Sanding our assholes with 150 grit. Slowly. Lovingly.

The Lucifer Effect

http://www.lucifereffect.com/ - by the guy who did the Standford prisoner experiment, so it should be good. I'll probably order the book soon.

In an interview I saw he said are behaviors are largely situational and in a mere 36 hours normal people became tortures. What can hold people back is structure and oversight from the top. And guess what was missing in Abu Ghraib?

A system of checks and balances doesn't work with out the checks and balances, as we have seen in the federal government. That's one of the major weaknesses of the constitution. There's no institutionalized structure for ensuring checks and balances. Though I am not sure what that would be.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 14th, 2007 1:38am
Evil and goodness is pretty relative. Anyone can get into worlds who can blend you in whatever "it" want.

I've done things in my life from which I'm not proud of. But certainly I didn't see those things as "bad" at that time... :S
Permalink Send private email Masiosare 
April 14th, 2007 1:52am
> Evil and goodness is pretty relative.

I will remind you of that while I am torturing you on the rack. You might cry for you relatives then.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 14th, 2007 1:56am
That's precisely what I'm talking about. I was thinking in the person, the torturer. Hey might not be a bad person, he just is in an enviroment where what he does, is fine. It might even be justice. Even if we all agree that is pretty fucked up.
Permalink Send private email Masiosare 
April 14th, 2007 2:00am
> That's precisely what I'm talking about.

Which relatives should I contact?
Permalink son of parnas 
April 14th, 2007 2:07am
My brother would be fine, thanks.

:P


I'm not defending those kind of practices. In any way. Torture is abominable and I don't even imagine how much those people suffer.

I just wonder how fucked up is the mind of a torturer. Or how bad you end if you MUST do it even if you don't want to.
Permalink Send private email Masiosare 
April 14th, 2007 2:14am
It's just part of the job. Following orders. Even a KPI. Once you swallow the company line that some people deserve abuse by dint of their location, language, religion, appearance, cooking habits, intelligence or sex appeal then you have crossed the line.
Permalink trollop 
April 14th, 2007 2:27am
SOP, thanks for the link. I guess now that he's retired from teaching, he's decided to put his unique perspective onto paper.

You should be aware, though, that Zimbardo has his detractors, including this guy who claims the Stanford Prison Experiment was much more staged than is usually given credit.

http://www.stanforddaily.com/tempo?page=content&id=17075&repository=0001_article
Permalink Send private email ~~~x 
April 14th, 2007 4:41am
There was an absolutely awesome BBC documentary on precisely this. It was called seven steps to evil or dehumanization something like that. It documented how the radio was used to turn the hutus against the Tutsis in Rwanda for instance.

It was really scary how easy it was to turn people against one another and completely dehumanize people. It was really, really scary how they actually proved it, and the scariest thing of all was that I could see that it might've worked on me.
Permalink Colm 
April 14th, 2007 9:47am
See "Germany, Nazi"
Permalink Full name 
April 14th, 2007 10:10am
"There's no institutionalized structure for ensuring checks and balances. "

The three independent branches of government? Lifetime appointment for the supreme court?  Presidental veto? Congressional oversight? Regular elections?

It depends how ensure you need .... Not perfect and not perfect against a decade long organized criminal attack. But take heart, congress was returned to the dems.
Permalink bob 
April 14th, 2007 10:16am
> To allege that all these carefully tested,
> psychologically solid, upper-middle-class
> Caucasian "guards" dreamed this up on their own is absurd.

I don't think of that as staged. Giving someone an idea is far from them doing it. I don't think people need all the much help in how to be cruel.

Another example is The Wave http://www.outspokenideas.com/html/the_wave.html.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 14th, 2007 10:24am
Far too pat. You could visit perhaps even older atrocities such as the alleged Turkish-Armenian genocide, the goings-on in the French Revolution such as the Noyades (mass drownings in Nantes), the excesses of religious differences e.g. the Crusades or the Huns' dislike for farmers.

Cue Major Dennis Hills at the end of WWII in Taranto:
http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/3-12-2005-67016.asp

Far worse elsewhere.
Permalink trollop 
April 14th, 2007 10:44am
http://www.genocidewatch.org/7stages.htm ?
Permalink Send private email ~~~x 
April 14th, 2007 10:48am
> You could visit perhaps even older atrocities

But those are godless non american foreigners, of course they are capable of atrocities. To see normal americans turn so quickly was instructive.

I would like to the experiment rerun as a religious prison in the south. That should be interesting.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 14th, 2007 10:53am
First step to dehumanization ... give everyone an anonymous nick.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
April 14th, 2007 11:21am
> give everyone an anonymous nick.

It's easier to hide behind a "real" identity.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 14th, 2007 12:05pm
> It's easier to hide behind a "real" identity.

It's easier to hide behind your real name than an anonymous nick?  Please elaborate....
Permalink bob 
April 14th, 2007 2:05pm
People don't question the persona you act out in your daily life. You can play the good loving husband and father during the day while cheating everyone when they aren't looking. This is what society encourages. Play to the group and you can do what you want behind clothes doors.

With a nick there is an an assumption of subtrefuge when it is usually just the opposite. People are usually more their true selves when anonymous.
Permalink son of parnas 
April 14th, 2007 2:24pm
In all fairness, I'm sure 99% of soldiers are good, moral people who joined the military because they wanted the money, the education, and to serve their country.

That still leaves 1% of psycho bastards willing to torture other people for the good of their country.  So you've got to have oversight in place to not encourage the psycho bastards.

And you certainly do not want to find them, concentrate them, and give them 'fuzzy' standards in an Abu Ghraib scenario.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
April 14th, 2007 7:58pm
"99% of soldiers are good, moral people"

I would say 5%. And 5% are evil. And 90% go along with what the others are doing.

These percentages also apply to the populace in general.

I really really do not think anything near 99%, or 50% or 25% of people are genuinely 'good and moral'. Just haven't seen that.
Permalink Practical Economist 
April 14th, 2007 8:08pm
Wasn't the Milgram experiment enough? Or does the Stanford prison experiment tell us anything more?

If you check the wikipedia entries for the Milgram experiment and the Stanford prison experiment, there are a lot of criticisms for the latter, which sound legitimate.

The Stanford prison experiment doesn't sound scientific (as much as psychology experiments can be) and whatever it concludes more than what the Milgram experiment does, I feel, are subjective. It will be even more so relating it to the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal.
Permalink Send private email Senthilnathan N.S. 
April 14th, 2007 8:41pm
What percentage of people who have read the Milgram and/or Standford prison experiment good?
Permalink blahty heartsheep 
April 14th, 2007 9:43pm

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