What is the Authority Principle?
The Authority Principle underlines our tendency to obey authority. From a very young age, we are “trained” to obey: our parents, teachers, adults, policemen, etc. As we grow up we already have an intrinsic classing system that shows us who we are expected to obey, people that we consider to be “superior” to us in authoritative terms, but also who we expect to obey us, those that we consider to be “inferior”. This obedience isn’t necessarily coercive (that’s to say reliant on the use of force) but is rather more often simply based on this ingrained reaction to authority figures; there is an unspoken agreement about the balance of control in our societies that is most often adhered to.
There are many elements that can give the impression of authority: expertise, experience, popularity, a uniform (doctor’s coat, police uniform…), a title (Dr., Professor, Director…), physical attributes (strength, size), success, wealth, simply an authoritative attitude, etc.