You’ll find the introduction to this series here.
This post looks at Authority.
Most dictionary definitions of authority include references to legitimacy, but modern usage incorporates, and indeed often prefers, the more pejorative definition including the abuse of power. Authority, originally an attribute of tribal leaders, later taken over by various religious organisations, and eventually adopted by the heads of emerging states, was long held to be a unifying and stabilising force within society. Frequent abuse by leaders has, however, reduced the belief in those benefits and brought about many questions relating to its validity. One has only to look at the actions of recent individuals like Donald Trump, Bolsonaro, Putin, and Erdogan, etc., and dictatorial regimes like those in many African countries, China, the military in Myanmar, and religious control in Iran and Saudi Arabia, to understand why the very idea of authority has been brought seriously into question.
So, what might the future hold in this contentious area? In a world in desperate need of unity, if it is to survive the global climate emergency, do you envisage nations cooperating, leaders combining efforts to combat global warming and species extinction? Will your story be a dystopian catastrophe, or a utopian triumph, or a mixture of events and philosophies creating confusion, conflict, collaboration, changing priorities, entrenched politics, and socio-religious tribalism?
Can you see police/military forces siding with those in charge, backing the rebel populations, or simply taking over themselves?
These are all considerations for any author writing fiction set in the future and delving into the topic in their story. What other questions come to mind in pursuing this aspect of our future? Feel free to place them in the comments below.