Week 9 – Authority

While considering authority, there are many sub topics we can talk about this week: oppression,  culture, corruption, obedience, and conformity. Granted, we have talked about some of these topics a little bit with the theme of equality, so I’d like to specifically talk about what authority means and how it can be used for good and evil. So we aren’t talking just about control, but the social impacts of law, of implementing those laws and the result of implementation.

Here are some great pieces to really look deeply at:

Machiavelli  – The Prince


Also, there is a piece on authority by Joseph Conrad called Heart of Darkness. The movie, Apocalypse Now was based on this wonderful short novel. If you’re a movie fan you should check that out as well. Below is the link to Heart of Darkness:


These are questions for you to consider as we explore this theme:

  1. What is your own definition of authority? How have we seen authority played out in society in the past? How about right now? To have authority figures is extremely important, but there is a fine line between authoritative and authoritarian. Explore this.
  2. Don’t we have the right to question authority? Find examples for both sides of this question. How about authority in major works of literature or film? Can you make any connections of authority to the real world today?
  3. The provincial prompt that fits authority would be that role models influence our lives. Having gone over question #1, I’d like for you to really understand the implications of following blindly versus following intellectually. Don’t we have preset biases to what kind of authority or role model we should follow?

Remember, this isn’t about equality anymore. Let’s focus only on authority in society. You are more than free to use 1984 as an example in your search.


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