There’s a tiny bit of evil waiting to get out of each of us. It’s in you. It’s in me.

Stanford Prison Experiment makes evil

A bunch of students at Stanford U found out just how evil we are when running a psychology experiment involving willing but a completely random bunch of normal volunteers.

The results were unprecedented and they exploded all of what we believed in sanity and mental stability. Their minds altered. What happened was completely unexpected but similar in every case. Evil had presented itself. Time became distorted. Inhumane acts were committed. Police were called.  It’s was a frightening outcome – for everyone involved!stanford1

The Stanford Prison project was intended to be harmless… and simple. Students were to build a fake jail out of the university’s basement and fill it with guards and prisoners. Those in guard roles were given uniforms and dark sunglasses to wear. Those playing prisoners were stripped of their clothes and names, given a number and a loose-fitting smock. A stocking was placed over their hair in order to neutralize individuality. Everything else, like when and where everyone was to sleep, what activities the days would be filled with, etc, was entirely up to the group of guards and prisoners to choose. Once the experiment started, the space was theirs.

Without encouragement or instruction, guards became power hungry and brutal. Prisoners became depressed, mentally disturbed and rebellious. A riot broke out. Six days into a two-week experiment, it was hastily terminated. The experiment proved that altering or removing a person’s identity can change them, and not for the better.

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This makes me to move to an easily relatable question: Do we need guards or prisoners or the construction of a walled-prison to have that feeling of identity taken away from us?

Perhaps you already feel like you’re a prisoner in your home. Maybe you’re at the mercy of your bullying work colleagues, school, neighbours, the government, or even long-standing traditions within your family or Church. Maybe your relationship has become suffocating and controlling, with bindings that make you feel unworthy. You’ve retreated to the confines of your mind, no longer existing as you anymore. Your identity has gone. You’re a corpse that breathes.

My concern is that there are many more people living the Stanford Experiment everyday… and no one sees it. No one witnesses any real walls being built so there no ways to recognize a problem. In fact, there’s no problem at all… except the paranoia everyone says the sufferer has inside of them.

When I wrote SEETHINGS, I had the Stanford University psychological experiment in mind. I wrote long and hard about the feelings surrounding altered identities and staying true that this wasn’t to be a story about paranoia. It was about altering one’s state of mind. Identity was the key issue – more than our name or what clothes we wear. How we relate to each other matters most. Universally, I believe that love, touch, sex, talk, mutual respect, kind acknowledgement of each other, sharing experiences (sad and happy) and promoting spontaneous laughter make up the glue to human identity. When any of these elements lack, the balance is lost and the another brick is placed into the identity wall. This was how I approached the writing in SEETHINGS, one cemented brick at a time.

Just like the Stanford Prison Experiment, there is an explosive conclusion to it. The ending didn’t go to a place even I expected to. I hope you enjoy the ride.

-Michael

(The whole Stanford Prison thing can be found here)

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Michael Forman’s books on Goodreads ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.50)

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‘Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.’  – Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’

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Stanford Prison Experiment: The Lucifer Connection was originally published on MICHAEL FORMAN AUTHOR

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