Shaping Your Choice

In this TED talk, Philip Zimbardo makes an impassioned presentation about how otherwise good people slip into evil behaviors:

If you skip forward to around 16:50, you’ll see his list entitled “7 Social Processes That Grease the Slippery Slope of Evil,” reproduced here:

  1. Mindlessly taking the first small step
  2. Dehumanization of others
  3. De-individuation of self (anonymity)
  4. Diffusion of personal responsibility
  5. Blind obedience to authority
  6. Uncritical conformity to group norms
  7. Passive tolerance of evil through inaction or indifference
He argues (around 19:20) that we need more heroes in our society–not the fantastic superheroes or extraordinary people models, but the everyday people whose heroism emerges in a particular set of circumstances. At 21:30, he calls to our attention an example of such a hero, a fellow who leaped to the tracks from the subway platform and his two kids to save another person of a different race from being killed by an oncoming train. He offers the quote, “I did what anyone could do, and what everyone ought to do.”
I wonder if the presenter is aware that the “social processes that grease the slippery slope of evil” are essentially the same as those that allow the appearance of one of his “heroes?”
I just received a promotional email from Redbox, the movie rental company. The subject: “Millions have already rented it.” The body: “Redbox customers love ‘The Hunger Games.’ People who didn’t think they’d like it are falling in love. Want to give it a shot?” There are two buttons: “Rent DVD” and “Rent BLU-RAY.”
Go on: Be a hero!
You know you want to…

By Joe

Puzzle Wrestler & Mountain Herder. Math & Computer Nerd since the 80s. Longtime linux (current debian, ubuntu, raspian, centos, gentoo), currently fighting feebsd. Over-complicates networks for fun, occasionally secures them for profit. Develops own tools & services (cli, web services, and lately some android). Degrees in Math, Belts in Aikido. Zen, Motorcycle, Ham Radio, Homebrew (Ale, not Radio), Coffee & Tea, some Mandolin & Fiddle, MDA Advocacy (son with Duchenne), …

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