“If you’re going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use both feet.” ~Keith Richards
There is great confusion in the world about authority. In the midst of that confusion, some people seek it, others try to take it, and some think they are owed it.
Authority cannot be sought, as it is always a grant from a higher power. Such higher powers cannot be courted, indulged, or bargained with.
Being a grant, authority is not permanent. It must serve a purpose, the purpose of the higher power. When that purpose is fulfilled, it will end. Even prior to that fulfillment, it is not irrevocable. If the authorized one fails to live up to the grant, it can be removed, and instantly at that.
Authority is never a right, it is always a duty. There will always be consequences to those who abuse their authority, even if they do not go so far as to lose it.
Authority cannot be forced. Nature, God, and karma will all stop force with their power, as force is no match for power.
Authority is not earned. If you have it, it is not due to merit, it is only because by your having it that the greater good can be served. And for your own good, you had better serve that greater good.
“To be in authority you must be authorized. So isn’t the authorizer the real authority?” click to tweet
So if any find themselves in authority, they would do well to recognize the grantor, the purpose, and the greater good to be achieved. Legitimacy requires, no, demands humility, benevolence, and love. And in legitimacy, authority offers protection, guidance, and progress.
What is your experience with authority? Share your comment below.
Photo credit: DoubleLG
4 thoughts on “Where Does Authority Come From?”
In my experience, authority and humility don’t show up together very often. I would like to email this article to a bunch of politicians, bosses, and cops.
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I would like to think that authority is conferred (divine passive noted) on the basis of expertise. So, I’d argue that “authority” is not entirely unmerited. Although authority is a granted thing (not “earned”), I should like to think that because of one’s experience, skill, gifts, learnedness, wisdom, training, etc. (expertise), one would be more likely to be granted it. And authority should not be granted to any without all that.
Pretty good commentary on a subject that is quite phylosophical. Bob Dillon said it best when he sang ” Everyone has to serve someone. It may be God or the Devil but everyone has to serve someone”.