RE: The Experiment

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Thu May 23 2002 - 23:17:47 BST

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: The Experiment"

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    Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 23:17:47 +0100
    Subject: RE: The Experiment
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    > Date: Wed, 22 May 2002 12:40:27 +0100
    > From: Vincent Campbell <>
    > Subject: RE: The Experiment
    > <Been considering what I said. It is only in the last Century or so
    > that many
    >> people have had a say in their own lives. Not many had a choice or if they
    >> did it was limited. Now people can choose to say no. Do's that sound too
    >> simplistic?>
    > 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 like
    > ours- or rather not in such stark and obvious a way as prisoners and guards.
    > Absence of choice is quite problematic here for both groups- the guards are
    > struggling apparently because they appear to be uncomfortable with their
    > powers.

    Perhaps, because the guards seem to be composed of people who have
    experience of power in the modern world and the social and legal limitations
    placed upon it's exercise which affects their behaviour in the experiment.
    Many of the regulations seem similar to the workplace apart from the one
    about prisoners obeying guards.
    > 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 tried
    > the Ghandhi approach of peaceful non-compliance.

    They don't need to because they have the upper hand. In Ghandi's situation I
    think he realised that that they did not have the upper hand and that
    violence would bring violence. The prisoners have the upper hand, violence
    is out anyway, so what need have they of non compliance when they have a
    good idea they won't get punished.

    It would seem to me that the failure of the guards to have a leader and
    power structure made them vunerable from the start as they could not act but
    react after discusion with the others. One of the rules of war is to make
    the other person react, rather than act. I suspect the scouser is well aware
    of this and more or less said so at the end of episode 2. Once they are
    forced to react they are not in control.

    Ghandi's choice was valid for his situation, but it is not for every
    situation. Ghandi had the moral belief we are all the same under the skin
    and so had moral superiority.
    > Vincent



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