Does evil exist?How many of you consider yourselves good?Is one born evil or is it a learned trait?
From Lucifer to Satan…
Show of hands…..How many persons are seeing angels?
Of the nine million Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust, approximately two-thirds were killed.Over one million Jewish children were killed in the Holocaust, as were approximately two million Jewish women and three million Jewish menRecent estimates, based on figures obtained since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, indicate some ten to eleven million civilians (mostly Slavs) and prisoners of war were intentionally murderedVictims:Jews in Europe and Germany Romani people (Gypsies) Poles Soviet POWs Slavs in Eastern Europe Homosexuals People with disabilities Freemasons Jehovah's Witnesses
Over the course of approximately 100 days (April 6 through mid-July) over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate. Estimates of the death toll have ranged from 500,000–1,000,000, or as much as 20% of the country's total population.Perpetrators: Hutu-led government, Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi militiasNtrama Church Altar5,000 people seeking refuge in this house of God were killed by grenade, machete, rifle and burning alive. Most of it has been moved into another building, but among the pews remains jawbones, leg bones, childrens shoes, hairpicks, scarves and more.
Jonestown , Guyana1978
"This is international standards," said Karpinski, in an earlier interview with CBS. "It's the best care available in a prison facility.“Brig. Gen. Janice Karpinskiwas been dismissed from her post, and 6 U.S. soldiers face charges.Reservists
Imagine that you've volunteered for an experiment, but when you show up at the lab you discover the researcher wants you to murder an innocent person. You protest, but the researcher firmly states, "The experiment requires that you do it." Would you acquiesce and kill the person?Milgram recruited nice, salt-of-the-earth, God-fearing New Haven, Conn., residents and asked them to serve as “teachers” in what he told them was a study to determine how negative reinforcement improves memory.The teachers were instructed to ask words from a list the students were to have studied to test their memory. Whenever the student got an answer wrong, the teacher was told to pull a lever that delivered a shock to the student. The levers went from 15 volts (labeled “Slight Shock”) to 450 volts (“Danger – Severe Shock”). Each wrong answer led to an increase in voltage the next time.The experiment began. The learner started getting some wrong answers, and pretty soon the shocks had reached 120 volts. At this point the learner started crying out, "Hey, this really hurts." At 150 volts the learner screamed in pain and demanded to be let out. Confused, the volunteers turned around and asked the researcher what they should do. He always calmly replied, "The experiment requires that you continue." Milgram had no interest in the effect of punishment on learning. What he really wanted to see was how long people would keep pressing the shock button before they refused to participate any further. Would they remain obedient to the authority of the researcher up to the point of killing someone?To Milgram's surprise, even though volunteers could plainly hear the agonized cries of the learner echoing through the walls of the lab from the neighboring room, two-thirds of them continued to press the shock button all the way up to the end of scale, 450 volts, by which time the learner had fallen into an eerie silence, apparently dead. Milgram's subjects sweated and shook, and some laughed hysterically, but they kept pressing the button. Even more disturbingly, when volunteers could neither see nor hear feedback from the learner, compliance with the order to give ever greater shocks was almost 100%. Milgram later commented, "I would say, on the basis of having observed a thousand people in the experiment and having my own intuition shaped and informed by these experiments, that if a system of death camps were set up in the United States of the sort we had seen in Nazi Germany, one would be able to find sufficient personnel for those camps in any medium-sized American town."
Sheridan and King told their subjects — volunteers from an undergraduate psychology course — that the puppy was being trained to distinguish between a flickering and a steady light. It had to stand either to the right or the left depending on the cue from the light. If the animal failed to stand in the correct place, the subjects had to press a switch to shock it. As in the Milgram experiment, the shock level increased 15 volts for every wrong answer. But unlike the Milgram experiment, the puppy really was getting zapped.As the voltage increased, the puppy first barked, then jumped up and down, and finally started howling with pain. The volunteers were horrified. They paced back and forth, hyperventilated, and gestured with their hands to show the puppy where to stand. Many openly wept. Yet the majority of them, twenty out of twenty-six, kept pushing the shock button right up to the maximum voltage. Intriguingly, the six students who refused to go on were all men. All thirteen women who participated in the experiment obeyed right up until the end.
It took about one day for every subject to suddenly “insane”. On only the second day, prisoners staged a riot in the faux detention center, with prisoners barricading their cells with their beds and taunting the guards. The guards saw this as a pretty good excuse to start squirting fire extinguishers at them.Some guards began forcing inmates to sleep naked on the concrete, restricting the bathroom as a privilege (one that was often denied). They forced prisoners to do humiliating exercises and had them clean toilets with their bare hands.Incredibly, when "prisoners" were told they had a chance at parole, and then the parole was denied, it didn't occur to them to simply ask out of the experiment. Remember they had absolutely no legal reason to be imprisoned, it was just a role-playing exercise. This fact continued to escape them as they sat naked in their own filth, with bags on their heads.Over 50 outsiders had stopped to observe the prison, but the morality of the trial was never questioned until Zimbardo's girlfriend, Christina Maslach, strongly objected. After only six days, Zimbardo put a halt to the experiment.
"That line between good and evil is permeable," Zimbardo said. "Any of us can move across it....I argue that we all have the capacity for love and evil--to be Mother Theresa, to be Hitler or Saddam Hussein. It's the situation that brings that out."
Zimbardo said the experiment provides several lessons about how situations can foster evil
Particularly notable, Zimbardo said, is that people are seduced into evil by dehumanizing and labeling others."They semantically change their perception of victims, of the evil act, and change the relationship of the aggressor to their aggression--so 'killing' or 'hurting' becomes the same as 'helping,'" he said.For example, in a 1975 experiment by psychologist Albert Bandura, PhD, college students were told they'd work with students from another school on a group task. In one condition, they overheard an assistant calling the other students "animals" and in another condition, "nice." Bandura found students were more apt to deliver what they believed were increased levels of electrical shock to the other students if they had heard them called "animals."
People's aggression can also increase when they feel anonymous--for example if they wear a uniform, hood or mask, Zimbardo said."You minimize social responsibility," he explained. "Nobody knows who you are, so therefore you are not individually liable. There's also a group effect when all of you are masked. It provides a fear in other people because they can't see you, and you lose your humanity.“"You don't need a motive," Zimbardo said. "All you really need is a situation that facilitates moving across that line of good and evil."
Dehumanization is one of the central processes in the transformation of ordinary, normal people into indifferent or even wanton perpetrators of evil. Dehumanization is like a “cortical cataract” that clouds one’s thinking and fosters the perception that other people are less than human. It makes some people come to see those others as enemies deserving of torment, torture, and even annihilation.Dehumanization has taken three forms:Nazi Comic Books against the Jews; Faces of the Enemy—world-wide propaganda images of the “enemy,” and “trophy photos” of American citizens posing with African Americans who had been lynched or burned alive—and then portrayed in post cards mailed to family and friends.
Hitler’s “final solution” of genocide of all European Jews began by shaping the beliefs of school children through the reading of assigned texts in which Jews are portrayed in a series of increasingly negative scenarios. At the end of these lessons in civics or geography, we see the “reasonable” discriminatory actions that Germans should take toward Jews.
What does it take for the citizens of one society to hate the citizens of another society to the degree that they want to segregate them, torment them, even to kill them? It requires a ‘hostile imagination,’ a psychological construction embedded deeply in their minds by propaganda that transforms those others into “The Enemy.”
For over 100 years, many American citizens took “vigilante” actions against African Americans by lynching them or burning them alive, on various pretexts. It became common practice to record this violence by taking photos of the murdered men and women along with their murderers and observers.Photograph: Etched in negative, "George and Ed SILSBEE HANGED by a MOB of CITIZENS IN FRONT OF JAIL. Jan. 20, 1900. Fort Scott Kan. Flash Light by Dabbs"
So is it a few bad apples that spoil a barrel? "That's what we want to believe--that we could never be a bad apple," Zimbardo said. "We're the good ones in the barrel." But people can be influenced, regardless of their intention to resist, he said.As such, the Abu Ghraib soldiers' mental state--such as stress, fear, boredom and heat exhaustion, coupled with no supervision, no training and no accountability--may have further contributed to their "evil" actions, he noted.
Angels & Demons
TUESDAY OCTOBER 22, 2013
• Mass murder or genocide of approximately
six million Jews during World War II
• Programme of systematic state-sponsored
murder by Nazi Germany
• German Reich and German-occupied
• Recent estimates indicate some ten to
eleven million civilians (mostly Slavs) and
prisoners of war were intentionally
Image courtesy of Yad Vashem
• Mass slaughter of the Tutsis by the Hutus that
took place in 1994
• Over 500,000 people were killed
• Culmination of longstanding ethnic competition
• Pro-peace Hutus, who were portrayed as
"traitors" and "collaborators“ killed as well
• As an ideology, Hutu Power asserted that the
Tutsi intended to enslave the Hutu and must be
resisted at all costs.
Ntrama Church Altar
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
• 909 victims (303 children)
• Died of apparent cyanide poisoning
• Murder of five individuals at a
• Greatest single loss of American
civilian life in a deliberate act until
the September 11, 2001 attacks
Rev. Jim Jones
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
ABU GHRAIB TORTURE AND PRISONER
From late 2003 to early 2004, during the War in Iraq,
military police personnel of the United States Army and the
Central Intelligence Agency committed human rights
violations against prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison.
They physically and sexually abused, tortured, raped,
sodomized, and killed prisoners.
Karpinski (left), who was
responsible for military jails
in Iraq, meets with Donald
SHERIDAN AND KING EXPERIMENT
STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT
• A.k.a. Obedience Experiment
• Conducted by a young psychologist
named Stanley Milgram in 1961 at
• Tested how malleable human
conscience is in the face of authority
• Result: If the request is presented in
the right way, almost all of us quite
obediently become killers.
SHERIDAN AND KING EXPERIMENT
• Conducted by Charles Sheridan and
Richard King in 1963
• Decided to repeat Milgram's
experiment, introducing one
significant difference. Instead of
using an actor, they would use an
actual victim who would really get
• They couldn't use a human for this
purpose, so they used the next best
thing — a cute, fluffy puppy.
STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT
• Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D. was curious
about why prisons are such violent
• Mock prison in the basement of the
Stanford psychology department.
• Randomly assigned half of
volunteers to play the role of
prisoners and the other half to play
SEDUCED INTO EVIL
• Provide people with an ideology to justify beliefs for actions.
• Make people take a small first step toward a harmful act with a
minor, trivial action and then gradually increase those small
• Make those in charge seem like a "just authority.“
• Transform a once compassionate leader into a dictatorial figure.
• Provide people with vague and ever-changing rules.
• Re-label the situation's actors and their actions to legitimize the
• Provide people with social models of compliance.
• Allow dissent, but only if people continue to comply with orders.
• Make exiting the situation difficult.
At the core of evil is the process of dehumanization by
which certain other people or collectives of them, are
• less than human
• non comparable in humanity or personal dignity to
those who do the labeling