29 May 2014
Monsters in Our Society
Do you ever wonder how monsters are created in our society? The dehumanization of individuals can cause both the perpetrator and the dehumanized to act in monstrous ways. But, why and how are they created in our world? Some monsters are created to “help us cope with what we dread most in life” (Donovan) and in turn bring communities together. Philip Zimbardo, a social psychologist, believes that anonymity and the situation a “good” person is in can cause them to act monstrously. Although the effects of a monster can be devastating, communities come together to combat them through reconciliation as well as the promotion ...view middle of the document...
Both emphasize that monsters are nothing more than humans, “they’re what we aspire to be, what we’re told to hate most about ourselves, what we secretly yearn for, but shouldn’t”(Donovan). Although monsters are despised and feared, they reflect society's taboos in a way for entertainment. The imaginary monsters that society creates allows people to recognize their own monstrosity. Donovan emphasizes that monsters that are made up by society have the same effects of real monsters. But how are they made and more importantly, why? Zimbardo examines these two questions closer through his experiments at Stanford’s prison and his book, The Lucifer Effect. He states that everyone is capable of good and bad depending on the situation. The anonymity and deindividualization of soldiers in uniform allows for the reduction of personal accountability and induces antisocial behavior ( Book Excerpt ). Zimbardo recognizes that the tortures at Abu Ghrabib occurred because of the lack of authority rather than the fault of the “ bad apples.” Monsters are created because of societal pressures to blindly follow orders from authority without taking responsibility. They are created because of the yearning for power, self gain as well as to combat our everyday fears and bring communities together.
In the video The Psychology of Evil and Portraits of Reconciliation, Philip Zimbardo, Piet Hugo and Susan Dominus explore ways to combat the monsters we face in society. Zimbardo recognizes that to stop monstrous acts, we must first change the system by inspiring kids/society to get involved in humanity and emphasize heroism because “action on behalf of others or for defending an ideal is a moral principle” (Zimbardo). Zimbardo also emphasizes that if society was to give up ego-centric beliefs for socio-centric beliefs we could stop both the perpetrator of evil and the individuals guilty of passive inaction. Zimbardo strives to inspire younger generations by restoring the benevolence in humanity and...