Monday, February 6, 2012

Revisiting "normal"

Gianna Kali at Beyond Meds highlighted in her post today this quote from R.D. Laing.

The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man. Society highly values its normal man. It educates children to lose themselves and to become absurd, and thus to be normal. Normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years.~ R.D. Laing

Which brought to mind the famous Stanford prison experiment

From Wiki

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted from August 14–20, 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University.[1] It was funded by a grant from the US Office of Naval Research[2] and was of interest to both the US Navy and Marine Corps in order to determine the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners.

Zimbardo and his team selected out of 75 respondents, the 24 males whom they deemed to be the most psychologically stable and healthy.
The participants adapted to their roles well beyond what even Zimbardo himself expected, leading the officers to display authoritarian measures and ultimately to subject some of the prisoners to torture. In turn, many of the prisoners developed passive attitudes and accepted physical abuse, and, at the request of the guards, readily inflicted punishment on other prisoners who attempted to stop it.

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