Krishnamurti & Milgram, should Authority ever be Obeyed?

Essay by brandiwildUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Krishnamurti thought that conditioning prevents us from seeing the truth. In this sense he seemed to feel that we need to resist authority, and to be set free from believing what we are told.

Milgram also believed, and proved, that we are able to be manipulated by someone in authority to commit up to and even including the most atrocious act, murder.

Milgram showed in some respects, how something like the atrocities of the Third Reich could occur, but to me they don't explain how people could be willing to do what they did, only that it occurs. To be willing to hurt someone in the name of "doing what you are told" seems to me the lowest form of a cop-out imaginable. I realize that people in the military use this logic and reason, but it still fails me as a viable excuse to not think for one's self when being "commanded" to kill or hurt someone else.

In the Stanford Prison Experiment, the study had to be cut short due to the level of sadistic behavior the "guards" began to exhibit. In the study, half of the students answering an ad for a study were made guards in prison, and the other half arrested as criminals. They were tested prior to the beginning of the experiment as "normal" and the division was made at random.

Many interesting things developed as the experiment went on, including drastic changes in the "guards" behavior during exercises such as having the "prisoner's" do push-ups, and the zeal with which these "punishments" became administered.On the second day, a "rebellion" broke out, and the "guard" responded by using fire extinguishers on the "prisoners" as well as putting them in solitary confinement, and harassing and intimidating them.

Things continued on in this vein until...