Monday, August 23, 2010

today i was thinking about my adolescent contempt for authority. i think that by and large, it was then mostly just about my wanting to be left alone to do what i pleased. mostly. i found fault in those with positions of authority basically because i wanted just cause to challenge their authority when they tried to get me to do something i did not want to do. again i will say mostly because i am not cynical or shallow enough to believe that it was my only motivation. there was a good amount of hypocritical nonsense that needed policing as well. which brings me to today. that spirit is still alive in me today. my instinct is still to bristle when i perceive, correctly or not, that someone is telling me what to do. a silly blend of adolescence with middle age, i know, but it is so. but i think that the true questioning of authority is something akin to that impulse but certainly not limited by it. i have learned over my lifetime that there exist many fewer authorities in the world than one expects to find when looking at the world from childhood. good mundane case in point. i am in a bicycle shop trying to buy a bike for and with my wife. as usual i am full of questions. i really enjoy asking people questions on topics about which i know very little and they know a great deal. learning. its a good thing. so im asking about old classic schwinn beach cruisers, how often one should grease a chain, when did the sort of low rider bicycle culture get started etc. and at a point i realized that he was just making shit up to fill in the gaps in his knowledge. he never once said that he just did not know. therefore he is entirely unreliable. this is a common strategy for people assuming positions of authority. they fear that if you see that they dont know everything then you wont believe anything and most importantly wont believe in the validity of their authority. of course no one knows everything. when someone does not ever say that they simply do not know, that is a good indication that you should definitely begin questioning their authority. when one begins to develop the ability to ask good questions of the world, and to reason well with the answers given, then one finds a considerably smaller amount of authorities. but then again who the fuck am i to say?

oh and for further reading i recommend christopher hitchens book "letters to a young contrarian". thats all for today.

8 comments:

VeganCowboy said...

If there are two types of shops I hate going into it is bicycle and musical (instruments). I say this as someone who races and is a half assed guitar player. Sadly I spend to much time in both. They seem to have this perfect combination of pretension and just making shit up. This American Life covered the phenomenon and dubbed it "Modern Jackass". Good luck with bike buying.

Brian Smith McCallum said...

Thanks for the book recommendation! Sorry to learn that Hitchens has cancer. Watched a CNN interview him here.

Lonanne said...

Is there such a thing as a grown up or an authority? I don't feel much different than I did as a teenager, despite the time passing. My basic personality hasn't changed.

I still get hung up on rules. The more out of control things get the more control and perfection I want to surround myself with out of fear. Control and fear are linked to trust. I want control out of a lack of trust-fear that others will hurt me.

Who are you to say? An intelligent human being who has a different perspective from mine. A difference in thinking is good when you are trying to break out of old patterns.

Thank you for all the book suggestions . Is it time for more musical collage? (Please and thank you)(with whipped cream and a cherry on top :)

Jim Jones said...

Questioning authority is part of the punk attitude and going against the system and pop culture. I've always felt part of the counterculture, going against the grain instead of "serving" the system and obeying its rules. Thats why I used to like Jane's Addiction. Any thoughts on how and why JA went astray? I mean as far as the newer Janes music and lyrics, its rated PG now instead of "R" or "X". Sad.

yimyam said...

So EA are your fan's the authority now? Go ahead, have contempt for the 10-20 fans you have left and ignore what they want you to do. If the traffic on this blog is any indication, you are dropping like a rock, not much farther before you crash into the ground.

RLM said...

to say "i don't know" when i didn't know the answer was one of the best (and hardest to learn) (and most deeply transforming) lessons i ever learned

pickle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pickle said...

Hey since all the Janes guys have cleaned up what about the wives? I know Dave isn't married but the wives have always been straight-edge right? I haven't seen anything on the net that would even remotely hint of a wild streak. Like Etty never french kissed another chick or does shrooms or anything fun like that cause shes got kids yanno. She can't. My wife is into all kinds of wild and crazy shit but we don't kids. She'll try anything once. Just wondering.