Archive for October, 2011

The Lucifer Effect

I read the book The Lucifer Effect as part of my Business Ethics class. It is an interesting book with a lot of information on the real life evil acts and laboratory experiments on the factors that leads human towards evil acts. Also, I learned a great deal of information about the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. The author, Dr. Philip Zimbardo was an expert witness in the military court trial of that case. In a nutshell, Author believes that the situational power is a major factor in evil acts.

Some of the points in the book provoked my thoughts.  Firstly, our criminal justice system over-relies on the common sense views about what things cause people to commit crimes. They are usually only motivational and personality determinants. It is time for the legal system to take account of behavioral science about the power of social context in influencing behavior, criminal actions, and moral slips.

Secondly, a vocal minority of any situation is successful when they have four qualities: consistent in their position, appeared confidence, avoided rigid and dogmatic personalities, and finally the most important, in my opinion, skilled in social influence. Also decisions of a group as a whole are more thoughtful and creative when there is a minority dissent. Say hell no to unanimous decisions.

Thirdly, Most peoples’ lives are controlled by their over use of one time frame; past, present, or future and under reliance on the other time frames. We should use the time frames in a flexible balanced fashion depending on the situation. When there is a work to be done, future oriented discipline is needed. When we need to connect with the family and friends, the past should be called upon. When we want to enjoy our life and seek new adventures, present orientation best enables us to do so. In my case, I am more of a present oriented person and I don’t want to bother too much about the future.

Finally, most of us, who have never been to a federal or county prison, limit our basic freedoms by self-imposed prisons such as neurotic disorders, low self-esteem, shyness, prejudice, shame, and excessive fear of terrorism.

I just stop here to keep this post in a reasonable size . The Lucifer Effect is a fascinating book that explores the human nature in different environments at different levels of influence of societal power.


3-Way Street

I had the opportunity to attend the Fall Transportation Conference this week in Las Vegas . John Penuelas, Traffic Engineer for City of Henderson, showed this video as part of his presentation. I could not resist myself from posting this interesting 3 minute clip.  Please make sure your speaker volume is at its max and watch the video in full screen.