Psychology Addict # 50 | Why Good People Do Evil Things?

in #steemstem2 years ago (edited)

Disclaimer – this post discusses the actions and fate of a Nazi officer, as well as killings and infliction of physical pain unrelated to the Holocaust.

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The origins of human’s moral convictions was the topic I briefly discussed in my previous post, which I ended proposing that as well as from social learning moral convictions result from innate predispositions (e.g. fairness and cooperation) all humans are born with. But, I also added that as well as altruistic predispositions humans are also born with selfish and competitive tendencies.

To this @agmoore reflected on extreme, contradictory human actions such as mass killings and selflessness for the greater good of others, and queried:

Is there a little bit of each extreme in all of us?

Because this is a very good question I decided that instead of replying to it through a comment I’d better dedicate an entire post to it (although, one could easily write 50 articles about this!).

The Evil Within

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I would be surprised to hear you denying that you have a dark side. In fact, more than surprised, I would be concerned. For, the very acknowledgement of its existence is already a good start to keep it in check. Nevertheless, just in case you have a higher opinion of yourself than you should, just stop and try to think about the time(s) you behaved in a reprehensible manner. You know … put a person down when they were already upset, took advantage of someone’s generosity or, who knows, betrayed a loved one.

While your memory might bring back an instance of one or even of all the three examples given above, you may argue that in the “continuum of evilness” such situations (e.g. taking advantage of someone’s good intentions) are quite far from extremes such as mass killings. This is, of course, true. Yet, there is a commonality shared between the individual who did no more than take advantage of another individual’s kindness and the person who took charge of organizing the killing of thousands and thousands of people: situational factors.

Opportunity Makes the Thief

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It was the philosopher Hannah Arendt who in the early 60’s observed that for people to conduct evil acts they do not need to be essentially ‘evil’. Instead, all that is necessary, she proposed, is for them to be willing to follow orders and obey authority. This is something Arednt, subsequent to attending the beginning of Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem, regarded as the ’banality of evil’ 1.

Eichmann was one of the Nazi leaders involved in the Holocaust. He was in charge of the trains that transported Jews from occupied Europe to death camps in Poland (in 1962 he was found guilty and hanged in Israel). Based on this man’s horrid actions Arendt was taken aback by how ‘ordinary’ he looked and acted. In her reports for The New Yorker she remarked that she actually expected to see a monster. Like this, Arednt hypothesized that depending on the situation any ordinary Joe can end up behaving in monstrous ways 2.

This did not do her many favours. After all, it is much, much easier to think of those who bring harm and pain to others as “monsters” or “different” than conceiving the idea that such tendencies, in fact, reside in each one of us.

A dormant tendency that erupted in Jared Diamond’s co-worker during an unforgettable event.

Kariniga – A nice person who brought himself to kill

Kariniga is a New Guinea man who biologist Jared Diamond, likes, admire, worked with and shared moments of life-threatening as well as triumphant situations. After 5 years of knowing each other Kariniga told Diamond about the night he engaged in massacring the people of the tribe his father’s killer belonged to. Diamond confesses he shudders whenever he remembers the details of Kariniga’s narrative, but most of all he shudders when he recalls the glow in his co-worker’s eyes as he described the way he speared his enemies to death, that evening.

Diamond then proceeded to state that this is a morbid potential that lies within all of us. And that while our ethics and morals - see my last post - restrain it, situational factors (e.g. the context in which a person finds themselves in) may unleash it 3.

Why Good People End Up Harming Others

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It was Stanley Milgram who first brought to light, through experimental studies, the power social influences and situational factors have on driving (good, ordinary) people to behave in ways that harm others.

After conducting 19 variations of the original Obedience to Authority Study on 800 people, Milgram found that irrespective of individual characteristics and personal values social pressures often have a stronger hold on people’s decision-making processes. Particularly when coupled with the command of an authority figure. Something which, it appears, suspends individual’s capacity to make informed moral judgements 4,5.

Through this infamous study Milgram found that the majority of participants followed orders that could result in serious injury to someone else just because they were told to do so by an authority figure. These were orders to inflict electric shocks up to 450 volts on a fellow human being.

Such findings consequently led Milgram to suggest that it is not so much who a person is that will determine their actions, but rather where they are and who they are with 6.

The Good Within

And, from how I see it, the Acali experiment, supports Milgram’s claim. In 1973 a peculiar experiment took place on a raft (Acali) in open waters. It was devised by anthropologist Santiago Genovés whose aim was to unveil ‘what makes humans hate one another’. The participants were 5 men (including the experimenter himself) and 6 women, who spent 101 days crossing the Atlantic Ocean as they departed from Spain and reached for the coast of Mexico.

The idea here is not to address the shortcomings of this study, but rather to highlight how a group of people from different backgrounds (e.g. nationalities and professions) holding different values, and driven to take part on the study for reasons that varied from ‘escaping from a violent husband’ to ‘embarking on an exciting experience’ became a ‘united tribe’.

In his mission to unveil what drives humans to be harmful Genovés was blinded by biases and upon realising that his expectations were not going to be met he attempted to turn the participants against one another. Please remember, he was the authority figure there. Yet, the group members instead of falling into his trap, rejected him to a point where even killing him was considered. Fortunately, that did not happen as they kept each other in check. Some of the group members even looked after him when he fell severely ill. 7

Genovés set out to tap into the primal side of human behaviour. Namely, sexual attraction, aggression and violence. What he seemed to have disregarded was the better angels of our nature (as Steven Pinker would say): cooperation, peacefulness and care.

Opposing Forces

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As soon as I read @agmoore's question the yin yang symbol (see featured image) came to mind. I am not going to go into Taoism here or anything like that, despite my deep interest in it. However, this is an appropriate opportunity to explore the notion that everything contains a seed of its opposite 8, that rather than opposite, things are instead relative to each other. You know… how good people have an evil side and bad people can conduct good actions as well as the fact that bad is bad because good exists.

Unlike philosophies that requires us to reject the evil side and embrace the good side of the world and of ourselves, Taoism says that lessons can be learnt from these two opposing forces: Yin (the black area) and yang (the white area). By learning from them we learn, for example, that us together with our surrounding environment develop in a continuous cycle where one force dominates the other. As when they say that after a storm comes calm.

According to Taoism this is the natural flow of things. And the understanding of this dynamic brings harmony to one’s existence. But, to get there, one should know ones’ yin from one’s yang 9.

Like Arendt’s writings Milgram’s study received great criticism. Mostly because of the psychological stress that having to inflict pain (through electric shocks) on another person might have caused to his participants. However, Milgram surveyed his participants one-year after the study, and 84% of them claimed to be glad to have taken part in the experiment. One of them, Mr. Braverman, a 39 year-old social worker and one of the participants who continued to give shocks until the 450 volts maximum was reached, expressed that that had been an experience of ‘personal importance’ to his life, as it put him in touch with the Eichmann that resided within him 10.

Image Source:
1, 2, 3, 4,5, 6.

Reference List:
1,2 Arendt, H. (1963) Eichmann in Jerusalem, Lodon, Penguin.
3 Diamond, J. M. (1991) The rise and fall of the third chimpanzee, London, Vintage.
4,6,10 Milgram, S. (1974) Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View, London, Tavistock.
5 Milgram, S. (1963) ‘Behavioural study of obedience’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 67, no. 4, pp. 371-8.
7 The Raft.
8,9 The hidden meaning of yin yang


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My Dear Readers,

Thank you for taking the time to read my long post. Before I conclude this piece I would like to share with you this extract from the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu.I hope you like it.

Live in a good place
Keep your mind deep.
Treat others well.
Stand by your word.
Make fair rules.
Do the right thing.
Work when it's time.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend 😊

Sort:  

In her reports for The New Yorker she remarked that she actually expected to see a monster.

The Picture of Dorian Gray was partly based on and playing with (and made sense because of) the belief at that time that inner wickedness would express itself outwardly on the face of the wicked person. Something in us - perhaps our attachment to beauty, which we connect with all good things - refuses to believe that good faces could happen to bad people.

Kariniga – A nice person who brought himself to kill

I disagree with Jared on this one: what makes us think that nice people don't kill? Our superheroes at the cinemas kill people all the time. Our great works of literature have good people killing bad people more often than not. I'd say the idea that killing is always bad and therefore cannot be done by a good person is a minority opinion.

Added The Raft to my watchlist! I wonder where Genovés got his idea from, whether it could possibly be influenced by the Hitchcock movie.

This is an incredibly insightful comment Alexander. Thank you!

It brought to might a phenomenon psychologists refer to as the ‘halo effect’, which basically drives us to attribute positive characteristics to attractive people, despite having little of lack of evidence to back such attributions ref.. I believe the halo effect plays a part in the way we perceive the wrongdoings of our superheroes, as they typically are (really) good looking. Together with some confirmation bias!
I am glad to hear The Raft has been included in your watchlist. I have no doubt you will like it. I had never heard of Lifeboat before (I know nothing about the works of Hitchcock). But I know that Genovés’s idea was inspired by an incident he witnessed on an airplane. So, who knows … Lifeboat + incident on plane = a very, very peculiar experiment!

Thank you for stopping by and disseminating wisdom around these quarters!
All the best to you 😊

I'm always surprised when you apologize for writing a "long post". They end too soon for me!

Thank you for delving into my musing. I'm certainly aware of my dark side...over the years, I've accumulated so many regrets because I've given vent to the worst in me. Taoism has it right: we have to acknowledge that both light and dark reside in us. If we don't acknowledge the weakness, we can't control it.

At the time of Eichmann's trial, my community, my school (I was an adolescent), lived in the shadow the Holocaust. Every child read The Diary of Ann Frank. It was almost impossible to accept that the ordinary man we saw in the dock had plotted and carried out such horrors. Arendt's phrase perfectly captured the moment.

Thank you @abigail-dantes for this rich post, which will send me scurrying to look up sources and certainly watch the Acali Experiment. I hope you have the most wonderful summer.

With great affection,
Your friend from steamy New York,
AG

When the comment section is as interesting as the original post - and the seven-day upvote/resteem window has passed - Steemit, we need more ways to "Like" and Re-blog!
This is great stuff. Dogs summoned me, and I haven't read past this yet: I would be surprised to hear you denying that you have a dark side. In fact, more than surprised, I would be concerned. For, the very acknowledgement of its existence is already a good start to keep it in check. Nevertheless, just in case you have a higher opinion of yourself than you should, just stop and try to think about the time(s) you behaved in a reprehensible manner. You know … put a person down when they were already upset, took advantage of someone’s generosity or, who knows, betrayed a loved one. #Loveit
And, yes, I often skip ahead to the comment section, then come back!

Hello my dearest @agmoore 😊 ❤

The positive aspect of regrets is that they give room for self-forgiveness. Accepting our faults as part of who we are just as we accept our strengths creates a solid sense of well-being. But, of course, it requires one to be able to look at one self non-judgmentally. This is no easy feat. However, whoever has the ability to be kind towards others, has the potential to be kind towards oneself. And that is the very starting point of a non-judgmental stance :)

Shivers run down my spine upon thinking that you actually lived through Eichman's trial 😳 what an event in history to witness (even if through the media)!

Well, thank you for (unintentionally) bringing me ideas of what to write about here on the platform. Your feedback means a lot to me. I am confident you will find The Raft something worth watching. It fascinated me.

Finally, thank you for your kind words. I am aware people don't have the time to read 1.500 word posts 😅 and I keep this in mind during my writing process. So, you are not really helping me by spoiling me through saying 'They end too soon for me!' 😝

Much, much love to you from hot, but very breezy Portugal.
❤ ❤ ❤

My dear @abigail-dantes,
As usual, your comment is full of wisdom.

whoever has the ability to be kind towards others, has the potential to be kind towards oneself.

That is key, I think, to compassion. As long as we allow ourselves to be driven by guilt and recrimination--toward ourselves or others--we cannot be driven by love. I do fight the guilt. It may be my Catholic upbringing, although guilt is a useful tool employed by many theologies and cultures. You're right...regret is only useful going forward if it alters behavior. I try not to repeat past errors, but still have clay feet 🙂

It was chilling to be witness to history. In 1958 I moved to New York City. My next-door neighbor was a schule. Grief over the holocaust in the community was palpable and personal. This gave me a kind of visceral insight into evil, and its consequences.

Thank you for taking the time to write for us during your summer. Always a treat when I see a new post from @abigail-dantes. 😇 Each and every post adds to my understanding of self, and others.

So glad you have breezes in sunny Portugal. No breezes here...just oppressive heat and humidity. Still, it's not snowing :))

With great affection and respect,
Your New York friend, ❤ ❤
AG

That raft study sounds wacky. I'm surprised anyone would volunteer for a 100+ day voyage on a raft. Also, for some reason the image is just a URL for that section.

Well, people are surprising! And yes ... The Acali was a very, very peculiar study.

@tking77798, I struggled a lot posting my article via the app (I still have to inform lemouth about this). After a long time formatting my post, the end result was incredibly untidy and I had to edit it through steemit,com anyways ... over there the Raft image is visible. Why that is not the case here remains a mystery to me!

Anyways, thank you SO much for stopping by.
All the best to you :D

We share an interest in this :)

If only it were always as easy to distinguish good from evil as experiments or history show us. The submissiveness of subordinates to their authorities is something that does not always happen consciously. In the various jobs I have worked through in my life, I have come to know premature obedience from people who have a quite surprising statement for me: If people orient themselves by an authoritative style of leadership and do not realize that they are doing so because they are afraid that they might be convicted of disobedience, it is probably a kind of habit.

I had a colleague who became famous for walking through the offices and corridors looking for things that weren't right. And every time she found something, she ordered her subordinates to tidy up or do a job that would not necessarily have required a job. This colleague was thoroughly disagreeable to me, and I found everything about her repulsive: her way of dressing, her vocal pitch with which she gave her instructions, her pettiness and pedantry towards other people, and in particular her conviction that people need her leadership who "cannot do it alone" or "are socially disadvantaged". From my point of view, she had unquestioningly adopted the worst sides of a leadership style she had known for years, which produced the worst of all human qualities: obedience without having been asked for it.

I wondered why I liked this woman so little. And I think it is now that I have read this article from you that I recognize myself in this woman. Whenever I observe others spreading an atmosphere of obedience, I feel reminded of having done just that. This part of me who feels uncomfortable when he is lazy at work, i.e. does not do an important job, is on guard against those who might notice such things and react negatively to them.

So my deep dislike is essentially not for this woman, but reminds me that I am ashamed to have shown similar behaviour. It is actually a good indicator because it prevents me from devaluing colleagues who have learned nothing else or who have not made themselves aware of it. Instead of defending myself against them, I can practice friendliness. Which is quite a difficult thing when you don't like someone. The true defense against evil in others is unconditional compassion for their shortcomings.

In order to help something like a Nazi regime to succeed, enough people have to be used to obeying for a long time and this comes to bear as soon as the situation becomes more extreme and the livelihood of people threatens or seems to become precarious and insecure. How quickly you become an adapted person yourself can be seen very clearly in extreme times. But if you take a closer look, you can also see it in times that are not marked by it.

The potential is always there, that's right:

Such findings consequently led Milgram to suggest that it is not so much who a person is that will determine their actions, but rather where they are and who they are with.

Every moment is important when you decide who you want to be. The question to yourself could be: For example, as what do I want to go down in the history of a company? How should people think of me or talk about me when I think ten years into the future? Which narrative do I want to choose or construct as ideal?

Hello there Erika :)

Thank you , once again, for taking the time to share your insights here with me/us. Your observation about obedience to authority being something that may happen outside of conscious awareness brings to mind some of the evolutionary psychology readings I have done. Following leaders have proved adaptive to humans and their evolutionary history of development in tribal communities. Consequently, as @aboutcoolscience remarked point blank in this very thread: "it is how we are wired".

The description of your co-worker's behaviour illustrates human's susceptibility to treat others inhumanely just because they have been assigned to a specific role. And of course, as you highlighted, especially when someone's idea of being a leader is limited and synonym to oppression.

I was fascinated by your self-reflection: your acknowledgement of having some of that which repulses you in you. That is precisely the aim of Taoism. It is this sort of reflection, I believe, that prepare us with the strength to be compassionate towards those who we are not particularly fond of.

And the queries you left for us here truly pave the way towards that path.

Thank you for this comment Erika!
Much love to you all the way from Portugal ❤😊

Thank you, Abi.

Right now we are in Italy/Tuscany on vacation. It's really hot here and we don't dare to drive to Florence in this heat (it's going to be 38 degrees). Maybe another day when we'll get up early enough to make the trip.

The Tao way of living is so far the best I can imagine. And the most difficult one to follow.

Sending you love back to Portugal! ❤

Goodness me Erika! Not even my home town in North East Brazil is that hot right now :D Still ... it all sounds wonderful! I wish you and the family a beautiful, beautiful summer holiday in Italy.

Much love :)

Excellent post, and great feedback from your readers!
I was struck by this: I wondered why I liked this woman so little. And I think ... I recognize myself in this woman. I was just reading Carl Jung and the Shadow: The Ultimate Guide to the Human Dark Side:

The “shadow” is a concept first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of the personality that we choose to reject and repress. For one reason or another, we all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like—or that we think society won’t like—so we push those parts down into our unconscious psyches. It is this collection of repressed aspects of our identity that Jung referred to as our shadow.
If you’re one of those people who generally loves who they are, you might be wondering whether this is true of you. “I don’t reject myself,” you might be thinking. “I love everything about me.”
However, the problem is that you’re not necessarily aware of those parts of your personality that you reject. According to Jung’s theory, we distance ourselves psychologically from those behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that we find dangerous.


So I'm repressing my inner tyrant, bully, bureaucrat, rule-enforcing autocrat?

I guess, your reply aimed at Abigail? but as you quoted me, I feel talked to :)

Yes, I have known the "shadow" Jung called that for a very long time, actually since my youth, when my good friend once mentioned that what we reject only annoys us so much because we recognized ourselves in it. Jung is right if he thought that was dangerous, because it is probably one of the most difficult insights someone dares to admit. For me, anger is a great indicator when I get terribly upset about another person in social interaction. Then I say to myself as a rule: If it upsets you so much, what does it have to do with you? Basically, something that we don't know or haven't experienced can't really excite us. You cannot judge the taste of bananas, nor be angry or delighted if you have never eaten bananas. So it is always an anchor for me to take a step back and reflect on myself when my feelings are aroused and I could then indulge and say to myself: "Oh well, I only have "bananas" :) Laugh!

To answer your last question: Yes, you do :D, we all do that. Good to know, yes?

Hi Abi! Glad to read from you. It was a long time :)

I would be surprised to hear you denying that you have a dark side. In fact, more than surprised, I would be concerned.

I deny having a bright side. Is it a problem? I work on dark matter after all. ;)

Arednt hypothesized that depending on the situation any ordinary Joe can end up behaving in monstrous ways

I was about to mention Milgram…. But you did it later in the post… Damned, for once I had something interesting to say…. I however did not know anything about the Acali experiment. I ma happy to have learned something :)

Denial is always a problem @lemouth! 😃

Yes, it is impossible not think of Milgram within this context. His work is truly that astounding. To this day, every time I find myself revisiting his work on Obedience to Authority I learn something new.

I am so pleased to hear you took some new information away from this post. I know you don't have bags of time. But, I highly recommend the recently released documentary about The Acali, called : The Raft. It unveils fascinating things about human behaviour and how NOT to conduct an experiment! 😆

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and take part in the discussion.
I trust the family is fine. I wish you all a great summer!

I am adding the documentary to the list of things I should go through... But the list is really huge, believe me :D

Now I have to read Milgram's Obedience to Authority!
Somewhere, I read that the sinking of the Titanic was due to obedience to authority. The White Star Line ordered full speed ahead, so Captain Smith obeyed, even though iceberg warnings....

Milgram's obedience study is a very influential and important one in the field of psychology and social sciences. If I was asked: what one psychology study do you recommend me to read I would say this one! Just in case you are pressed for time, I have written a description of it on my blog a couple of years ago. I attempted to make it concise and straight-forward. I hope you manage to get around it. This is the link: Obedience Study

Thank you for stopping by :)
Best,

Abigail

Thanks for the link and all the other information--it takes time to format a post on Steemit, and I appreciate the effort you put into it. )

😊🌷Thank you for re-esteeming my post!

Great article. That was really interesting. When I started reading I began to wonder if you were going to mention Milgrims experiment. Interestingly, Milgrims experiment has been replicated in recent times, but tweaked to get modern day ethics board approval. The results though were consistent with Milgrims results.

The theme or topic of the article also reminds me of the "Stanford prison experiment." You are probably aware of that experiment already but if not, it may be something you are interested in.

I was not aware of the raft experiment by Santiago Genoves. That sounds very interesting. I'll have to read about that further. I'm interested to learn more about that.

Overall, I definitely believe that all people are capable of extreme behavior under the right circumstances or with the proper "grooming." Often, as Milgrim pointed out, a series of small steps can lead to "shocking" results.....pun pun pun pun. Lol.

But in all seriousness, the Nazi Holocost was also a series of small steps as well that ultimately led to the over altocity in the end.

Great article as always! Well done

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Hey @leaky20 😊

Let me just start by telling you that I laughed out loud at this:

Often, as Milgrim pointed out, a series of small steps can lead to "shocking" results.....pun pun pun pun. Lol.

Oh my ... 😂

Yep, I am familiar with the SPE experiment as well as with the recent criticism towards it.

I only learnt about The Acali (The raft experiment) a couple of months ago through a recently released documentary my husband found when looking for something for us to watch.

Whenever you have 90 minutes to spare I recommend you to see it. It is both disturbing and fascinating. Mostly because Genovés was not testing a hypotheses (although, I assume, he thought he was); rather, he manipulated things in a way to arrive to the findings he wanted to see. Yet, the events developed in exactly the opposite way. Humans are indeed fascinating beings @leaky20.

As always, it pleases me very much to hear you enjoyed reading my writing. Your comments are very encouraging :)

I wish you a great, relaxing weekend.
All the best.

I'll admit, this had so much insights and pretty much stretched the perspectives thick and wide, Abby. You made sure to check every corner of the box.

Denying the existence of a dark side in every human would be illogical. Milgram's Obedience to Authority doesn't fall far from the obvious truth; A lot of supposedly good people have done stuff they're not exactly proud of, either through authoritative command or associative effects. Knowing how terrible we can get, and learning to embrace reasons why we shouldn't can help keep us in check.

I haven't read anything this good in a long time. I thank you.

Ow Pango (@pangoli) you write so beautifully. Well, you're a poet! What did I expect? :) Thank you for taking the time to leave me such kind, encouraging words my dear.

I wish you all the best,
Lots of love,
Abigail

Great Article!

I remember one time someone told me that there is always a BAD side inside of us - that is in a nutshell. Even if you are very religious, that believes in God (sorry Im a monotheistic person), there is still that evil within you.

But in my personal view about this, and my mindset to balance myself to be EVIL while doing GOOD. Is just to think EVIL, but by not doing it. An act/executing an Evil doing is really EVIL.

I think what makes us Good today, in this Era is because we know the consequences by doing it (unlike the past millenias, we were beasts, dominating nations and animals) - I dont know if this is already in the topic , you know it is very hard to comprehend this long Article D: . Anyways by what purpose is it for doing Evil right? There must be cause on why, and also the desire you want to accomplish.

I am recalling when my Mom told me about a Bad company corrupts a good character. - Makes sense but its not in the topic, it just made me recall this phrase.

Hey there @chuuuckie 😊

Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss this topic here with us, and present your views about it. I was particularly interested in your approach towards finding a balance between the 'evil' and 'good' aspects of our nature:

Is just to think EVIL, but by not doing it. An act/executing an Evil doing is really EVIL.

I do agree that putting in practice evil thoughts is much, much worse than just having them! But, as I see it, it is also important to keep those kind of thoughts in check. For the sake of our mental health and our immediate social environment (e.g. family, co-workers, neighbours)! For, our thoughts deeply influence the way we perceive and behave towards others and the world :)

I also like the way you highlighted the effect the consequences of evil actions have on stopping people from doing bad things. This very much the case in many, many scenarios. But, as for your question:

Anyways by what purpose is it for doing Evil right?

Remember the discussion here focus on how good, ordinary people just find themselves carrying out monstrous actions without a premeditated purpose. And, although you seem to think this is not in the topic, your mum is correct :) Milgram himself said, as I pointed out in the text:

it is not so much who a person is that will determine their actions, but rather where they are and who they are with.

I understand this is a complex topic and that this is a long article 😅 which makes me even more appreciative of you taking the time to read and provide feed back on it! I will keep your observation in mind while writing my next post 😉

Thank you @chuuuckie

I think we don't just have opposite personalities but we are a mosaic of several personalities that coexist and that are are reinforced by a number of factors such as experience, environment, social factors and especially by the presence of so-called influencers around us..it's true that we tend to follow what people around us do but I think that we tend to find "leaders" in our small communities and we are heavily influenced by them..it's how we are wired, we evolved in tribal communities and sometimes the survival of the whole community relied on selfish actions against members of other communities

Yes, yes, and yes :D

I always turn to this argument whenever this or similar topics arise @aboutcoolscience: "It is how we are wired as a result of the scenarios and challenges we faced as a species in our evolutionary past". The old "us and them". After all in-groups members come first! :)

This is a great comment! I really liked how you started it by discussing how we really are an amalgam of different characters, whichever one(s) will be enhanced depends on the context within we find ourselves in. If we live in an environment where narcissistic traits and individuals become the norm and become the "authority" figure ... well .... the rest is history 😕

Thank you for taking the time to take part in this discussion @aboutcoolscience. It means a lot to me :)

This is such a nice topic to be back with @abigail-dantes. I agree that good and bad is inherent in every human and society ends up determining which of the two will be dominant over the other. All other things being constant, fairness and justice in a society suppress a lot of bad in people living in that society while greed gradually waters the bad sides of people.

Nevertheless, humans have the power to be bad or be good but it bores down to taking control of yourself and your thinking.

Good work Abii. I am glad to be reading this lovely piece from you after a while. Much love from us down here.

How wonderful seeing your comment here my dear Shaid 😃

I truly appreciate the way you highlighted the importance the social world has in bringing out either what is good or bad within the people that comprise it. Without, however, addressing that one also has responsibility over one's actions :)

Thank you for the kind words my dear.
Much love to you and the little one ❤
I wish you all the best always.

This is a very nice piece Abbey.

I would be surprised to hear you denying that you have a dark side. In fact, more than surprised, I would be concerned.

While going through this, a particular thought came into me: In my opinion, and from what I have experienced with people, no matter how good someone might be, there might be an element of "dark side" in them. The only difference is that their good side has more dominance over their bad side.

Using Hooke's law of elasticity in physics as an example, it explains that the amount of force applied to an elastic material is directly proportional to the distance it stretches or compresses. In the same way, the amount of strain you put on someone might be bringing out the dark side in them.

I had an experience of this sometimes ago with my little niece in the nursery school. I packed in her toys when I was cleaning the house, not knowing that she was still using them... how she reacted against it sent a very warning signal to me - you see, even though some people might be very angelic, do not push them to unleash their dark side.

The Good Within

I believe in "the good within". No one is completely bad.. There is also an element of goodness in everyone, they only need to give expression to it.

Nice piece Abbey. Much love from Nigeria

Hello Sammi 😊 ❤

Thank you for enlightening me about Hooke's law of elasticity. This is something I will certainly take away and think about it a little further as it can be applied as an analogy to various scenarios in my filed.

However, I was particularly interested in your personal instance. First of all because it almost follows the quick debate we had last time about children and the origins of virtues :)

In the end, I believe it very much comes down to what you said at the beginning of your comment Sammi : good people are those whose good side dominates and keeps their bad side in check and vice-versa.

I am sending you lots of love from sunny Portugal.
It looks like we are going to have a very hot weekend over here :) 🌞
All the best to you my dear.

Abigail

Ooh, I have 60+ Psychology Addict posts to catch up on! I need to round them up into one big document so I can read via my Kindle, in the car, without wi-fi. (And I'll be riding in the car a lot this week.) For now I'll just leave you with this:
*“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” --Mark Twain

And if I already put that in the comment section, mea culpa!
I try not to be redundant, but I repeat myself daily...




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The human being has evil in his being, some can have control and control of their actions but others can not control their actions. There are demons that take advantage of that and take control of that person leading them to do things that they never thought to do. That's why some people who have committed murder, then they say with sincerity, I do not know what happened to me ... or I do not know why I did it. There is a real spiritual world. Of course, there is also that person who enjoys doing evil.

Hello @blessed-girl :)

Thank you for taking the time to comment and share your perspective on this subject. What I liked the most about your input was how you differentiated people who are generally good in life and can fall prey to unfortunate circumstances from those who actually actively seek to be harmful to others and their surroundings.

Have a great day!
Best,

Abigail

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