Post by casey Post by Immortalist
"I feel sorry for the Pope and all old Catholic priests. Imagine
having a wasted life to look back on and no sex,"
The problem is some of the catholic priests did have a life of sex of
an inappropriate kind.
However the Catholics themselves are equally to blame for they did
nothing to stop it.
The situation might be creating a mis-match between our evolved nature
and the current state of society. On top of that other social
instincts might reinforce the problem like the diffusion of
responsibility which lead to people walking by the injured lady in NYC
Anyway here is the short answer;
One type of formal organization that has been studied in-depth by
sociologists is the modern bureaucracy. A bureaucracy is a large
secondary organization that is a common characteristic of modern
society. It is characterized as having a large division of labor, a
hierarchy of authority, written rules and regulations, credentialism,
and impersonality. Below is a diagram that outlines the
characteristics as well as the problems that occur within a
Max Weber studied the bureaucracy as a characteristic of modern life.
He pointed out that in modern societies, the traditional way of
getting things done was becoming less important due mainly to the fact
that modern life itself changed so rapidly. Prior to
industrialization, social institutions such as the church and
government set out to protect traditional cultural practices. After
capitalism and industrialization, however, the emphasis on traditional
modes of behavior became less important. Weber pointed out that what
replaced tradition was rationalization, a process where society’s
organizations and institutions relied more on efficiency and
impersonality as a means of social organization.
Technology became more and more sophisticated which further aided in
the rationalization of society and the formation of the modern
bureaucracy. With the invention of the printing press, agencies were
better able to record data and store it. Written rules and regulations
were set in place. Social networks began to increase and interactions
in modern life became more formal. This formality created a greater
need to rely more on rationality rather than on tradition...
...Weber also wrote about the darker side of the bureaucracy. Once
rationalization permeates all of society’s institutions, individuals
may begin to feel a sense of alienation and isolation. Interactions
become more formal and impersonal. Individuals are treated as
“cogs in a machine.”
Weber said that the modern bureaucracy has the capacity to place
“Iron Cages of Rationality.”
In other words, we become imprisoned by the impersonal nature of
modern life, and efficiency becomes more important than human emotion
or compassion. In the Stanford Prison Study, the prisoners were given
numbers instead of names. Although Zimbardo had created a mock prison
in the experiment, this ritual is something that all prisoners must be
subjected to. Has the modern bureaucracy made us into numbers rather
than individuals? All of society’s institutions have become influenced
by the rational character of the bureaucracy.
George Ritzer applied Weber’s work on the bureaucracy and
rationalization to the fast food model. He pointed out that the fast
food model was based on efficiency, calculability, automation,
predictability, and replacement of humans by technology. Ritzer said
that the fast food model has permeated all aspects of modern society
from shopping malls, newspapers, doctors, offices, schools, and even
family life. He referred to this process as The McDonaldization of
Society. Everything we see on the news and in our daily lives has
become influenced by the need for efficiency and predictability. We go
shopping online, use the “U-Scan” at the grocery store, calculate our
phone bills by the amount of minutes we use, and rarely eat a meal at
home with all of our family members present at the same time. How
often have you called a friend hoping your call goes directly to voice
mail? Have you ever been broken up with through an e-mail message? Do
you feel more comfortable discussing issues oin the discussion board
of an online class rather than in a lecture class? Why would we rather
talk to a machine than a real person? Is this a form of alienation?
Read more about Ritzer’s theory and go to the discussion board to
debate whether or not the focus on efficiency in modern life has
caused us to become alienated from one another. Is McDonaldization a
real threat to our personal intimacy with others?
The Lucifer Effect raises a fundamental question about the nature of
human nature: How is it possible for ordinary, average, even good
people to become perpetrators of evil? In trying to understand
unusual, or aberrant behavior, we often err in focusing exclusively on
the inner determinants of genes, personality, and character, as we
also tend to ignore what may be the critical catalyst for behavior
change in the external Situation or in the System that creates and
maintains such situations. I challenge readers to reflect on how well
they really know themselves, and how much confidence they have in what
they would or would not ever do when put into new behavioral
....just the right dose of certain social situations can transform
ordinarily good people into evildoers, as was the case with Iraqi
prisoner abusers at Abu Ghraib, argued former APA president Philip G.
Zimbardo, PhD, in a presidential-track program during APA's 2004
Annual Convention in Honolulu.
Indeed, Zimbardo--an emeritus psychology professor at Stanford
University--highlighted how this Dr. Hyde transformation occurred
among U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib by presenting classic psychology
research on situational effects on human behavior.
Zimbardo, who will be an expert witness for several of the U.S.
soldiers on trial, argued that situations pull people to act in ways
they never thought imaginable.
"That line between good and evil is permeable," Zimbardo said. "Any of
us can move across it....I argue that we all have the capacity for
love and evil--to be Mother Theresa, to be Hitler or Saddam Hussein.
It's the situation that brings that out."
Seduced into evil
In fact, the classic electric shock experiment by social psychologist
Stanley Milgram, PhD, showed that when given an order by someone in
authority, people would deliver what they believed to be extreme
levels of electrical shock to other study participants who answered
Zimbardo said the experiment provides several lessons about how
situations can foster evil:
* Provide people with an ideology to
justify beliefs for actions.
* Make people take a small first step toward
a harmful act with a minor, trivial action and
then gradually increase those small actions.
* Make those in charge seem like a
* Transform a once compassionate
leader into a dictatorial figure.
* Provide people with vague and
* Relabel the situation's actors and
their actions to legitimize the ideology.
* Provide people with social models
* Allow dissent, but only if people
continue to comply with orders.
* Make exiting the situation difficult.
Particularly notable, Zimbardo said, is that people are seduced into
evil by dehumanizing and labeling others.
"They semantically change their perception of victims, of the evil
act, and change the relationship of the aggressor to their aggression--
so 'killing' or 'hurting' becomes the same as 'helping,'" he said.
For example, in a 1975 experiment by psychologist Albert Bandura, PhD,
college students were told they'd work with students from another
school on a group task. In one condition, they overheard an assistant
calling the other students "animals" and in another condition, "nice."
Bandura found students were more apt to deliver what they believed
were increased levels of electrical shock to the other students if
they had heard them called "animals."
People's aggression can also increase when they feel anonymous--for
example if they wear a uniform, hood or mask, Zimbardo said.
"You minimize social responsibility," he explained. "Nobody knows who
you are, so therefore you are not individually liable. There's also a
group effect when all of you are masked. It provides a fear in other
people because they can't see you, and you lose your humanity."
For example, an experiment in 1974 by Harvard anthropologist John
Watson evaluated 23 cultures to determine whether warriors who changed
their appearance--such as with war paint or masks--treated their
victims differently. As it turned out, 80 percent of warriors in these
cultures were found to be more destructive--for example, killing,
torturing or mutilating their victims--than unpainted or unmasked
What's more, a person's anonymity can be induced by acting in an
anonymity-conferring environment that adds to the pleasure of
destruction, vandalism and the power of being in control, Zimbardo
"It's not just seeing people hurt, it's doing things that you have a
sense that you are controlling behavior of other people in ways that
you typically don't," Zimbardo said.
Zimbardo noticed that in his own simulated jail experiment in 1971--
the Stanford Prison Experiment--in which college students played the
roles of prisoners or guards, and the guards became brutal and abusive
toward prisoners after just six days, leading Zimbardo to prematurely
end the experiment. The experiment showed that institutional forces
and peer pressure led normal student volunteer guards to disregard the
potential harm of their actions on the other student prisoners.
"You don't need a motive," Zimbardo said. "All you really need is a
situation that facilitates moving across that line of good and evil."
The same social psychological processes--deindividualization,
anonymity of place, dehumanization, role-playing and social modeling,
moral disengagement and group conformity--that acted in the Stanford
Prison Experiment were at play at Abu Ghraib, Zimbardo argued.
So is it a few bad apples that spoil a barrel? "That's what we want to
believe--that we could never be a bad apple," Zimbardo said. "We're
the good ones in the barrel." But people can be influenced, regardless
of their intention to resist, he said.
As such, the Abu Ghraib soldiers' mental state--such as stress, fear,
boredom and heat exhaustion, coupled with no supervision, no training
and no accountability--may have further contributed to their "evil"
actions, he noted.
"I argue situational forces dominate most of us at various times in
our lives," Zimbardo said, "even though we'd all like to believe we're
each that singular hero who can resist those powerful external
pressures, like Joe Darby, the whistle-blowing hero of the Abu Ghraib
In conclusion it ain't simple though it is still an easy problem.