Authority

A SUPERFICIAL glance at the affairs of the world to-day might cause many people who are not accustomed to looking below the material surface of things to exclaim that indeed the times are out of joint. Wars and all the attendant evils left in the track of war, business depression, political uncertainty, graft and corruption in public life, intrigue within intrigue in high places give rise to the feeling that the old days of ease and certainty are over, that the old anchors no longer grapple and hold, that the former stability and clean-cut distinctions are no more. Men seem to hesitate and waver now about decisions over which there once was no question; they look for assurance to former standards and find a mist. The feeling sometimes comes that they are just standing, marking time, and waiting for the appearance of some authority by which they may be guided.

It has been shown clearly by many recent events that the meaning of the word "authority" is not so clear as is commonly supposed. It is derived from the Latin word auctoritas, of which the root auctor, when translated into English, means "creator." The dictionary defines authority as "that which is or may be appealed to in support of action." This definition is an exact covering of every case in which an individual may wish to invoke authority. Incidentally, it may here be remarked that since a word is the symbol is the of thought, the grasping of the meaning often clears up situations that have seemed hazy.

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Knowing
March 5, 1921
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