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.