The Impact of Situation toward individual’s behavior

1314 Words6 Pages
William Shakespeare, one of the most beloved British poet and playwright, says in his play Hamlet, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” The author thinks that there is no such a thing like an absolute ethical standard, and that ethical standards are set by human beings. Given the context, moral standards are various upon the people’s viewpoints of the situations that they encounter. Even if people learn about moral standards and legal obligations during the long course of their education, their rigid standpoints are fallible to the situations involving spontaneous human nature of “obedience to authority,” (Fromm 685) as a “social animal.”(Cohen) Human beings are likely to adapt themselves to the situation. In his article, “Disobedience as A Psychological and Moral Problem,” Erich Fromm, one of the prominent writers and psychologists of the last century, states that people are prone to obey rules because they feel “safe and protected” by authority. His argument begins with introducing human nature by classifying into “authoritarian conscience” and “humanistic conscience.” The “authoritarian conscience” stands for the “internalized” inborn nature of human beings that makes them want to please an authority, and leads them to fear not to satisfy the authority. The “humanistic conscience” is a mirror of our self-conscience. Based on people’s own perceptions and ideas that have been molded during the long course of their lives, they determine what is right or wrong. Fromm also mentions that “authoritarian conscience” has much greater impact on one’s decision than “humanistic conscience” because it has certain credibility by authority and other people also follow it. In addition, when their own belief conflic... ... middle of paper ... ...ed anymore by that extreme manipulation as Adolf Hitler’s one. However, Milgram’s experiment clearly shows that these people will also walk on the same path that Germans did, due to the fear from not taking part in the mainstream of society and the comfort that they are officially protected. Human beings live in a society. The society provides them the essential things including relationships, employments, money, infrastructures and so on. (Crossman) Thus, without a feeling of belonging to the society, people would feel extremely anxious and frustrated. As a “social animal”, human beings will seek ways to adapt themselves to the society, rather than clinging to their own ethical standards. This fact illustrates how human being’s behaviors are susceptible to the control of the circumstances, where a person is altered from the most ethical one to the most vicious one.

More about The Impact of Situation toward individual’s behavior

Open Document