Evil comes in various shapes and sizes. While good is found all over, it is also masked by the evil that overpowers it. Controlled through physical, and verbal manipulation, people are easily tricked into thinking that what is right, is wrong and what is wrong, is right. Whether they are committed to being good, there will always be a moment where evil will darken the bright side of a person 's soul. In the novel The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, the author portrays the good and evil side of human nature through the main characters to show how susceptible it is to manipulate a person’s mindset to be good or evil.
Many psychologists and researchers have for many years tried to explain what makes normal human beings become evil and become perpetrators of evil. The study of a normal human being becoming a perpetrator of evil has almost become it’s own branch of psychology. There are many examples of evil actions in this world, which has led to a lot of research of the human mind; where evil is born. Hitler, Anders Breivik, and Jim Jones are just a few examples of the many evil human minds we have seen in this world. All people, who were thought to hold the same mindset as everyone else. The big question is, what creates these evil people, and what gives them such an evil mindset? By focusing on the mind of Jim Jones, this paper will attempt
In the Zimbardo prison experiment, participants are arbitrarily chosen to be either guards or prisoners. However, both the guards and the prisoners internalize their roles immediately. The study is terminated after 6 days because the guards began physically and emotionally abusing the prisoners. This experiment “reveals a message we do not want to accept: that most of us can undergo significant character transformations when we are caught up in the crucible of social forces” (Zimbardo, 2007, p.211). The Stanford Prison Experiment shows how latent violent and aggressive personalities are easily realized when one has dominance over submissive personalities. Because people have good and bad qualities, they also have the ability to act on either quality depending on the situation. Seemingly good people can be “seduced” (Zimbardo, 2007, p.211) into acting against their nature. Under the right situational stress, people can act cruelly even if their personality is not
The Monitor on Psychology article “What makes good people do bad things?” by Melissa Dittmann analyzes the results of the Stanford Prison Experiment conducted by Stanford psychology professor Phillip Zimbardo in 1971 and discusses what the experiment can tell us about human nature and what causes humans to be evil. In the novel “Lord of the Flies” the author William Golding discusses the effects of the theories mentioned in the article by creating his own fictional experiment with children stranded on an island during a nuclear war. Throughout his novel Golding explores the focus of Dittmann’s article; that environments and situations can bring out the evil that is inside all of us. People can act good or bad depending on their environment, and these actions are not entirely their fault because when people are not held accountable for their actions their more violent natures are revealed.
Through out history evil has been best depicted as the absence of goodness and goodness as the absence of evil. With goodness being comprehended as the direct opposite of evil. It is under speculation that maybe there can 't exist only one general meaning of good vs. evil. I trust this, in light of the fact that any one individual 's perception of good or evil is without a doubt directed by one 's social comprehension of certain qualities and ethics within their culture, i.e. the power of social conformity (Muncaster-Social Psychology Lecture, 2016). Yes, there can be cases of evil that is seen as malevolent all over the world but due to the ethnocentric component of the perception of cultural morals and values, one is unable to categorize another individual as evil or good based upon their own cultural understanding of this notion. As they have been socially and culturally influenced to believe contrary to the fact.
In explaining behavior these factors can either be combined as one explanation or used separately to determine the cause of one’s actions. For example, one study testing the situational role in affecting behavior was done by Philip Zimbardo (1971) in the Stanford Prison Experiment where 22 males were selected depending on their social skills and mental
In times of difficulty, individuals tend to change who they are. For example, when one tends to grow up and go through the stages of adulthood, they change their ways in which they act or think. Situations and environment are able to control and manipulate an individual.
The desires of humanity often reflect the temptations residing in the heart’s depths. Evil’s lure is a strong pull felt by all, regardless of the appearance put on through the conscious mind. In literature, temptation is explored thoroughly, especially in the short story, “Young Goodman Brown”. “The tale becomes in great part, thus, a record of temptation” (Pualits 578-579). The author of “Young Goodman Brown”, Nathaniel Hawthorne, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1804. His family has a long standing history in Salem, as his relative John Hathorne was a judge in the Witch Trials. Soon after the trials a ‘w’ was added to the family’s last name to distance themselves from the horrors of the time (Nathaniel Hawthorne Biography). Set during
We all like to think that evil is not born within us, but rather nurtured into us; while this may be true for some, others have evil born directly into them. When man toys with the powers reserved for only God, God strikes back with a wicked evil to show man the power that they truly lack. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein contains a prime example of a being born of unnatural causes and thus having these evil urges that they cannot control.
In “The Birth and Death of Meaning” by Ernest Becker he is making an argument on the problems of man (Becker, 1971). Becker makes an argument on the reasons why people act the way that they do (1971). In chapter 10 Becker lists six of the common problems with humans (1971). The first question with the problem with humans is “what is the relation of man to nature?” (Becker, 1971, p. 114). The second question with the problem with humans is “what are the innate predispositions of men?” (Becker, 1971, p. 116). The third question with the problem with humans is “what types of personality are most valued” (Becker, 1971, p. 116). The fourth question with the problem with humans is “what are the modes of relating to others” (Becker, 1971, p. 116).
Therefore it can be said that power gives evil the need to feed off the fear of others, it drives them to suppress their emotions and mindset providing them the opportunity to commit such acts that would previously be considered “sins”. Mr. Zimbardo’s theory on the Lucifer effect can been seen in action through the entire movie. The lucifer effect begins to tell us a couple of reasons as to why sometimes good eggs can turn bad. One of those reasons being authority, while the other relies on dehumanization, or the process of stopping to see someone as fully human. The process of dehumanization can be said to eliminate guilt or human feelings toward a misdeed, it takes away need to be moral and do good evil and opens the dam for the evil lurking to lash out. In the case of this experiment the point of views regarding the prisoner varies from two sides; Mr. Zimbardo's and the guards. Through the course of the experiment, Mr. Zimbardo seems disconnected to the experiment as he fails to realize till the very end that he himself has become what he had wished to educate others to watch out
Whether working with a co-worker, learning with a classmate or hanging out with a friend, the thought of any of them having the potential to be evil does not cross the mind. Everyday people are not typically evil beings, but if people are not evil beings then why do they commit actions like torture, killing and genocide? Could it be that the certain people committing the acts are just monsters deep inside, or could the actions be mere products of circumstance? In his article "The Genocidal Killer in the Mirror", Crispin Sartwell, a journalist and philosopher, advises his audience to take a look at the heinous acts people have committed throughout history as a way to show us how anyone could commit evil acts, including ourselves. Marianne Szegedy-Maszak,
In accordance with the assigned readings, heroism is an plausible antidote to evil. For instance, as explicated by Zimbardo in Chapter 16 of The Lucifer Effect, he defines the notion of heroism, by which he writes, “ … they serve as powerful reminders that people are capable of resisting evil, of not giving in to temptations, of rising above mediocrity, and of heading the call to action and to service when others fail to act” (Zimbardo). From this, he demonstrates how heroism is illustrated as one’s resistance to acts of evil, which may include acts of violence, or anything within the scope that is not beneficial to the receiver. In his view, a hero is one who is able to break the mold, an individual who will not sit still if a wrongdoing is
The Lucifer Effect is concocted Zimbardo is mainly about why “good” people turn “evil” or do horrifying things. The term evil means “behaving in a manner that harms, dehumanizes or demeans innocent others” (Zimbardo 146) the theory discusses whether humans are naturally evil (fixed) or is it their environment that fuels them to do things that are not in their nature. Zimbardo acknowledges that the very top creates the environments that manage the system who deflect the evil on to others to disregard their hand in creating the environment.
The topic of this assignment is to discuss and analyse what factors affect human behavior and in doing so how human behavior is shaped. But before discussing that, it is important to understand what human behavior is.