Willing to Torture?

_45311970_shockOver the years, we have been shocked by acts of genocide. Time and time again, we ask ourselves how any human being could commit such atrocities against another.

In 1963, the well-known Stanley Milgram experiment revealed that an overwhelming majority of volunteer subjects were willing to inflict pain onto others (in the form of electric shocks) if instructed to do so by an authority figure.

Many people will say that times have changed and people would act differently now. However, two recent similar experiments have been conducted – with results that, unfortunately, mimic those of the Milgram study.

Does this mean that certain human beings are inherently evil by nature?

According to Dr. Abigail San, a psychologist who conducted one of the Milgram replications –

It’s not that these people are simply not good people anymore – there is a massive social influence going on.

Dr. Jerry Burger, the second Milgram replication mastermind, had this to say –

If you put people in certain situations, they will act in surprising and maybe often even disturbing ways.

In no way do these studies “justify” the acts of perpetrators of genocide. They simply make you face the fact that humans do not operate in vacuums. External forces push and pull us everyday.

Nevertheless, whether we allow those forces to carry us toward good or toward evil is up to us.