August 01, 2007

Thoughts on Social Dynamics

I've been reading Philip Zambardo's The Lucifer Effect. What a powerful book. There is a wealth of ideas that I want to share from this work going forward. I found the chapter on Social Dynamic: Power, Conformity, and Obedience simply some of the most eyeopening information I've read in a long time. He uses a C.S. Lewis quote to set the stage.

I believe that in all men's lives at certain periods, and in many men's lives at all periods between infancy and extreme old age, one of the most dominant elements is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside...Of all the passions the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things. -- C.S. Lewis, "The Inner Ring" (1944)

How much do we want to be part of the team? And what would we do to be part of a really special team? Would we give up our soul? Most likely.

Some more from C.S. Lewis:

To nine out of ten of you the choice which could lead to scoundrelism will come, when it does come, in no very dramatic colors. Obviously bad men, obviously threatening or bribing, will almost certainly not appear. Over a drink or over a cup of coffee, disguised as a triviality and sandwiched between two jokes from the lips of a man, or woman, whom you have recently been getting to know rather better and whom you hope to know better still -- just at the moment when you are most anxious not to appear crude, or naive or a prig -- the hint will come. It will be the hint of something, something that the public, the ignorant, romantic public, would never understand. Something which even the outsiders in you own profession are apt to make a fuss about, but something, says your new friend, which "we" -- and at the word "we" you try not to blush for mere pleasure -- something "we always do." And you will be drawn in, if you are drawn in, not by desire for gain or ease, but simply because at that moment, when the cup was so near your lips, you cannot bear to be thrust back again into the cold outer world. It would be so terrible to see the other man's face -- that genial, confidential, delightfully sophisticated face -- turn suddenly cold and contemptuous, to know that you had been tried for the Inner Ring and rejected. And then, if you are drawn in, next week it will be something a little further from the rules, and next year something further still, but all in the jolliest, friendliest spirit. it may end in a crash, a scandal, and penal servitude; it may end in millions, a peerage and giving the prizes at your old school. But you will be a scoundrel.

More later.

Posted by Mary at August 1, 2007 10:09 AM | Random Mumblings | Technorati links |
Comments

Bush likely to claim executive privilege

Posted by: ccoaler at August 1, 2007 01:09 PM

Minnesota bridge collapses

Posted by: ccoaler at August 2, 2007 12:57 AM