Phillip Zimbardo, who is a famed psychologist, told stories about how in 1971 when he was a psych student, they had Stanford prison. And he told about how it was a mock prison and that students could go there and they could learn. And they learned about social behaviors, and people coming together and how environments affect people and impact them. And he said they had gathered a group of college students, some real quality students that were scholars, did excellent in their classes and courses. But he said they brought them in, and they created a scene of a true prison. And they got some of them to be prison guards, others the prisoners, some played the parts of lawyers, and it was a two week study. And it was so interesting observing, how these young people were put in a set of circumstances, and when they were put in roles to play something less than goodness of who they were, that it was amazing.
So where it was supposed to be a 2 week study, they called it after six days. Because the prison guards, the students had become so violent, and become so agitated that they had to call it off. And he said, isn’t that fascinating about human beings? That people at any time, can make a choice and they’re impacted by the things around them. That from time to time that people can choose the possibility of evil over good.
Metaphysically speaking if you look at that the word evil, it’s the word “live” spelled backwards. We can practice these principles that are ancient to us and we work to develop them, yet often when something happens, or we’re challenged, we want to go back into those old ways of being.
And so this idea that Phillip Zombardo offered us, is the opportunity to make different choices in our lives. When we are in every day life, when we are with people that perhaps they’re gossiping or they’re saying things that are less than the highest and best for other people, that we will take a stand on that. That we will make a choice and we will be an ordinary hero that steps up to the plate.