To What Extent Do We Trust Authority Figures

Upon hearing the word “authority” it brings to mind many different connotations. We assume that people with this title have a certain level of expertise in their field since they must have been more successful at what they do than other people. Thus, what enables us to determine whether we should trust them fully or not? As a general rule Humans are fallible. We are capable of making mistakes, everyone is. So why do we blindly trust our mothers when they tell us that soup is good for when you have a cold? It is human nature to instinctively follow what a person with greater status says. We rely on them because they are apparently wiser and have greater life experiences. As a consequence we turn to them when we don’t know. We accept that our elders have the right answers and we rarely question what our parents say, simply because we assume that they must be right, think about it, do you often question your parents? Although, we should be inclined to question authority, we usually don’t, since we rely on them for our society to function. In conclusion I believe that we are predisposed to trust authority figures since that is what we have been doing for centuries, consequently we trust authority to a higher degree than we maybe should.

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3 comments to To What Extent Do We Trust Authority Figures

  • Ha Bin Cho

    I think interesting that your idea that says we are “predisposed” to trust authority figure but sometimes don’t we question to the authority’s idea? For example,as we grow up, we start to question our mother’s opinion or command and think “why do we have to follow?” Also, we don’t always agree with our teachers too, often have completely different idea. So, do we really blindly turst the authority figures every moment?

  • Claire

    I like the way you think, Thomas; that we are “predisposed” to trust authorities “maybe more than we should”. However, while growing up, wouldn’t you say that we become more knowledgeable and we like to question what our parents say? I see it as a part of growing up, developing as an independent adult. We are all rebels, some of us more than others. Wouldn’t you say that growing up and making a mind of your own are things that go well-in-hand together?

  • Thomas Langmans

    Ha Bin, that is true we don’t always agree with our teachers or parents however we usually keep that to ourselves, especially with teachers. Don’t you think? Even if you think that your answer is ‘more right’ than the teachers answer you rarely say anything simply because they are the teacher therefore they know better and you don’t want to sound pretentious either, because they have the ‘power’. I believe that usually we just walk around with our tail between our legs and we rarely defy authority, we only defy them in our minds or in front of friends but you would never go up to Mr. Todd and tell him the way he runs his school is bad… I hope you see my point.

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