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Thread: Only individuals are monsters

  1. #31


    People have said the things that I was going to say, so I'll just leave a quote from Phillip Zimbardo here:
    While a few bad apples might spoil the barrel (filled with good fruit/people), a vinegar barrel will always transform sweet cucumbers into sour pickles -- regardless of the best intentions, resilience, and genetic nature of those cucumbers.
    Some researchers point at certain individuals' lack of an "empathy chip," so to speak, but societal structures and beliefs have much more potential to influence people toward good or bad decisions and actions.

  2. #32
    Senior Member Array ZPowers's Avatar
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    Feb 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Groupthink can neutralise personal responsibility or personal conscience perhaps there's a lot of hivemindedness and herd instinct in people yet but its still an individual choosing and acting.
    I agree with Lark here. Obviously individuals can be monsters, but groups acting together can have a sort of contagious disregard, in particular if emotionally stirred. Someone posted the link to the Standford Prison Experiment, or if you look at something like the My Lai Massacre or the actions of say the guards of concentration camps of Nazi Germany or Lynch mobs. I doubt each, or maybe even any, of those people would have individually and independently chosen to do the horrific things, but there's something about crowds that I do think causes it. It may be that crowds are an excellent place for aggrevation to bounce off one person and onto another and just quickly escalate like a fire, it may be that it's easier to accept yourself doing horrible things if you are not alone or even in the majority, and it could be that a group dilutes a sense of personal responsibility and guilt for whatever occurs.
    Does he want a pillow for his head?

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