Monday, July 11, 2016 by D. Samuelson
As reported by WakingTimes.com, a social experiment constructed and performed at Yale University in 1961, is still considered a bedrock in psychological understanding about two basic behaviors – obedience and authority. The balance of these behaviors seems key to the ebb and flow of an authoritarian rule, as in today’s burgeoning tyranny. Stanley Milgram was the psychologist who grasped to visualize the switch in the mind of man that buckles under authority. He wanted to physically observe human social interaction under challenging conditions and see what they would be willing to do.
Milgram used two groups of volunteers who didn’t know each other and, according to TheAtlantic.com, it was advertised as a “scientific study of memory and learning.” The volunteers were put into two groups, teachers and learners. Participants called “teachers” were told to apply increasingly higher voltages of shock to people designated as “learners” when they made a memory error. Milgram didn’t reveal that the shock machine was fake, as were the cries, fainting and tortured screams emanating from those getting “shocked.” The “learners” were actually just actors pretending to be in pain. And no one knew. Teachers could increase the voltage from 15V to 450V. Remember, those “teachers” applying the voltage didn’t know it was fake and the agony of those begging them to stop was all an act. All the action was being recorded and audited in an adjacent room. Regardless of these facts, in one particular experiment 65% of the “teachers” blasted that shock machine to read 450V.
The song “We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)”, by Peter Gabriel is said to be based on these experiments.
There were independent individuals who refused to continue participating in Milgram’s experiments. But the ramifications of the 65% who chose to inflict pain and suffering has been used as a rationale to help explain the “I was just following orders” Nazi obedience. Milgram himself referenced this group in his research, according to TheAtlantic.com, when he wrote, “Gas chambers were built, death camps were guarded . . . they could only be carried out on a massive scale if a very large number of persons obeyed orders.”
The outcomes and ramification of Milgram’s experiment is discussed to this day, especially in the search to understand “why” ordinary people do what they’re told, even if the consequences are harmful. Using his psychological research, as well as the matrix of other psychosocial norms being constructed and controlled by the Rand Corporation, Esalan, the Tavistock Group, The Stanford Research Group and others, are indeed constructing a generation of obedient robots. The priorities have shifted. It’s no longer as important, as it was in Milgram’s day, to simply observe man’s mind and behaviors. Today the money’s on precisely mapping what couldn’t be physically seen in the 1960. The electric shocks of man’s neuron pathways on the surface of the brain.
Maybe that childhood phrase, “Monkey see, monkey do,” was handed down from a man behind the curtain. But pay no attention, just focus on the bright light in the center of your living room and do what you’re told. It’s all for your own safety. Even if your actions hurt someone else. But Stanley Milgram did encourage individuals to question authority. Here’s his quote from 1974:
“It may be that we are puppets-puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation.”