity. There’s lack of unity. There’s lack of identity. After undermining our unifying element – authority – we are as if being swallowed into a world blur of humanity. Information and things are flying past us at a hundred miles an hour. Everywhere we turn something changes. We are as if lost in it all.
The image of authority!
Since the beginning of time we have had an image of authority. People faught and died for it. But now . . . now. . . no none seems to care. Science, democracy, the cold war, the modern world, and such have come and undermined it. Not only that, they’ve so villainized the image of authority that a lot of people are scared of the image of authority, as if authority is going to hurt them in some way.
The US, in particular, did everything in its power to destroy the image of authority . . . all in the name of freedom. I sat and watched it! I still get with conversations with people who have nothing but paranoia and fear about any image of authority . . . the government, the law, religion, morality, etc. I sat and watched all this blind and pointless rebellion against authority praised, as if it was some great act . . . a declaration of independence!
And, now as I look out, I can see that people are needing that image . . . that image that makes them so apprehensive . . . the image of authority.
Who is the authority nowadays?
The idea of the ‘people’ is not a good enough image as an authority. It sounded good during the cold war, but not anymore. It is too abstract, undefinable, and hard to pinpoint. Who, exactlly, are the ‘people’ anyways. Can you look up to them? Can you talk to them?
The president . . . he’s just a man. That’s just a government position. An image of authority requires more than that. It requires an almost mythical justification.
Is it science and technology? The image of authority is not a matter of science and technology. It must hit deep, with great meaning. It is, really, a matter of the soul.
Is it the law, that faceless image of judgement? It’s become so alienated from common peoples lives that it takes a lawyer with years of schooling just to have an understanding of it. No, not even this is sufficient.
We have developed all these pseudo-authorities, like some great illusion . . . but still no authority remains.
What . . . what has made us so frightened of authority? Why must the image of authority be badgered to death and undermined? Why must it be so degraded?
In some ways, it seems that the very concept of authority has practically been lost, though the remnants are there. Most certainly, it’s a skeleton now, a shadow. A lot has been lost, destroyed, or distorted for the sake of progress . . . too much.
Without the image of authority people remain small in the world, for it is this image that enlarges us in the world, that makes us something. As a result, humanity has really become smaller, a shrunken shell of what it was. Look at us all now, huddled behind our TV screens, pretending to have a purpose, pretending to belong.
And in this condition we confront the world . . .
I look out and can see that we need an authority now. We need a unifying element. We need something to make us belong. We need a direction.
The absence of authority . . . truly a dilemma of the times.