Who lied to us and said that authority can’t come from within?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines authority as “power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior.” When we think of authority, we usually think of cops or senators or well-trained experts like [YOUR FAVORITE CELEBRITY]. But can we not influence our own thoughts, opinions, behaviors? Do too many of us believe that authority must always come from above? from someone else? And do too many of us become so adjusted to rebelling against authority, that when it comes time to exercise our own authority, we disobey ourselves, transforming our living spaces into storage containers for dirty dishes and socks?
What happens when you disobey your own authority? You become a lesser version of yourself. And by lesser I mean that you’re self-actualizing as much as any Kombucha drinking Yoga Mom, only you’re self-actualizing in the opposite direction: downward. You become someone who doesn’t think it worthwhile to organize and thus beautify the space you inhabit. And so the space in which you live and work becomes dark, dirty, decadent.
A lack of personal authority is a convenient excuse to finally rebel against someone else’s authority. Usually it’s mommy and daddy’s. Without mommy and daddy to tell me what to do, I can splay my dirty underwear across the floor while I cook expired meatballs for lunch. Or it’s only a sign that someone doesn’t understand that you don’t need to wait for mommy and daddy to tell you what to do. You can tell yourself to do the dishes – and then do the dishes. If more 20 somethings realized this, Amazon wouldn’t sell books on “adulting”; no one would brag about doing laundry and paying bills on the same day.
I risk sounding like too much of a boomer if I pin this problem only on 20 somethings. It’s not impossible to wake up one day as a 50 year old man surrounded by decades old cardboard boxes, which, in a sort of Jungian way, do represent unexamined habits of mind and beliefs about oneself. Yes, I do believe that the physical things we choose to keep represent psychic phenomena. The physical, the outer, represents the psychic, the inner. And it’s always a choice, a matter of personal authority, to keep this or that within arms reach and thus within memories reach of the belief that we are as dirty, dark, and decadent inside ourselves as these dirty dishes and socks.
If you want your life to be a playground and not a prison, a dance and not a funeral march, obey your own authority.
I’ll probably turn this into a video.