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An Account of How Authority Can Lead to Ruin

Destini Jordan
English 1020
Elizabeth Kent
May 2, 2016

Table of Contents
When It All Falls Apart
Entry 2: Diary Entry
Entry 3: News Article
Entry 4: Blog
Entry 5: Short essay or encyclopedia entry
Entry 6: Recipe
Entry 7: Death of Humanity

Authority has shown that fear has the ability to force one to partake in
inhumane acts while driving the need for acceptance and survival. I was
interested in researching why people commit crimes against other people. All
throughout history you will see how different things motivate people to do
anything, whether it’s money, land, or authority. I decided to include entries
that I felt would portray how people felt while giving or receiving cruel acts
and what psychological factors went into their decisions.

When It All Falls Apart
Does your heart pound as bad as mine?
When you enter,
Do you get nervous?
As you pull out your devices
I can’t escape the pain
Each day gets worse
But what did I do to deserve this?
You probably don’t know,
But I remember when you were kind.
Something must’ve happened
To make the small boy
Turn into a fierce lion.
One day I hope you find your way.
The sad look on your face
It must pain you to do these things
But still it happens
How do you sleep at night knowing what you’ve done
How did I find myself in this torture?
It won’t be much longer for me
But how long will it be for you?

During war, many soldiers are forced to do things they aren’t proud of
and some may even go so far as to be desensitized to their actions. People
find different ways to cope with the cruelty of the world. A lot of people
commit these crimes based on fear of not being accepted, being ridiculed, or
to prevent dangerous things happening to them or their loved ones. People
would also set the blame on their authority figure to make themselves seem
better or that they were just following orders. Chang mentions how people
set the blame of those of authority and how the authority figure would also
try to find a way to ignore or dismiss the blame from themselves. They would
say things like the soldiers were in the heat of the war and didn’t think about
how their actions would affect others or that that was what happened in war
and what other people would be doing to their prisoners. The Geneva
Conventions were created to protect prisoners of war but in reality it did little
to stop the cruel acts from happening.

Recipe for Cruelty
2 groups of people- inferior and superior
o Additional groups are optional
o Natural separation will take place once all the ingredients are combined
1-5 views of Differences (culture, skin color, beliefs, etc.)
1-2 Presence of Authority
1 can of Rules
1-10 Wants

Step 1: Start in a clean area with at least one group of inhabitants. These inhabitants

will be

distinguished as the inferior group.
Step 2: Fold in the second group of people who will later be distinguished as the
superior group.
Step 3: Mix in at least two views that are similar in size.
Optional: Mix in more views in pairs.
Step 4: Add in 1 Authority while slowly mixing in 1 can of rules and wants
Step 5: Let sit. Time varies based on location and temperament. You will notice
demulsification happening between the two groups. Once demulsified, you are ready to

Yield: 8 servings. Serve cold.

People gain cruelty in many ways. A majority of the time it is gained by the influence of
others or based on the role they believe they are required to assume. Disassociation also adds to
the predictability that cruel acts will likely take place against other groups because the abusers
will detach themselves from his or her surroundings. It is easier for someone to disassociate
themselves from someone who has different beliefs or a different background than they do.
Disassociation also has the ability to limit the amount of guilt someone would feel for
committing crimes against humanity. In the video Psychology: The Stanford Prison ExperimentBBC Documentary that was uploaded by Paulie Johnson, you witness how the prisoners and
guards were able to disassociate themselves from not only their surroundings, but also their
identity. They fully took on the role they were assigned and reacted in a way that made it clear
they had forgotten that they were in an experiment. They were affected in such a way that the
experiment had to be cut short. While people are disassociated, they do not typically feel remorse
for their actions or are even aware that they are damaging another person while they allow
themselves to be damaged. The guards felt they needed to express their control over the prisoners
just as they believed it to be done in real life. Fear and determination also drove the prisoners to
fight back and form riots. This separation of ranks made the experiment seem more real than it
was and offered a first-hand experience to the effects of disassociation in inhumane acts against

Death of Humanity

Chang, Bettina. “What Makes People Commit War Crimes.” Pacific Standard. 21 Mar. 2014.
Web. 27 Mar. 2016.
People try to absolve their participation in acts of war crimes by setting the blame on the
authority figure. At the end of World War II, Nazis generals, and others, were captured and put
on trial for their inhumane crimes against the Jewish population and their supporters. In many
cases, it was stated that they only committed such atrocities because they were commanded to by
their direct superiors. Soldiers undergo a strict training regimen that strongly emphasizes
obedience under any circumstances.

“Geneva Conventions.” Legal information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Web. 27
Mar. 2016.
The Geneva Convention was created to protect people who are no longer directly involved in
the war. At first this was to include medical personnel who went onto the battlefield to retrieve
and heal the wounded. This convention was also to protect prisoners of war, civilians, and naval
personnel. This will tie well into my paper because it shows that there was a need for a
convention to protect those from harm inflicted on them by people who believed themselves to
be superior over others. It also comes from an educational source so its credibility should be
trustworthy. It will further my search to figure out why people inflict harm on others or why they
believe they can gain anything from it, such as freedom. Even though the Geneva Convention
was created to protect people, there were still many instances of war crimes against the innocent.
Even though it is strictly enforced, supposedly by many nations, there is definitely room for

improvement. The Geneva Convention source also goes into a little detail about the law and its
purpose to inform against war crimes and other acts against humanity.

Gerhardt, Holger and Schulreich, Stefan. “Incidental Fear Cues Increase Monetary loss
Aversion.” 27 July 2015. PsycARTICLES. Web. 10 April 2016.
This article talks a lot about fear related processes and other effects that it is associated
with in the brain. It states fear makes you more susceptible to anxiety and other neurological
conditions that can impact decision making and participation in dangerous activities. Even
though its main focus is on monetary loss, since fear is still associated and most of the world is
fuel on greed and how much they can gain, it only makes sense that it can drive people to
commit crimes. It can even make them more dangerous for just protecting what they already
have and have worked hard for. Even though this source does not necessarily have a strong
connection to my research paper, I feel that I can still use it because it mentions some of the
chemical processes associated with fear and how it can lead you in decision-making. It can
explain why fear causes people to turn against each other in times of stress or danger and how
others are able to put people in danger for their own benefit.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2003. Print.
In Lord of the Flies, school- aged boys are stranded on an island after a plane crash
during the war. Together the boys try their best to manufacture their survival on the island until

their hopeful rescue which later doesn’t seem possible. However, fear led the boys to turn against
each other and resort to primal instincts for survival. I wanted to use this mainly to add diversity
to my paper but I also believe that it ties into my research paper well because even though it is a
fictional story, it depicts how fear can drive someone to murder for the sake of their own
survival. There have been many things based off this book like ABC’s show Lost that also
depicts survivors of a plane crash stranded on an island and committing crimes against humanity
for the sake of their survival or the survival of a loved one.

Johnson, Paulie. Psychology: The Stanford Prison Experiment – BBC Documentary. Online
Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 20 Feb. 2015. Web. 2 Apr 2016.
This documentary clip from Youtube directly goes into my research paper because it is a
direct representation of how humans conform to their surroundings and can lose themselves
based on the actions that are happening around them. In the video, you learn how easily it is for
someone to commit inhumane acts because others around them are doing so. Others follow to fit
in and not be left behind. Some do it for fear of being made fun of and others do it to stay up
with competition. People do not want to be seen as inferior because they refuse to follow the
crowd. The experiment had to end early because of the psychology toll it took on both the
prisoners and the guards. It took someone from the outside to say something for the
experimenters to realize just how badly the experiment was and how it can endanger those who
were participating. One major factor that added to the effects of the experiment was that the
prisoners were given prison numbers instead of their actually names. This helped set the
participates into their roles and the situation thus became more real.

Martin, Jack. "Ernest Becker And Stanley Milgram: Twentieth-Century Students Of Evil.”
History Of Psychology 19.1 (2016): 3-21. PsycARTICLES. Web. 1 Mar. 2016.
In Jack Martin’s 20th Century Students of Evil academic journal, he talks a lot about the
history of two major psychologist experiments, their harsh effects of experimenting, and what
connects them to their interest in conducting such experiments revolving around the effects of
concentration camps during World War II. Both of the experimenters were directly affected by
the war, either by fear or direct involvement. His research is relatively new given the publication
date of last year; however, older sources can also work as these experiments took place in the
mid 1900’s. It has been revised a few times, so it stays up-to-date on its topic. Martin’s approach
was to provide more background knowledge to the causes and effects of experiments conducting
as a result of World War II as he states the he expects all psychologists to research this topic and
that they would also be quite familiar with Milgram and Becker’s experiments. His paper
provides an extensive amount of knowledge, though, for the most part is not related to my topic
except its brief evaluation of the experiments. Most of this academic journal consists of finding
connections as to why the experiments were conducted. However, I decided the small amount of
information associated with my topic is very useful and reliable as it has been published by the
American Psychological Department. I am not certain if Jack Martin is a professor on the topic
or a student majoring in psychology.

Mikkelson, David. “War Games.” Snopes. 8 Oct. 2015. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.
Fear inflicts the need for survival in all living things. Government leaders use this to their
advantage during times of war by making their citizens and soldiers believe their national

security is at risk. Once fear is instilled into the people, it becomes easier to get them to
participate in acts they would usually be against. This tactic was used by the Nazis during World
War II against the Jews. The citizens hear through constant propaganda that foreigners are
endangering their country which creates patriotism within the community. Citizens will thus
denounce all who put their national security at risk as directed by the government.

"The Nuremberg Trials." Holocaust: A Learning Site for Students. United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.
The aftermath of World War II left many people upset in all parts of the world. Many
people wanted justice for what had taken place and accusations were thrown in every direction.
Trials were held in Nuremberg for the accused that were able to be captured. Many had fled to
other countries including the United States, but those put to trial were either executed if they
were accused of direct murder or imprisoned ranging from 10-20 years for any other
involvement in the war. Although many were already captured and put on trial, some accused are
still being discovered today.

Reed, Brody. “A Policy to Evade International Law.” The Road to Abu Ghraib. June
2004. Web. 27 Mar. 2016.
In times of war, there have been many circumstances of unjust treatments to civilians and
prisoners of war. The Geneva Convention was created as a means to prevent cruel actions against
these people; however, it has not stopped murders or tortures as it was intended to do. One of the

ways to get around the convention was to declare prisoners of war as “unlawful combatants”,
which gave them no rights under the Geneva Convention and left them unprotected by those
needing an ego boost or to left off some steam. This also happened during the war in Afghanistan
with an attempt of justification because the “Geneva Convention did not share the views of the
United States.” This is able to tie directly into my paper because it shows that government
officials seek and find ways around laws and the country’s citizens. Even if the views of the
United States did not match the laws of the Geneva Convention, the views are made without the
citizens being properly educated on certain issues.

Watson, Paul. "Iraq Vet Kills Himself After Being Ordered to Commit ‘War Crimes’." Infowars.
21 June 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
Although many soldiers and subordinates follow orders of their superiors, many of them
will not agree with the actions that they partake in but will not speak out of rank or betray their
country for their own beliefs because that is the way that they are trained. After war, many
soldiers have PTSD from fear or unrest for what they have done. In this article, it talks about
how a veteran committed suicide because of the inhumane acts he committed while in war. I
want to quote this article in the diary entry to portray the internal battle people have with
following orders and how in still affects them long after the instances have passed.