“Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.”

Bertrand Russell

What is authority? Growing up, no one really explained it to me. It was just something I was told to never question and just accept as fact. Mainly because that’s how the people before me behaved. My parents, my teachers and more recently, my bosses. Authority never made any sense to me. I would ask my parents why I had to listen to them. I constantly questioned the validity and truth of what my teachers would say. About my bosses, I didn’t say much because I enjoyed receiving a paycheck biweekly. Growing up, I was labeled a mischievous, disruptive kid. For anyone who remembers receiving E for excellent, S for satisfactory, etc; I was the kid who received all N’s (needs improvement). Looking back, I think I was doing what I do now. The only difference now is that I can speak, write and communicate well. The desire to deconstruct something many take as fundamental will always burn within me. It may upset people in authority when you question how they got there and why they are there. In Western culture, when one reaches adolescence it is expected of them to go through phases. One of the more prominent phases I was expected to go through (and phase out of) was the 'rebellious’. I don’t think I ever left that “phase”. It was more so a way of life I never embraced. I never acted rebellious. My rebelliousness manifested in thought provocation. Once again, during this period of self-discovery I was running into problems with authority. Many of my high school teachers would refuse to teach with me in their classroom. I had even lost a job at a burger joint because I questioned my manager’s policies. I was challenging authority and apparently I was losing the battle. I just didn’t know that when I questioned people, I would usually be met with a confrontational response. The day I realized one of the fundamental axioms to philosophy was to question everything, I truly felt like my efforts were not in vain. The battle is far from over but I think it’s important that we give ourselves credit in how far we have come. Maybe authority isn’t as absolute as we think it is.