Self Improvement — 13 February 2017
Blind Obedience can be Hazardous

In life, most employed individuals are aware of the chain of command in their organization and understand that they need to abide by their supervisors’ guidance regarding work assignments. They are also fully cognizant of the boundaries of their supervisor’s power and control. In democratic nations, citizens are similarly aware of their rights, based on their country’s laws and tenets established by their forefathers. History has demonstrated that blind obedience turned those who abided by it into heartless robots.

This past Saturday, February 4, 2017 Americans demonstrated in many cities about the President’s edict of disallowing legal travelers from certain countries to enter the United States, which was rapidly reversed by a Federal Judge, who found these orders unconstitutional. Even after the edict reversal was in place, demonstrators continued to march and strongly express their dismay about immoral, inhumane and discriminatory behavior that was unilaterally authorized by the current President.

“Real Life Example of Obedience”, details were published by the Guardian in 1999 about Adolf Eichmann’s cruelties to the Jewish people and many others that he masterminded based on Hitler’s plan to execute 6 million Jews, gypsies, communists, trade unionist and disables individuals. I was present in the courtroom in Jerusalem in 1961 and watched Eichmann defend himself by saying, he was surprised by being hated by Jewish people. He wrote in his diary and stated in court, “The orders were, for me, the highest thing in my life and I had to obey them without question.” He was incredulous about being judged after obeying the orders to the letter. Six independent psychiatrists found him to be sane. He had a normal family and appeared to be an average individual. What was most surprising to me was his inability to access any compassion, regret or appreciation for the suffering of others. He was found guilty and executed in 1962, still bewildered about the reason for his verdict.

Arbitrary logical decisions that abstain from compassionate consideration of others are inhuman and inhumane. It is hard for most people to accept that fear and hatred of “others” is a justification for regarding them as unequal, inferior and thus disregard their needs with callousness and hatred. Fortunately, most Americans rile against prejudice, insensitivity and cruelty toward those who are different than they are. Protestors be praised!!!

It takes conviction and courage to fight for what is right – not what those in a higher position dictate because they have a title or the authority of a higher position.

Conduct your life with a sound mind and healthy morals:

  • Accept that total compliance with orders without accessing your heart and mind is servitude – not healthy autonomy.
  • Always use your mind, values and heart in determining the appropriate conduct to preserve your integrity and morality.
  • Abstain from following orders if you deem them to be immoral, unethical, unfair, discriminatory or inappropriate.
  • Phrase your disagreement politely and kindly. Be prepared to pay the price for standing up for justice. If you do, appreciate yourself for being the moral being you are.

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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