This was a great book into the lives of an inner-city drug culture and the difficulties trying of some who tried to escape it. With commentaries on hoThis was a great book into the lives of an inner-city drug culture and the difficulties trying of some who tried to escape it. With commentaries on how the drug war hurts these people more then it helps....more
Overall I really enjoyed this book as it gives a good description of the state of humanity and how situatiRead about this book on the Daily Anarchist.
Overall I really enjoyed this book as it gives a good description of the state of humanity and how situational influences causes people to behave. I find it fascinating how people can end up doing horrendous things because of the environment around them and how most people can cave into these influences.
One thing that Zimbardo stressed in the book is that the people that did the horrendous things are normal and how each of us can be susceptible to these influences. He mentioned towards the end of the book how there is no test to tell if someone will succumb to the situational influences for good or bad. I question how true that is though. Because if normal people are sick, i.e., the majority, then we might think that is how people behave and there isn't much to do about it. But I question if the normal is actually healthy. If we look at societies typically one of the things that is stressed the most is subservience. He mentioned the horrible things that some Germans did during WWII. But we must remember that that society had decades of the Prussian school system indoctrinated into them and were oppressed by inflation caused by oppressive treaties, among other things. He talks about how the Abu Ghraib incidents happened. But we must remember that the American people also have been schooled under the subservient Prussian school model for generations. Many religious thoughts have as their highest ideals of obedience and following leaders without question. Parents also request unquestioning obedience from their children. So, it would have been interesting to compare those that are taught subservience vs those that are taught independence and loyalty to one's conscientious above all else.
Some thoughts while I read this book:
In our basement jail, prisoners surrendered their basic freedoms in response to the coercive control of the guards. Yet in real life beyond the laboratory, many people voluntarily give up their freedoms of speech, action, and association without external guards forcing them to do so. They have internalized the image of the passive prisoner who reluctantly acquiesces to these self-imposed restrictions on all their actions. Any action that calls attention to one's person threatens her or him with potential humiliation, shame, and social rejection and thus must be avoided. In response to that inner guardian, the prisoner-self shrinks back from life, retreats into a shell, and chooses the safety of the silent prison of shyness.
Why are families kinder to their children then they have been in the past?
I'm not sure. Maybe because we are wealthier and spend more time with are children. Maybe because life isn't as hard and brutal as it used to be?
How can a familial interactions be similar to the prison experiment?
Go spend time in the hole! → Go to your room!
Put your hands against the wall! → Stand against the wall and think about what you did bad!
I was thinking of other ideas too. I'll have to add them when I think of them. :-/
You can tell an institution that isn't primarily voluntary based by how people treat you that are "in authority." For example, you hear of doctors that brush off patients questions and concerns and even call the cops on some patients (i.e., harassing the patients). I wonder if that is why spousal relationships have become better since the spouses can divorce more easily. I wonder as familial relationships become more voluntary if that will cause more parents to act kinder to their children.
At what times have I been submissive to authority even though I didn't need to?
I can think of many times. A cop pulls me over and asks if I have drugs, etc. I know I should tell him that it is none of his business but I cave quickly and say I don't have any.
I had a run in with CPS and told her that she needed a warrant to come in my home. She said she didn't and threatened to have armed men come and force their way in and possibly they would kidnap my children. At which point I caved to the verbal threats.
How do we expect people working in the government to act?
Given authority we expect them to act poorly--making elections a pomp and circumstance since anyone elected will have the situational influences acting upon them. We cannot expect a good person to be elected (let's say president) and not expect them to end up being a mass murderer (being the extreme case of the political scale).
My interest in social psychology began when I was a cadet at the USAF Academy and read about (or saw the video of) the SPE study in my intro psych class. It spoke to what I saw going on all around me in the indoctrination of promising young minds into killing, dehumanizing, abuse machines. Your analysis is dead on: It is not a question of getting more moral soldiers. Instead it is a question of recognizing how the situation of war (and the cultural institutions/practices of the military that we have designed to "prepare" people for that situation) creates monsters out of us all.
On Jingoistic Indoctrination of Children
...Would it be preferable instead for this anxious father to rely upon the more subtle indoctrination devices that are disguised as "education" in the classroom: national flags: pictures of national leaders; national anthems; prayers; and being forced to read historical narratives and geography and civics textbooks that often give a biased view of history and are designed by every society as propaganda to maintain the status quo? The point here is that we must increase our collective sensitivity to the broad range of daily situations where interventions occur as a "natura" process of social life and where a violation of ethics goes unnoticed because of its prevalent and insidious presence.
Another enjoyable book from Wilder. I enjoyed the part where Laura how the insight that to be free is to be in control of oneself and to be responsiblAnother enjoyable book from Wilder. I enjoyed the part where Laura how the insight that to be free is to be in control of oneself and to be responsible for oneself....more