Blind Obedience

@worldwise1 (14890)
United States
March 24, 2008 2:20pm CST
Sometimes we are faced with tough choices in life. Two things happened recently that gave me the idea for this discussion. The first was a book I was reading where one of the characters was faced with choosing to follow the orders of his superior or do what he knew to be the right thing in this case. On the same day I was watching a documentary film that dealt with a study to find out just how far people would blindly follow instructions even at the cost of inflicting pain upon others. In this test the participants were instructed to increase the amount of pain incrementally whenever the test subjects supplied the wrong answers. They were totally unaware that this was all a sham. The outcome was surprising due to the fact that the number of participants who blindly followed the instructions and meted out the punishment to the maximum degree far exceeded the number projected by the study's organizers. This brings me to my question for you: How far would you go in following orders even if it meant inflicting pain on innocent victims? If you were asked to participate in such a study would you be willing?
4 people like this
10 responses
@weemam (13389)
24 Mar 08
I could never do that , I can't even get really angry with people it is just my way , I could not imagine anyone doing that xx
2 people like this
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
25 Mar 08
There are some unbelievably cruel people in this world, weemam, and I'm happy you're not one of them!
1 person likes this
@weemam (13389)
25 Mar 08
Thanks pal xx
@klaudyou (501)
24 Mar 08
This test you are talking about is about the lack of empathy people suffer from...they induced pain to the other because we have a hidden desire for provoking pain...and the fact does not disturb us if we don't see the "victim"...it's like in wars, when one can kill mor efficiently when in an anonimous position... But to answer your question, yes, that is true to some extent, meaning that we have the instinct to bow to the more powerfull ones. This power could be charisma, persuasion, authority...and so on...We obbey by instinct if others obbey...The crowd favorizes this behaviour, since we think less in these situations. The problem is when that authority makes a mistake, or does something that makes his "power" incoherent...It suddenly turns to hate...we have proofs for that in the history... Some are meant to rule, the majority is made to obbey...it's how it works, it's our ancestral education so far...
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
25 Mar 08
I really like your response, klaudyou! The situation you described is exactlt the scenario I was speaking of.
@klaudyou (501)
25 Mar 08
Thanks for appreciation. See you around!
@carmelanirel (21108)
• United States
24 Mar 08
No way, to do something blindly is foolish..And I would not inflict pain on innocent victims, that is just cruel and what the world is starting to see as normal..
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
25 Mar 08
This study was done at the end of Hitler's reign of terror, carmelanirel, just to find out how many people would be that susceptible.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Mar 08
Well hopefully people have wised up since then, but sometimes I wonder..
@carolbee (16243)
• United States
24 Mar 08
I would not participate in a study of this nature as inflicting pain on others is not my idea of a good time. It would hurt me to the core if I intentionally hurt someone. Wouldn't matter if I knew the person or not.
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
25 Mar 08
During this study, carolbee, there were a few of the participants who refused to go the limit, and that is to their credit. Still, there are the majority who could not stop themselves from following orders.
• United States
24 Mar 08
If I were to asked to participate in such a study, I would have respectfully decline.I don't blindly follow anyone. You know how a two year old will ask why to every question? Well I still ask why. I asked why of my parents, the two people you should trust over anyone.And nothing changed. If I can't see why to do something, especially different from the way I were to do it, I won't do it.
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
25 Mar 08
I find it hard to understand how any right-thinking person would participate in such a study, sarah, especially if they had previous knowledge of what would be required of them.
1 person likes this
@anniepa (27159)
• United States
24 Mar 08
I certainly hope I wouldn't be willing to inflict pain on any innocent victims no matter who ordered me to do so. I know when someone is in the military and goes to war this sometimes is necessary but I couldn't do it and that's one reason why I could never be in the military. Annie
1 person likes this
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
25 Mar 08
Neither could I, anniepa! It sort of makes you understand conscientious objectors more, doesn't it?
@MsTickle (25006)
• Australia
27 Mar 08
I think if I was aware I was inflicting pain that I would get to a point then simply stop and be unable to go further. I don't know if I would be willing to participate. Imagine participating and being on the receiving end....who would go for that?
@zed_k4 (17633)
• Singapore
25 Mar 08
Hi there worldwise, I think that you have started out a pretty good discussion. As for myself, to answer your question, I truthfully and honestly wouldn't inflict even a bit of violence on someone, especially a being of its own; be it an animal or a human itself. I don't have the heart for it. I would rather be punished by my superior or in charge rather than inflict such a thing on others. But I do agree with you that perhaps we tend to do that at times, or rather under a difficult circumstance. However, we could be quick to realize that it's wrong and not repeat it after knowing that. I wouldn't be repeating it should I did because it would play on my conscience for as long as I live. Good topic here ;)
@Darkwing (21590)
25 Mar 08
I wouldn't go anywhere at all in obeying orders like that. I would have to say my piece, and then disappear. I despise conflict, and even moreso, inflicting pain on anybody. I spend my life trying to heal and comfort people, so even if they paid me, I wouldn't obey the orders of these petty-minded fools. Brightest Blessings.
@mummymo (23709)
25 Mar 08
Sweetheart I would dearly love to believe that I would fight against obeying orders like these! I find it intolerable to hurt innocent people for no reason - I even dislike inflicting any sort of pain - even on those I may feel I have reason to! I would not want anything to do with such a study, it goes against everything I believe in! xxx