You Would NEVER Believe This Could Happen Here
But it did. In fact, it's happening now.
The Stanford Prison Experiment movie is an infamous true story about an experiment conducted by Stanley Milgram at Stanford University. Researchers picked 24 students to spend two weeks role-playing in a prison setting, some as prisoners, some as guards. The results were so shocking and unexpected that the project was shut down after only 6 days.
These thoughts are notes from an email exchange with a friend about the movie. The pithy comments are his:
It's a good movie. And unnerving.
We all need to understand how most people subvert their moral agent to any external authority.
👆 Read that again: it's the crux of the problem. And we have ALL been guilty of it to some degree at some time in our lives. After the last two years of lies, threats, & intimidations, some of us are now quite a bit warier of "external authority".
People do not believe this about themselves, that they would ever subvert their moral agent to any external authority! Or even about humanity in general.
Even worse, when someone is under the grip of Obedience To Authority, they absolutely refuse to see it for what it is. They are convinced they are acting rationally and of their own volition.
We saw a metric ton of Obedience To Authority under the COVID craziness. One of the most perverse aspects is how the obedient not only obey, but also coerce, shame, threaten, cry bully and demand legislation and bureaucratic rules to force others to obey too. Once frightened into obeying, people are scared to death of anyone who doesn't obey.
Remember how many people cried in mortal fear, "YOU'RE GOING TO KILL ME (or MY GRANDMA)!" whenever they saw someone not wearing a mask?
In fact, a local health food store actually called the police to have me arrested because I refused to put on a mask (long boring video but proof it happened… hard to believe, I know). Obviously, a health food store that knows nothing about viruses, germs, masks, and/or health.
Lexington's Trader Joe's had a Cart of Shame: anyone who refused to wear a mask had to use the cart with the flag on it so mask-wearers could avoid that area while the maskless one was shopping. Idiocracy: we've arrived.
When an entire society (whether classmates or, in this case, the planet) has been hypnotized by an external authority, that's called "mass formation". It's a helluva drug.
Book: The Stanford Prison Experiment: A psychological experiment about the exploration of human behavior under imprisonment Here
Book: The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil Here
Book on mass formation: The Psychology of Totalitarianism by Mattias Desmet Here
The New Yorker Article here