In Reply to: Re: The Lucifer Effect posted by excog on September 22, 2007 at 15:01:39:
I have read a lot of it. I agree it has a very strong application to cult dynamics. (He even points this out in several places.)
I think the subtitle is also very telling: "Understanding How Good People Turn Evil".
I think that he does a masterful job of presenting an extremely strong case that whatever a persons predisposition, in certain circumstances, social psychology has an extremely strong impact. The majority of people are heavily influenced... without even realizing it.
As Zimbardo points out, this does not eliminate accountability. But once someone has this key insight, I don't see how it can help but affect how one relates to some FG behavior with a at least a more informed perspective. Especially if one seeks any kind of future different from the recent past and present.
IMO, with some exceptions, most FG's who got caught up in the most standard unethical and abusive practices, would never have even dreamed of their actions had they not been socially conditioned into it for years.
Again, that does not excuse any of us of any of it. But I do believe it explains alot. And ought to at least inform the thinking of anyone wrestling with these issues. It might even help SG's to process their parents behaviors.
BTW, it also is a sobering political insight, as well.
But ,man, I agree with you... that is one awfully BIG book!