Do They Really Go Hand In Hand? An interpretive analysis of language and obedience to authority.

Essay by Shayla_TaiUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2004

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Do They Really Go Hand In Hand?

What, exactly, are language, authority and obedience? A dictionary gives us a brief definition of each, and an encyclopedia may go into further detail about at least two of the three, but neither a dictionary nor an encyclopedia could truly capture one's personal opinions about each term. When a person hears each term, descriptions and figures that are usually associated with the term in question immediately come to mind. All three terms can be closely identified with each other.... or can they?

When a person is required to process the word "authority" in his or her mind, that person would probably think of authority figures including police officers, parents, teachers and employers. These authority figures set the rules that are to be followed as well as the consequences for breaking those rules. What if the rules were not exactly agreeable? Are the views of an authority figure always right simply because that figure has some form of power over a certain group? Many people follow rules that they do not agree with.

Instead of standing up and objecting to something that many others my also disagree with, we sacrifice our individuality and follow the majority. We violate those things that make us individuals as if our lives are being threatened - all just for the acceptance of a particular group. Apparently, what Doris Lessing stated in "Group Minds" is true: "It is the hardest thing in the world to maintain an individual dissident opinion, as a member of a group" (334).

The language associated with thoughts and opinions about authority varies greatly. Some would group superiority or power with authority, while others would group egotism, power trips and nasty attitudes with authority. Still, others would associate authority with understanding, support and communication. This...