A Culture of Obedience

Sometimes when an overwhelming number of people believe, say or do something that I find questionable, I always ask why. And then I form theories around why they are doing/saying as they are.

I was having a conversation about how kids can be picky about what they eat and meanwhile back in the day, we ate what was on the table. I then listened to the Food Psych podcast episode where the guest, Lindley Ashline said that for them growing up, eating what was given was an act of obedience – that you ate what your parents provided because they worked hard for it.

And in thinking about this episode, I thought about how obedience affects how we live our life especially in relation to our parents. Let me explain:

  • When you hear someone has undertaken a certain degree because their parents said so, that is obedience.
  • When you get married because of parent’s pressure, that is obedience.
  • When you get kids because of parent’s pressure, that is obedience.
  • When parents blackmail their kids to do things, that is them demanding obedience.

The obedience you most likely exhibited when you were a child.

And because they gave us life (??) and food and whatnot, we feel compelled to obey them. In actuality, obedience is conflated with love, you obey therefore you love (not usually the case but let me not get into that). Parents usually and often don’t expect us to say no*.

I have to question: does our education system further enforce the culture of obedience? In school, the teacher is always right, even when they are wrong. Having a difference of opinion, a disobedience let’s say, is seen as immoral pretty much. A cycle. It becomes such that you basically obey anything an older person says under the guise of them knowing more (better???) than you. Your life becomes about obedience, the things you do as obedience.

To what end? When does life become about you?

I could write about how there is the expectation of women to obey, but really, that is a whole other story.

And I wonder, how does a life of disobedience look like?

*if your parents don’t expect you to say no, good for you. This post isn’t about that.


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