Milgram, blind obedience….still relevant today. .

Even more so, in my opinion….the latest in jaw-dropping blind obedience is this measles hysteria.  It is absolutely true that the media can intensify the desire to follow authority blindly without questioning their motives, their biases, any financial incentives,  and when they make it seem that everyone else is “on board” but YOU.  Yes, YOU there standing all by yourself when everyone else is on their side.  You’re just too stupid to understand.  You’re a troublemaker.  You’re one of those “lone wolves” the terror experts are always talking about….yeah, we’ve got YOUR number!

Business Insider has a good article on the Milgram experiment and its relevance to today.  Incredibly, there are some saying that this happened in the 60s, and we are much more sophisticated now….we would handle things differently.

Um, no.

Survivor, anyone?  Reality shows that gleefully pit people against one another?  The bullying atmosphere of our times that sends young ones into such psychological distress that they commit suicide?  They are all part of the same psychological mindset of getting a thrill on hurting another — whether it be physically or mentally.

I like Matthew Hollander’s take on the Milgram experiment:

Research subjects may say things like ‘I can’t do this anymore’ or ‘I’m not going to do this anymore,’” he said, even those who went all the way to 450 volts. “I understand those practices to be a way of trying to stop the experiment in a relatively aggressive, direct, and explicit way.”

It’s a far cry from Milgram’s idea that the capacity for evil lies dormant in everyone, ready to be awakened with the right set of circumstances. The ability to disobey toxic orders, Hollander said, is a skill that can be taught like any other—all a person needs to learn is what to say and how to say it.

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Alanis Morrissette’s song “Perfect” popped into my head – it captures so well the pressure to be perfect, starting in childhood. Well, being perfect is another way to teach obedience – create your life according to what society deems is important.
For example, women used to wear those tight corsets that made their waistlines look unnaturally tiny.  This was responsible for health issues and fainting.  And yet, women did it out of obedience to what society demanded.
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“We argue that the answer to that question is a matter of identification,” he continued. “Do they identify more with the cause of science, and listen to the experimenter as a legitimate representative of science, or do they identify more with the learner as an ordinary person? … You’re torn between these different voices. Who do you listen to?”

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This again touches on the vaccine hysteria — and whether people have a right to their own autonomy.  The authoritarian stance taken by politicians, the CDC, and with the media helping them by continually spewing falsehoods about it, is hard to stand up to…especially with the psychological abuse of insisting that you would be hurting your community if you did not get a vaccine.  It is hard to stand up to that unless you’re sure of yourself.  They make you feel, as Nancy Pelosi attempted, that you’re stupid and a troublemaker (anti-science, anti-governance) if you question their authority.
It’s George W. Bush’s “you’re with us or against us” all over again.
In the story, there’s a link for a French documentary on the same thing, only it’s not the 60s — it’s recent.  It’s really horrifying how these people were thrilled to deliver the shocks — up to killing the guy.  And the guy that says he “wanted to stop” – I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it.  He was getting some sort of thrill from shocking him or from the audience cheering him on.  Again — being obedient and shocking him meant that the guy doing the shocking was getting some gratification from the approval of the audience, therefore approval of society.
The biggest thing missing from this, I think, is the spiritual factor.  And perhaps that question needs to be asked?  If someone believes there is a Higher Power and they believe in the golden rule of doing unto others as they would have done unto them…and they make an effort every day to actively follow it….my guess is that they are the ones most able to resist blindly following authority and pushing back when asked to do something they know is wrong….even when everyone else is doing it.
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