There’s a Brain in that Head.
Seriously though, I almost forgot it was there.
The other day I was sitting in my history class when my teacher explained something that deeply intrigued me.
He proceeded to explain the Milgram Experiment, conducted in 1960 by psychologist Stanley Milgram at Yale University. The experiment was intended to expose the reasoning of some of the ordinary people who contributed to the Nazi party during WWII in Germany, and willingly were involved in the mass murders of the holocaust, as well as see basic human interaction with totalitarian authority. The results of the experiment frightened me.
A group of participants were selected and told that they would be involved in a psychological experiment to discover human resistance to pain, and were working as assistants.
They stood behind a window with Milgram while an actor portraying a test subject was strapped into an electric chair and asked a series of questions.
Every time the actor in the electric chair answered a question incorrectly, (which was often, considering he was wrong on purpose) the participants were instructed to send an electric shock to the chair and into the answerer’s body, increasing the intensity of the electricity with every incorrect answer (all of this was staged of course).
There were 30 switches on the electricity generator marked from 15 volts, which is a slight shock, to 450 volts, which is a deadly level of electrocution.
After many participants were involved in the experiment, the results showed that over 65% of those involved, raised the electricity level above 400 volts, and all of them raised it above 300.
It concluded that the need to be obedient to authoritative figures and to assume roles in an organized way is deeply ingrained within our upbringing. To the point that being obedient means killing or abusing an innocent human being.
In Other Context:
Another similar experiment to Milgram’s was the Stanford Prison experiment, conducted by provisional psychologist Dr. Phillip Zimbardo of Stanford University back in the 70’s.
Participants willingly and knowingly took part in a fake prison set up. Guards were chosen, as well as prisoners, and they were all told to simulate their roles within the prison to the very best of their abilities for two weeks. Zimbardo, who acted as the head warden, watched and recorded the interactions of the guards with the prisoners with monitors hooked to cameras from within the set up from his “warden office”.
It was found that within 6 days, the two-week-long experiment had to be stopped. The guards had assumed their roles so well that they become very violent and phychologically abusive with the prisoners. The prisoners felt as though there was nothing they could do to get out of their situation, even though they all clearly understood that their current predicament was simply an experiment and, they were permitted to get up and walk out at anytime they felt the need. (read more about this on the experiment website, it’s interesting)
We don’t FREAKING think anymore.
This stuff scares me. Bad. Thinking differently AIN’T for wimps. It’s not easy work, and in some cases, it can really screw your life up. But that’s why it’s so essential to our humanity. Not just basic processing, but actually deep, beautiful thought, the kind that changes things and pushes mankind forward into new ages.
And just knowing that we’re inclined to such blatant conformity genuinely terrifies me. And I believe this psychological evidence can be applied to every aspect of our lives.
We live in a society where the concept of “one size fits all” has grown out of proportion, it’s infiltrated our very mindset. We’ve allowed ourselves to become so institutionalized and so accustomed to taking orders and living within societal standards, that we don’t make any effort to make standards and create our own ideals. Topping that, we’ve become comfortable with the belief that our society will take care of us. Everything is rooted within our own blatant ignorance and I've had it.
"How fortunate for the governments of people, when the people they administer do not think." — Adolf Hitler
I consistently see that there’s a common misconception, especially by my generation, that the world is the way it is and you must learn to cope with it. They’re told that the authority over them will always fight for their best interest. Even when it’s appallingly obvious that it’s not. They’re shown that it’s best to fall in line with whatever society deems as right.
We’re creating an entire generation of intellectually stupid, emotionally ignorant, socially unaware, and plain boring human beings.
They Don’t Want You To…So We’re Going To.
You see friends, we’ve led ourselves to believe that other people are truly better than us. Whether it be more qualified, athletic, intelligent, or even having better social status, and especially when they have legal power pover us.
Even in the United States, we find ourselves having a totalitarian mindset of absolute obedience to any authoritative or managerial figure over us. Unfortunately, it’s our human nature, and it’s frighteningly dangerous to the concept of free thought, which is slowly dwindling away in light of this new age of stupidity and constant entertainment.
We’re bored with our lives. Everything's so new, so fast we don’t have anything else on our level to do! At least, we feel that way. You see, boredom is quite disgusting, hideous in fact. It’s the perception that there’s simply nothing to do because everything has been done before. Boredom makes us believe that thinking is a waste of time. It’s what’s wrong with this society.
But when you allow yourself to show the world that you’re armed with ingenious ideas, then you’ve defeated your boredom.
And you’re extremely dangerous. In fact, with radical ideas and thought, you make a weapon designed to kill: thoughts. But you have to have the guts to think of them. They've been changing the world since the beginning.
As my idol Steve Jobs once said:
“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you are. And you can change that, you can mold it, and you build it into your own things that other people can use.” — Steve Jobs
Raise up a question, go against the flow, challenge your humanity. Don’t simply adapt to things you don’t agree with. You see, life is a beautiful adventure, it’s meant to be custom built. And and built by you, not by someone else, by you.
So mold it, force it into what you want it to be. EXACTLY what you want it to be.
“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your crap, then you deserve it.” — Frank Zappa
Thank you so very much for taking the time out of your day to read this! If you enjoyed this article, please give it a recommend! And as always, feedback is more than welcome. Also! Check out my website, www.ChristianRoston.com to read a little about me and subscribe to recieve my articles by emai.
Gangsta’ rap made me do it. (Actually, the lawyers did. I don’t have lawyers. And I know this is dorky.)
McLeod, S. A. (2007). The Milgram Experiment. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html
Zimbardo, Phillip G., Dr. “Stanford Prison Experiment.”Http://www.prisonexp.org/. Stanford University, 1999. Web. 23 Feb. 2016. <http://www.prisonexp.org/>.