The Milgram Experiment

“It may be that we are puppets-puppets controlled by the strings of society. But at least we are puppets with perception, with awareness. And perhaps our awareness is the first step to our liberation (Blass).” Stanley Milgram, an American psychologist that studied human social psychology throughout his entire life, is most commonly known today for his ingenious experiments called “The Milgram Experiment.”

The Milgram experiment was and still is today a very controversial topic for it depicts a human nature that no one would ever think they would do as a moral being. In other words, it brought out the bad of society, without the subject (person) being experimented on for their reactions and conclusions, even being aware of what it was they were doing. “For obvious reasons, this brought about major controversy and create tensions between Milgram and his peers (Experimenter).” In fact, many other peers of Milgram felt that it was an unfair experiment and that he tricked them to get the results he received. In order to fully understand the topic, we must overview the actual experiment, explain the significance of Milgram’s results, and provide examples as to how we can relate these results to the darkest times in our world’s history.

The procedure was that the participant was paired with another person and they drew lots to find out who would be the ‘learner’ and who would be the ‘teacher.’  The draw was set up so that the participant was always the teacher, and the learner was one of Milgram’s confederates who was acting as a real participant. The learner (who was an actor) was taken into a room and had electrodes attached to his arms, and the teacher and researcher went into a room next door that contained an electric shock generator and a row of switches marked from 15 volts (Slight Shock) to 375 volts (Danger: Severe Shock) to 450 volts (XXX). After the “learner” has “learned” a list of word pairs given him to learn, the “teacher” tests him by naming a word and asking the learner to recall its partner/pair from a list of four possible choices. The teacher is told to administer an electric shock every time the learner makes a mistake, increasing the level of shock each time.

By the end of the experiment 65% (two-thirds) of participants (teachers) continued to the highest level of 450 volts. All the participants continued to 300 volts. This experiment was conducted in July 1961, however is still relevant today. It is being taught in multiple classes and is bringing up the discussion of why we do many things; and it all leads back to the topic of obedience.

By Kayley Jefferson

Vignette by Maria Carmona

Maria Carmona

 

Tell me why sissy don’t speak no more

Three days without seeing her, and she was finally here. I couldn’t tell you why she was silent; I couldn’t tell you why we had to go into Boston to see her. I couldn’t tell you why she was in a special marble canopy bed with a cover and flours with vibrant hues aligning its walls. What I could tell you is that’s her: my big sister Elizabeth Jane.

“SISSY!” I shrieked, my shrill voice a twinkling piano. I was elated to see her as we entered the viewing room. I climbed up the velvet kneeler of Carr Funeral Home and kissed her tender cheek. To my surprise, she did not scream in the tone that signaled joy, and her legs did not ecstatically  kick like most kids with severe cerebral palsy. She was sleeping–I was sure of it. Why else would she not be moving? There is no other reason such a celestial human being would not be animated.

Tell me why sissy don’t speak no more?

I found it unusual that she was cold. Her cheeks: they were not pink like the rose bushes our father had planted for us, they were white like the hairs  of an old woman that represent a lifetime of wisdom and a history of conquering life challenges.  Her skin appeared like delicate frost on the windows during treacherous New England winters, and her radiant smile was sealed shut.

My father spoke as he always did, with his thick accent, adjectives and verbs in the discombobulated art of broken English:

“Time to give Elizabeth the last kiss.”

“Why is this our last kiss?”

“Sissy died, Maria. Remember, she is in heaven.” said my mother

Tell me why sissy don’t speak no more?

Silence filled the room. Comprehension is not an acquired skill  but one developed and  death was simply a word in my vocabulary  that I couldn’t comprehend.

Heaven is place of jubilant. It is located in the stars. It is place where you dance with moonlight and sing with god. Heaven is the symphony’s grand finale.

“But she’s not gone and this won’t be our last kiss.”

Last means no more;You have taken this, you have the privilege to receive when others did not but Last had never meant the end to me.

Understandably  my parents were depressed. In state of shock mental anguish and despair logic frankly did not mean shit to them. It was not that they did not care, they were simply distorted.

Then people poured in. Looks of empathy, compassion, angry and love were conveyed on the faces of my family and people foreign to me. I could not understand why seeing her once made them thrilled but now made them distressed.

That is when I learned sadness. Sadness is when you are empty and you cannot feel. No one can feel sad; the emotion of sadness is what is felt you when you feel the most minute of emotions. The problem is although sadness fills you, it can never compensate for what you could have felt. Joy and love are simply unreliable. This is when sadness is felt: it makes up for what you have not received but it will not make up for what you could have had.

Tell me why Sissy don’t speak no more?

I walked around wondering why Sissy don’t speak. And then I saw my mother. Depression was the next thing I learned. My mother was nothing. Her charisma and wit had diminished, the event brought to her what seemed like a never ending state of depression. Her emotions had conquered her, mercilessly, and nothing was spared. In state of shock mental anguish and despair logic frankly did not mean anything to them. It was not that they did not care, they were simply distorted.

Tell me why sissy don’t speak no more?

This day, I lost my father too. He had worked too hard to better  his life, her life,   our lives, but now it is lost. I believe when she went, he went, following his dream of bettering his life as a disciple does to his messiah. His face a stone, his eyes a lock, and his heart shattered like a china plate dropped on the kitchen floor. Stopped in time. This was something meant for a better day a better life a better world. They were meant for her.

“Tell me why Sissy don’t speak.”

This day I lost my sister. I lost the world. My life knew nothing else, she was the center of our universe.  Everything I’d known had been composed of doctors appointments, hours in hospitals and the everlasting presence of her wheelchair. Her nurses were our family. I lived through physical therapy and med checks. I lived through driving miles to get to a specialized school so she could have the proper education. My lullabies were the beeping of the machines that kept  her life alive. My life was forever changed, my lullabies were gone. This was when I learned what loss is; Loss is when something is you love is snatched away from you, something you can never get back.

My loss is that Sissy don’t speak no more.

Poem: Elegy (Shot on the Eve of Graduation)

This is in memory of these two high school students

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/local/public-safety/double-homicide-in-montgomery-county/2017/06/06/858d1514-4aa4-11e7-bc1b-fddbd8359dee_story.html

This is the article ^

Shot on the Eve of Graduation

 

They worked for four long years,

working, to get to this spot.

Using all of their sweat, blood, and tears.

Both boys remembering everything they’ve been taught.

They learned from us.

 

Crossing that stage was right in their sights.

They were getting ready for a new chapter in their life.

But no one knew what would happen that night.

Zimberov and Najjar were the names

of our delightful boys,

and they were in for a big fight.

 

Had we known,

we would’ve made them stay home.

They said their goodbye with an I love you,

and we didn’t even have of clue.

And that’s what made it so sad.

Leaving without thinking twice.

 

It was all normal at first.

Everything was okay,

but that was before the first shot had sprayed.

Before we knew it, the boys were dead.

They had both been shot in the head.

 

As it got late, frantic voicemails were left.

All we could think about were our sons.

Please pick up, you’re scaring everyone.

Come home now you haven’t won.

We thought this was what normal kids did,

stay out and have fun.

 

Murdered by the people they called friends.

What was it that I didn’t get?

The day before graduation shouldn’t matter,

but now here we are, all gathered.

I blame myself, I should’ve kept you home,

But you’re father insisted you were all grown.

 

The regret building up.

This is the worst kind of breakup.

They were both so young, our

hearts have been stung.

Had we known,

we would’ve made them stay home.

 

The graduation isn’t the same,

two boys are missing.

This isn’t the right type of fame.

The whole crowd is just left here reminiscing.

 

They call up the names of all the graduates.

The girls are becoming women, boys becoming men.

Was this fate?

No, our boys lay in their new funeral beds,

and never get their chance to make amends.

Zimberov and Najjar will never know the joy,

they were destroyed.

 

The day before graduation they were taken.

This is something I will never forget.

We just want our sons back, this may be a threat.

Turn yourself in before this becomes a mess.

We deserve peace, undistressed.

Poem: Sacrifice for the Hill

Sacrifice for the Hill

by Hannah Rogers

 

Her skin is worn thin, dusted with wrinkles.

She is young in age but not in beauty.

Age marks and dark freckles look like sprinkles

but she still keeps a youthful smell, fruity.

 

Her occupation is not important,

but she did live her life as a realist.

Is often pretending to be content,

but dreams of being a good pianist.

 

The arts do not make enough money for

her though, so she keeps the secret in dreams.

She does not see it sneaks out of her pores.

The sadness and secrets break through the seams.

 

Her dream will not be like Cinderella.

She responds to the name known as Bella.

 

How do you people sleep when full of lies?

These stories you tell are not true at all.

You tell these funny stories for a prize

and due to them your life will be shortfall.

 

You can not action without consequence.

Do you not think before you speak or do?

How do you tell these with such confidence?

Do you understand these lies that you spew?

 

Life is not about finding happiness.

It is about getting things you need done.

If your days are filled with some busyness

you forget happiness, that you have none.

 

I had a dream once. Something that could not

  1. I left it in the back of my thoughts.

 

Dreams are for people who do not want to

go places and people who are selfish.

Dreams always leave one person, or a few,

all sad and alone, completely helpless.

 

Are dreams that important to you? Do you

need happiness that bad? I am fine. Look!

I have never been happy, that is true,

but the selfless road is one I still took  

 

Now listen here, your heads are in the clouds.

These stories aren’t at all realistic.

I will tell a story for a few crowds,

but I warn it is not optimistic.

 

Dreamers be gone as I tell a sad tale

of how love is not worth it, in detail.

 

There once was a princess, ruled far and wide.

Known for her beauty, was beyond compare.

A heart full of understanding and pride.

Long eyelashes, but a head with no hair.

 

She was due to marry a classy guy.

Many men came to prove they deserved her.

As they entered the land, one caught her eye.  

Eyes of amber and brown hair like soft fur.

 

Past feelings that haunted him were hidden.

Pretty boys danced in dreams, fueling his fancy.

Though his true intentions were forbidden,

he loved him for his eyes were blue as sea.

 

He came then as to raise no suspicion

for Sir Brant, the root of his ambition.

 

He knew he would lose the fight for her hand.

He was not strong, physically, as most men.

Gather his lover as secretly planned,

then they would run, never apart again.

 

Sir Brant, certain, insured their plan was foolproof.

Little did the boy with amber eyes know,

the princess could override any goof.

The tournament was off to the boy’s woe.

 

They were due to be married the next week.

Because she made her decision so fast,

the boy did not get a moment to sneak.

Sir Brant came into the dinning room last,

 

saw the love of his life by sister’s side

and he knew a part of his heart had died.

 

He held his head high, made no eye contact.

His heart hurt and ached with unfaithfulness.

The sad, amber eyed boy was taken back.

His lover’s actions left him in distress.

 

‘Now he will not want me,’ he thought sadly.

He could see sadness in his lover’s eyes.

He could not bare it, he loved him madly.

He needed to prove his love wasn’t lies.

 

He suffered through the dinner till the end.

At evening, he left his room for Sir Brant.

As he looked, he thought of a way to mend.

He found him crying surrounded by plants.

 

Sir Brant wiped his eyes to not show feeling.

His true emotion needed concealing.

 

The boy went to hold him but was pushed back.

The action made him break into a sob.

He cried, trembled into some lilac.

Brant loved him, so comfort he could not rob.

 

He joined him by his side and held him close.

“I apologize, truly,” the boy said.

“I do not want to marry her, but those

would hurt you if they knew that in our heads.”

 

“I know,” said Sir Brant. “That is the worst part,

but I love you and we will make this work.

You will have to marry and break my heart

unless we can conjure up a small quirk.”

 

Brant knew his plan would be hard to complete,

but their love would help them complete this feat.

 

“What do you propose we do?” the boy said.

“You will marry her,” Brant said with sorrow.

The boy’s face fell, filled with both shock and dread.

“Then, we think of a new plan tomorrow.”

 

“We could run far away,” the boy pleaded.

“And we will but not now,” Sir Brant replied.

“I will pack up for travel as needed

and we will leave after she is your bride.”

 

“Why after, why not right now?” the boy cried.

“Because when you go missing, are not found,

the people will then assume you have died.

Then we will be alone without a sound.”

Although he was worried, the boy had faith

“Alright my love. We will leave on the eighth.”

 

They held on close for a moment too long,

for the princess skipped out to the garden,

saw that to her the boy did not belong,

and at that moment her heart did harden.

 

“How could you? Why?” she yelled at her brother.

“Because I love him,” Brant said and that made

her so furious at the other.

The amber eyed boy became so afraid.

 

‘She knows now,’ he thought sadly. ‘Now the plan

will not work. Now I will not be with him.’

The thought brought tears to the eyes of the man.

The chance she understood their love was slim.

 

But she saw the tears and could not bare it.

She felt it wrong but she had to admit

 

their love looked so pure as the boy cried. Held

by her brother for protection from her

assumed rath, he looked small and her heart swelled.

She would let them love as her morals blurred.

 

How could a love that looked like that be wrong.

‘It can not be wrong,’ she thought. She needed

to come up with a plan to go along.

She asked for a plan and Brant proceed,

 

in shock but without question, to tell her

their plan. She agreed, with a condition.

“He will have to marry as to ensure

no marriage again. That is the mission.”

 

They agreed, and they were married later

that week, never a wedding been greater.

 

Then the plan started. The boy would leave first.

He would run to the hills to wait for Brant.

But the second part then turned for the worst

Brant packed his things quickly, breath in a pant,

when his father came. Many assumed he

knew more for he was not worried about

the disappearance. He acted carefree.

His father was going to call him out.

 

“You are not telling us the truth. You know

where he is,” the father yelled. “Tell me now!”

Sir Brant replied, “He died a week ago.

I said it before, I do not know how.”

 

“Why can’t you just tell the truth?” the dad said.

“If you don’t know how, how could he be dead?”

 

Even though it was a lie, the thought of

his lover being dead made him feel sick,

so he passed his dad to go to his love.

This angered his dad. He reacted quick.

 

Brant could not let this attack continue.

He needed to express some of the truth.

“I love him. That is the true issue and

I’m not sorry,” he trembled but said smooth.

 

“He definitely does not love you too.

He is not absolutely disgusting.”

Brant, now completely furious, pushed through.

What his father had said was insulting.

 

His father was going to put him in

the dungeon ‘cause it was considered sin.

 

Then, the princess came out of nowhere. She

grabbed their dad and yelled to her brother, “Run!”

He made the decision: to run, to flee.

He would regret leaving but it was done.

 

The princess was arrested for treason

and killed for her crime, but she died happy

‘cause she knew she died for a good reason.

The boys lived happily, which is sappy,

 

and ‘cause they never returned they never

learned of the princess’s horrible death.

Brant did not forget her sacrifice, ever,

and he would treasure the boy’s every breath.

 

Every happy ending comes with a price.

In this case a life was the sacrifice.

Poem: No Hablo Español

No Hablo Español

by Maria Carmona

 

“Italian, Portuguese?”

No hablo Español

“Your curls are beautiful- what’s your background?”

No hablo Español

“Is that your step dad?”

No hablo español

“You do not look like a first generation American?”

No hablo Español

“Tu eres una chica de Colombia?”

Si, pero no hablo Español

For who am I,

a disgrace to my people?

A child of  only America?

I am not my father’s daughter.

For he speaks a language of romance,

not one of love.