Principle 68

This entry is part 65 of 98 in the series Principles

The Principle of True Authority

The standard view of authority is that it is a recognized institutionalized power delegated to certain individuals to have power of command or influence over other individuals. What gives these authorities power is that there are negative consequences if these authorities are not respected or followed.

The most common of such authorities is the police officer. He was not elected by you or me but was appointed, or chosen, for his position. If he follows you and turns on his red light you now this is a powerful authority telling you to pull over and stop.

After he stops you and says, “stay in the car” or ‘get out of the car” you know you had better do as he says or you will regret it.

Most of us have no problem with this delegated police authority as long as it is not abused. We need a certain amount of this type of authority to maintain order in our society.

Still, when I get a ticket for harmlessly driving a few miles an hour past the limit I think to myself that it would be nice if we lived in a society advanced enough to be self-regulating. Well, we aren’t there yet, so we need a certain amount of appointed authorities to maintain order.

There is a major problem with appointed authorities that is rarely addressed and never solved. Some appointments are good, many mediocre, and some outright bad. In our system though, the quality matters not, for we are under their power equally whether they are qualified or not.

For instance, it matters not whether the police office telling you to get out of the car is a good cop or bad cop. The authority is the same. You must get out of the car or suffer consequences.

This is pretty much seen as a necessary evil within our system.

This necessary evil appears in all layers of appointed authority. Every year many laws and regulations are passed, some of which, we as individuals think are the work of a sick mind. Even so, they have authority over us whether they be beneficial or not.

You may have had no choice in the principle, counselor or teacher that has authority to educate your child. Your child must follow their authority whether they be competent or not, or suffer consequences.

Yes, we have many unavoidable appointed authorities in our lives, but there are many others that people subject themselves to by their own choice. The most common of these are religious authorities, but they sometimes have more power than civil ones.


Because authorities within one’s accepted religion are seen as being sanctioned by God, and God is the ultimate authority, seen as being more powerful than a police office, or even the President.

Most church members realize there are good and bad leaders within their organization. It matters not – to follow them is to submit to the will of God.

Few, if any, would follow an order by a police officer to drink poison Kool-Aid, yet nine hundred people followed their religious leader, Jim Jones in 1978 at Jonestown, and did just that.

Even though religious and ideological groups can be accepted or rejected through free will, once they are totally accepted, an appointed authority within the organization is potent indeed, often exceeding that of civil authority.

Overall appointed authorities have power over individuals because of the following in order of influence:

(1) They are seen as representing God

(2) They have power to punish

(3) Rejecting, or even questioning them, may cause one to be thrown out of the group or organization

(4) Rejecting them may cause other members to reject or look down upon the questioning individual.

(5) Rejecting them may limit one’s own rise in authority in the group.

(6) The authority actually gives evidence that he is competent and knows what he is doing.

Notice that the last in order of influence in the minds of many is the only one that has real value.

If the religious guy tells you that you will go to hell and burn forever if you do not what he says, why would you believe him? Has he somehow demonstrated that this is a fact?


The believer accepts because of a mindset, generally built on some type of illusion.

Looking at such a statement logically, the guy has no more real authority than you do.

Now, let us suppose you want to learn martial arts and you know of two teachers. The first is a guy recommended by your church. All you know about him is that he is a good member.

The second is a guy you have seen in action and you know he is very accomplished. If you have any common sense which will you choose?

The second, of course.


Because, if all illusion is stripped away, he is the only one with true authority.

This brings us to an understanding of the two types of authority. There is earned and unearned authority. The martial arts guy who demonstrated his ability is an earned authority. He one who did not is unearned.

The authority that tells you that you are going to hell is unearned as he has supplied no evidence that he knows that he is talking about.

On the other hand, the reformed drug addict who tells you that you are on a path to living hell if you abuse drugs is an earned authority.

The appointed Spanish teacher who cannot speak the language and has no successful students is an unearned authority. The teacher who can speak the language with successful students is an earned authority.

The cancer doctor whose statistical cure rate is little higher than if nothing was done is an unearned authority no matter who proclaims otherwise.

The natural healer, considered a quack by many, would be an earned authority to the thinker if his cure rate is high – no matter who believes otherwise.

If one believes a certain political system to be the best, but it has never been successful, but always failed, then he is relying on unearned authority.

If one supports a proven political system then he leans toward earned authority.

Once a seeker understands and accepts the difference between earned and unearned authority his quest for true knowledge is greatly enhanced. When you think about it the difference is quite simple – which makes it all the more amazing that so many are tricked into blindly accepting unearned authority.

Unearned authority is the foundation of the power of the beast and it is so deceptive it is written:

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Rev 13:8

The pressure to accept unearned authorities in this world is great. For those who live under a tyrant their freedom, or even life, is on the line. For those in a religion their eternal salvation seems at stake if they question unearned authority in their system.

For those in a profession, such as medicine, challenging authority can cause them to lose their license or hospital privileges.

A faithful employee in a business can lose his job or the possibility of promotion.

Questioning unearned authority can even affect your social life. Questioning the sacred cows of your friends can cause them to distance themselves from you.

At this point the natural question to arise is why are so many tricked into blindly accepting unearned authority?

The answer is that unearned authority is often mixed in with some earned authority and the masses like to see things in terms of black and white. The average person just wants to accept or reject a thing and not go to the effort of sorting out truth from error.

Let us take a medical specialist that treats cancer, for example. He has gone through a lot of training and experience and indeed could be called an earned authority on some matters. He has studied and practiced his profession for many years and can generally be trusted to have many accurate facts at his disposal which, conforms to his belief system concerning the approach to medicine.

Within his belief system, he is an earned authority.

But what happens when we go outside his belief system and we want accurate information and guidance on alternative treatments?

Most established physicians have strong bias, as well as being ill informed about alternatives and will just condemn them out of hand.

This condemnation is often taken to be from the highest possible authority by the patient and dutifully follows the orthodox advice, often to his untimely death.

In addition to his lack of knowledge outside his field they will often not tell you what they do know.

For instance, what physician will tell his patients that a survey shows that over 80% of cancer doctors would not take chemotherapy if they had cancer, yet so highly recommend it that 75% of their patients are subject to it.

Who tells their patients that chemotherapy only creates a 3% cure rate and often with terrible side effects?

Who tells their patients that chemotherapy and radiation can increase the risk of developing a second cancer by up to 100 times?

They may know this information and much more but not share because it is not in the interests of their profession.

So, yes, orthodox experts in all fields can be earned authorities in their fields of expertise if they are honest, but the seeker must realize that they must sort out what is earned and not earned.

The trinity of accurate knowledge, honesty and good judgment must accompany true earned authority.

If the seeker tests his authority and finds that his knowledge is often inaccurate then he will not be able to trust him as an earned authority in the future, but must verify anything he says that is of importance.

If the seeker verifies that the authority deceived him or distorted the information then again he will not be able to trust him in the future but must verify anything he uses.

Finally, if the seeker finds the authority has demonstrated bad judgment then he needs to avoid automatically accepting his advice, examine the situation and rely on his own judgment, or the advice of a true earned authority.

Now, let us say the seeker has found what he considers a true earned authority. His knowledge seems sound, he is honest and seems to have good judgment. Should he just accept all he says without question, even if his words are hard to believe?

No. All of us humans are fallible and no one is right all the time. Even so, an earned authority can be very valuable to the seeker – especially in areas where the authority has more knowledge than the seeker.

An obvious example would occur when the seeker needs medical help beyond his own expertise, such as setting a broken bone or a dental problem. In such cases one needs a trained earned authority to help out.

However, when one goes beyond standard procedures and habit forming drugs become involved then one must do his own homework.

There are lots of spiritual teachers out there and if one finds he meets the true criteria and seems reliable then he can be of great assistance. If a teacher is not an earned authority then the seeker does not give his words the weight of one who is earned. But even with an earned authority one should not automatically accept what he says, but neither should he reject out of hand anything that does not fit his belief system. The advantage of the earned authority is that you know that he is honest and has placed a lot of thought in what he is teaching and that there is a good chance he is right, even if the teaching sounds strange.

The seeker can then give weight to his words and let them foment in his inner being and see what happens. Often additional enlightenment will come.

If such enlightenment does come then additional weight will be added to the words of the earned authority.

Even so, one should never cross that line so the earned authority is blindly accepted in all cases, as if he were infallible. No matter how trusted the outer authority is, the seeker must always check out anything that does not register with his own soul.

Which brings us to this question: When does the soul become an earned authority?

This is not an instantaneous happening and takes time. Before soul contact is achieved the seeker will often think that the good side of his feeling nature is his soul, but will often be disappointed in attempting to follow his desire nature. Following our own hopeful desires often leads us to dead ends, and sometimes disaster.

When the voice of the soul first comes it is very subtle and the seeker may think it was just his imagination and not trust it. It is only after he tests it again and again and proves it to himself to be correct that it finally becomes an earned authority.

But even after the soul becomes a solid earned authority the seeker must weigh carefully his own judgment, for a bad judgment can distort the highest revealed truth.

In the end it takes a long and great struggle with highly focused attention to navigate through the fogs of life until one finally arrives at the heart of the sun where light will be revealed within light itself.

No man has any natural authority over his fellow men. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Copyright 2015 by J J Dewey

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