Authority works based on what it’s define as the “norm”. Of course there’s not only one norm. There are as many norms as laws within this world.
When we come to this world there are already established norms or behaviors that one must follow accordingly, otherwise there are obvious consequences.
During the 18th century when a human being broke the law or was blamed for doing something "out of the norm", there existed punishment (as well as today).
The type of punishment then was specifically written down the jurisprudence and it mentioned in detail how an individual had to suffer the consequences/punishment. For instance, how many lashes they had to receive, how many meters/feet underground they were going to be buried, for how many hours they were going to be exposed in front of the community, etc. - Punishment represented the quantitative art of suffering and it was witnessed by all as a triumph.
The punishment’s function was to "heal" the individual and "purge" the crime = Justice manifesting its Power.
You see, the punishment was focused on the human physical body, through pain and suffering.
Then, all changed. Prisons started being built according to a specific structure architecturally based on the Panopticon which was a structure in the middle of the prison. From that placement, they could see all the cells/prisoners around without being seen, because it had a circular shape. Now - when you were in the cells you couldn’t see who was there watching you, but you "knew" / "perceived" you were being guarded/watched. So, the focus of punishment changed from the body to the mind/consciousness through surveillance.
That Panopticon as the structure of surveillance and punishment has been installed in all of us and every time we see someone going out of the norm, we point our fingers on them = perpetuating the role/function of the panopticon.
We have come to apply punishment through a more symbolic/psychological violence as well as the system has done throughout history. We as human beings are the exact copy of the system; applying punishment on those who go out of the norm/out of our beliefs, because we want to "heal" them.
Have you ever heard a girl called a Slut? I have. When I worked in a school students judged those girls' behavior, because they had slept with too many guys apparently. Well, in those moments, students were acting as the panopticon - as the police/guards/system - and then they applied punishment through many ways, for instance; gossip or even bullying that girl. Again = Perpetuating the role/function of the panopticon.
We are unaware of this, because we have come to believe that our beliefs are what makes us “good people”. We are not able to accept/understand that which is different to our beliefs, because as our parents and the people we “love" taught us those “values”, we wouldn’t dare to do something different, because that would mean being a traitor. Instead, we choose to perpetuate the system.
If you think this is not real, then try and see how your family will react if you don’t follow their traditions. They would take it personal and they will think that there’s something “wrong” with you.
We act like the authority/panopticon every time we judge and it’s funny, because we feel that we are "the authority" when actually, we are basically following the system.
The authority that exists over "our authority" is imperceptible, because it’s part of “who we are”.
And the solution is not to go against the system as “rebels", because whether you have realized it or not; we are the system, each of us. So, to go “against” the system is only another imperceptible mechanism that keeps us enslaved to the system within the belief that “We are doing something. We are changing the system”, when actually in doing so, you are only pointing fingers to your own reflection in the mirror and demanding the mirror to take responsibility for you and your reflection.
Another point in relation to this obedience to authority is the Milgram experiment (Social Psychology), which is basically about following orders while being persuaded by a figure of authority through different mechanisms. Those orders they followed would cause an electric shock onto another person. You may think “How is it possible that someone would want to give electric shocks onto another person?” - Well, they acted as executioners/hangmen - Just following an authority = Doing something they perceived/believed as “right” - Identically to what happened in the middle age for instance. To the eyes of Justice, punishing a human being that did something “wrong” would be part of the “healing process”, therefore they would be doing it from the starting point of “love”.
In our current system is not necessary to follow orders from an authority figure, because as I mentioned before, the orders have been installed within all of us and we do not perceive/see them because they are "part of us" / "who we are" = a perfect obedient slave that perceives self as "free" without realizing they are acting upon imperceptible authorities' orders that were inserted within us as "beliefs" and "values".
Something similar has been happening in my country, Chile. People have started applying something that is called “citizen detention/arrest”. It works as it follows: You get robbed in the street and the people around “helps you”. They grab the “robber”, fight him, they tie the thief naked to a pole (for instance), and they record everything using their mobile phones until the police arrive. People say “We are tired of being robbed. What would you do if this happened to someone you love? You would do the same. Plus, these guys get arrested today and they will be free and robbing again by tomorrow. Justice in this country is a joke, so we have decided to apply Justice through our hands”. - But the real thieves are not robbing in the street. They are in the government and people are angry applying Justice towards someone that seems to be to blame, but probably that thief is just a kid from the neighborhood that according to his beliefs/context, he is doing something from the starting point of “love”, because he wants to "help" his family through robbing. I am not saying this is the only reason, there might be many. I am not saying that I defend thieves. I am just saying how fucked up the system is.
BUT, there is a way to change. That happens when you learn how to take responsibility for your own mind. When you learn how to deconstruct your mind constructs. It happens when you realize that you are not your mind as thoughts, feelings and emotions. Of course you will not learn this at school or universities, because those are institutions and each institution has their own panopticons and imperceptible ways to perpetuate the same system.
If you would like to learn how to become the real authority as yourself without following an imperceptible authority like an obedient zombie, investigate Desteni and become/walk the change with us and learn how to be IN the system, but not OF the system.
Some links that may be of your interest:
- Spanish Short Film in which the Milgram experiment is mentioned. “The Social Construction of Reality”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz27M_JTXzo
- A book by Michel Foucault that talks about Punishment and The Birth of the Prison “Discipline and Punish”: https://zulfahmed.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/disciplineandpunish.pdf
- A video where a "thief" was arrested/punished/humiliated in the street by citizens in Chile: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mc2lZ7W6Ev4
- Desteni I Process Lite (Free online course) to start walking the Change: http://lite.desteniiprocess.com/