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The Lucifer Effect

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posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:16 PM
"The Lucifer Effect" is a book written by Philip Zambardo chronicaling the events of his Stanford Prison Experiment.

He states

The Lucifer Effect raises a fundamental question about the nature of human nature: How is it possible for ordinary, average, even good people to become perpetrators of evil? In trying to understand unusual, or aberrant behavior, we often err in focusing exclusively on the inner determinants of genes, personality, and character, as we also tend to ignore what may be the critical catalyst for behavior change in the external Situation or in the System that creates and maintains such situations.

According to this "good" people can go "bad" based mostly on external influences.

a detailed chronology of the transformations in human character that took place during the experiment I created that randomly assigned healthy, normal intelligent college students to play the roles of prison or guard in a projected 2 week-long study. I was forced to terminate the study after only 6 days because it went out of control, pacifists were becoming sadistic guards, and normal kids were breaking down emotionally.

Video I have seen of this in the past is chilling. I am surprised the study lasted a full 6 days.

Another article in Discover Magazine states

Anydeed that any human being has ever committed, however horrible, is possible for any of us—under the right circumstances. That knowledge does not excuse evil; it democratizes it, sharing its blame among ordinary actors rather than declaring it the province of deviants and despots—of Them but not Us. The primary lesson of the Stanford Prison Experiment is that situations can lead us to behave in ways we would not, could not, predict possible in advance.

So my question is, considering all this could this be a reason why our leaders seem to be so corrupt? Is it possible that they go in with the best of intentions only to be caught in this "Lucifer Effect"?

We always hear great campaign promises and prose about great change. Then they seem to disappear... with every leader. Not just Obama.

It's something to think about.
edit on 1/28/2011 by Kangaruex4Ewe because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:21 PM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

I think you hit the nail on the head my friend.
Not only that but also, everyone has secerets that they would rathernot reveal.
Skeletons in the closet so to speak.
After getting into office (or perhaps before) those secrets are uncovered and used as a means to control.
THEN....They've GOT YOU!!!!

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:30 PM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

Great thread. How can otherwise normal people turn bad so quickly, they can't. Why assume normal means decent, it isn't. The vast majority of people are immature and their focus is on themselves and what they want, be it money, popularity, sex, whatever. They define themselves by their urges and wants. Think about the answers that the nazis gave after they lost the war, they said they were just following orders.

People who define themselves and live by their moral convictions cannot be twisted to do these things. The vast majority of people do act like sheep, they are basically non-confrontational and just want to be left alone to chew on the grass. We don't like hearing this but it is true. People love being part of a movement, they love being at large gatherings to party together, they focus their lives around being herded and going along with the majority. I am not saying they are good or bad, they are neither.

There is a line in the bible where Jesus says, you are neither hot nor cold so I shall spit you out. He says that to people who profess to be followers not to atheists. What he seems to be saying is that you have to take a position and live by it. If you don't take a position then you go wherever and do whatever gets your urges filled. Most peoples morality is based on what they get.

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:36 PM
Reminded me of The Experiment , which is an adaptation of a German film I believe,

Interesting how it all came crumbling down.


posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:40 PM
Interesting find my friend. It seems science is just now confirming my own observations about human nature. No one knows how much one has fought their internal battles before succumbing to evil. No one knows how much of another's pain they could endure before they too would succumb to evil acts. Would they resist as long as the other, or would their own will break much sooner.

All are responsible in this world for the evil we see. We have created roles and classes, divisions which we hide behind for our own self righteousness. Here is a story I shared on another thread here:


There was a good Brother I once knew who was born to a psychotic father and an alcoholic mother. His father was violently psychotic to the point where he beat his wife on a daily basis. This is why she turned to alcohol, to slip into a comfortable oblivion after the beatings. One day my Brothers mother had enough and she fled the family leaving my Brother behind as the sole focus of his fathers rage. Every day my Brother faced beatings that would make most people fall into a state of dementia. His fathers prefered choice of torture was a steel chain that he kept hanging on the wall for the occassion. There were plenty of signs in the community that this was going on, but no one cared. Rather than investigate, he was constantly judge unworthy by society simply because he became aggressive himself. When he became a teenager my Brother took Jujitsu under a true Master. There he learned to control the rage within him and focus it to more noble pursuits. He built his body up until it was hard as steel and deadly. Eventually he was strong enough to throw down his tormentor.

After beating the snot out of his father, he was thrown out on the street. Rather than become a common criminal he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Though he always had a problem with authority which prevented him from gaining rank or recognition, there was not a Marine around him who did not know his back was covered in a fire fight. My Brother believed in the Brotherhood the Marines claimed to be and here he found the family he never had growing up. During one deployment to Iraq he was providing security for a sniper team. They lead sniper offered him the chance to take the shot after he sighted the rifle in. My Brother took the opportunity. He aimed in, squeezed the trigger, and the shot rang out. Seconds later the target took off into a building and 6 feet to the right, a pregnant Iraqi woman fell dead in the road. The rifle was slightly off mark.

On his return home he discovered there were many rumors flying around the neighborhood about his wife having illicit affairs. So, he took her for a ride out into the woods. There he held a shotgun up to her head and demanded the truth on the matter. She told his command of the incident and this resulted in his court martial and dishonorable discharge from the only family he knew and loved.

To battle all the demons that his life had brought upon him, he turned to marijuana. This eased his pain enough for him to function normally in society. He got a job working in a rock quarry and things were going well for him. One day he was hit with a random urinalysis. He informed the boss that he smoked marijuana regularly and for his honesty, he was given a grace period to clean up. He tried his hardest to clean up. I was there with him through it all. After the first week he had become extremely angry, he could not sleep for the constant nightmares, and he was contemplating suicide to escape it all. So, we fired up a joint and kissed the job good bye.

I walked with this Brother through all kinds of hell. I was let into his world because I came without judgement. I was allowed for a brief moment in time to see the world through his eyes. I tell you this is a GOOD Man. All he knew since birth was hell and torment and still he always yearned to do the right thing. As a reward he was met with constant judgement from the school system, the law, the Corps he loved, society at large, and even the Freemasons, the Brotherhood who promised to him that they would always have his back. No one loved this Brother enough to not judge him, to love him, and to try to help him. No one save me.

I have seen every manner of human behavior from the sinners and the saints. What seperates them is only the judgements of Man.

With Love,

Your Brother

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:41 PM
reply to post by Kangaruex4Ewe

My GF has a masters in psychology and has implored me to read this. My reading schedule is already over-loaded; we have more books in the house, even with emergency supply food storage, than food or drink.

The video I have seen was disturbing in the least.

Humans think differently and not always beneficially in groups more than as individuals. A mob is a monster. An individual who can maintain that individuality is much more (generally) saner and kinder.

posted on Jan, 28 2011 @ 04:57 PM
I read "The Lucifer Effect", and came out strongly for it.
However, now I'm not so sure.
Don't have it with me now, but it seems he took scant evidence very far indeed.

The following piece apparently has him claiming that blacks are 8 times more likely to be heroes than whites!

I just really don't see that when a lot of whites rush to disaster zones, when they really don't have to.
We never really see the opposite, even from rich African states like SA, who spent R60 Billion on a corrupt and useless arms deal.
Methinks Zimabardo has some complexes of his own!

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 12:18 AM
When people are elevated to positions of power it can be too much to full comprehend and accept their responsibilities. It does take time and effort to learn about the role and what all the consequences of the actions are. Some people after a few mistakes are able to rise to the challenge, others just remain lost and unable to connect to their greater actions over their self interest ones.

posted on Jan, 29 2011 @ 02:21 AM
Good views from everyone and thanks for those who gave links. I am nee to this subject but it does makes sense in lots of circumstances. Thanks for all your replies.

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