Read this interesting article on FB today.
What happens when you have the complete power over some people? What would you do?
“Marina Abramović, “Rhythm 0,” 1974
Marina Abramović is best known for her performance pieces, in which she tries to explore what is possible for an artist to do in the name of art. Her best known piece was the recent “The Artist Is Present,” in which she sat motionless for 736.5 hours over the course of three months, inviting visitors to sit opposite her and make eye contact for as long as they wanted. So many people began spontaneously crying across from her that blogs and Facebook groups were set up for those people.
Her bravest piece, however, is my favorite. This piece was primarily a trust exercise, in which she told viewers she would not move for six hours no matter what they did to her. She placed 72 objects one could use in pleasing or destructive ways, ranging from flowers and a feather boa to a knife and a loaded pistol, on a table near her and invited the viewers to use them on her however they wanted.
Initially, Abramović said, viewers were peaceful and timid, but it escalated to violence quickly. “The experience I learned was that … if you leave decision to the public, you can be killed… I felt really violated: they cut my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the public. Everyone ran away, escaping an actual confrontation.”
This piece revealed something terrible about humanity, similar to what Philip Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison Experiment or Stanley Milgram’s Obedience Experiment, both of which also proved how readily people will harm one another under unusual circumstances.
This performance showed just how easy it is to dehumanize a person who doesn’t fight back, and is particularly powerful because it defies what we think we know about ourselves. I’m certain the no one reading this believes the people around him/her capable of doing such things to another human being, but this performance proves otherwise.”
I have watched this preview of the film, The Experiment,
and I read about the Stanford Prison Experiment. You may watch the interview of the study here
The study was participated by paid volunteers and all are very normal people.
The volunteers were then separated into 2 groups, where 1 group are the guards and another the prisoners.
The guards were given uniforms, baton, handcuffs and black sunglasses (which is similar to hiding behind a mask). All these give them the power of the prisoners. And they started to dehumanise the prisoners. The prisoners – powerless and at the mercy of the guards.
They start to play the role that wasn’t even real in the first place. Slowly the behaviour start to change more and more. It became very normal to them that these prisoners who did not do anything wrong in the first places are treated like prisoners and deserve to be ill-treated. They started abusing them, mocking them, emotionally torture them.
Have you wonder, why no one stop the experiment. The people, themselves, who did the experiment were so caught up with the situation that they did not realise how wrong it become?
Bringing it closer to home, I read about an article about the Malaysian Immigration staff made 2 Singaporeans who entered the country illegally as they were not able to get their passport stamped, and were detain. The funny thing is they stripped and made to squat and pull their ears. How in the world does this solve the problem of why they didnt get their passport stamped?
Why do some people you know or read about that it is so common to bully someone or torture someone? It became a right to do it. Just like how rapists in India thought it was fine to rape and kill the women and not get caught. How the police shrug their shoulders and say its normal and cast the file aside.
I recently had a situation and was wondering how this person from a nice sweet person has become such a different person. Has she been a situation of constant bully that she herself has changed her character and lose herself without knowing?
I myself became worried that I might one day get caught up in a bad situation and lose my soul and lose my focus in life.
I started to step out of the situation and look at Wendy(myself) like a third party. Do I really want to be behave in respond like that or should I behave in a more positive and “true to myself” way.
Sometimes when you are in a bad situation, think a minute and look at it at a third party and you might be able to see it with a different perspective. And more so realise how you are behaving. People may bully, torture or treat you unfairly. But you cannot lose yourself because what the person did. Doesn’t mean you let them walk all over you. But be stronger in character and behaviour in the right manner and true to yourself. Look in the mirror and be able to respect yourself.
And of course, reading the bible and talking to some wise people helps you in the right direction as well.
Some reflection I did this week. Feel like i am learning something again…