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"god Told Me To"...how Do You Deal With Your "authority'


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This is a great 45 min online archival film that Documents Stanley Milgram's classic research on obedience to authority, based on candid footage shot at Yale University. Subjects are told to administer electric shocks of increasing severity to another person.





if you don't have time...you can read about it here


to quote Milgram....

"The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation."


What do you think..?..what does this say about 'followers' of religion? If god is not 'real'...then who takes the blame or responsibility for all that...."goddidit "stuff thoughout history...and in the lives of the individual.


anyway......what thoughts came to mind as you read this or watch the clip?

How does 'authority' or 'authority figures' make you respond?


If you are a 'believer'....do you understand why you 'need' an authority figure like god? .


.....or perhaps how you've learnt 'not' to ...


How do you deal with the 'authority' in is in your hands? How do you 'use' it on other's and how does it make you feel?

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this is a classic article in American religious studies (1877: an oldie but a goodie) on the matter of categorizing authority, mainly between that of religious and scientific disagreements:


C.S Peirce's "The Fixation of Belief."


in it, Peirce discussed four ways of "fixing belief":


1. method of tenacity: continue believing what you want to believe with blinders toward any new info or anything that might contradict what one wants to believe already


2. method of authority: believe somebody you trust. or somebody generally recognized as credible.


#'s 1 and 2 have been the most common, and usually end up being the most unreasonable.



3. a priori method: appeal to what "seems reasonable" or "common sense," although this may not always be logically consistent and may also appeal to emotions.


4. method of science: make objective observations and conclucions about the real world... too bad Pierce never got to see postmodernism or deconstruction.

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thanks for the heads up on another 'oldie'...CB

I haven't had much cause to read his stuff lately.....he has some quite out of date ideas about the state of 'belief'...

The irritation of doubt is the only immediate motive for the struggle to attain belief

He is a man of his time and culture...I for one am not all that stressed out about experiencing 'doubt'? But Peirce certainly tell me off for it.. :HaHa: .

The person who confesses that there is such a thing as truth, which is distinguished from falsehood simply by this, that if acted on it should, on full consideration, carry us to the point we aim at and not astray, and then, though convinced of this, dares not know the truth and seeks to avoid it, is in a sorry state of mind indeed.


Signs - Symbols - also interest me in that they require community consensus to find 'proper' meaning.

Yep as a scientific theory - semiotics is interesting - exciting even...

Its perfect as a base for what many may see as less rigorous alternatives to quantative research methods. I perfer qualitative science....at least its more honest about the biases.


Heard of Erving Goffman another oldie but a goodie...I love his politeness theory


As Erving Goffman explains, there are two regions in which we perform. The first is the front region which is where the performance is given. Often, our activities within this region embody certain standards, these include matters of politeness and decorum. Politeness is how the performer acts in visual or aural proximity but not necessarily in direct conversation. (Goffman 107) It is through politeness and decorum that the individual maintains moral conduct that is socially accepted within society.


I think we can happily apply that you the social interactions on the internet.......as well as in the social setting of chruch.



I see both settings - the church and the internet as great places to hide behind a mask and where impression management is required.



Oh yeah...Milgram...very unethical piece of work ....wasn't that a common condition of 'science' in those days.....Has that changed to any extent? Nah...not really! Maybe our 'beliefs' about what's ethical have thou'... :HaHa:

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yeah,peirce is totally old school. :jerkoff:


i like his categories rather than his conclusions. i like semiotics too, but it's just one approach.


your thoughts on Goffman and politeness reminds me of Norbert Elias' studies on "Civility."


good stuff!

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