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 true about obedience could ultimately lead to our demise as the human race. The thin line between obedience to authority has been a subject of numerous studies and debate that aim at revealing proving wrong information of how the human psyche works. Lee Ross’ and Richard E. Nisbetts’ essay, “The Power of Situations”, discusses results from experiments that aim to explain the situations that determine behavior, opposed to personal qualities or beliefs. Through these papers we are able to look more closely at the factors that decide whether obedience to authority is good. In his essay, Fromm argues against the act of disobedience and its potentially dooming effect on society. From writes, “The act of disobedience set Adam and Eve free and opened their eyes (Fromm 683)”. Fromm supports his conclusion that obedience to authority is detrimental to society by showcasing various instances in human history were social uprising has taken place that led to positive change. He cites the Greek myth of Prometheus and the Hebrew myth supported by the prophets but more specifically focuses on story of Adam and Eve as a turning point in liberation for man from the Garden of Eden. Fromm goes on to explain that these very acts lay the foundation...
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