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How Good People
   Turn Evil

        Jonathan Nausner
    612.719 Presentation Skills
Violence
From the
very beginning...




                    Cain and Abel (Titian, ca 1570-1576)
Through all ages




                   Achilles dragging Hector
barbaric




   Invasion of the Barbarians in Rome (Ulpiano Checa Sanz, 1887)
or enlightened,




                  The Execution of Marie Antoinette
in all
cultures


Aztec ritual
human sacrifice
(Codex
Magliabechiano)
for all religions




         The Stoning of St. Stephan (Vittore Carpaccio, 1520)
for all ideologies




              The Executions of the Third of May (Goya)
we have found ways
to hurt,




             Torture tools on convict ship Success
mutilate,




Medieval execution
torture,




       Torture methods used by the inquisition (18th Century)
kill each other.




         KZ Buchenwald : Verbrennungsöfen im Krematorium
Our history is written in
blood.




But why?
Every society
views killing people as evil.
A Psychological
Definition of Evil




        Philip Zimbardo
        professor emeritus at Stanford University
        „...
"The Exercise of Power to
 intentionally
 harm (psychologically)
 hurt (physically) and/or
 destroy (mortally) and
 commit...
Who is Evil?
Good   Evil

„us“   „evil-doers“
We see Evil as an outside force
interrupting our lives.




                           Charles Manson
We consider Evil an entity,
a quality that is inherent in
some people.




                                Adolf Hitler
That turns people
into monsters.




                    Josef Fritzl
Unspeakable
cruelties must
have been
committed by
disturbed minds.




                   Ted Bundy
But not us.

We would never do
anything like this.

It‘s not in us normal people.
In the last 100 years
50 million people
were systematically killed.

By government decrees and
people who executed them.
Our century of genocides
could not be perpetrated
by psychopaths, sadists,
sociopaths alone.
Now what if a monster were
     not a monster at all?




Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)
Political Theorist and Philosopher
Adolf Eichmann was in
charge of the mass
deportation and killing
of Jews.
He was responsible for
millions killed.

In 1960...
"He did his duty...; he not
only obeyed orders, he also
obeyed the law."

                  Adolf Eichmann at his trial
The Banality of Evil
"The great evils in history
generally, and the Holocaust
in particular, were not
executed by fanatics or
sociopaths but ra...
...did his duty...


Former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim (middle) was SA intellligence officer and must have
         ...
Lynching postcards
Not
Who is Evil?
but

What makes us Evil?
From Good to Evil
Understanding transformation of people

✦   Dispositional (Inside of Individual)

✦   Situational (Exter...
Milgram Experiment (1961)




Stanley Milgram (1933-1984)
Social Psychologist
Could the Holocaust happen
again in America?
Learner (actor) is attached
to shock apparatus.
Teacher shocks Learner
for every wrong answer
with authority pressure.
Starts with 15 volt




    Learner starts
       screaming


Asks to be released


     Claims heart
        condition


...
So how many people would
kill the learner?
Colleagues estimated (based on the percentage of people
with violent psychologi...
Two thirds would torture
and eventually kill.
            450 Volt       Ended Experiment




            35 %



        ...
Milgram proved how easy
normal, decent people can be
coerced into sadistic, deadly
behavior.
The experiment was repeated t...
Stanford Prison Experiment (1971)




Philip Zimbardo (born 1933)
Social Psychologist
Zimbardo picked 24 male
students, made sure they were
healthy and mentally stable.

12 were assigned prison guards,
the ot...
On day one the prisoners were
taken in custody by real police.
Guards were
equipped with
uniforms and
symbols of power
Prisoners were reduced to numbers
and subjected to degradation rituals
✦ Experiment took up life of its own
✦ Situation worsened daily

✦ Nervous breakdowns of prisoners

  within 36 hours
✦ Se...
Within hours good college
students had turned into
sadistic perpetrators of evil.
If the
Stanford Prison Experiment
was the verification by
experiment,
then Abu Ghraib was the
observation in real life.
The Lucifer Effect

Identifying the
7 factors on the
slippery slope
towards evil.
1.Mindlessly taking the first step


„Evil always starts at 15 Volt“
2.Dehumanization
3.De-Individuation of self

Anonymity
Deindividuation

                       NO CHANGE   CHANGED



         Kill   LOW        7          3       10

      Tor...
4.Blind Obedience
to Authority

5.Diffusion of Personal
Responsibility
6.Uncritical Conformity to
Group Norms
7.Passive Tolerance of Evil
Through Inaction or
Indifference
The Road to Evil

✦ Mindlessly taking the first step
✦ Dehumanization

✦ De-Individuation

✦ Diffusion of Personal Respons...
Another aspect of
the Lucifer Effect:

The factors not only
lead to evil.          Evil              Good

We can change
t...
Promoting Heroism
We don‘t need to aspire
being like the traditional
heroes who devoted all
their life to a cause.
We don‘t need our fantasy
heroes and their unrealistic
abilities as rolemodels.
Banality of Heroism
as counterpoint to the
Banality of Evil.

Ordinary people do
heroic deeds.
Christine Maslach
walked into the
Stanford Prison
Experiment and told
Philip Zambardo,
„You have to stop
what you are doin...
Milgram revisited:
The potential of one hero.
Milgram also ran a study in
which the participants
witnessed a teacher
dissenting and ending the
experiment.

The result?
450 Volt            Ended Experiment




                       10 %




                90 %




Deadly shocks down to 10...
Heroic action
means taking a risk.

But Inaction is not
an option.
Joe Darby is the
Army Reservist who
leaked the photos of
Abu Ghraib.

He was forced to live
in hiding for 3 years.
Heroic Imagination

Think it, then do it.

Internalize this:
That when I
become aware
of the need to
act on behalf
of others
needing help
or being the
victim of evil
forces,
I will be ready and able to
take the necessary action.
I am a hero-in-waiting.
Creating a culture of heroism

www.EverydayHeroism.org
Thank for your attention.
How good people turn evil
How good people turn evil
How good people turn evil
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How good people turn evil

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A presentation I gave for university course aptly named "Presentation Skills" – It's mostly based on Phil Zimbardo's insightful book "The Lucifer Effect".
More info on the website: LuciferEffect.org and link to http://www.LuciferEffect.org/
Look for him presenting on TED.com.

Published in: Education
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  • Thanks for sharing this, Jonathan. Powerful. And, thanks for recommending the 90 year old veteran video. Shows how senseless war is and how human soldiers are. Jeanne
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  • My definition of evil, is a bit different, but better for knowing when you are becoming evil (before acting on this evil).

    'Evil is when you stop seeing another living being as a living being.'

    Everyone is capable of evil, is in our internal wiring, because its useful as it allows us to not think of the suffering of the cow when we are eating a hamburger, (or the destruction of a vegetable for the vegans).

    However the same brain wiring allows us to don't care of the harm we are doing to someone else, as we don't see the other person or living being as a living being or a person. Thus even the sanest person is quite capable of doing evil and not thinking they are.

    Murder, robbery, rape, etc. All begin when you stop seeing another living being as a living being and start seeing them as an object or a number. And of course you will not think you are doing evil, but instead you will try and rationalize it as, 'we are doing our job', 'its their fault', etc.
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  • After reading this presentation please watch this:

    We need to remember we are all human beings.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJynOWktP7U
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  • Thanks for this presentation
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  • very interesting to read posted at http://thecuriousbrain.com/
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Transcript of "How good people turn evil"

  1. 1. How Good People Turn Evil Jonathan Nausner 612.719 Presentation Skills
  2. 2. Violence
  3. 3. From the very beginning... Cain and Abel (Titian, ca 1570-1576)
  4. 4. Through all ages Achilles dragging Hector
  5. 5. barbaric Invasion of the Barbarians in Rome (Ulpiano Checa Sanz, 1887)
  6. 6. or enlightened, The Execution of Marie Antoinette
  7. 7. in all cultures Aztec ritual human sacrifice (Codex Magliabechiano)
  8. 8. for all religions The Stoning of St. Stephan (Vittore Carpaccio, 1520)
  9. 9. for all ideologies The Executions of the Third of May (Goya)
  10. 10. we have found ways to hurt, Torture tools on convict ship Success
  11. 11. mutilate, Medieval execution
  12. 12. torture, Torture methods used by the inquisition (18th Century)
  13. 13. kill each other. KZ Buchenwald : Verbrennungsöfen im Krematorium
  14. 14. Our history is written in blood. But why?
  15. 15. Every society views killing people as evil.
  16. 16. A Psychological Definition of Evil Philip Zimbardo professor emeritus at Stanford University „The Lucifer Effect“, Random House 2007
  17. 17. "The Exercise of Power to intentionally harm (psychologically) hurt (physically) and/or destroy (mortally) and commit crimes against humanity."
  18. 18. Who is Evil?
  19. 19. Good Evil „us“ „evil-doers“
  20. 20. We see Evil as an outside force interrupting our lives. Charles Manson
  21. 21. We consider Evil an entity, a quality that is inherent in some people. Adolf Hitler
  22. 22. That turns people into monsters. Josef Fritzl
  23. 23. Unspeakable cruelties must have been committed by disturbed minds. Ted Bundy
  24. 24. But not us. We would never do anything like this. It‘s not in us normal people.
  25. 25. In the last 100 years 50 million people were systematically killed. By government decrees and people who executed them.
  26. 26. Our century of genocides could not be perpetrated by psychopaths, sadists, sociopaths alone.
  27. 27. Now what if a monster were not a monster at all? Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) Political Theorist and Philosopher
  28. 28. Adolf Eichmann was in charge of the mass deportation and killing of Jews. He was responsible for millions killed. In 1960 Israel captured Eichmann and brought him to trial. Psychologists concluded he was mentally healthy. Adolf Eichmann
  29. 29. "He did his duty...; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law." Adolf Eichmann at his trial
  30. 30. The Banality of Evil
  31. 31. "The great evils in history generally, and the Holocaust in particular, were not executed by fanatics or sociopaths but rather by ordinary people who accepted the premises of their state and therefore participated with the view that their actions were normal."
  32. 32. ...did his duty... Former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim (middle) was SA intellligence officer and must have Adolf Hitler private had knowledge about deportations of 40.000 people.
  33. 33. Lynching postcards
  34. 34. Not Who is Evil? but What makes us Evil?
  35. 35. From Good to Evil Understanding transformation of people ✦ Dispositional (Inside of Individual) ✦ Situational (External) ✦ Systemic (Broad influences: political, economic, legal power, cultural background)
  36. 36. Milgram Experiment (1961) Stanley Milgram (1933-1984) Social Psychologist
  37. 37. Could the Holocaust happen again in America?
  38. 38. Learner (actor) is attached to shock apparatus.
  39. 39. Teacher shocks Learner for every wrong answer with authority pressure.
  40. 40. Starts with 15 volt Learner starts screaming Asks to be released Claims heart condition Falls silent Ends with 450 Volt Warning: Deadly shock
  41. 41. So how many people would kill the learner? Colleagues estimated (based on the percentage of people with violent psychological predispositions) the number would be around 2 %.
  42. 42. Two thirds would torture and eventually kill. 450 Volt Ended Experiment 35 % 65 % No difference between men and women.
  43. 43. Milgram proved how easy normal, decent people can be coerced into sadistic, deadly behavior. The experiment was repeated this year in the UK for a BBC TV documentary. The results were the same.
  44. 44. Stanford Prison Experiment (1971) Philip Zimbardo (born 1933) Social Psychologist
  45. 45. Zimbardo picked 24 male students, made sure they were healthy and mentally stable. 12 were assigned prison guards, the other 12 prisoners.
  46. 46. On day one the prisoners were taken in custody by real police.
  47. 47. Guards were equipped with uniforms and symbols of power
  48. 48. Prisoners were reduced to numbers and subjected to degradation rituals
  49. 49. ✦ Experiment took up life of its own ✦ Situation worsened daily ✦ Nervous breakdowns of prisoners within 36 hours ✦ Sexual abuse (simulated sex) after 5 days ✦ After 6 days the experiment had to be terminated.
  50. 50. Within hours good college students had turned into sadistic perpetrators of evil.
  51. 51. If the Stanford Prison Experiment was the verification by experiment, then Abu Ghraib was the observation in real life.
  52. 52. The Lucifer Effect Identifying the 7 factors on the slippery slope towards evil.
  53. 53. 1.Mindlessly taking the first step „Evil always starts at 15 Volt“
  54. 54. 2.Dehumanization
  55. 55. 3.De-Individuation of self Anonymity
  56. 56. Deindividuation NO CHANGE CHANGED Kill LOW 7 3 10 Torture HIGH 1 12 - 90% 13 Mutilate J.Watson 1971 8 15
  57. 57. 4.Blind Obedience to Authority 5.Diffusion of Personal Responsibility
  58. 58. 6.Uncritical Conformity to Group Norms
  59. 59. 7.Passive Tolerance of Evil Through Inaction or Indifference
  60. 60. The Road to Evil ✦ Mindlessly taking the first step ✦ Dehumanization ✦ De-Individuation ✦ Diffusion of Personal Responsibility ✦ Blind Obedience to Authority ✦ Uncritical Conformity to Group Norms ✦ Passive Tolerance of Evil Through Inaction or Indifference
  61. 61. Another aspect of the Lucifer Effect: The factors not only lead to evil. Evil Good We can change the direction. Inaction
  62. 62. Promoting Heroism
  63. 63. We don‘t need to aspire being like the traditional heroes who devoted all their life to a cause.
  64. 64. We don‘t need our fantasy heroes and their unrealistic abilities as rolemodels.
  65. 65. Banality of Heroism as counterpoint to the Banality of Evil. Ordinary people do heroic deeds.
  66. 66. Christine Maslach walked into the Stanford Prison Experiment and told Philip Zambardo, „You have to stop what you are doing to these boys.“ She was the only visitor to say this.
  67. 67. Milgram revisited: The potential of one hero.
  68. 68. Milgram also ran a study in which the participants witnessed a teacher dissenting and ending the experiment. The result?
  69. 69. 450 Volt Ended Experiment 10 % 90 % Deadly shocks down to 10%.
  70. 70. Heroic action means taking a risk. But Inaction is not an option.
  71. 71. Joe Darby is the Army Reservist who leaked the photos of Abu Ghraib. He was forced to live in hiding for 3 years.
  72. 72. Heroic Imagination Think it, then do it. Internalize this:
  73. 73. That when I become aware of the need to act on behalf of others needing help or being the victim of evil forces,
  74. 74. I will be ready and able to take the necessary action.
  75. 75. I am a hero-in-waiting.
  76. 76. Creating a culture of heroism www.EverydayHeroism.org
  77. 77. Thank for your attention.
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