Blind obedience to authority, Autoritätsdusel

gaer

Senior Member
US-English
A book about Einstein mentioned this, as a quote:

Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

I went NUTS trying to find this in German, and just when I was about to give up, I got lucky:

"Autoritätsdusel ist der größte Feind der Wahrheit."

Of course it's crystal clear in German. Does anyone want to take a crack at a better translations of "Autoritätsdusel"?
It just seems much more colorful to me.

Gaer
 
  • Macemail

    New Member
    España
    Hi Gaer

    I am sure out of your question but just yesterday afternoon a group of friends and me had a nice time speaking about the "blind obedience"... something like an obedience without a moral judgement. To read you today has been only a coincidence, but an interest about your question...

    As you see I have to improve my English!... Send you my best regards, Macarena
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    I know "Autoritätsduselei" but never heared "Autoritätsdusel".
    It is not just blind obedience but has the additional connotation of guessing (preemptive) obedience and gladness about being obedient (I don't know whether this is in English).
     

    Macemail

    New Member
    España
    I know "Autoritätsduselei" but never heared "Autoritätsdusel".
    It is not just blind obedience but has the additional connotation of guessing (preemptive) obedience and gladness about being obedient (I don't know wether this is in English).

    Then you think is more similar to "submissiveness"?
     

    Macemail

    New Member
    España
    ...Me too, I also looked into a dictionario because in Spanish this word means something very similar to your idea.
     

    shallicompare

    Senior Member
    Germany,France, German
    so what I meant to say is this:
    Blinder Gehorsam ist der (grösste) Feind der Freiheit.

    and it is so true

    by the way, freedom is Freiheit,
    you translate it as Wahrheit, which means truth
     

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of freedom.
    In connection with "Blinder Gehorsam gegenüber Autoritäten (bzw. übergeordneten Instanzen)" we also use the word "Autoritätsgläubigkeit".

    - Autoritätsgläubigkeit ist der Freiheit grösster Feind. (my preference)
    - Autoritätsgläubigkeit ist der grösste Feind der Freiheit.
     

    an_ma_ra

    New Member
    German
    you can find translation in the internet, translating "autoritaetsdusel". And truth is Wahrheit; not Freiheit (this would be freedom).
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    There is a difference between "Autoritätsdusel" and "blinder Gehorsam". "Blinder Gehorsam" means that you do not ask but obey. Autoritätsduselei is not necessarily blind and it is not necessary to obey in every case, but it is a state like drunken. You feel good to believe in authorities and you speak about it. But it is not necessary to do anything.


    "Autoritätsdusel ist der größte Feind der Wahrheit."
    This means for me:
    "Sich vom Glauben an Autoritäten leiten/benebeln zu lassen ist der größte Feind der Wahrheit."
     

    mgsth

    Senior Member
    Germany / German
    Autoritätsdusel(ei) sounds much too weak for such a strong quote. Nobody would ever ever translate "blind obedience" into Autoritätsdusel in that quote, believe me.

    From all suggestions made so far, I'd choose the literal translation Blinder Gehorsam.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Isn't the point of the thread to get suggestions for better English translations of "Autoritätsdusel"?
    Does anyone want to take a crack at a better translations of "Autoritätsdusel"?
    In fact, I was under the impression that the English sentence was a translation of the German sentence, and not the other way around.

    Have I misunderstood?

    If not, what do you all think of "obsequiousness" or "servility"?
     

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    Isn't the point of the thread to get suggestions for better English translations of "Autoritätsdusel"? In fact, I was under the impression that the English sentence was a translation of the German sentence, and not the other way around.
    If this were true, I clearly would prefer the English translation to the original "German" sentence!! By the way, Einstein lived in the US for quite some time and so the original sentence could well have been stamped in English.
    For me the German word "Autoritätsdusel" does not mean anything in the first place, and I have never heard or read it before. I know "Dusel haben" (Schwein haben, Glück haben, be lucky) oder "beduselt sein" (beschwipst sein, be tipsy).
     

    Quelle

    Senior Member
    Deutschland Deutsch
    In der Tat (ich hatte es auch anders verstanden) heißt es im Original Dusel.
    Dazu habe ich im Grimmschen Wörterbuch gefunden:
    1. die ursprüngliche bedeutung ist schlummer, halbschlaf, träumerisches wachen, und weil darin die gedanken sich verwirren so bezeichnet es zunächst betäubung, abwesenheit des geistes, dumpfes hinleben, taumel, schwindel, vertigo capitis
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    A book about Einstein mentioned this, as a quote:

    Blind obedience to authority is the greatest enemy of freedom.
    (...)
    "Autoritätsdusel ist der größte Feind der Wahrheit."
    The fact that Einstein's way of phrasing it in German being slightly old-fashioned doesn't help here either.

    But I'd suggest the following (with changing the word order as I feel it looks better in English if you have the reason at the end of the sentence whereas in German it could very well be the other way round):
    "The greatest enemy of freedom is submission to authority."
    But then the translation wouldn't be literal any more, now would it?

    Even your original English sentence would already look better if only the word order were changed:
    "The greatest enemy of freedom is blind obedience to authority."
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Isn't the point of the thread to get suggestions for better English translations of "Autoritätsdusel"? In fact, I was under the impression that the English sentence was a translation of the German sentence, and not the other way around.

    Have I misunderstood?
    Absolutely, and I mistyped "freedom" for "truth", I think.

    You are correct. I was looking for a better translations of "Autoritätsdusel".

    Here, for instance, is just one example from the web:

    "Blind obedience to authority is the enemy of truth" - Albert Einstein.
    If not, what do you all think of "obsequiousness" or "servility"?
    That was preciselywhat I was looking for, better English suggestions. I was thinking of "the stupor of authority", meaning that it is a mind-killer, puts the mind to sleep.

    Gaer
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    The fact that Einstein's way of phrasing it in German being slightly old-fashioned doesn't help here either.

    But I'd suggest the following (with changing the word order as I feel it looks better in English if you have the reason at the end of the sentence whereas in German it could very well be the other way round):
    "The greatest enemy of freedom is submission to authority."
    But then the translation wouldn't be literal any more, now would it?

    Even your original English sentence would already look better if only the word order were changed:
    "The greatest enemy of freedom is blind obedience to authority."
    Again, my mistake. It should be "truth". I have no idea why I typed "freedom", although when you destroy one, you destroy the other.

    I don't think the word order needs to be changed in English. I see no difference.
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Sources:

    I found, for example:

    http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/dissent/documents/Sommer.pdf

    Einstein said the sentence 1901, long before going to the USA.

    I am almost certain, it was German in the beginning.

    The English translation given in the document is

    “The stupor of authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

    This gives the idea better that "Dusel" is a kind of "Betäubung".

    (Source: Toby Sommer, "Suppression of Scientific Research: Bahramdipity and Nulltiple Scientific Discoveries", see given link to .pdf file)


    Toby Sommer gives as a source:
    Stachel, J. J., Ed. (1987) The Collection of Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1. The Early Years,
    Princeton University Press, Princeton: Document No. 115.


    See also: http://www.mhoefert.de/e7_zitate.htm - Einstein said many such interesting things and his language is methaphorical and impressive.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    Hutschi is right, "Blind obedience to authority" is not the best translation of "Autoritätsdusel". "Stupor of authority" sounds indeed better. The construct "...dusel" or "...duselei" expresses that people are either overwhelmed or obsessed with ... impairing their sobriety and common sense. These expressions are invariably pejorative and express exasperation. The most prominent expression of this kind is "Gefühlsduselei".
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Again, my mistake. It should be "truth". I have no idea why I typed "freedom", although when you destroy one, you destroy the other.

    This is true.

    Autoritätsdusel (Autoritätsgläubigkeit, benebelt sein vom Glauben an Autoritäten) - Feind der Wahrheit - Autorität = anderer, meist früherer Wissenschaftler

    Autoritätshörigkeit - Feind der Freiheit - Autorität = Staatsmacht, Regierung

    If you change one of the words, you have to change the other, too.

    Autoritäten in both sentences are different groups of persons.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Sources:

    I found, for example:

    http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/dissent/documents/Sommer.pdf

    Einstein said the sentence 1901, long before going to the USA.

    I am almost certain, it was German in the beginning.
    I am 100% certain. You are right. He said it no later than 1901. He did not visit the US until many years later, in 1921 I believe. When he did, he did not speak in English.

    And this: "The stupor of authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

    This is far better. It suggests that our minds are put to sleep by authority.

    You have correctly guessed exactly why I was looking for suggestions. I very much disliked the English translation I had heard after I saw the original in German. :)

    As for the meaning of "Dusel", isn't this perfect?

    In der Tat (ich hatte es auch anders verstanden) heißt es im Original Dusel.
    Dazu habe ich im Grimmschen Wörterbuch gefunden:
    1. die ursprüngliche bedeutung ist schlummer, halbschlaf, träumerisches wachen, und weil darin die gedanken sich verwirren so bezeichnet es zunächst betäubung, abwesenheit des geistes, dumpfes hinleben, taumel, schwindel, vertigo capitis
    That's why "stupor" works better. :)

    Gaer
     

    bahramgur

    New Member
    english
    Sources:
    I found, for example [I'm unable to post complete URL]:
    www uow edu au /arts /sts /bmarting /dissent /documents /Sommer.pdf

    Einstein said the sentence 1901, long before going to the USA. I am almost certain, it was German in the beginning. The English translation given in the document is: "The stupor of authority is the greatest enemy of truth." This gives the idea better that "Dusel" is a kind of "Betäubung".

    (Source: Toby Sommer, "Suppression of Scientific Research: Bahramdipity and Nulltiple Scientific Discoveries", see given link to .pdf file)

    Toby Sommer gives as a source: Stachel, J. J., Ed. (1987), The Collection of Papers of Albert Einstein, Vol. 1, The Early Years, Princeton UP, Document No. 115.

    See also: www mhoefert de /e7_zitate htm - Einstein said many such interesting things and his language is methaphorical and impressive.

    My recollection of the Einstein source document (Document 115 is a letter to a friend) is that he uses Autoritätsdusel = "the stupor of authority" to refer to the old professors who felt that their positions of authority gave them some sort of privileged truth. I think that's the letter that refers to a critique from an old professor and Einstein goes on the say that the old prof doesn't even understand Einstein's manuscript and then a "Just wait! I'll show him!" kind of comment.

    In the context of the Suppression / Bahramdipity paper itself, another possible meaning of "stupor of authority" is that some junior researchers turn off their brains (go into a stupor), totally submit to the current authority or scientific dogma (and their Principal Investigator = boss), simply report their results and sometimes even twist their results in order to avoid challenging the dogma and the "authorities" of science (e.g., their boss!). The result is that the truth is suppressed until someone comes along to report the anomalous results that alter the dogma (to another new dogma). Kind of a "The Emperor has no clothes!" situation.

    From the letter, it seems that Einstein meant the authorities were bedazzled and in a dreamworld from their own power and position. In the bahramdipity paper, that also seems to be main meaning.

    That is, Autoritätsdusel seems to refer more to "The stupor that results from HAVING authority" rather than "The stupor that results from SUBMITTING to authority."
     
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