Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All about Authority!

A question of command and authority

Often I have reflected about authority, respect, influence and the way we mould events in and around our lives. There is a very thin faded line to distinguish between them; often one is mistaken for the other. Its hard to say what we influence, what we command and the way others look up (or down) on us.

This how the online free dictionary defines "authority"

a. The power to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine, or judge.
b. One that is invested with this power, especially a government or body of government officials.
2. Power assigned to another; authorization:
3. A public agency or corporation with administrative powers in a specified field:
a. An accepted source of expert information or advice:
b. A quotation or citation from such a source:
5. Justification; grounds:
6. A conclusive statement or decision that may be taken as a guide or precedent.
7. Power to influence or persuade resulting from knowledge or experience:
8. Confidence derived from experience or practice; firm self-assurance:

All this eventually boils down to POWER. The power to make decisions, the power to change events, the power to enforce, the power to control, the power to influence, the power...

What exactly is power? It manifest itself in many ways -

Physical Force
It takes form of brute power of a beast to the more subtle control of the beauty to the torture of a bully and everything in between.

The Weight of Titles, Name, Place, Position, Possession
What you are, Who you are, What you do, all the responsibility that we take on our way brings alongside its companion authority and command.

The Power of Knowledge
An expert has a strong influence, and needless to say, also the last word!
Its raw power to know more than others, to know what you are not suppoknowinge knowning.

Spiritual/Mental Control
It could be the control someone has to either imprison or release us from us, our thoughts or what are thoughts make us to be.

Emotional Leverage
The power some people have in the way they treat us and make us feel, from the lowest dumps of being unwanted and trashed to making us the epicenter of their universe.

Moral Authority
This is the hardest to explain and probably the subtlest and strongest of all controls and influences. Some people influence you for what they are, for what they embody. They hold control because you want to emulate them, you want to please them and end us being willing puppets in their hands.

Each is independent in a sense - neither a pre-requisite to another, none a logical consequence of anything else. And yet, it doesnÂ’t take too much of thinking to see that these demarcated factors frequently overlap, influence, in-fight and stay in a constant state of chaotic coexistence.

What kind of power we need to succeed in various rolesthat we play,

- We all need some measure of 'physical' control to survive
- As a team member we are valued for our 'knowhow'
- As family member we need to emotional currency
- Society requires of us a certain name and position and ofcourse contribution to the spiritual well being of all
- To be good leaders we need a mix of all - but most critically the 'Moral Authority"
Not the self acquired variety, but one that is thrust upon us and it is in us to shoulder


Anonymous said...

But why you are thinking about it so strongly now. Is it something to do with the change in your job and cultural differences that you are going through?

However a good account and classification of power and authority :)

Some random thoughts said...

Yes, my current situation is making me evaluate as to what I have and what I need to do well.