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Mindless Humans

Uploaded by stick_ucsb on Apr 30, 2001

Humans have been socially networked with each other since the time they have been created. Civilization was fashioned by humans interacting with one another. With this interaction with others and communal peers, “social man is a somnambulist” (Asch 61). In other terms, when humans become social, they are really “sleep walking”, or following the crowd, even though belief in the western world has it that people are “free” to choose for themselves. This sleepwalking factor then turns individuals into mindless ants. It only occurs because a human is a social animal and with that comes, social pressures and authoritative figures.

Stanley Milgram studied at Harvard University and tested how social humans would react in a certain situation. Milgram tested how certain individuals would respond to inflicting harm onto another person because another figure told them to. He was interested in why regular day people would actually do such horrific things to the victim. In the experiment there was no physical consequence for the individual pushing the button if they said no. People in this situation believed in that the scientist knew what he/she was doing so they assumed that what they were doing was acceptable even though in actuality they believed it was not right. Subjects gave up their free will to choose because a higher authority told them to do so. This is similar to ants in that the majority of ants are worker ants; they obey the authority of the queen and will act out every wish she wants. Even though the ants can think for themselves, they follow the authority.

Originally the theory was that many would stop the experiment being aware that the person that they were shocking is indeed being harmed, but that was proven wrong (Milgram 41). A different scientist who redid this experiment found that 85 percent of his subjects were obedient (Milgram 42). As a result it was evident that individuals will succumb to authoritative figures. Strudler and Warren explain that the subjects acted the way they did because of authority heuristics, which is the reliance on an authority figure (57). In Milgram’s experiment, the scientist was the authority figure in the experiment and the subject trusted his/her judgment because they believed that the scientist knows what he/she is doing. Even though the subject believed they have “free” will in their choices, the pressures of the authority figure “forced” the individual into believing...

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Uploaded by:   stick_ucsb

Date:   04/30/2001

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   7 pages (1,502 words)

Views:   1621

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