A Humanistic Approach to Positive Growth and Self-Acceptance
Home » Milgram: Obedience to Authority
This experiment demonstrates how far we’ll go obeying authority. Its crazy how the teacher knew it was wrong but continued anyway, and its like he was afraid of the consequences if he stopped. Theres a certain point where it goes too far and as we all have a conscious, we know from right or wrong, and to speak up and not be afraid to “speak up”.
Every time I watch this video, I am absolutely astonished at the acts members of society will partake in if they feel there is an authority figure present telling them what to do even if those actions go against their personal values. At a certain point, you’d figure the people would have stopped when hearing the man was clearly in pain. Due to someone in a lab coat throwing commands at them, they felt the need to be subservient when there was no incentive given. Similar to the bystander effect, it seems that people are not willing to take the blame for their own actions (or lack thereof) and convince themselves that what they are doing (or not doing) is normal.
I think that the important thing to realize is that no one is born hating someone, no one really is born with hatred in their hearts, this is most definitely learned. I think that hatred and violence are behaviors learned from observation and from “following directions.” If a white, little four-year-old American girl is told by her parents to not sit with black African Americans, she is simply obeying her parents, through her innocence she means no harm, but is actually offending many. If the same white little girl is raised in an atmosphere that mistreats others of color she is doing what she has always been taught, though it is wrong, she thinks it is right.
Just as this little girl, many people blindly obey what others tell them to if the person giving orders is authoritative. If someone is in high power or even seems to be, this seems to be enough justification to do whatever is commanded of them. It is pretty terrifying how as humans we can turn into sheep and do whatever is asked our us when we feel under pressure. The thing we fail to remember is that anyone can put on a lab coat, an id, a uniform, and carry around a clipboard. The fact that people will answer to what they think is authority rather than what actually is, is disheartening because then anyone can put up a facade of authority and possibly get away with anything.
its ironic how all of us have been told since childhood to be obedient and responsible of our actions. Now Milgram experiments with these two specific traits. of course he was disappointed and America shocked. the question here is our conscience and our authority on it. if we can develop ourselves enough to be lead by our own conscience and be independent of the societal norms and constraints. if there are others who would take the responsibility, would you actively participate in the criminal act? it takes courage and a lot of will power to believe in yourself and to seriously think about the consequences of your actions. however in the experiment, ordinary human are shown to be under pressure to perform by the figure of ‘authority’ to which they succumb easily. our ability to think critically and act responsibly is undermined by an authoritative figure. the experiment successfully pick at our weaknesses we have acquired living in a society based on hierarchy and structure.
I’ve seen a version of this video before, a more modern one, and even then people ‘killed’ the guy because they absolved themselves from responsibility. The fact that the “teacher” guy stood up and tried to stop it was a bit different. I want to point out that the “teacher” actually asked who would be responsible if the “student” died or got hurt which was the beginning of the teacher really questioning and realizing what he was “doing”. When the guy in the lab coat “took responsibility” the teacher seemed to no longer care wether the “student” was ok or not because he thought there were no consequences. Maybe he believed the guy in the coat knew more than he did about the shocks. I t was a scary video though because the other guy “the student” would shout for them to “get me out of here!” and the “teacher” did nothing except slightly protest. The responsibility being taken away might make us feel like we wont get punished for our actions, thus we can continue but the consequences can still affect us even if somebody says they wont either then or after I think people that we believe to make decisions for us and tell us they take the responsibility for the consequences of our actions should not hold so much power over our standing on what’s good or bad and we should hold ourselves accountable to our own deeds and their consequences.
What I understand in this video is that people are willing to obey authority figures. It illustrates how authorities have power over individuals to get them to perform tasks that are not align with their own beliefs, it includes perfoming cruel acts to others.
From I’ve seen in this video, we as humans are willing to far to follow orders. It doesn’t matter if it’s going to affect to someone else’s life. Because at the end Just because that’s what ” the authority ” or ” boss ” wants us to do. We never stop to ask ourselves how well does that sit with me. Isn’t that going to affect me in some way. At the end of the day, you get to say I was just doing my job. And you won’t feel like that you need to be held accountable, although you had a role to play in it.
This video was truly shocking in regards to both power and authority. Its amazing how easily people can fall for power and how (even if this “power” is fake) it can change their personality to the extend where they no longer can differentiate right from wrong. It is also sad how obedience can be twisted into something so sadistic. I suppose this also can be seen in places such as the military etc where orders are usually not questioned and right or wrong all depends on who gives the order and who you can say ordered you to do pretty bad things.
I feel the power of authority also somehow relate to bystander effect. Since the action we able to take are all affect by the people around us. For example, the reason why (at least that’s what I think) people able to activate the 450 volts, is not because the pressure experimenter put on them, it’s due to the amount of the responsibility they can blame to the experimenter. Because they think they are not responsible for any of the consequence, even though they heard many screams, but they automatically these blame to experimenter. They have someone else to blame, and this is the reason lead to their selfish behavior. Just like how bystander effect play into role, because we expect someone else to take on the reasonability, so we directly blame on other people for not taking any action facing the problem.
This video is very interesting, a part of me believes that we learn to obey authority at a young age such as our parents so we fall into that pressure involuntary. As we get older we learn to obey the Police. Another part of me believes if this was happening to someone you know personally, this would be avoided completely, but since they are strangers there is no connection.
Watching this video makes me realize how far people will go with within the directions of authority. It is how people are brought up from birth through the course of our lives. We are taught to do as a police officer says, a teacher says, a manager of some sort of business, and many more because of their placings and rankings in society. The man was consciously aware of the harm he was causing the person at the end of the volts, but because the professor was telling him to do so, he continued on. The man had the natural tendency to realize the this was a professor, a person who holds much more knowledge than him, and knows what he is doing, so he listened. He kept on reassuring that he would not receive any consequences if the person was harmed, so if their was any that were going to be pinned against him, he can quickly jump, and say it was the professor, it’s his experiment, I was only doing what he was telling me to do. People are willing to do whatever orders are given to them by certain authorities in society. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they realize that this is a person that has a high ranking then them in society, they will do it. Fear of repercussions play a part in it too. People seeing authority sometimes realize they have the power to to get them in trouble, so they do what they are told.
I was so surprised after watching this video , increasing voltage each wrong answer.It scare me when guy told him to electrocute the participants the guy who was doing the electrocuting did! because he was told to.I can’t believe myself doing the work without having confidence it’s was done because it was said to do by other.
This is a very meaningful experiment even though I feel horrible for the first time. After I understand this experiment. I understand even a cold person who can change via the student screaming during the test. People always judge people in their angle, they never try to position themselves to the victim angle. During this test, I think sounds and tone can let the teacher knows what is their feeling. When the teacher feels enough or they don’t want to hurt the student or they understand the pains from the student, the teacher normally stands up and wanted to stop. This action means he can feel a bit of the pain from the student, and he also feels guilty that he tried to hurt people because the student didn’t give a correct answer. The other interesting thing is when the student act like passed out, and not making any sounds. The teacher feels more nervous and more guilty. He worried that he could accidently kill a person. He began not to trust the experimenter as well. We can know it because he stood up and talk to the professor. He was trying to show the experimenter could be wrong. It could kill the student. I think the teacher understand when a person acts like in bystander angle. He could feel helpless even though he is not the victim.
Sadly this short clip says that even though the ‘teachers’ felt this was wrong, i continued to inflict pain on the ‘learners’. When he asked who’s going to be responsible, and the tester said me, i though of the death penalty. I always felt that the person administrating the pain for the death penalty has to know what they are doing is wrong, but they do it anyway. Then I started thinking maybe they don’t feel responsible, but they are wrong. Just because someone is telling you to do something, doesn’t mean you have to do it. If it is a horrible situation like this, or even the death penalty, and you inflict the pain, you are just as guilty if not more than the person instructing you to do it. If someone is telling you something for you own good like maybe speaking up for yourself in a situation where you are being treated wrong, then that’s different and you should take that into consideration. That’s advice, not harm.
After seeing this video I beg the question, How far is too far and where do we draw the line of being obedient to an authority figure? What would our consequences be if we challenged authority. I think that is what most humans fear, fear for themselves first before others. It is disturbing to think that a person simply wearing a white coat can all of a sudden produce power mentally and control the emotions and thoughts of other. We see it all the time in medicine.
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