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More thoughts on Authority

Dec 29, 1994 07:28 PM
by Murray Stentiford, Scientific Software and Systems Ltd

Arthur Patterson writes:

> I would really appreciate your response to the ideas of Authority
> as Binding in the areas of Personal Experience, Revelation,
> Tradition, and Culture.  If anyone could apply this model to the
> CWL issues I would be grateful, it would illuminate both the
> theory and the practicality of the model.  .....
> In my life I find that authority tends to come in four forms:
> Revelation (the Scriptures or Priordial writings), Tradition (the
> Enlightment of Interpreto rs), Experience (direct personal) and
> Cultural (society's questions and issues).

For some unauthoritative thoughts on this issue, how about the
following? I'll be rather curt in my writing style to save time.

Authority needs to be recognized or "received", as well as

There is an element of assent in this recognition whether
conscious or unconscious.  This involves choice, ie there is an
aspect of will.

For the Revelation, Tradition and Cultural forms, recognition
depends on an insight in the receiver, corresponding in some way
to the insight(s) of the transmitter.  Without this, it is blind
belief or acceptance.

The relative emphasis amongst the four types is again a matter of
choice, whether it is made consciously or unconsciously, so it
too involves a will aspect.  Sometimes, the choice is to take the
path of least resistance and just go along with the belief
systems of the people around us.

This is closely related to the concept of Power in groups.  With
the authority issue, the relevant group often extends far back in

There's an analysis of the different types of power in groups
which I don't remember fully at the moment, but these types
include power based on knowledge, and power based on line
authority (as in management or the army).

Again, power often has to accepted, to be effective.

In other words, we have a significant role to play in any Binding
associated with authority, as receivers, in addition to the role
of the transmitter.

This transmitting/receiving concept is part of nature's economics
of energy, related to polarity throughout the whole manifestated
universe, since the receiver is often a transmitter, in turn.

I feel that all four types of authority have their place and
importance.  What we have to do, is choose carefully which ones
we give our assent to, and how we do that.  We need to weigh
everything carefully against our best insights, and suspend
judgement wisely on what we can't verify.

Not always an easy job for us humans!

There's a heirarchy of depth of insight that comes in here, too.
Some of us, at certain times, see or know deeper and better than
others.  So some revelations and traditions etc are worth more
than others.  It's really tricky ground to sort out the relative

Without getting into details, this all applies to the CWL issues.

Murray Stentiford

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