Book review: A. Gruen, Wider den Gehorsam

Gruen elaborates on the concept of blind obedience. He explains how we identify and sympathize with, and rationalize ourselves as loyal to, the persons who have power over us (or we think they have).

What I learned from the reading was that submission to an authority is often unconscious to us. The obedient tends to sympathize with the powerful instead of opposing him. Hence the structure is self-enforcing.

Many examples Gruen draws from are from the Third Reich. Current political events are only mentioned: Fukushima, refugee crisis, income inequality.

I seem to have a reluctance against psychoanalysis (I did not know Gruen's profession before reading), I currently prefer arguments from evolutionary psychology. That is why I believe that, while on one hand self-alienation might be an important factor and self-reflection might be a way to overcome blind obedience, on the other hand there might be other even more important factors such as group conformity that this book fails to explore.

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