ARE WE REALLY HUMANE?

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.


Most of us consider ourselves and our own groups to be humane and to evidence the highest qualities of humanity. Is this really so? A shocking psychology experiment casts serious doubts. Take average citizens and ask them to "teach" one of their fellow citizens nonsense words in a psychology experiment. Then give them directions to electrically shock the "learner" (who is out of sight and in truth an actor-accomplice of the experimenter who never gets shocked) whenever the "learner" makes a mistake. The experimenter, dressed in a white lab coat, encourages the "teacher" to keep increasing the amount of electric shock to "teach them better." The actor-accomplice, out of sight but wired for sound, starts responding to the pretend electric shocks with small yelps, soon gives out cries of severe pain and when the most severe shock is supposedly given, is silent. Most "teachers" evidenced significant distress during the experiment. Nevertheless, a majority of them followed the directions of the man in the lab coat to the very end, believing they were giving out severe electric shocks for failure to learn nonsense words. These "teachers" were average citizens, not criminals, not severely emotionally disturbed.


Scary? Yes. Enlightening too, for the real lesson here is how out-of-touch with our humanity most of us can be without knowing it. Most of us can be vicious and cruel.


Authoritarian messages are crucial if we are to change society's violent trends. Such trends start with authoritarian messages given by parents to their children.

Treatment for loss or lack of humanity doesn't necessarily make it happen. There have been thousands of adopting parents who have discovered that "love does not conquer all." False caring, unfelt empathy and phony sympathy abound among cruel children and career criminals, for they try to please parents and parole boards with their professed humanity. The attempt to make these groups become humane is often the goal of jails, punishments, parenting and therapy. Such attempts are often failures. These failures can point us in the direction of more effective approaches, approaches which are necessary for many children (30%, 60%?).

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More Excerpts This Chapter
   ARE 97% OF FAMILIES NEUROTIC?
   TRAUMATIZING CHILDREN - 97% OF THEM?
   ARE WE REALLY HUMANE?
   EFFECTIVE PARENTING
   OUR CURRENT FAMILIES BRING OUT OUR SKEWNESS
   MOTHERS CAN BE SEXIST TOO
   MANY MEN STILL ABDICATE THEIR PARENTING ROLES
   WORKING MOMS - ARE THEIR KIDS OK?
   LATCHKEY CHILDREN DON'T DO AS WELL
   THE SEARCH FOR APPROVAL
   THE ELDERLY


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