I was exploring the topic of authority and its role and impact politically, culturally, and spiritually both collectively and personally for some time. This topic is often seen in our society as one of taboo and stigmatic, as opposed to a personal responsibility or right. The ramifications of greater society not having an intelligent understanding of the roles authority plays, or has the right to play, in our individual and collective lives was the focus of a roundtable discussion, and was a formal step in the research process meant to undercover society’s general apprehension to question the authorities in their lives including, but not limited to, governmental, religious, educational, cultural, and personal impacts.

On 5 Nov 2007 Alana Sparrow held a SAI[s] roundtable discussion for the Standard Authority Issue[s] Department with a total of 10 participants. Participants were comprised of 8 American citizens and 2 Alien Residents, with 1 citizen being first generation born American. The topic discussed was society’s general apprehension to question the authorities in their lives including but not limited to governmental, religious and educational, and the cultural and personal impacts this manifests.


The premise of the roundtable discussion was to shed light on what factors contribute to apathy toward authority and what the consequences have manifested in the individual lives of the participants because of that mind-set. Furthermore, it sought to validate the role of personal responsibility plays in the overall picture of insuring our personal freedoms. Finally, the goal was to build upon how best to utilize this newly found information in further exploration of this topic.

  1. PANEL ONE, Roles of Authority
  2. PANEL TWO, Personal Responsibility & Authority
  3. PANEL THREE, Moving Beyond Authority

The 3 main concerns that evolved from the discussion:


The general apathetic point of view and attitude that is believed to be held by the majority of the citizenry was of the greatest concern and believed to be at the root of the problem. The conversation at many times returned back to the issue that people just do not seem to care or can not be bothered to put forth what it takes to make a difference. On this same note, it seemed that intentional ignorance to the issues was a common practice as further means of distancing from the issues.


The overall consensus was that what it most often takes for individuals as well as large numbers of society to embark on change is for a real threat to be at hand. For there to be an emergency, crisis, a moment of truth, etc. The conversation much of the time came to the conclusion that we have to be backed against the wall or personally affected before we will put our complaints into action. The general feeling was that most people are not willing to put their personal comforts at potential risk unless it is absolutely necessary.


The overwhelming opinion of this group was that the disconnect or lack of community was an alarming issue. But not just our immediate communities, or even the national community, but the global community. It was felt that so many of the decisions that are being made for the betterment of ‘us’ even on the smallest scale, are not always in the best interest of what is best for the world. And, that personal responsibility to education, enlightenment and a connectedness to the issues around us on a massive scale is paramount to bringing about change on any level.