Humans are incapable of looking after, organising, protecting or ruling themselves. They need someone or something in power to do it for them. This creed emanates from every pore of the owner, the professional, the state, the institution and the egoic, unconscious parent.
Often the message is an explicit exhortation, or order, to respect authority, obey the prince or know your place, but usually, in the highly developed system, The Myth of Authority is implicit, an unspoken assumption that a world which has the power to command you and I, is normal, right and natural.
Obedience is fostered and sustained by rewarding those who submit and by punishing those who rebel. Schools are structured to identify and filter out children who ‘don’t play well with others’, who ‘voice strong opinions’, who are ‘disruptive’, ‘insubordinate’ or have ‘a relaxed attitude’; admission panels of elite universities and interviewers for top jobs are hyper-sensitive to threats from those who might turn out to be intractable; records, references and even whispered reputations, increasingly systematised, follow trouble-makers to their grave; and if, somehow, someone who is resistant to authority finds their way through this minefield to a position of influence, they will be worn down, undermined and, eventually, ejected.
Most of this happens [semi] automatically. The system is set up to nullify threat and reward compliance with minimal human interference. Those who tend to its operations do so unconsciously, instinctively or without seriously questioning its values and imperatives. Meanwhile, those at the bottom of the pile look up in wonder at those chosen to lead.
Read more: The Myth of Authority