Authority

From The SpiritWiki

Authority is power vested in persons. "Its hallmark is unquestioning recognition by those who are asked to obey; neither coercion nor persuasion is needed."[1]

Related Terms

Authority > Indoctrination, Power, Violence

Notes

Authority, relating to the most elusive of these phenomena and therefore, as a term, most frequently abused,66 can be vested in persons-there is such a thing as personal authority, as, for instance, in the relation between parent and child, between teacher and pupil-or it can be vested in offices, as, for instance, in the Roman senate (auctoritas in senatu) or in the hierarchical offices of the Church (a priest can grant valid absolution even though he is drunk). Its hallmark is unquestioning recognition by those who are asked to obey; neither coercion nor persuasion is needed. (A father can lose his authority either by beating his child or by starting to argue with him, that is, either by behav- ing to him like a tyrant or by treating him as an equal.) To remain in authority requires respect for the person or the office. The greatest enemy of authority, therefore, is contempt, and the surest way to undermine it is laughter."[2]

Footnotes

  1. Arendt, Hanna. On Violence. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969. p. 45.
  2. Arendt, Hanna. On Violence. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969. p. 45.