An Issue with Authority

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
Making Sense 


Some would say I have an issue with authority. I would say it depends on how you define ‘issue’.

If you mean that I am not afraid to challenge opinions or question decisions of those deemed as experts or authority figures, then I would agree.

I recently saw my doctor who has known me for years. For some reason I had never told her that I am a vegetarian. When it came up in conversation, she immediately wrote up a requisition for blood tests and held it out to me. I looked at it, then looked at her. “No thank you,” I commented flatly.

This would shock some. “But your doctor told you to get those tests. It’s for your own good. What’s your problem?”

My philosophy is that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I feel fine. I don’t need tests. And besides, I hate needles. I may be wrong and it may be to my detriment, but I gave myself the privilege of choice and determined that I didn’t have to do something just because my doctor told me to. It was a suggestion, not an order.

I also no longer place public figures on a pedestal- if I ever did. Too many CNN scandals have jaded me. Nor do I trust clergy to accurately portray what a man of God should be. Only God in the flesh can do that.

The thing is, I don’t have an issue with my issue. As long as I decline advice respectfully, and express my counter-points intelligently, I am perfectly happy making up my own mind and taking on the consequences. I would rather do that than blindly follow just because ‘Simon says’.



Today’s 4 Minute Writer  


“This elegant Briga purse was handmade in Milan. Exquisite work- look at the detail. It’s simply gorgeous.”

She nods politely.

He picks up on her body language.

“We also have- over here, this way now- a one of a kind Fylon Varoon from Paris.” Feigns whisper, “Lady Ferdina gets all her exclusives made for her by Varoon.” Straightens up. “Look at the craftsmanship and stylish contours. Oh, I just love it!”

He studies her face. She doesn’t give away anything- not that she is of less than modest means, or that she is mocking him behind those stealthy eyes. He has no idea that she is undercover, making note of all that is made in China.

Image source

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Filed under Creativity, Writing

24 responses to “An Issue with Authority

  1. I wouldn’t say that you have an issue with authority, but rather an issue with trusting humanity, a desire to know the facts, and determination to ferret out the truth.

    I tried to be a vegetarian for six or seven months. It didn’t work for me. If you stay on top of your nutritional needs, it may be better for you than eating meat. Have you ever tried quinoa (pronounced keenwa)? It has lots of protein and a delicious nutty flavor. I made pudding last night and added quinoa. It was delicious! It’s very tasty in stir fries, too.

  2. The doctor who doesn’t understand the patient is the boss is too carried away with his or her sense of importance.

    One old Doc told me he hated it every time it snowed, (here is the south it brings traffic to a standstill for a few day) ’cause he was afraid the patients would figure out they didn’t need us.

    Dr. B

  3. Bravo. If more people would trust themselves to know what is best instead of blindly following “Simon” there would be much less of a herd mentality. Good post to celebrate the individual who is wise enough to know when to decline and when to listen.

    • I wonder if the internet is empowering more people with information to make their own decisions and form their own opinions. It is certainly giving an opportunity for those other than Simon to present alternative view points.

  4. Love, love, love this post! We are the only “expert” on our life.

    Life is not one-size-fits-all:

    • Great post you link to here. It’s hard to swim upstream, but if we do each stop to think about what we are doing, rather than just doing it, we have a better shot at living the life that will take us where we truly want to be.

  5. Everyone needs a Zoe in their team to ensure each project is examined with rigour. It’s The Emperor’s New Clothes all over again: someone had to tell him he wasn’t wearing any 🙂

    • “And why is it always me?” That’s a phrase I’ve asked the Wise One in the House on more than one occasion. Sometimes it’s because I have no speedbump between my brain and my mouth. I must learn some decorum 🙂

  6. Sibel Catana

    I suppose I’m like you or even worse. I am, most of the time, a cynic and I can’t see why I would follow any orders. I will think about them and discuss them and I am not afraid to say that I was wrong, if I was, which rarely happens. :p He he
    The best of us told us to make authority prove itself – Carl Sagan and I agree with him. It’s not like just because it is an authority, it can boss people around.

    Awesome post!

    • Critical thinking is a much needed skill, especially in the times we live in. I wonder if some of the world’s atrocities would not have happened if people would have been more critical of their authority figures…

  7. Sometimes I yield to authority out of laziness & comfort, it often takes much more more work to become our own ‘authority’. Your posts have a way of jolting me back towards the path I intended to take, thanks Zoe.

    • Tracy- I appreciate your honesty. We also do need to pick our battles, knowing when it’s improtant to question and go down another path.I think it’s also important not reject what ‘authority’ says just to be contrary. We’re back to that critical thinking…

  8. We are a lot alike! And I have been thinking about this lately as my children begin to ask questions about religion and belief. It will not be easy in a world of followers to teach them to ask the questions, challenge other’s opinions and make up their own minds.

  9. V

    I trust my doctor…. I do what he/ she says … because they chose to be a doctor to help people, me and you. Also, he/she has studied medicine longer than I’ve been around, therefore making them an “expert” in their field. If they could prevent something from happening by “suggesting” a few things for me to do…then ya! I’m going BLINDLY follow their suggestion.
    I’m curious… did you ask your doc what the tests were for? Did you discuss with him/her your eating/ drinking/exercise habits?
    Sometimes the thing that gets broken could have been prevented by a little further investigation.

    This all being said I agree that questioning opinions and challenging decisions is a good thing for all of us to do at certain points in our lives i.e. Hitler’s leadership. However, there are certainly things we cannot control and basically have to trust other people, even with our lives.

  10. Chloe

    I believe in following my heart, because I think it often knows better than what my mind does at times! 😉

    I agree with you – if we do not agree with something, we should not blindly follow and so long as we politely put our point across or simply decline something, then that should be fine. People respect those that stand up for their beliefs and we are entitled to our opinion (and blessed too to live in a society that allows this).

    There are, however, some people that are just plain awkward…and try to say the opposite to everything…now, I don’t think THAT approach is healthy at all!

    • Years ago I met a guy who loved to ‘debate’. He was one of those just plain awkward types as you call it. And he wondered why he had trouble getting along with others…

      • Chloe

        Yup…I’ve met folks like that. They think they appear intelligent when the reality is that they just apppear dumb, huh? xx

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