Shining Tea Room

Should One Submit To Unjust Authority?

This topic contains 15 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Yuriko Rill 1 year ago.

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  • #1291878

    Madeira Darling

    It seems to me Tellurian authorities are often disharmonious, athemic in the extreme, but of course we believe deeply in submission to authority, in harmony, but how can it be harmonious to submit to the rule of disharmony?

    Is it wrong to be “deviant” when society is warped?

    Is it wicked to be “rebellious” against an order of wickedness?

    In a system where they say the numbers go 6-2-8-1-3-5-4-7-9 is it wrong to insist to those in charge that the numbers go 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9?

  • #1292136


    Hmm. I would say that it is always wrong to be deviant. If society itself is deviant, of course, then conforming to it is only another form of deviancy.

    And conversely, most of what passes for “deviancy” in West Telluria is really only taking the deviancy of society to its own logical extremes – in other words this “deviancy” is in fact hyper-conformity.

    It is a bit of a problem, isn’t it?

    My own feeling has been to ignore as far as possible that society and try to adhere to a harmony that is neither conforming to, nor in reaction against, the surrounding chaos.

    That, at least is the ideal as far as I see it.

  • #1292138


    I must agree with Sushuri-chei.
    Perhaps Tellurian society would consider my behaviour deviant, but that would require that I behave the way I do in order to actually spite or deviate from the norm, when in reality I’m actually adhering to a harmony that society has decided to ignore.
    In Amity,

  • #1292315

    Madeira Darling

    Though of course if one “deviates” from the majority (who are disharmonious) not out of a desire not to conform in general but out of a desire to be harmonious…

    Though I suppose that gets into rather silly semantics and what precisely we mean by “deviant”

  • #1292336

    Lady Aquila

    Yes I think the question is largely semantic, although interestingly I think there is a Norm that everyone acknowledges.

    What most modern West Tellurians think they think is that all norms and standards are of purely human invention and can change at will.

    What people have historically believed is that the standard from which we might deviate is something that is in the very nature of being – that beauty and kindess and honesty etc are better than their opposites.

    The “post-modern” mind tries to invert these ideas (which it can only partially do because they are natural and inbuilt) because it thinks that it thinks harmony and standards are merely things of human invention.

    I say “thinks it thinks” because it seems clear to me that they don’t really think that at all. One proof of it is precisely this issue of “deviance”. Vast numbers of modern West Tellurians proudly think of themselves as “deviant” because they all have the same iconoclastic anti-goodness, anti-beauty attitudes that the society as a whole promotes to various degrees.

    Take even the Disney movies mentioned by Rill-san earlier. You can’t get much more mainstream than Disney. Their recent Fairy-Tale movies have changed from using Fairy-Tale titles like Snow White or The Little Mermaid to using one-word titles with deliberately negative connotations like Tangled and Frozen.

    Clearly they do this because this is the tenor of the culture at this point. So how can people who take that same tenor a little further imagine that they are “deviant” when clearly they are hyper-mainstream?

    The reason, I suggest is that they only think they think that values are a meaningless human-created flux. They actually know in their heart of hearts that they derive from Absolute values.

    And that is why, even if they are obeying their society absolutely (and they are), they are still deviant and still know it.

  • #1304783

    Miss Betty Grace

    My apologies for being a tad late, but I was recently rereading The Heart of Water and found a couple of verses that put me in mind of this conversation:

    “The heart of ice has not authority, neither flows it from her. Authority in the name of maids is false, and the disobedient may not command.” (vv. 16–17)

    “Who rules in her own right is a tyrant, or yet in the right of other maids. There is but one authority and the Truth alone is true. Eat not the bread of tyrants nor drink their drink, but offer them first to She that owns them. Join not their contentions, neither be a party to one side nor to the other, for they are athamë.” (vv. 20–2)

    It would seem that, from a scriptural point of view, “unjust authority” is a contradiction in terms, no?

  • #1304829

    Yuriko Rill

    I have been thinking about that too, Honored Miss Grace, and I think that what you say is probably right. If authority is unjust than it is not really authority, only power, as Dea is the only authority.

    The difficulty, I think, is that I do not think that there is any true authority in Telluria. Even in Chelouranya, we are so far from our home and the Empress we can not say that we truly have a Golden Chain either. That being said, I think that there are reflections of authority in our group and I would say even in Telluria. Those reflections come in the form of Functions, I think. For example, even in Telluria most mothers do their best to allow the Function of the Mother to flow through them. In Telluria, there are generally not Priestesses for them to go to for support. Some mothers do better than others at exercising their Functions and there is a difference between when mothers are exercising their Function or being imperfect maids.

    I think that the big difference is our belief in where authority comes from, which also plays a role in understanding whose duty it is to monitor those in power.

    In most of West Telluria, it is believed that authority comes from the consent of those under them. So, in this paradigm, it is the duty of the governed to monitor those doing the governing. In this context, just following orders is not an excuse to do evil. I think that with respect to something that is clearly evil and hideous, I would be inclined agree with this, but it gets extended to matters that are not so clear, and maids start to think that it is their duty to defend their own “rights.”

    In our paradigm, authority flows from Dea through the Empress in a Chain down to the humblest paxit or the littlest child. Even when the Chain is not so clear, it flows from Functions. In this way, the duty of monitoring those in authority/power falls upon their superiors. Subordinates are not responsible for monitoring their superiors, and in general, that would be seen as rather disrespectful.

    A long time ago, when I was having some trouble with this, I was given the example of Cinderella. Cinderella did not have a “right” to not be treated badly, and she was certainly not under any duty to stop her stepmother and her stepsisters from tormenting her. Her stepmother and her stepsisters had the duty to treat her fairly and well, which they failed miserably at. Of course, it was perfectly good and right for Cinderella to get out of that situation as soon as the opportunity presented itself, but she was not in any way, shape, or form responsible for the behavior of her stepmother and stepsisters, nor did she have any duty to make them see the error of their ways.

    Of course, many of us need to interact with Telluria to a certain extent, where the idea of the source of authority itself is inverted. Because of this, I think that there is not really any right or wrong from our point of view. My personal feeling is that it is important to look out for own well-being in matters that affect us, and to avoid unnecessary entanglement in matters that do not.

  • #1308017

    Miss Betty Grace

    Esteemed Rill-san,

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful response. I do think you are absolutely correct in your analysis of the “rights-based” versus the “responsibility-based” society, and also in your suggestion that Functions provide a basis for something very like authority, at least, even in environments where claims on authority may otherwise be rather dubious.

    I do wonder about the question of authority in Telluria, however. Of course, one cannot find an example of a Tellurian institution untouched by patriarchal inversion, but it does seem as though a handful of Tellurian institutions with continuous links back to Traditional origins or concepts, such as the Japanese imperial family, might be considered at least as legitimate (within their Tellurian context) in matters of temporal authority as we would typically regard, say, Christianity or Islam as being in matters of religion. I would be most curious to know your mind further on the subject, as it does seem a rather grey area.

    Yours in amity,

    Miss Betty

  • #1308109

    Yuriko Rill

    Yes, perhaps I did speak a little too broadly. To be honest, I do not really know. The examples you cited could perhaps be true authority, or at least closer to true authority. I do believe that the Japanese imperial family was forced to renounce such claims after World War II, at least officially.

    It is a bit of a grey area, as you say.

  • #1308248

    Madeira Darling

    Though of course authority becomes illegitimate if it becomes unjust and Tellurian authorities have so often been unjust… it really is a bit of a mess.

  • #1308475

    Yuriko Rill

    Well, for authority to be authority and not power, it must come from Dea. That is the symbolism present in coronations when the highest ranking clergy places the crown on the head of the monarch.

    That is why I hedged with respect to the Japanese imperial family. The imperial family used to claim that they were children of the (feminine) Sun God. They were forced to officially renounce that claim after World War II.

    The Roman Catholic Church claims authority for its clergy through the doctrine of “apostolic succession,” which is a direct connection to Peter, who was said to have been given authority by Jesus in the Christian Gospel narrative.

    Part and parcel with receiving authority from Dea is the requirement that the ruler be obedient to Dea. If a ruler becomes disobedient to Dea, she loses the foundation of her authority. “The disobedient may not command.”

    In the Motherland, our Empresses are descendants of Sai Rayanna, who was an incarnation of Sai Raya, who is our Solar Janya. That is why every Empress is THE Empress. Of course, all Empresses are not in the same physical body; however, their authority comes from the same source, obedience to Sai Raya.

    That is why we can not claim a Golden Chain here. We have no one who has been given authority directly from the Motherland, who would be herself under a mistress who is a part of the Golden Chain from the Empress, whose authority comes from Sai Raya.

    The reason that true authority can not become unjust is its basis can only be obedience to Dea. If a ruler becomes disobedient to Dea or to her own mistress (which is the same thing), it is the province of Dea to deal with that ruler. For those in a Golden Chain, this will be handled by her superior. If there is no earthly superior, Dea Herself will deal with it in Her own way and time.

    You can see this in the Judeo-Christian narrative of Moses. In this narrative, when the Hebrews were enslaved and mistreated by Pharaoh (who claimed to be the son of the Solar Deity of Egypt), it fell upon their God to rescue them. Moses was sent to deliver God’s message, and it was only when Pharaoh directly disobeyed this message that God intervened.

    There is almost no one in power in Telluria who even makes the claim of receiving authority from Dea, with the exception of the few that were cited by Honored Miss Grace. Although, as I said, the Japanese imperial family no longer makes such a claim. The reason I said that I did not know, was that I have no basis for determining whether the claims in Telluria are true, or if they have maintained their authority through obedience.

  • #1308522

    Yuriko Rill

    Actually, from this perspective, one of the famous sayings of Jesus in the Christian narrative becomes really interesting, I think.

    When asked about the lawfulness of paying taxes to Caesar, Jesus said, “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and give unto God that which is God’s.” In modern terms, this is often seen through the lens of “separation of Church and State.” However, under a traditional framework, this is a clear statement by Jesus that Caesar was NOT given authority by God, nor obedient to God. In the light of that, Jesus seems to giving practical advice about how to proceed when faced with power without authority.

  • #1308524

    Yuriko Rill

    Just a quick disclaimer.

    By citing references to the Judeo-Christian narrative, I want to be clear that I making no statements as to its authority. I am not Christian anymore, so that is not a concern of mine. I am merely using examples found there as illustrations for this discussion.

    There are no examples from our own Scriptures or from Motherland history, because these are Tellurian situations, not Motherland ones.

  • #1309651

    Yuriko Rill

    I am sorry to be having a bit of a public monologue, but I have been thinking a bit more about this.

    While I do not know if any of the few Tellurian claims to authority are true, I tend to be a bit suspicious of them. The reason for this is that Tellurian “gods” seem to war against each other quite frequently. Even those who claim to be followers of the same God seem to spend a great deal of time fighting each other. The three major Abrahamic religions seem to be constantly at odds with each other. Even within Christianity, there is a great deal of infighting.

    War seems to be a constant in Telluria. I have been reading Plato’s Republic recently, and even that far back, war was taken as inevitable.

    From a Motherland perspective, this is a rather strange state of affairs. The only war is the Great Vikhail, which is the war against Darkness and we fight actual demons. We do not fight each other. Sure there is rivalry between the nations at times, and there are internal disputes from time to time. But, they never rise to the level of war, or involve maids killing their own kind…which is the ultimate sign of an uncivilized and barbaric people.

    To us Dea is a unifying source. Yes, she is worshiped by many names and using many images, but She is always the same no matter what face She appears in. All of the Janyati are in Her. I do not know if I have worded this right, but it is hard to put into words. For Dea to be fighting against a different image of Dea would mean that She was fighting against Herself, which seems an absurdity.

    Telluria is a strange world, with really strange ideas. This is another reason why it is hard to make any statements about Tellurian claims to authority.

  • #1311183


    Rayati, honored Rill-san!
    Do not apologize for your musings; they are so in-depth and I have been spending much time considering your words! They all so perfectly describe such an indescribable issue.

    Thank you so much for your view; it has helped put a few issues to rest in my mind, at least, though I cannot speak for the other honored maids here on Shining World.

    I quite agree that even internal conflict leading to war is a sign of a lack of authority. And the instability of politics in Tellurian certainly makes one wonder how much authority governments have, when they sit and squabble in such a way that I would dishonor children by claiming they act as such.

    And even religiously, as you say, there is much discord, bringing into question the true nature of both the deities and worshippers. Are they truly as loving and peace inclined as they propose? Honestly, I should think not, personally.

    In Amity,

  • #1312355

    Yuriko Rill

    For me, it has been helpful to remember the words of the verses that Miss Grace cited from the Heart of Water as well as the verses that follow:

    For though in this place thou seemest but a few, and Her servants reduced to a remnant, yet in truth this age of unbelievers is but a moment in the endless stream of time;

    And this world but a grain of sand on the shore of unnumbered worlds.

    In truth thou art surrounded by the bright host of Her children, serried through time and space, in whose light the unbelievers are but the remnant of a remnant, and their world but a cobweb in the midst of a glittering palace.

    And thou art one with that shining host; each radiant soul is thy sister.

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