Do you really have a mind of your own?

Comments (14)

(14) SusanE, April 29, 2010 1:55 AM

Then and Now its a difference in Integrity

When I was young I followed my crowd around because we did things together. We did nothing bad but I wasn't tested. I told a lie once because someone asked me to. I have never forgotten it. It was a nonsense lie. I wish I'd had the integrity to say no then. Stupid stupid. Today I can say I would stand up and say to everyone involved in the experiment, that this isn't right and they should stop, and I would leave the experiment. - - - - - -The human condition is savage when reinforced by a group of savages. The massacre at Mei Lei during the Viet Nam war is one case in which the US troops were ordered to kill civilian women and children, and they did. They threw them in a pit and shot them. Are these men savages? Are they much different from the Nazis you mention? Should they have disobeyed the orders? Mens human condition is savage when killing.

(13) TMay, April 13, 2010 3:44 AM

science shows

If the repeated experiment shows that the majority of humans will abuse power when given it, why would we hand over our liberty to bureaucrats? Haven't people experienced the petty bureaucrat ruling his little roost abusively? Haven't people experienced that monopolies don't treat people as well as companies that have to face competition? Do you want your health care decisions decided by some faceless bureaucrat in Washington DC?

(12) Pleasant, April 11, 2010 11:13 PM

Well, I can honestly say I would be in the 18% that refused.

I have been in such situations. What usually happens is you get fired or made into one of the victims. But the most enlightening revealation to myself of who I am came in a political science class where we divided the class into two teams. One was supposed to be the USSR (it was still around then) and the other was the USA. I was on the USA team and I was chosen to be the 'ambassador'. During 'negotiations' the ruskies tried to get me to allow 100,000 americans to be nuked in exchange for the disarmament of half of their missiles. I was SUPPOSED to make them wait for me to go back to my team and talk it over. I didn't I instinctively and spontaneously said, "NO!" And I was genuinely outraged and disgusted. What did my group do? They 'fired' me. But I am a b*t** when it comes to being told to conform to revolting things, so I did not change after that. I have been a manager and refused to play cruel games with people's hours and such and got canned. I have stood up to anti-semitism and been canned. Yeah, I know who I am.

(11) Anonymous, April 11, 2010 4:11 PM

I heard about that, too

I know someone from that was a really badly kept secret and just one more instance of people just going along with some sickos and treating someone like she's nothing just like everyone else instead of thinking for themselves, standing up for what's right, no matter how much entertainment they'd lose in the process or even if they'd have to admit they too knew about it, watched it, and made a mistake. It's really disturbing (and it doesn't make lawyers' reputations any better). I was just thinking about his recently, and in the same day heard someone talk about it and read your comment. I'm so glad justice will prevail.

(10) tk, April 11, 2010 4:06 PM

law school/hidden cameras

Was that in Florida? (isn't it sad that I know of that case and yet can't be sure that's the one you mean because it might have happened elsewhere, too?) I's such an awful thing because they were convinced that they had her so confused and ashamed that she'd never have the emotional or mental capacity to find out the truth or stand up to them and thought at most she'd take it to mediation. Serves them right.

(9) Anonymous, April 10, 2010 10:53 PM


I was unable to watch the entire video; but know that it deals w the topic of victimization/inappropriate behavior and bullies. It was interesting; and what I've learned is that 1) never remain an inactive bystander viewing injustice 2) ask questions (gather info) Ex. What voltage kills a human being? Answer 1400-1700 for just 17 to 30 seconds 3) say anything that will ease the mind of the victim 4) report it (write down what you saw as soon after it happens as possible) I think so many factors influence abuse (IQ, believing anything an authority figures tells you, being a nurtured vs a neglected/abused child etc) It is important to be able to cultivate & voice your own opinion & know when & how to express it safely. I have been victimized by people who have made it nearly impossible to report it. It is so frustrating - especially when it involves racial hatred or popular vs non type personalities. Everyone is beautiful & has as much right to life as any other person; but often highly intelligent people make you think otherwise.

(8) Anonymous, April 9, 2010 7:39 AM

What values?

1. I don't know how many westerners today have solid values which guide them as opposed to paying lip service to. 2. Properly participating in an experiment to further the 'science god' is itself a value. 3. Violence on TV, internet, video games etc. desensitizes people, legitimizes violence and provides role models to emulate. So what's 'shocking' about the results?

(7) Paul, April 8, 2010 5:53 PM


Excellent video. Unfortunately many people are easily brainwashed and need to wash their brain clean of such conditioning. I think that Jewish psychotherapy could help many including non Jews perhaps.

(6) Anonymous, April 8, 2010 12:42 PM

This happens in so many ways every day

In a law school a few years ago, a group of students put hidden cameras in someone's car and bedroom and bathroom, tortured her mercilessly about what they saw, and then pretended not to know her at all, told her she was crazy, and that no one in the class even knew she was there. So many people knew what they did--the group who installed the cameras, the friends who watched what they recorded, a whole bunch of people who knew about it--but no one forced them to stop, no one told the dean, no one told the girl she didn't suddenly lose her mind, and that of course the students who sat right next to her all day every day, knew who she was, as much as she knew who they were--they all talked and did assignments together and were with one another most of their waking hours. It took her years of searching and investigating and hiring experts and P.I.s until she knew for certain what they did. Before she found out for sure, she was so confused and she stopped believing everything she already knew, everything she already heard, right from the miscreants. It was so sad that their inhuman behavior could do this to a person. Someone could have stopped them and helped her. They could have stopped themselves. If what I've seen is correct, they will probably soon be in jail.

(5) shari, April 8, 2010 12:21 PM

Observant Jews

I bet the number of those who would refuse to hurt innocent people no matter who told them to do so would be much higher if the entire group was made up of religious, observant Jews, who have Someone Higher to take orders from. I really doubt that observant Jews would have just followed orders, because they learn right from wrong, live according to strict morals on a daily basis, and, unfortunately, know firsthand (or from those close to them) what can happen when people blindly follow orders to torture human beings.

(4) Anonymous, April 8, 2010 12:11 AM

In high school, I was in a similar situation. My classmates and I decided to leave school early when our last period teacher wasn't showing up. We all left the building and a group of us were across the street, when we noticed the teacher going into school. Most of the girls decided it wasn't worth it to go back, since the the rest of the class was long gone. However, I felt bad for the teacher who would face an empty classroom. I decided I would go back into school. Some of the other students began mocking me and telling me there was no point and that I'd get the whole class into trouble. I wavered, but then decided the teacher would feel better that at least one student came back. I began crossing the street. Slowly, my close friend began following me. One by one, the others followed us, until even those that mocked me came along. We entered the building and found the teacher and principal standing there. They were surprised to see us and the principal told the teacher "look at these wonderful girls who came back!" Our teacher was so happy that we had returned. None of the others said anything and I certainly kept my mouth shut...

(3) Chavi, April 7, 2010 10:52 PM

Stick up for what you know is right!

I have, on more than one occasion, gone out on a limb, bucking the crowd, to stand up for what is right. And I have been outspoken about my disapproval of what was transpiring. At the end of the day, i need to be able to look in the mirror and be proud of who I am. I do not compromise on my values.

(2) , April 7, 2010 5:04 PM

How weak is the human condition?

Pretty darn weak, I think. But what an important experiment, perhaps it will raise our awareness to not be such sheep and be stronger to resist intimidation in the future. Great commentary. I remember that experiment.from the 1960's, I think I saw it on TV. Indeed, something to thing about.

(1) Joe, April 7, 2010 9:55 AM

I would be skewed data for this.

I know what the Milgram Experiment was. I am confident I would recognize such an experiment if someone tried to put me in one. So I would refuse for sure in *that* case. But the real question is, are there cases where my obedience to authority could cause me to break with my conscience? Of course I would love to say "no! never!" absolutely. I honestly believe that is is true. But then again I have never faced a real test of that. Take the classic case of evil soldiers order you to murder someone. I honestly believe that if I were handed a gun and told to shoot an innocent, or the evil people would shoot me, I would resolve to go out trying to shoot the evil people. Of course I want to believe that too. And of course I have never been tested either, thank Hashem. But what makes me think I likely would act that way is not bravado, but rather, that for my whole life, I have hated arbitrary, cruel and petty authority. I do not hate legitimate and just authority, but the abusive and stupid kind causes me to want to fight. Please Hashem none of us ever faces such a test for real.


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