Essay Preview: Synthesis
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Human beings have the inerrant desire to blend in to the societies in which they spawned from. Each individual of the society playing a delicate game of rulet, carefully attempting to demonstrating some sense of individualism from the mainstream population but, never enough to become separated or exiled socially from that society in which he/she confides them self. These social boundaries in which the individual can push are of a different nature when compared across the worlds many different cultures. Each society having a different critical breaking point to which a member can exceed to before that member is at risk of not being accepted as part of the society. Nevertheless it is a fundamental characteristic of the human race to group or band together in an organized fashion, with each member of the group posing an important role or providing a special service to the population. Where as the role of each individual become less and less important to the overall productivity of the society as it accumulates a larger population. It is that only under special circumstances that you find a member of the society able to conger up the courage to act against the society as a hole, or even a smaller fragment of a large society like an institution.
“Social influences shape every persons practices, judgments, and beliefs is truism to which anyone will readily assent. A child masters his “native” dialect down to the finest nuances; a member of the tribe of cannibals accepts cannibalism as altogether fitting and proper. All the social sciences take their departure from the observation of the profound effects that groups exert on their members.”
Humans are social animals and being so we cannot help from analyzing our environment and only truly accepting the individuals who we feel are most like ourselves. In the animal kingdom there is no society formed between animals of different species. One species may rely on another species for survival but, that relationship could only be considered at best, a form of Symbiosis: (close association of animals or plants of different species that is often, but not always, of mutual benefit.) With this case in point we are able to get a better understanding of how these social societies are constructed and how the individual fits into the picture. The idea of society formation is much more complicated when applied to humans, this make sense considering the increased psychological complexities of our species. We are not only bound to the desire of survive in our environment like most animals but, we are also compelled to fulfill the need created by our complex conscience.
This brings about another interesting dilemma that we must face while attempting to understand how it is that society alters not only an individuals perception of the world but also how it addresses blame of moral injustice. In Marianne Szegedy-Maszaks passage “The Abu Graib Prison Scandal: Sources of Sadism” Szegedy-Maszak suggests that under psychological and physical stress, soldiers have the potential to perform sadistic acts on another member of the society. Szegedy-Maszak also suggests that the sadistic performances help the soldiers feel more secure, releases their anger, and helps work off their sense of helplessness in a war time environment. It is remarkable, but the soldiers can in special circumstances receive positive feedback from their superior officer which in turn makes them feel as if they are doing a good a justified action. This changes how we must view the structure the human psyche; how is it that we can touchier another member of the society and not feel guilt for the action due to the fact that we were instructed to dispense the pain by a member of the society that has higher rank or stature in that society? Is this a biological feature of the human psyche; a scapegoat that allows both individuals to free themselves from the entirety of the blame for the moral injustice her/she committed. Each individual assuring themselves that it was not his/ her will that inflicted excruciating pain on the prisoner. This idea deviates from the normal human wartime mindset that if I didnt kill him he surly would have killed me. So their moral breakdown that lead to actions of cruelty were not brought on by the acute stress response know as ” fight-or-flight”, (theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing.)
The fascination of understanding human submission is nothing new to the world of psychology. This concept was studied extensively by the social psychologist Stanley Milgram at the prestigious American University, Yale. Stanley constructed an experiment that allowed him to replicate the situations