July 30th, 2008
Psychopathic wannabe cult-leader or just plain wrong?
Yesterday I saw an episode of “Most Evil” which focused entirely on Charles Manson and his family. In the episode a scientist1 tells of an experiment used to see whether people are prone to follow others despite knowing better if a majority is for something. In the experiment, the people conducting the experiment rounded up four people of which three were actors. The four people were shown a question with an obvious answer, e.g. a picture of four bar charts of different sizes and asked “Which one of the four bars is the longest?”. The actors all continuously agreed on one selection that was obviously wrong.
The experiment showed that the non-actor followed his/her sane mind to begin with, picking the correct answer, but as the questions went on started following the herd, picking what was incorrect just to belong. Of course this was in relation with Charles Manson’s brainwashing the members of his “family”, reminiscent of Hitler Germany, et.c., and somehow it reminds me of what Morrissey once said in an interview2:
When certain people criticise me, I get the point. I can nod and smile when I’m attacked more than when I’m given wonderfully favourable reviews. It’s not necessarily useful to a person that people are so keen to give you five star reviews, and who miss the point. There have been people in the past who cannot stand me whose views I find totally interesting. It’s not very useful to have someone sat next to you nodding all the time…and you purposefully give them a foul idea, and they continue to nod, and you reverse their view of you back on them, and still they nod.
The brainwashing ordeal includes Michael Stone, psychiatrist and host of “Most Evil”, who goes beyond what Morrissey describes as twisting an idea, because Stone tries to make people believe his so-called scale of evil is scientific; I loathe him for this; why use such an arcane term, even in pop psychology/criminology? Mia puts Stone up for grabs in this post, which I place at number 22 on the scale which I hereby dub most relevant. Enough said.
Bonus evil: here‘s a clip from the series to show you an interview that Stone did with Cynthia Hendy who worked with David Parker Ray, by kidnapping, torturing, raping and killing as many as 60 women. In the very end, see Stone concluding that “intense suffering is, after all, the essence of evil”. What a sad joke.