When Good People Turn Evil

Have you ever heard a story about a pious who never made any single sin in his whole life and made Satan almost gave up corrupting him until finally he succeeded in plunging him to commit sins which were he got drunk, raped a woman, and killed a man? To cut a long story short, when the pious man would be punished by hanging him, Satan came to him and offered him a help. Satan said if he wanted to get out from that gallows, all he needed to do just to nod that he admitted Satan as his saviour. Or something like that. I don't really remember that story actually. I only remember it vaguely. Pardon me.

What I'm trying to say is what changed someone that was so kind, generous, and afraid of God would do such things? Yes, Satan seduced him to do all of those things. But, that in the story. What about in our every day lives? What kind of power that can transform people from good people to bad people? 

As I've already said in this post, I believe human, regardless sexes, has potential to become a bad human being. We all are capable to do bad things. At first, I was sceptic. I mean, hey, look at me. For people who know me maybe don't have a slightest thought on their mind that I, maybe, am able to do bad things. Well, I'm trying not to be snob, but, I never think of doing bad things. I always want to be a good, kind, nice, and loving person. "There is no way I could do bad things! Torturing and killing people. No, no, no. Heaven forbids that!" That was what I thought before. Until now. I, too, have that capability, though.

I know the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) when I was in university. You can read about the experiment by clicking the link I give you. Well, when I first knew the experiment, I never really thought about it before. It's just another notorious experiment, right? What's so cool about it? It's an unethical experiment and the experimenters were so mean. They designed an experiment that left scars on the participants psychologically. That's what I actually thought.

But, now I think, there's more than that. If you look at more closely to it, it was actually not that simple. It gives insight that a bad place and a bad situation do have power to corrupt good people. Imagine yourself as a warden who get power in your hands to do anything you like to prisoners. To scare them, to control them, to humiliate them and no one actually supervises what you're doing. Do you honestly think that you can still have the good you? 

This is what happened to soldiers in Rwanda when the ruling Hutus wiped out the Tutsis, Nazi's soldiers killing millions of Jews, etc. They got orders from their leaders to kill people, to rape women, to burn cities, and they did that willingly. Because of what? Because of the bad situations at that time surrounding them and gripping them. And that caused them dehumanization

Phillip Zimbardo (yes, he's the one designed SPE) called this phenomenon as the Lucifer Effect. He made a book  which has the same titled. The book which I'm reading now and makes me intrigued to write about this topic. 

I'm still on chapter 2, but I already can tell this is a good book. I become more curious what makes good people turn evil. I understand what Zimbardo has written in this book doesn't mean what good-people-turn-bad-and-what-they-did morally correct. What they did was wrong. And what behind it that makes me curious. To understand people's behavior. Hopefully, after finishing reading this book, I get the answers. Oh, don't worry, I will write about the book here. Well, if I'm not busy and if I have time. *grinning*


  1. you surely have to write again about Zimbardo. Or.. your kind, loving, and gentle reader will turn into evil by curiosity.

  2. ini basa inggrisnya dah bener ga yak? kkk.. waiting for the next post

  3. We can find it easily around us.

    Let's say that we're at working, and once upon a time boss said that we must join him into a trip to London tomorrow. The ticket's already bought, all you need is just packing up. But the main problem is, our passport has been expired!

    What are we gonna do? We should immediately make a phone call to some service place to make us a passport illegally. The passport will be published by Immigration Bureau, certainly, but we just don't create it by "legal way".

    Are we evil? No, we're just pushed by situation.

    That's what happened to Hutu and Nazi.

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