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Why do ordinary people do bad things... or good things?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by BhagatSingh, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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  3. spnadmin

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    In 2004, Zimbardo testified for the defense in the court martial of Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, a guard at Abu Ghraib prison. He argued that Frederick's sentence should be lessened due to mitigating circumstances, explaining that few individuals can resist the powerful situational pressures of a prison, particularly without proper training and supervision. The judge apparently disregarded Zimbardo's testimony, and gave Frederick the maximum 8-year sentence.

    Now this is not an idle question. I wonder why the Honorable Judge disregarded Zimbardo's testimony. Why did he not buy it? Why was he not convinced? :rolleyes:
     
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  4. harbansj24

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    The judge is also a human being and he gets swayed by the strong public sentiments in the case.

    There is another interesting case of gruesome killings of young women and children in a house in Noida. There was so much public revulsion against the owner of the house that the district court sentenced him to death even though it was proved that the owner was away in Australia at the time of crime. The reason judge gave was that surely the would have known of the crime but he did nothing to prevent it!
    Now the high court has reversed the judgment of District court and absolved him of the charge in the particular case. However he continues to remain in custody on account of other murders.
     
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  5. spnadmin

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    harbhansji

    I think the judge was of a different opinion because he did not buy Zimbardo's basic premise. As I see/hear it -- we are not responsible for our actions if we are pressed into action by social pressure.

    When act under social pressure, the pressure explains what we did. But does it absolve us from personal responsibility for those acts?

    Just asking -- mostly because I myself do not believe in social determinism. Let's see how it goes.
     
  6. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    How come?

    Zimbardo does present evidence for his premise, and its compelling. Seems to me like we need to change our "punishment-for-criminal-acts" system. The question that comes to mind is How? but too tired to think about it at the moement.
     
  7. spnadmin

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    Because in many instances individuals have made choices that contradict the social variables that supposedly shape their behavior.
     
  8. BhagatSingh

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    When? Where? Who?
     
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  9. spnadmin

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    Well first tell me how one video can present "compelling" evidence of anything. Compelling evidence in the social sciences depends on the replication of many controlled studies.

    Then in brief -- throughout Sikh history there are stories of martyrs who defied social variables, pressures to act in certain ways, influences and rewards that shape responses to moral problems, and conventions that could have directed them to make different choices in their lives. What were the conditions of social determinism that led them to choose martyrdom? Why does anyone choose martyrdom?

    "It seems to me" ;) that we need to balance the thesis of Zimbardo against at least one competing hypothesis, perhaps one coming from the field of ethics that argues that morality is not situated or contextual, to get a better perspective on how "compelling" Zimbardo's arguments really are.

    Have to sign off. It is 1:30 am in the morning. Will be interested to read your reply.
     
  10. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    So if I am to buy this whole premise, the members of that mob that came and murdered my family in Delhi in 1984 must be excused because they were part of a a mob and under social pressure to murder men with long hair and beards.

    That is such a ridiculously stupid premise that I wonder why I am bothering to even write about it.

    OK, it's late on a Saturday night, and I'll try a little harder.

    Narayanjot Kaur ji said:
    Bhagat Singh ji responded:

    Shall we start with Bhagat Singh during the independence struggle in the Raj?

    Or if you don't buy that, how about:

    Talk about social pressure: the eight of us in the house were the crazy ones who didn't shed our Sikh identity and run away and hide with kindly Hindus. The others who cut and ran and hid, regarded us as insane and tried to pressure us into following their cowardice and acting as they did, but we refused.

    Either we were going against the "social variables that supposedly shape their behavior" or they were. Here is a group with the same "social variables that supposedly shape their behavior" taking diametrically opposed actions.

    No ice cream tonight.
     
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    #9 Mai Harinder Kaur, Sep 20, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2009
  11. spnadmin

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    Mai ji - Your example is exactly what inspired me to respond in the first place. :wah::wah::wah:
     
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  12. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    Narayanjot ji,

    Not that it really matters, but in the zeal of late Saturday night overkill, I actually gave three examples. May I ask to which you are referring?

    And, Bhagat ji, please respond.:feedback:

    :ice: YUMMMM!!!
     
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  13. spnadmin

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    The entire post -- all 3 examples make up one scenario of wickedness versus goodness that I appreciate.
     
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  14. BhagatSingh

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    Narayanjot Kaur Ji and Mai Harinder ji,

    NJ:

    Cmon Naraynjot Kaur ji, he presents those studies that were done! He talks about the studies done by Stanley Milgram at 9:46. Then later talks about his own "Prison Study" at 13:15.


    Go over his premise again, it's at 7:20.
    He says people are the "Actors on the stage" but that's not the only factor that determines what they do. You must also look "at the stage, the director, etc..." He says "social scientists stop there." They fail to consider the system (political, econimic and cultural background).
    So the answer to your question = the "system" laid down by the Gurus and "perfected" by Guru Gobind Singh ji, through the Khalsa.



    MH:


    So you think they were evil people, and were not transformed by the situation and system?
    I am sorry about what happened to you and your family but the people you who did that to you were people just like you...
     

    You are writing about it because of the situation, and because of the dispositional effect it had on you. You also find it rdiculous for the same reasons. It's not ridiculous, I advise you to review his premise at 7:20, it seemed from the last bit of your response that you did not quite understand it.


    Bhagat Singh was heroic for the reasons and evidence presented in the video. I dont think any of you have watched the video without the usual "filters".

    BTW his premise is not "social pressure".
     
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  15. spnadmin

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    You are going to have your hands full! First I will give a lesson in social science research. Then I will give a lesson in moral theology.

    And Mai ji has a heap lot more to say I am sure. :happy:
     
  16. BhagatSingh

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    Haha, alright. I look forward to the lessons.
     
  17. Lee

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    I on the other hand think that social determinism is a massivly string force to be reconed with, yet you are still correct Narayanjot ji, we are still responsible for our actions and although the pull of social determinism is very strong indeed, it is possible to counter it or ignore it all together.

    Morality and by that I mean personal morality is entirly up to you and yes, it is more than likely it fits with social morality, yet we do have freedom of choice and therefore can only really be held accountable for our own actions, barring mental illness of course.
     
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  18. Randip Singh

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    Ok let’s analyse what people do evil things purely from a Sikh perspective. It is inexorably linked to the 5 thieves. Lets use the 1984 example as a case. Those mobs that came had let themselves be taken by the 5 thieves:

    · Kaam – some of them were taken by lust and had on their minds that they were going to rape;
    · Krodh – some were angry and wanted revenge for what they perceived the Sikh community had done to Indira Gandhi;
    · Moh – some just wanted to loot and take what the Sardars had
    · Lobh – some motivated by greed and wanting what the Sardars had;
    · Hankaar – pure Egotism in the minds of these mobs, in that they thought they were some sort of brave avengers who bravely, by out numbering Sardars to a ratio of at least 10 to 1 had managed to subjugate them.

    What feeds the above jealousy, envy, hatred, fear and cowardice. This animal like behaviour actually makes one evil, because as a human being (unlike animals), we have a choice. We can control these animal instincts. It was literally self will run riot.

    In the minds of these cowardly rioters, they hide the truth, but they cannot escape it, because they know if they cam face to face with Sardars one on one or even 2 on one they would lose. There were scores of cases where Sikhs managed to gather in a few hundred and took on mobs of 3000 odd and hacked the mobs to shreds, sending them fleeing in terror from the Sardars. Alas this was too far and few.

    My take on this is, people who are evil are self centred to the extreme. They are incapable or unwilling to be God willed. In some instances they claim they are carrying out the will of God when in reality they are carrying out their own will. These people are not ones who do things on the spur of the moment (because I am sure we have all suffered from the 5 thieves at some point), but are like that either through nature or nurture.
     
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  19. spnadmin

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    Bhagat ji

    Apologies. It is going to be a couple of day before I can do justice to our conversation, and get back to it. Former forum member Singh ji has been asking some "urgent" :}{}{}: questions about my religious standing on the blog of The Khalsa Fauj -- and I am going to have to spend some brief time addressing his issues on that site. :rolleyes: I will let you know how it went. :whisling::roll:
     
  20. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    And I am also very busy on about 6 different projects ranging from trying to help figure out how to raise money to build a school in Jakarta (sound familiar, all?) to preparing my book for submission for publication.

    Bhagat Singh ji, if you're not too old or too serious or too jaded to read a book for Sikh children, why not take a peek? It's very loosely based on my life . It's light reading and comes complete with talking fish, including some very nasty piranhas. I admit it's not as sophisticated as your video, but perhaps you could explain the heroes and villains in this story, using his ideas.

    It's called The Brave Little Fish. I know, I know, a shameless plug. But a shameless plug is better than no plug at all!

    [​IMG]

    CK :ice:
     
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  21. spnadmin

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    Well, I am back after all of that. It is a great book. I read it. :happy:
     

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