Obedience Takes Courage

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Milgram experiment, Philip Zimbardo Pages: 3 (749 words) Published: December 12, 2012
Collin Oursler
Mrs. Brogan
PSEO English 12
25 September 2012
Be The Brave One
Obeying an order or command given by someone of higher authority is easier and holds less responsibility than disobeying. However, the right decision is not always the easier choice. Disobedience may lead the path to success, but it takes bravery to follow through. Without courage, disobedience is impossible.

Defending the decision to obey authority, the effort and motivation needed to obey may not outweigh the potential consequences of disobeying authority. Disobedience is not only going against authority. Disobeying requires motivation and reasoning in order to have a lasting effect on the authoritative figure. Due to the amount of effort involved, many people decide to conform and obey authority because they do not possess the necessary motivation. In the Milgram Experiment, subjects were being tested to see if they would obey an authoritative figure that instructed them to perform tasks that conflicted with their conscience (692). A subject was forced to teach an actor a series of words. The actor would then be shocked with increasing volts of electricity each time he answered incorrectly. In reality, the actor was not hooked up to the electrical machine and was instructed to act out in pain when shocked. The test subject, however, believed that the “learner”’ was actually being “shocked” for wrong answers and continued to flip the switch (Milgram 694). In most cases, the teacher would not hesitate to shock the learner and continue with the experiment ordered by the intimidating experimenter. One reason many of the test subjects obeyed the instructor were the unknown consequences of disobeying the experimenter. Also, with money involved, they may think they would not receive the money if they disobeyed during the experiment. Some subjects disobeyed the instructor and refused to continue putting the learner through anymore unnecessary pain. Nearly 70% of the...
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