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Here’s What Happens If You Let People Do Anything to Anyone Without Punishment

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Here’s What Happens If You Let People Do Anything to Anyone Without Punishment

We, humans, are social animals. We interact, we fight, we amend and we come together. Even though there are rules and regulations in place, we tend to violate them at times. We tend to violate someone’s personal space at times.

As humans, we are also profoundly curious species. Out of this curiosity, some of us wanted to find out what would happen if we didn’t have to face a consequence? How would we treat others if we knew there is no punishment?

Marina Abramovic’s experiment – Rhythm O

This experiment was conducted by a Yugoslav artist, Marina Abramovic in Naples, 1974. She wanted to see what people would do if they had complete command over someone else. To find out, she let other people do anything they wanted to her for 6 hours!

She stood still for 6 hours while people used one of 72 objects placed on a table to do anything they wanted to do to her. These 72 objects included rose, feather, perfume, scissor, honey, metal bar, wine and a gun loaded with one bullet.

How do you think people treated her?

At first, they were all nice and welcoming. They hugged her and gave her flowers. As time passed and they saw the artist wasn’t reacting, things started getting ugly. People became violent and aggressive. Some even thrust the gun to her head and worked her finger around the trigger – that’s when an argument broke out among the spectators.

This is what she had to say about the experiment: “I wanted to show how fast people would return to their natural state if you let them. What I learned was that… if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.

Our childhood is a major determinant

How we raise our children largely determines what sort of adults they will be. If there is too much controlling or too much freedom, it will convince them that everyone should do as they please or vice versa. What we need to realize is that there needs to be freedom but we also need to set boundaries.

Alexander O’Neal, a Scottish teacher and writer explained the differences between absolute freedom and freedom for many parents. He says self-regulation is very important. We need to teach our kids that there are limits where there is freedom. They can’t be a threat to someone else’s freedom and health.

It isn’t the severity of punishment which is scary but its inevitability.

Here are some stats to consider: American researchers say that only 75% of murderers end up with an arrest. Bureau of Justice says 68% of 405,000 prisoners who were freed in 30 states in 2005 were arrested within 3 years after their first sentence. What happens? Prisoners think they won’t be arrested a second time! If the number of solved crimes go above 95%, people will be less likely to break the law.

Consider Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey where the main character continually sins because he assumes how a handsome face like his would be punished for the crimes. It’s as simple as this: every crime needs to be punished. Forgiving criminals only breeds new crimes.

Absolute power in movies

Okay, so, power and authority over someone can be very tricky. Consider these movies and their themes.

In Dogville by Lars von Trier, Nicole Kidman’s character hides from the police in a small town. Things go well for her until the locals realize she has no support. After that, they exercise their unlawful rights over her since they think it’s up to them if she’d be handed to the police. They abuse her, humiliate her and make her a slave.

In an Experiment, 26 volunteers play either guards or the inmates. After a while, the guards take on the role so well that they become sadists.

In Experimenter, various real experiments are shown which prove that people easily hurt each other if they have to.

You will also like reading:Modern Society Made Us Forget These 7 Secrets of Simple Living

The role of belonging to a group

The ability to identify yourself as one group or another truly determines how you will treat the others from a rival group. Take into consideration the experiment by psychologist Muzafer Sherif where he modeled a conflict between groups in children’s summer camp. The rivalry went so far that previously docile and passive children became aggressive towards each other. It wasn’t until another situation was presented where they had to work together to put themselves out of the trouble.

Do you remember Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy’s legendary rivalry? It was mainly due to the rivalry existing between their houses.

When we see ourselves as “us” and others as “them”, things become different.

Why does it happen and what needs to be done to prevent it

Aggression and defensiveness is a normal response to fear. Hence, people who are fearful of themselves and the world will practice aggression. People who are confident and strong will never want to be an obstacle in someone else’s freedom.

We, humans, are social animals. We interact, we fight, we amend and we come together. Even though there are rules and regulations in place, we tend to violate them at times. We tend to violate someone’s personal space at times.

As humans, we are also profoundly curious species. Out of this curiosity, some of us wanted to find out what would happen if we didn’t have to face a consequence? How would we treat others if we knew there is no punishment?

Marina Abramovic’s experiment – Rhythm O

This experiment was conducted by a Yugoslav artist, Marina Abramovic in Naples, 1974. She wanted to see what people would do if they had complete command over someone else. To find out, she let other people do anything they wanted to her for 6 hours!

She stood still for 6 hours while people used one of 72 objects placed on a table to do anything they wanted to do to her. These 72 objects included rose, feather, perfume, scissor, honey, metal bar, wine and a gun loaded with one bullet.

How do you think people treated her?

At first, they were all nice and welcoming. They hugged her and gave her flowers. As time passed and they saw the artist wasn’t reacting, things started getting ugly. People became violent and aggressive. Some even thrust the gun to her head and worked her finger around the trigger – that’s when an argument broke out among the spectators.

This is what she had to say about the experiment: “I wanted to show how fast people would return to their natural state if you let them. What I learned was that… if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.

Our childhood is a major determinant

How we raise our children largely determines what sort of adults they will be. If there is too much controlling or too much freedom, it will convince them that everyone should do as they please or vice versa. What we need to realize is that there needs to be freedom but we also need to set boundaries.

Alexander O’Neal, a Scottish teacher and writer explained the differences between absolute freedom and freedom for many parents. He says self-regulation is very important. We need to teach our kids that there are limits where there is freedom. They can’t be a threat to someone else’s freedom and health.

It isn’t the severity of punishment which is scary but its inevitability.

Here are some stats to consider: American researchers say that only 75% of murderers end up with an arrest. Bureau of Justice says 68% of 405,000 prisoners who were freed in 30 states in 2005 were arrested within 3 years after their first sentence. What happens? Prisoners think they won’t be arrested a second time! If the number of solved crimes go above 95%, people will be less likely to break the law.

Consider Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey where the main character continually sins because he assumes how a handsome face like his would be punished for the crimes. It’s as simple as this: every crime needs to be punished. Forgiving criminals only breeds new crimes.

Absolute power in movies

Okay, so, power and authority over someone can be very tricky. Consider these movies and their themes.

In Dogville by Lars von Trier, Nicole Kidman’s character hides from the police in a small town. Things go well for her until the locals realize she has no support. After that, they exercise their unlawful rights over her since they think it’s up to them if she’d be handed to the police. They abuse her, humiliate her and make her a slave.

In an Experiment, 26 volunteers play either guards or the inmates. After a while, the guards take on the role so well that they become sadists.

In Experimenter, various real experiments are shown which prove that people easily hurt each other if they have to.

You will also like reading:Modern Society Made Us Forget These 7 Secrets of Simple Living

The role of belonging to a group

The ability to identify yourself as one group or another truly determines how you will treat the others from a rival group. Take into consideration the experiment by psychologist Muzafer Sherif where he modeled a conflict between groups in children’s summer camp. The rivalry went so far that previously docile and passive children became aggressive towards each other. It wasn’t until another situation was presented where they had to work together to put themselves out of the trouble.

Do you remember Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy’s legendary rivalry? It was mainly due to the rivalry existing between their houses.

When we see ourselves as “us” and others as “them”, things become different.

Why does it happen and what needs to be done to prevent it

Aggression and defensiveness is a normal response to fear. Hence, people who are fearful of themselves and the world will practice aggression. People who are confident and strong will never want to be an obstacle in someone else’s freedom.

When you can’t express just how fearful you are, you use aggression to channel that fear. Your anger helps you get rid of all the fright you feel, especially when you know there will be no punishment for what you do.

Just as cliché as “one should treat others how they want to be treated” sounds, it is something we all should remember. What goes around comes around. Keep reminding yourself, “Your freedom ends where mine begins”. Respect each other’s boundaries.

When you can’t express just how fearful you are, you use aggression to channel that fear. Your anger helps you get rid of all the fright you feel, especially when you know there will be no punishment for what you do.

Just as cliché as “one should treat others how they want to be treated” sounds, it is something we all should remember. What goes around comes around. Keep reminding yourself, “Your freedom ends where mine begins”. Respect each other’s boundaries.

Image sources used: micheleelgordo and Marina Abramovic Art

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