Thursday, August 27, 2015

Milgram and the Bards. AKA (Milgram and Zimbardo)

   When Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo carried out their seminal experiments on conformity in the 20th Century, they precipitated a sociological perspective on conformity that holds more weight today than ever before. The classic Milgram experiment tested a participant’s willingness to inflict increasingly deadly shocks of electricity to an unseen victim under an authority’s insistence. With over half of the participant’s carrying out the final shock, Milgram’s experiment emphasized the power of authorial persuasion over individual conviction. Zimbardo’s prison experiment allowed student participants at Stanford University to assume that position of unilateral power. Splitting volunteers into prisoners and guards, the experiment tested the limits of the students’ willingness to realistically adopt their separate roles. Intending to run for one or two weeks, the experiment abruptly halted after 6 days. The extent to which the guard participants adopted abusive authorial rule and the prisoners’ treatment remains a point of ethical discussion today.
   The debilitating effect of conformity as demonstrated in these experiments is widely represented in the world today. Most notably violence in the name of a greater good or organization has been demonstrated by prominent terrorist groups like ISIS and the Taliban in the recent past. While their proselytization through “purification” is founded on their interpretations of religious text, the faculty through which they implement violence hinges on the widely studied effects of conformity’s control. As evidenced in the works of Milgram and Zimbardo, an authority’s command can overpower an individual’s moral intuition. Rather than questioning the validity of some Islamic fundamentalist interpretations, followers of ISIS and other terror organizations see their degradation of woman and historical monuments as natural ideals of their own twisted philosophy.
   Apart from the aggressive tactics and destruction of innocent lives, many religions of today demonstrate the same use of conformity that organizations like the Taliban use to propagate and cement their belief systems. Catholicism’s complex hierarchical structure relies on the power of authority to orchestrate its influence on their droves of practitioners. In the same way, Christianity- the world’s most popular religion, relies on the stewardess of millions of pastors and religious leaders to facilitate its global practice of behavioral conformity.

   Zimbardo and Milgram’s experiments exhibits the irresistible influence of conformity on people of assumed status. Most clearly seen in Zimbardo’s prison experiment, the status of prisoner and guard began to subjugate the ethical standards of the students. These same moral standards were subjugated in Milgram’s shock experiment where participants assumed the status of a scientist’s assistant. Conformity’s debilitating societal effect can be seen in the concentrated social atmosphere of a high school or grade school. Surrounded by the vessels of conformity’s effect, the peer group asserts unparalleled social influence in a cordoned environment, lending itself to harmful activities like group bullying and harassment. Now with the Internet as a predominant means of social contact, cyber bullying has become a rampant issue in schools across the nation and worldwide. With the anonymity the Internet provides, the collaborative harassment of fellow peers online has become more prevalent than ever, validating the results of Zimbardo and Milgram’s experiments on conformity’s harmful effects a half century prior. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


4:22 p.m., 12/17/12
So, recently I’ve finally uncovered the secret behind my unholy need to go against things that I should probably just stick with. To be straight-forward, it actually wasn’t a secret, I was just a bit bewildered by myself, I didn’t like it. There is a scale, or a balance in myself. A psychological one that is of course abstract, but if put into a more physical representation, I think it would be easier to explain. One side of the balance is tipped and weighted down by the various outside intrusions and influences on my inner self, which acts as a catalyst for my brain or whatever that controls me to develop a I guess solution to this problem. The outside influence isn’t always a problem, but my mind still reacts to it. After finding the correct antidote, it proceeds to inject the vaccine into myself, changing, replacing, destroying whatever needs to be. The final result is I’m healed, my body finds balance. Homeostasis I guess. But as most people know, my core self embodies selfishness, so it doesn’t care what the balance and satisfaction of itself does to the outside world and appearance of me, Daniel. So even though I feel fine inside, the reactant towards the influence is off, not something normal, very odd. Complicate, complicate, complicate. <—Something like that is the default cross-effect product if something goes wary on the trip to the outside world. So now the scale is balanced with my weird weight on one side and the outside influence on the other. After this is done, or maybe simultaneously, the mind switches to the other end of the spectrum of whatever a normal me, a normal person would adapt to. This could be critically fatal if truly expressed to an outside society, but with my limiters, I can dilute my thoughts down so its more acceptable for things to flow and enter the polluted atmosphere. An example would prove prudent I think, since my text is too abstract and grammatically wrong for myself to read later if I were to. Say I am, or you are, at church! -shudder-a truly suffocating place. Imagine the atmosphere and vibe of that place….conservative, “holy”, restricted..where would a normal person’s mind go? Well of course I don’t think a normal person would just simply go to all the negative aspects of the place instantly, so it kinda ends there with the person adapting and simply being nice, “christian-y”, stuff. (To stop this before it becomes too prejudice, I’d like to say that I don’t agree with grouping such huge denominations into one general idea. What exactly does “normal people” apply to? I don’t know, but it is just for the sake of this extended example, so I apologize for my close-mindedness.) For me, in the presence of all this my mind wanders to things that would make the people around me cringe, I think of gore, blood, deep cuts into thin arms that yield fountains of a vampires satisfaction. I think of incisions into a person’s back, exposing bone and flesh that pulse with blood vessels, screaming to explode, and I smile while doing these things, a sickening smile, but I’m having fun reveling in the nasty things of this world while everyone celebrates an amazing god….Example done!! Haha that was extremely long, but I hope this serves as a good explanation for whatever I need this for.
4:45 p.m., 12/17/12

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

thoughts recently

11:47 p.m., 12/13/12
I guess this’ll be my digital diary from now on. Typing is much faster, although it has an artificial rust to it, I think it will be practical. So..i just wanted to talk about you know, small things. Being alone, and silent, I think that’s what suits me best. In terms of what that means to everyone else, I don’t know. But to myself, I like it. Its really tranquil in my own world, although not all the time. I feel best when I’m alone, or maybe with a friend or two. I’m also human so loneliness does affect me. Its just that I don’t have a particular want to talk to people in general. They’re all adapters, and I’m one too. It takes longer for me to shift though, which is fine, I like it. It makes me different knowing that I can view things in a certain perspective. Talking also has many planes. I talk and they respond, a thousand things comes with this as well. Emotions reacting from tone, expression, mood, influence, environmental, well-being, and culminating into a sentence or two, either messily wrapped or carefully packaged. The receiver has many things to do, they can take it gratefully, give one back, tear it open, or throw it away. All these things and more travel through my mind when I’m communicating with someone and I can hardly keep up with it, its..its annoying. Now, these things can be called laws, and therefore they are rules, shackles that limit my mind. I usually ignore it, sometimes enjoy it, but as of now (and of course other times) I abhor it. I feel like its so restrictive, and so limited, this verbal communication. Troublesome, worrisome, stressful, tiring, the list goes on. I’m just sick of talking. But of course when i say “talking”, a lot of the hatred is aimed towards other people. I myself don’t talk much. I think i spoke less than 50 words today. But other people who burn hundreds and hundreds of sentences, spewing worthless things that reek with prejudice, are my worst annoyance. I’m not a dramatic person, I am liberal, and maybe a bit too care-free. So I guess its normal for serious, conservative, loud people to annoy me. Life is life and ice is cold, you shouldn’t talk about negatives things cause you’ll bring bad things to your life. Also, maybe I shouldn’t sleep so late. Time is weighing my entire life down, and I’m almost certain I’m going to collapse tomorrow. It’s fine though because life is a river and everything is fine. I hope this hasn’t been a waste, but for now. Bye.
12:10 a.m., 12/14/12