Obedience Essay

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English 1310-04 28 October 2011 Obedience as an act can be traced back to the very beginnings of human history. The common belief has always been to obey authority at all cost. This act has never been questioned because authority corresponds to the common belief that respecting authority and obeying them will lead you to success in all aspects of life. Obedience is not defined to specific situations and its context can be portrayed in various ways. For example, Erich Fromm writes in his essay, “Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral Problem; “Human history began with an act of disobedience, and it is not unlikely that it will be terminated by an act of disobedience.” This statement suggests that everything which we perceived to be…show more content…
Living technically refers to the advances in science that has propelled us to the atomic age. However living emotionally refers to the Old Stone Age view on ideas about politics, state, society. Fromm makes a very remarkable point when he states, “If a man can only obey and not disobey, he is a slave; if he can only disobey and not obey, he is a rebel(not a revolutionary); he acts out of anger, disappointment, resentment, yet not in the name of a conviction or a principle (Fromm 685)”. This statement leaves little doubt that we cannot come up with an accurate definition or reason behind obedience to authority. Essentially there is no gray area between obedience and disobedience. At this point in the essay, Fromm is very close to convincing the reader that obedience is a psychological and physical problem through the various examples in history he has cited. Fromm continues to make his case that disobedience is detrimental to society by explaining the two types of conscience that develop within the human psyche when confronted with a important decision. The first type of conscience is authoritarian conscience which deals with the internal voice that aims to please an authority figure out of fear. The second type, humanistic conscience, can be explained as the voice in the back of your head that allows you to tell what is human and inhuman. The complexity of defining which conscience ultimately decides your actions can be explained by
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