The loss of authority - which has been remarked on frequently as an aspect of modernity, especially since the nineteen sixties (and is, indeed, discussed in Pascal's Pensees from about 350 years ago) has proved to be an intractable thing.
There are many well-argued defences of the necessity and benefits of authority, but they seem ineffectual. And anyone who attempts to live under authority will rapidly discover that it has gone, is absent, cannot be found.
(Someone who tries to 'find' authority and then submit to it is, indeed, engaged in an essentially paradocical exercise.)
Yes, there is charisma, there is expertise, there is power (to bribe and harm), there is sheer, dazzling fame (a lot of that)... but these are all known to be arbitrary.
It seems that authority is one of those things that exists only unconsciously; and evaporates under explicitness.
This applies with particular force to the primary authority, which is religious authority.
Religion used to be based-on authority; but is no longer. In general, legalistic bureaucracy has replaced authority - not just in practice, but also in people's conceptualisations - they actually imagine and experience authority as bureaucratic, indeed they can't even think of authority in any other way.
So - let's say that in a public sense authority is gone, cannot be found anywhere in the modern world. And let's assume that once authority has gone, the state is permanent - that authority cannot consciously be created, that its erasure is a solid fact.
(The best hope of those who wish to restore authority and see no alternative to authority seems to be a kind of re-set in which humanity forgets everything... and then authority can spontaneously re-emerge so that it is again unconscious and understood/ felt as wholly natural.)
What should we then do? Clearly we cannot really live without guidance, and equally I think we can immediately intuit that any source of guidance other than the authoritative is not genuine guidance but either something arbitrarily imposed or else self-chosen - and therefore no real guidance at all!
I see this apparently irreversible disappearance of authority is one of those ways in which things are coming to a point in the modern world.
We are all being painted into a corner, a corner from-which we may either look for divine guidance from intuitive sources (direct knowledge by prayer and/or meditation); or else we have no guidance at all... and life becomes intractably arbitrary, purposeless and meaningless.
If authority is gone, really gone as it seems to be, then direct guidance from God is our only hope.
And, that being the case, and given the nature of our God, we can each of us be absolutely confident that sufficient guidance, objectively-valid guidance, from these inner sources will be forthcoming.