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Two weeks ago, we discussed competition.  Competition occurs when two or more parties "duke it out" to determine a winner.  The flip side of this independent competition is authoritarian determinism.

Authority is the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience. Sometimes we must submit to someone else’s authority: a boss or the police. Sometimes we are the authority: parents, teachers and coaches. We accept authority even though it encroaches on our freedom. We exercise authority when we have responsibility to maintain order.

Do we need authority? Why? When should we resist authority?  How does authority interact with competition?

We will be in the circular room at the top of the stairs.

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  • Tom

    Is this on topic?
    From the Daily Telegraph:
    "Free Will Could Be The Result Of 'Background Noise' In The Brain, Study Suggests..."
    "The brain has a normal level of so-called background noise; the researchers found that the pattern of activity in the brain in the seconds before the cue symbol appeared - before the volunteers knew they were going to make a choice - could predict the likely outcome of the decision." [But the article says nothing about the IQ of the volunteer study subjects, and half of all Britons have below average intelligence.]
    full story:

    June 22, 2014

  • Nick M.

    I must respectively disagree that "independent competition" is the "flip-side" of "authoritarian determinism". Authoritarian relationships mean lack of freedom and doing damage to the integrity of another person. Certain kinds of competitive situations, especially the "winner take all", absolute win/lose scenarios, can readily be part of the authoritarian's bag of social control tricks: the so-called "winner" readily assuming the position of authoritarian that is conferred upon him or her by the contingent outcome of the competitive process. "Winners", by virtue of winning are not better or more privileged because they win, nor they have they "earned" a bigger share of the social wealth or power; unless, of course, we want to live by the dictum of "might makes right". A sane, healthy society is not a gladiatorial arena, no matter how seemingly benign it might appear. We can have our competitions; but they cannot be allowed to damage us individually or socially.

    June 17, 2014

  • Nick M.

    Once again, I need to weigh-in on the language here. Just having "authority" is not what's problematic, in my view. Any leadership position will automatically confer authority, the expectation, by others, that binding decisions will be made by that leadership on behalf of those others. A captain of a ship, a teacher, a parent, a doctor and so forth have authority because we collectively and individually( as the case may be) confer this type of "power" because of certain social contingencies. It need not be coercive, damaging, nor mean the loss of freedom. However, the term "authoritarian" does imply the withdrawal of freedom. While a dictator made not have the absolute power to force us do anything we do not want to do, a dictatorial or authoritarian relationship, definitely limits and damages the quality of our lives. Slavery is a perfect example. Non-compliance can often mean something worse then death.

    June 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was a long while before sleep finally showed up last night and, of course, I was pondering.
    I found it curiouser and curiouser, the idea that anyone in authority could "make" you do anything. No-one can make you do anything. They sure as hell can present you with consequences that will have you choose in one particular fashion. But just because you're making a choice that you don't like doesn't negate the fact that you are the agent of your own actions. Authority doesn't really encroach on our freedom. Freedom doesn't seem to be one of those things that has a sliding scale attached to it. You either have freedom or you don't.
    It's not like the rain is making you wear a raincoat.
    Or the sun is making you wear a hat.
    Or the policeman making you drive the speed limit.
    There are environmental factors/consequences out there and you get to choose what to do with that knowledge and how you feel about the likelihood of the consequences happening.

    June 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    "Submit" is an interesting choice of words. If you do have free will, then you are always choosing what to do of your own free will. You may not like it but that's another discussion. It doesn't encroach on your freedom unless you choose to let it. Then it's not encroachment, it's an agreement. Authority equates with maintaining order. I thought that believable threats maintained order. If the threats are not believed in (or feared) then order is going right out the window. Do we "need" authority? Depends on what kind or resulting society you're desiring.

    June 16, 2014

  • beth

    My mom is up for her five week "stint" in Vermont. So, I'll likely be AWOL for that time.....shall I send a cardboard cutout of myself to prop up in the room? It would be confusing, of course, due to the unexpected silence from "me"....:)

    June 16, 2014

16 went

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