The famous Milgram Shock Experiment explains why football coaches like me, who don’t kick, are considered freaks. The results of the experiment are shocking – literally and figuratively. They help explain how the depths of depravity can be reached by losing your mind, literally and figuratively, by conforming to mind-controlling head-cases whose sole purpose in life is to take full control of your thoughts and actions.
In 1961, Stanley Milgram, a Yale University psychologist, came up with a research idea. He wanted to test how many humans are so F’d up that they will follow any orders from anyone, even if it means inflicting serious pain on another humans. The experiment was simple – three people in a small room around a table on which sat a fake electric-shock machine. An actor was plugged into the machine. Another guy played the role of “scientist.” The scientist’s job was to tell the test subject to quiz the actor. For every wrong answer, the scientist told the test subject to blast some voltage to shock the actor as punishment for answering wrong. And, to keep zapping the actor with higher voltage with every subsequent wrong answer. The actor was instructed to shriek in progressively worse fake pain after each zap.
The experiment got out of control – literally and figuratively. Forty people were tested. Two-thirds followed orders and kept zapping the hell out of the actor. Some test subjects broke down, weeping while they did it but they continued blasting voltage any way because, well, they were told to. I had to read this madness to get my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I paid a fortune in tuition to read that the majority of people (at least 66%) will blindly follow orders even if those orders are clearly insane.
This study was repeated in the following years. Same story – about 66% followed orders and zapped more and more voltage, torturing the actor because, well, they were told to. The formal conclusion is that conformity is a big problem. I added the following, my own theory, when I wrote my thesis:
i. We all have a dark side.
ii. We humans are susceptible to some serious inner demons that can seriously mess with our heads.
iii. Evil is real. And it’s a powerful force that needs to be fought relentlessly day by day.
iv. When hell escapes, we’re in big trouble.
v. We have the potential to cause serious hell to one another just because, well, we’re told to.
vi. We will blindly follow any dumbass orders unless we find the guts to fight like hell in order to resist the urge to be a pathetic conformist.
vii. It’s easy to lose your mind. Dual meaning. It’s easy to relinquish your originality to whoever asks for control of it. And it’s easy to lose your mind altogether and go insane, temporarily or long-term.
The Milgram study always gave me the creeps. But it helped me understand why people get so pissed off when I don’t kick like the rest of the football world. It helps me understand why other people think I’m the freak for going for it on fourth down all the time, even though it works out. It helps me understand why thinking outside the box shocks people (no pun intended).
It helps me understand why people think it’s shocking if you’re different, if you think for yourself. The majority of people are shocked when you’re different. Difference is shocking. When you’re different, you will get the Shock Treatment because being different is shock treatment to others. I concluded in my thesis that the biggest loss is your true self. There’s no greater loss than losing your identity and originality all in the name of sameness.
As a tribute to unconventional original thinking, I added a classic song to my top 100 back-to-basics workout music, even though it’s not the conventional badass, tough-guy music. The lyrics are the best – “He can’t even run his own life, I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine.” The link is after my signature.
Gino Arcaro M.Ed., B.Sc., NCCP Level 3
Head coach – Niagara X-men football
Owner – X Fitness Inc.
Gino Arcaro is a widely published author. His website, blog, Youtube channel, and list of books are at: www.ginoarcaro.com His books include: 4th & hell: seasons 1-5, Soul of a Lifter, SWAT Offense, SWAT Defense, X Fitness Workout System, and a 3 business book series called Soul of an Entrepreneur . He also has written 20 editions of 6 law enforcement academic textbooks. A new 8-volume interrogation book series will be released in the spring of 2014. And later this month, a new children’s book called “BE FIT – DON’T QUIT.”