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The Importance of Questioning Authority

BY: Mariami Ghreuli | Category: Others | Submitted: 2015-02-20 09:40:32
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Article Summary: "here you can read why is it important to question what authorities appeal us to do..."


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We are subordinated by authorities every day. We follow the way cop shows us while driving, we do a task that our boss gives to us, we buy the medicine which is recommended by our doctor, etc. Subordinating authority avoids society from anarchy. However besides the benefit it gives to us, trusting authority without questioning can be really dangerous. Authorities are people, just like the others who follow their instructions, so there is a chance - as big as it is with regular people - that they may make a mistake. It is always not easy to think about it, because we think that that person has become an authority for a reason. The reasons may be: the amount of knowledge that person has, also experience, job position, etc. (That is why people give a way to the doctor when somebody is sick in the bus - everybody knows that whoever the doctor is has more knowledge and experience which can help a sick person in this moment).

I am sure everybody has seen a sport star starring in for example shampoo commercial. It is clear that this person has a huge knowledge, skills, abilities, experience in sports, but who can say that this person is still an expert in shampoos? Probably he or she is not. Then why is he or she paid really well to star in shampoo commercial? Psychologists say that when somebody is an authority in one sphere, it does not matter if he or she is seen in other sphere, authority is perceived as an authority everywhere.

As I mentioned before, subordinating by authorities without questioning might be the reason for negative results. Sometimes people think that if they are implementing whatever an authority commanded to them they have no responsibility for their actions and the responsibility only belongs to the authority. This is not true. The responsibility for ones actions can't be attributed to someone else. Therefore everyone needs to understand this and also understand that they will be imposed responsibility for their actions.

Let's see what happens when one questions someone's authority. For example a financial company boss states something about making a food. some people may believe in his words, but if someone will wonder - is it necessary for this boss to be an expert in culinary too? Maybe he or she knows as much about culinary as everybody else in company. If so, he or she is not an expert in culinary. This means that one can argue with his or her statement about making a food and not just believe what he or she said. In other words, someone can be an expert, an authority in specific situation, but within changing situations he or she may not be an expert anymore.

Lots of times we make decisions according to what an authority says. For example, a lecturer says that movie X is really interesting and he or she recommends everyone to watch it. Student spends 3 hours watching this movie but after watching it he or she guesses that the movie was not worth watching. Despite of the recommendation from authorities something can still be not good enough for everyone. There we must ask one question to ourselves: would we still do the same if it was told from someone like us, not from an authority? If one would not do the same, then stopping is better way out of the situation. It is not intelligible to do what an authority says to us without thinking and questioning.

Knowing that nobody is faultless even authorities, makes it easy to resist authorities commands.

About Author / Additional Info:
I study Psychology at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

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