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The Milgram extension

In his famous experiment, Stanley Milgram gave his subjects a switch and then encouraged them to give (fake) electric shocks to his confederates if they were slow to follow instructions.

The internet has become a giant version of this, except the shocks are real.

You give people a switch and they can shock you whenever they choose, disrupt your day, cloud your horizons and generally make you feel like a failure.

Of course, that switch has always been given to certain members of your family or co-workers or teachers. But now, thanks to the ability of a total stranger to dump his anxiety or anger on you, the switch is easily handed to hundreds or thousands of people.

Extending the circle of people who are able to zap you is human nature. It’s easy to do and tempting, too (because it feels as though you’re gaining the ability to have others approve of you). On balance, my guess is that a large number of strangers holding on to electric shock buttons is a dangerous situation. But it’s up to you.

Reblogged from: here

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