Disobedience as a Psychological and Moral problem

May 19 06:32 2007 Max Weber Print This Article

The virtue of submissive obedience

That  submissive  obedience is  a  virtue,Guest Posting  and  that    disobedience  is a  vice   for  centuries  kings,   priest,  feudal  lords,  industrial  bosses  and  parents  have  suggested  people. Erich  Fromm’s  work – “Disobedience  as  a Psychological  and  Moral  problem” – lays   bare  the  truth  about  this  problem  showing  us  many  examples  from  history  which  introduce  contrary  point  of  view.

As  appears  from  prophecies,  subsequent  evolution of man  would  be  impossible  without  a  series  of  acts  of  disobedience.  Fromm supposes that human history starts with an act of disobedience.  He  means  Adam    and  Eve,  who  took  the  first  step  towards  freedom  and  independence.    Adam  and  Eve “were in nature as the  fetus  is  in  the  womb  of  the  mother. Their act of disobedience broke the primary bond with nature and made them individuals”.  Their “original sin” marked the beginning of history. “Man had to leave the Garden of Eden in order to learn to rely on his own powers and to become fully human”.

Not  only  this  example and  Prometheus’ example, who stole  the  fire  from  the  gods,  proves  it. The  spiritual  development became  irreversible, when  ancestors  took  the  courage  to  say “no” to  the  authorities on  behalf  of  their  own  conscience  and  faith. 

I  wonder   whether intellect  could   have  attained such  heights,  if  to  be  disobedient  to  the  authorities  and  to    come  out  against  prejudices  were  not  human’s  second   nature?  I   agree  with   E. Fromm   that  the  personality  can  become  free  with  the  help  of  disobedience.  The  capacity  to  disagree and  to  be  disobedient  is  one  of  the  condition  for  freedom.  From  the  other   hand  Fromm thinks  that  freedom  can  be  shown as  a  protest.

I  believe  that  the  following Fromm’s  words are  really  verisimilar : “ If  I’m afraid to be free,  it  is  very  difficult to  take  the  courage  not  to  obey. Indeed, freedom and the capacity to protest are inseparable”, custom term paper

because  without  this  features  the  development  of  the  personality  is  impossible.

I also back  up  Fromm’s  opinion  about  what  causes  disobedience:  “If mankind commits suicide it will be because people will obey those who command them to push the deadly buttons; because they will obey the archaic passions of fear, hate, and greed; because they will obey obsolete clichés of State sovereignty and national honor.The Soviet leaders talk much about revolutions, and we in the "free world" talk much about freedom…”.

But  you  know, frank application of force  by  the  Soviet Union and our subtle methods of persuasion encourage disobedience, the capacity to doubt, to  criticize.

Fromm speaks about the dialectical  connection  between  obedience  and  disobedience.  He  implies  the  fact  that  an  act  of  obedience  to  one  principle   leads   inevitably   to an  act  of disobedience  to its  counterpart. I  support  the  author’s  position  here  because  there  are  a  lot  of  example  of  this  principle  in  our  daily  life. Very  often  in  order  to  do  our  moral duty,  to  obey  some  human  principles   we  have  to  disobey  certain  laws  of  the  State.

I think  we  were  born  to  be  free,  independent,  with  our   own  faith,  rights and  possibilities.   But  nevertheless  we  should  be  able  to  disobey  as  well  as  to  obey  in  order,  as  Fromm  affirms,  not  to  be  a  rebel  or  a  slave.   We  should  balance  them according  to  whom and  to  what we  must  obey  or  disobey. I  completely  agree  with  E.Fromm  who divided obedience  into  to  types: heteronomous obedience (obedience  to  a  person  or  institution  that  implies  the  renunciation  of  our  autonomy  and the  acceptance  of  other’s will),  and autonomous obedience (it  is  an  affirmation,  own  conviction and  judgement  that is a  part  of  a  person).  Fromm calls  these  two  kinds  of  obedience "authoritarian conscience"and  "authoritarian conscience"  correspondingly  and  implies  the  first  one to  be “obedience to outside thoughts and power”  and  the  second  one  to be “the ability to be and to judge oneself”.

I’m   completely  sure  that  only  free,  independent, daring  person  is  able  to  disobey.  A  person  that  is  a  developed individual,  that  is  able  to  think  and  to  feel for  himself,  that  has  courage  to  say “no”  to  powers, can  disobey.  And  at  the  same time,  I  entirely  agree  with  Erich Fromm that acts  of  disobedience  make a  person free,  make  him  capable  to  say  “no”  to powers.  That’s  why  E.Fromm  truly suggests  that “freedom and the capacity for disobedience are inseparable”.

And  at  last  I  would  like   to  explain  why  during  most  of  human  history  obedience  has  been  connected  with  virtue and  disobedience  with  sin. My  opinion  completely  confirms  author’s  position here.  The  matter  is  that almost  always  a  minority  has  ruled  over  the  majority.  All the  good  things were  only  for   the  minority. The ruling  minority wanted  everyone  to serve  and  work  for  it,  that’s  why  it made  the  many  to  learn obedience,  to  feel  fear  and not  to  disobey. As  a  result  ruling  minority  proclaims “that disobedience is sin and obedience virtue; the many can accept obedience because it is good and detest disobedience because it is bad, rather than to detest themselves for being cowards”.

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