Re: The Experiment

From: Kenneth Van Oost (
Date: Thu May 23 2002 - 17:40:46 BST

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    From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
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    Subject: Re: The Experiment
    Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 18:40:46 +0200
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    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Vincent Campbell <>
    > Well, perhaps, but if one could imagine such a programme in a
    > society that was a pre-modern democracy, I suppose they would have put
    > people in an environment where they had equal freedom, to see what would
    > happen. To some extent I think you're right, in that the context of
    > exploring how people behave in this programme is about arbitary inequality
    > in power and resources, which people aren't used to in a modern society
    > ours- or rather not in such stark and obvious a way as prisoners and
    > Absence of choice is quite problematic here for both groups- the guards
    > struggling apparently because they appear to be uncomfortable with their
    > powers.
    > What I find interesting in the series is the absence of a third
    > strategy- non-compliance. The rebellious prisoners are pro-actively
    > undermining the guards. The guards could, but aren't, exercise authority
    > through punishments of rule breaking. But none of the prisoners have
    > the Ghandhi approach of peaceful non-compliance.

    Hi Vincent,

    The non- compliance bit is not the one that worried me. The bit that the
    guards had from the beginning no control over the situation did.
    The experiment was set up to see how people would react in a guard-
    inmate situation, but from day one the guards never took up the respon-
    sibility just to do that !
    I agree a non- violence aspect was attached to it, but when the two man
    broke out, there was no intention whatsoever from the guards to rein-
    force the intented goal.
    ( This was shown also by the behavior of the man in the other cells, there
    was no interest. The lack of real force/ power left them non- interested
    for the goal of the experiment)

    But, although everything what happened, if we transpose this to the real
    world, the conclusion was/ is significant. I don 't like hierachies either,
    not even be overpowered by any system, but you have to take on res-
    ponsibility whatever you are supposed to do !
    The power vacuum is something that exists in the real world, and yes
    indeed, like they said in the program ( and what in a sense can be seen
    in Holland with Fortuyn ) if you can 't fill it up, tirrany will emerge.
    The guards, IMO were to blame not the system. The system was set
    up to work properly if everybody did what they have to do, but they
    didn 't and the system crumbled_ even everybody knew it was a test !



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