Wednesday, March 17, 2010

What a Shock

This, getting people to deliver electric shocks to other, is not actually new. It is a repeat of a psychology experiment done back in the 60's. It was done in order to explain how Nazis committed atrocities and sows how the human mind can disassociate responsibility when told to do something by an "authority". The study was conducted by Stanley Migram. 65%, yes that's right, 65% of people were willing to deliver what they expected to be a lethal electric shock. What drove them to do it, simply verbal encouragement from a man in a white coat.

So we've known this for 50 years. Why would we even be surprised that people will do the unexpected, perform outside the "norm", when on TV. The television has taken over our world. It tells us what to believe, it shows us what is happening, it provides our pleasure and our grief. It plays with our emotions. So, in this experiment, contestants believe that they are administering shocks to other competitors in order to win a game show. And they do so becasue it is what is asked of them and what they sgned up for. What's possibly more shocking is how we will happily watch programmes that involve pain being done to others. The japanese shows seem to take it further than others, but Total Wipeout is an amazingly big success world wide. Bog Brother is just another variant, it is watched because people suffer.

Many have tried to achieve world domination over the centuries, and failed. The television has succeeded.

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