Society teaches the young and growing numerous virtues regarding conduct. As children, such virtues apply in totality and adherence to their position is non-negotiable. The young and inexperienced situation we are in contributes to this stance. However, as we grow older, our experiences contribute to the wisdom level and some of the virtues taught are either quashed or applied depending on convenience terms.
Obedience depicts strict adherence to the guidelines provided for certain aspect of life. The originators of such instructions are people in power or authority. As a result, disobedience is rewarded with punishment or withdrawal of benefits. By binding to this rule, the actions of an adult are guided by the implication of the instructions. In some instances, the responsibility appended to adulthood severs the need to uphold virtues and apply them universally. Adherence to the instructions of authoritative or persuasive individuals is sometimes borne out of the need to obey rather than to act within the boundaries of rationality.
The perils of obedience
The experiment by Milgram was based on the level individuals are willing to go under the instructions of an overbearing authority (Blass, 9 & Milgram, 3). From the results, it was clear that each individual develops a deep sense of irresponsibility by subconsciously conforming to the decisions and instructions made. Coformism contributes to the decision by most individuals to follow instructions in spite of their implication owing to the abandonment of decision-making roles to the authority.
Similarly, obedience under instructions metamorphoses into a chattel like relationship where by the person obeying orders rids himself of responsibility (Levin, 444). After the adoption of this perspective, the essential aspects of obedience follow suit. The trust appended on perceived expert’s point of view completely obliterates any form of responsibility appended to actions as articulated by Condon & Kurth (p 3).
On his side, Asch posited that the influence of social groups on individual members is so strong a force (Abelson et al, 62). The instances of how propaganda works were clearly outlined in the experiment owing to the ease with which individuals were willing to change their stance without consideration of substance, but as a way of avoiding opposition (Levin, 199). As social beings, men are wary of circumstances where their opinion contradicts that of his peers. The fact that he is confident of his stance does not remedy the scenario owing to his minority status, thereby outlining the strength of peer pressure, a scenario referred to as group effects (Milgram, 113).
The observations from both experiments fault the ability of most individuals to remain steadfast to the reality and accurate presentation of aspects. On the contrary, the most common tendency is conformation to the crowd or the perceived knowledgeable group (Abelson et al 199). In unfamiliar circumstances, individuals are unwilling to bear the responsibility of standing their ground and are willing to obey in order to fit into prescribed groups or please authority as outlined by Milgram (p 44).
When placed under novel circumstances, individuals are most vulnerable. The vulnerability emanates from the belief that the opinion of the experienced individual(s) or the majority constitutes the truth. As a result, their views and actions are subject to manipulation through simple acts of pressure or disapproval. The abandonment of rational thinking occurs because of transfer of responsibility of his actions to the influencing authority. Under such a situation, individuals are capable of acting as puppets. The outcome of such scenarios represents some of the most blood-chilling atrocities known to humankind. It is also the basis of most cultural practices, whose advantages are far from explainable.