People respond to save themselves and gain power

Ah, the bloviation over the Milgram experiment:

His experiment in its standard form included a fake shock machine, a "teacher," a "learner" and an experimenter in a laboratory setting. The participant was told that he or she had to teach the student to memorize a pair of words, and the punishment for a wrong answer was a shock from the machine.

The teacher sat in front of the shock machine, which had 30 levers, each corresponding to an additional 15 volts. With each mistake the student made, the teacher had to pull the next lever to deliver a more painful punishment.

While the machine didn't generate shocks and a recorded voice track simulated painful reactions, the teacher was led to believe that he or she was shocking a student, who screamed and asked to leave at higher voltages, and eventually fell silent.

If the teacher questioned continuing as instructed, the experimenter simply said, "The experiment requires that you go on."

About 65 percent of participants pulled levers corresponding to the maximum voltage -- 450 volts -- in spite of the screams of agony from the learner.


When you define having personal power as satisfying the centralized representative of the Crowd, of course you're going to get people will to shock others. Screw morality, the only morality is getting ahead -- in the ways accepted by the crowd.

So get that official representative of the Crowd out there, and he'll tell you it's OK to go crazy, and you will. Torture that idiot, because it's now Officially Approved(tm) and it will get you ahead.

In addition, we're all so sick of how frustrating this society is that hurting someone sounds awesome about now, doesn't it? That's why we have so much road rage and bar fights.


  1. Weeeelllllll, maybe. The experiment was done in the early 60's, which was prior to the "hippie sixties" most of us think of when we think of that period.

    From a cultural standpoint the early sixties were still the fifties. A fairly conservative, buttoned down period in our history, think Happy Days. Respect for authority and public institutions (schools, churches, etc) was quite a bit higher than it is now.

    I'm curious how results would translate to today's world if we could do he experiment now in a modern setting.

    The results would be confounded and dramatically different I suspect, for a few reasons, which would ultimately render the results meaningless.

    Mainly, People have heard of the experiment and would know what was up, but let's throw that one aside and say now was the first time the experiment was actually being done.

    A) Many people would sense or deduce that no actual shock was taking place. Folks are much more in tune with liability, political correctness and false advertising/ theatrical faking to believe they were actually being allowed to shock another human being, hence perhaps more would pull the lever, knowing no actual harm was taking plae.

    B) The minority of folks,those who actually DID believe they were shocking the person on the other side would be more likely to walk away and tell the experimenter to go f--k himself.

    In short, people today are a) skeptical of everything anybody tells them, mainly due to the fact that they've been bullshitted, lied to, pranked and "punked" since they exited the womb and have become jaded to extent that nobody listens or believes anything anymore. And b) respect for authority is at an all time low; police teachers, clergy are mistrusted and rebelled against, and for a very god reason, because many if not most are sef serving, profit motivated and full of shit..


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