Democracy Now had a show on human nature today. This involved the Stanford experiment in 1971 that put students in a prisoner/guard reality, that was supposed to last 2 weeks, but was called off after Zimbardo's girlfriend went screaming out of the prison when she came to see him and saw what was going on. The premise is, like the Milgram Experiments in the 60's, that ordinary people thrown into unordinary situations will do the darndest things when instructed to by authority. This is a chilling revelationof human nature and how good people can turn to evil things and perform as if it were just a job.
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl? ... 30/1335257
In 1971, psychology professor Philip Zimbardo created the Stanford Prison Experiment in which 24 college students were randomly assigned the roles of prison guards and prisoners at a makeshift jail on campus. The experiment was scheduled to run for two weeks. By Day Two, the guards were going far beyond just keeping the prisoners behind bars. In scenes eerily similar to Abu Ghraib, prisoners were stripped naked, bags put on their heads and sexually humiliated. The two-week experiment had to be canceled after just six days. Zimbardo tells the full story of the landmark study in his new book, "The Lucifer Effect."
This should be mandatory reading for neo-con followers and other excuse makers. How easily they are used by these scum at the top.
PROFESSOR ZIMBARDO: The experiment is really a study in how ordinary people, even good people, can be seduced or corrupted by powerful, social situations.....So we created a very – simulated physical environment. And at one end of the hall we had a little window that we could look through watching what was happening with a TV camera......And what we wanted to do was create essential psychology of imprisonment, and that’s all about power. Every prison is about power. Guards have to assume more and more power and domination, and prisoners have to have their power stripped away. And so that is the ultimate evil of prison. It's all about power, dominance, and mastery. And that was the same thing we found in Abu Ghraib prison.
But also -- so the way that power evolves is, the prisoners have to be ultimately dehumanized. You have to think of them as not your kind, not your kin, as -- ultimately you end up thinking of them as animals. And the guards have to be impersonal, distant. Whatever humanity they have when they are home, when they are with their families, that has to be suspended, put on a hook. Because, what they have to do is treat other people in ways that they don't treat anyone else, those are the people being prisoners.....So, it's that set of social psychological variables. Oh, the key one is of course diffusion of responsibility. When a person feels, I am not personally responsible, I am not accountable, it's the role I’m playing or these are the orders I’ve gotten, then you allow yourself to do things you would never do under ordinary circumstances.
So, it’s that mix of the physical environment, psychological environment, which came to be overwhelming. By overwhelming, I mean that, each day the guards would escalate their level of abuse, so that initially it was doing push ups, waking prisoners up in the middle of the night, long counts. Then it got to be personal humiliation. Cursing the guards, and having them curse each other, then finally it devolved into sexually degrading games.
This article is so full of insights into human nature it really is scary that we can turn on each other so easily.
There you have the ease that we can slip into the role of Auschwitz guards and prisoners. Guards ratcheting up the punishment to the point where even prisoners turn on each other. Prisoners freak from the stress or have a hunger strike and the punishment turns on the other prisoners to break the dissenter. The tests they did on them are revealing of prison environments and it is truly amazing how these assumed roles became real and the trauma was real too, even though no one had said you couldn't say NO and walk out at any time.
This was a 50 minute interview and you can watch it, listen to it or read it- whichever you choose or are fastest at. Some of the dialogue makes you want to hate/fear your neighbours but it's well worth the reading. That and the Milgram experiments.
Young rightwing shills- you have to read this and see how easily people are co-opted to obey and do the duty of our leaders. Don't think they won't torture you some day if you disobey But hey, you guys like giving up freedoms for obedience and slavery anyway. This is why we challenge authority now- while we still can!!!