A question that frequently pops up in relation societies all around the world is the question of freedom. A definition of freedom is the ability to act, speak, and think as one wants to without interference from others.
In 1961 the Nazi SS lieutenant colonel Adolf Eichmann was put on trial in Jerusalem for his role in the events in World War II, and he frequently gave the answer that he was ‘just following orders.’ There was an outcry of condemnation for his defence, as people from around the world would claim that they would never engage in such actions against innocent people.
An American psychologist by the name of Stanley Milgram heard these voices and decided to test that idea of whether a person could be influenced into causing harm to another person simply by following orders, or would a person simply say that they would never harm another innocent human being and stick to their espoused moral principles.
Milgram obviously could not replicate the exact same circumstances of World War II so he devised another test that would produce reliable data to be observed and understood.
The test that Milgram devised would be a learning experiment with a punishment system built in for errors from a particular participant.
The documentary film entitled ‘Obedience’ shows the precise experiments and rules in detail. The findings may surprise some and not others.
It is also fair to say that a large percentage of people would follow orders if it meant inflicting pain on an innocent person, and this finding would disturb a number of people especially if they considered themselves to be a ‘morally upright’ person.