The Lucifer Effect

Functionalism; it is necessary to clarify the idea that, for mental states, being is doing.

‘The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven’     
-John Milton Paradise Lost.

The ‘Stanford Prison Experiment‘:
The Stanford prison experiment investigated how readily the average citizen conformed to the roles of guard and prisoner in a role-playing exercise that simulated prison life.
The results of the experiment favoured situational attribution of behaviour rather than the dispositional attributions of ones being (a result caused by internal characteristics). In other words, it seems that the situation, rather than individual personalities caused the participants’ behavioural changes during the experiment. The guards began to behave like guards, the prisoners became submissive. 

Imagine sacrificing your freedom and willingly participating for an ‘academic’ psychological prison experiment. Imagine being arrested and taken into custody by the police during a casual Sunday without warning, thrown into a place of seclusion, a state that voluntarily invites physical and mental torture.

‘In the confrontation of potential perpetrators and victims, like guards and prisoners there are processes that change the psychological make up of one or the other’ (Zimbardo 2007:295). You may be familiar with the terms; deindividuation, dehumanization, and the evil of inaction

You must realise it depends on where you’re from and where you are. ‘In short, we can learn to become good or evil regardless of our genetic inheritance, personality, or family legacy’ (Zimbardo 2007). That is what the Stanford prison experiment proved. 

They see you depending on what you receive from them, what they give you and what you take away from them. They use you accordingly; they use you to nurse their senses, they use you to fill a need, a desire, a frustration- which can be measured by their greed? Do you not see; the rich powerful and corrupted have a separate successful ruling social order; and the poor, weak and vulnerable communities are used and disposed of as scapegoats when the powerful wish to do so?
Nevertheless, let’s not execute the following point; ‘Heroism often requires social support… Such heroic seeds of resistance are best sown if all members of a community share a willingness to suffer for common values and goals’ (Zimbardo 2007:164).               

I have no reason to act ignorant towards this, social support varies, it’s dependent on the number of people who are willing to support it in its every diverse situation. In majority of cases, simply several heroic social orders in one community may come to clash. A prime example of a clash between two opposing social orders (within the same geographical area) can be highlighted in regards to the Sunni and Shi’ite clash in the Middle East. Another example that demonstrates the powers of social support and its effects (in a separate geographical area) is evident with the practice of ‘genital mutation’ however on the opposing end of the scale we practice and provide ‘designer vaginas’ to our community. 

It’s an agreeable fact that we’re selfish beings, it’s how we are- it all boils down to the survival of the fittest. But if we aren’t being preyed on and we’re all surviving then what do we look to?  What do we fight for? – Gratification, self-gratification. Be sure that it doesn’t begin and end there, what of the levels of gratifications? The majority of us are fighting for either the wrong satisfaction or attaining the bare minimum. It’s called the law of attraction. If you want it you will come to live it. And if you live it you will come to be it. To sum up; systems, not just dispositions and situations must be taken into account to understand complex behavioural patterns.

It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.                              – Eric Hoffer The Passionate State of Mind. 

Abu Ghraib’s abuses and tortures: understanding and personalising its horrors . If you’ve heard about it, think about it. If not then read about it.  


1 Comment

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One response to “The Lucifer Effect

  1. Jamil

    An excellent piece that really showcases the psyche of human beings. The Stanford experiment is something I read about in my psychology lesson somewhat 8 years ago and it demonstrates how even subconsciously we are fitting into positions that we believe are required. I think if we take a look at society now it really reminds you of this experiment and it come be something from your manager believing he should behave in a particular way to impose authority or how individuals are out of character just so they can fit into a specific group.
    I always believed in Bruce lees saying which goes “always be yourself and do not try to look at a particular personality and duplicate it”
    Dehumanisation is interesting as we are in a society in which one life has more value than another as is the case in Palestine with thousands killed namely women and children and always some sort of justification behind the massacre. Whereas a Israeli life has more value and is constantly a prerequisite for the killing.
    Some of us have become what we feared and that is to accept the masses and go by their rule of “this is how it is and you can’t change it”
    Our inspirations should be people who disobeyed this notion and rose up to change such as our beloved prophet Muhammad peace be upon him who defied his tribe and people for justice for all and way of life that revolutionised how people ought to live with love, humility, compassion, helping one another, caring for each other and list goes on, nelson Mandela who rose against apartheid and in that sacrificed 20+ years to get the results his people were looking for.
    Systems must be broken and people should rationally think and reflect on what is happening around them. The law of attraction which you touched upon really hit me as it is true in ever sense, if you have the belief In it and put the right work to achieve it, it will happen.
    Thank you maariya for putting this post it really made me reflect on things I do as a person and subconsciously I am also a guilty in this regard.
    Keep posting as the world does need to wake up and what big or small you are doing it is contributing! ❤️

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