Monday, May 26, 2008

The Lucifer Effect

Some years I am mysteriously drawn to read and view certain kinds of stories. For example, I've had a mafia/organized crime year. I've had an American Civil War year. This year the story line is either "prisons" or "hell on earth"- of which prisons are just one example. These years don't start off with a theme- it just is something I recognize once it is begun. And, then I feed it.

So: Oz, The Wire, and now The Lucifer Effect.

The Lucifer Effect is written by Phillip Zimbardo (of the Stanford Prison Study fame)and is a great review of much of social psychology...which is then applied to the abuses which occurred at Abu Ghraib prison. Typically, I do not read non-fiction. At least not since I stopped being an academic. Reading this I found that I really miss reading psychological research.

Damn. Somedays I just miss being a psychologist.

And, they aren't only days that are marked by cat pus, dog vomit, or dying snakes.

Anyway, I have been including a pithy quotation from the books I've been reading- putting said quotes in the list at the right. But, I feel like that list is getting pretty long (mostly thanks to the quotes)and that it isn't very easy to read. So, I'm removing the quotes and instead putting them (from now on) as blog entries.

So- two from Phillip Zimbardo.

Any deed that any human being has ever committed, however horrible, is possible for any of us--under the right or wrong situational circumstances. That knowledge does not excuse evil" rather, it democratizes it, sharing its blame among ordinary actors rather than declaring it the province only of deviants and despots--or Them but not Us. (p. 211)

And this- which is what it feels like to me to live in Australia:

Endless routines and undifferentiated daily activities create a seeming circularity of time--it just flows on, undivided into meaningful linear units but creeping onward as if it were an ants' journey on a Mobius strip of life. (p. 244)

I miss seasons and people who engage fully in celebrating milestones of the passing year.

By the way, if you are intrigued see the web site:

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