Authority / Not for the weak

Authority and it’s claims on our actions, whether on the part of an individual or a group, are ever present: a fact of life. I don’t remember when I recognized this reality; not early; not before school. What I do remember (memory is always suspect when looking that far back) was a persistent Asperger state; a blank and noncommittal curiosity about people.

This may sound like a contradiction: blank curiosity, but that’s what it is; observational persistence and patience. At some point I began reacting differently: people were terrifying, I believe due to sensory overload. Not all people, but those who projected “something” – body language, loud talk, coming too close and especially odors. Not only people, but rooms and whole houses smelled ‘wrong’. This embarrassed my mother, understandably, as a social reflection on her parenting. I was ‘that kid’ who fled outdoors whenever possible.

I certainly didn’t understand it, but Asperger impulses are incredibly strong: our reactions are so close to how many animals behave; why when locked up or left alone they panic and can destroy pens, barns or houses, or as dogs may, a vehicle interior. The “authority thing” feels just as intrinsic and absolute as being confined, but it is confinement of intellect, self, and natural equality, to a degree that is unreasonable, that sets me off.

practice-doesnt-make-perfect-doing-it-wrong-frank-sonnenberg-quotes-sayings-picturesIt’s simple: we question the need, and indeed the wisdom, of power in the hands of  someone who has not earned it. Power in a weak person will turn to despotism; often the unworthy forget that power has been delegated to them (let’s say by a boss who merely shifted the dirty work of ‘riding herd’ on employees because it’s distasteful) and suddenly, in their own minds, the unsuited “policeman” forgets his temporary and limited status and becomes Authority in an absolute sense; fickle, arbitrary, demanding, irrational and unresponsive to employees. These weak powerlings wreck productive systems, derail projects, and cause rebellions.

If the “boss” had thought about it, he/she would have realized that putting power in the hands of someone unsuitable, merely to dump responsibility for an odious task on someone else, is to court disaster. It’s certainly better to share power with a strong person; an ally who has the smarts to solve the problem and make everyone look good.

Maybe in an Asperger world in which authority is located in knowledge; in  competence and freedom to get the job done – this would be natural. An environment in which each person’s skills are cultivated and rewarded; individuals are trusted implicitly, and leaders are admired for their generosity and lack of social fear.




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