A healthy society can survive without a central authority.
As a society sickens, it finds it needs to centralize to accomplish tasks that used to be handled naturally. As with all palliative treatments, this only accelerates the disease. Among many other pathologies, the centre has a principal/agent problem with regard to the rest of the society. Rather than solving issues the society can no longer solve without the crutch, the centre exists to aggrandize itself.
Fun fact: [authority] is itself is a weasel word. Truth has authority. Humans can be messengers of authority if they speak the truth. The central "authority" would be more accurately called a bully. A society needs a central master when it can no longer take care of itself without being bullied into doing so.