Obedience typically denotes something which describes dogs and kids fond of pleasing those they are in particular fond of. It is akin to being docile or domesticated and synonymous to tamed and controlled. It is a necessity where servants and workers are concerned and an anti-thesis to anyone who studies and breathes of terrorism and wreaking small scale havoc. Personally, it is expected of me as an employee, and as a citizen of this country.
However, in real life, it can also be threatening if the individual has obedience as a dominating trait in his life; he could be prey to one who is working against the law if and when he intends to be the whistleblower of sorts. The paper attempts to share understanding of obedience in context of two major cultural milieus: India and America. There are important considerations to establish this understanding. It is in laying down the arguments such as providing contrasts to the concepts, extrapolating from a variety of illustrations, and taking on the moral issue as a motivating factor to manifest this trait.
In explaining the behavior of people, we start our description with reference to some kind of active driving force: the individual seeks, the individual wants, the individual fears. Various psychologists describe motivation, in other words, as the driving force behind our behavior (Atkinson, et al. 1983). Smith, et al. labels their discussion on motivation as the “Why” of behavior (1982). Why does the tardy student in mathematics spend the rest of the period outside instead of inside the mathematics classroom? Emotions or strong feelings usually accompany motivated behavior.
Often, emotions direct behavior toward goals (Atkinson, et al. 1983). In specific and familiar cases, the need to be accepted is acceptably present especially in collectivistic societies. The paper then attempts to examine this aspect of motivation in a person’s life in contrast to the notion that people move or are persuaded to do something if there is that authority figure to supervise or check on the tasks assigned. It examines theoretical perspectives to help elaborate the nuances of these two general aspects. II. DISCUSSION
India is said to be a nation which is characterized by remarkable obedience. Studies have shown repeatedly the landscape of poverty and the primary factor is the value of obedience. America is known for liberty, democracy and freedom of speech, as well religiosity of the best and worst kinds. However, instances that reveal the deep-rootedness of obedience within subcultures described as American help paint a better and bigger picture on this observation. There are similarities and there are distinctions that make each culture stand out in terms of how obedience comes to the fore in decision-making.
In addition, the distinctiveness come usually with the flavour that is identified clearly in each of the cultural backgrounds each country represents. a. Studies on Obedience i. Deviance in contrast: Illustrations and comparisons The world of humans is oftentimes unpredictable, changing and wondrously exciting. However, when these attributes become extremely bizarre and painfully detrimental, humans become sick and worried about to what extent can other humans afford to inflict harm against them. Suicide bombing is, if not the most, one of the most gruesome acts anybody can commit.
It is outright crazy and stupid. One must be beside the normal to be entertaining such a thought in mind. Ironically, fanatics who have committed and attempted suicide bombings in the past, were deemed normal until the day when the execution of their ultimate plans were made public whether foiled or completed. People who are afflicted with mental disorder may, as other people, travel for the same reasons – vacation, visiting friends or relatives, business, recreation, and sometimes for religious or spiritual focus (Miller & Zarcone, 1968).
Others indeed may travel for reasons other than the normal – for reasons triggered by malformed mental state such as the men who carried out the 911 attack of the Twin Towers in New York. Along the 911 attack, suicide bombing through aircraft came to prominence resulting in the stirring of the awareness among the international public of the fact that the regular traveler might not be that “regular” anyway. It is probable that some of them are driven by excessive anger or motivated by utopic hope as taught in the communities wherein they have pledged their life allegiance (Silke, 2003).
In a recent turn of events in Pakistan, upon the return of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to her home country, 124 were killed and 320 plus got injured as a result of another suicide bombing. The bomber threw grenades among crowds of people and afterwards blasted himself to death (CNN update, Oct. 18, 2007). It’s difficult to think of sensible reasons why a sane person (if that person was ever considered sane by his colleagues) has committed such an act in the first place.
To spend and expend one’s self for a noble cause is commendable only if they benefit people outside one’s own community. It’s never an ideal to advance a religion’s cause at the expense of the lives of other people. A suicide bomber is demented in that even in the logic of religion, all religions presupposed a benevolent god who is both powerful and loving. There must be distortions somewhere within the suicide bomber’s mind to have associated the act of delivering a bomb and acts of piety. ii. American Context: Milgram Study
The world came to know about the kind of research that Stanley Milgram had just started to explore in 1963 when he started to make his experiments known to the public. One of the major consequences of his studies was the development and establishment of ethics in research especially those involving human subjects. However, that became more like a serendipitous outcome of an entirely different pursuit in studying behavior. What Milgram set out to study was the issue of obedience in retrospect of the holocaust and the probable reasons that many people then under the Nazi regime followed orders that were inhuman or barbaric.
It was approximately around the investigation of Adolf Eichmann who manned the Gestapo persecutions during the said Holocaust; this person had to face charges of genocide which was held in Jerusalem (Milgram, 1963). The experiment involved what Milgram called the learner, the teacher and the experimenter who authorized the course and duration of the study. The learner is the person who actually was employed to help the experiment (assumingly with the consent and guidance of Milgram). The “naive” or innocent person (the learner) will work with the same group of people but one who was actually a good actor.
The teachers will conduct the tasks assigned to him about the memory exercise he was to supervise which was the learner will be able to accomplish; later an evaluation takes place of what that person (the learner) may have retained. If the learner commits mistakes, varied or graduated shocks were to be applied with matching painful and agonizing sounds that can be heard (Morris & Maisto, 1999). The experiment showed that despite attempts by the learner to communicate to the teacher/volunteer that the painful shocks should be stopped, whenever the experimenter (e. g.
Milgram) was asked about stopping the treatment and the latter affirming that this was a part of the experiment, an overwhelming approximately 65% continued administering the shocks. What was even astounding was that when the person playacting as if in sheer agony and even almost dying or breathless, the teacher continued to administer these shocks which were increasing in intensity (Morris & Maisto, 1999). What were the implications of the study? An important lesson could be gaining insight as to people’s reasons why they may subject other people who were innocent to these painful episodes.
Like the SS men of Eichmann during the captivity of the Jews in the early 40s, men who were deeply religious to a large degree, obey the orders despite what have been obvious clashes of understanding (Morris & Maisto, 1999). Authority figures cannot be denied as people who ought to be listened. Factors for a brief view on the implications point to people’s previous upbringing or how they were inculcated on by caregivers and figures who acted as people in authority and the value of obedience. iii.
Indian (East) Context An example of collectivist culture, India, like Japan and other similar cultures and countries, obedience is a given in this nation (Rajagopalan, 1992). . Collectivism values the contributions of every member of the family and that support of whatever kind is expected from all family constituents. Obedience is then understood in the light of cultural influences. Culture influences our perception both directly and indirectly. Indirectly, because culture influences our personal needs and motives.
Directly, because a person’s habits of looking at and interpreting things, objects, persons, and situations depend partly on his culture (Rajagopalan, 1992). A person’s social experiences exert a strong influence on how he sees or interprets a situation, specially a social situation. In his contact with his family, friend, school or business associates his responses to situations are influenced by experiences with these social groups. In other words, his perception of situation depends upon his social interactions with people and (Rajagopalan, 1992).
Because of this a person’s social relations, family structure, and his working relationships are greatly impacted depending on whether he comes from an individualist or collectivist background or milieu. A person’s personal identity will be vastly different if he was brought by a culture which is collectivist in nature. His analysis of the things that occur around him, his values on possessions, money and family set-up will be filtered through the collectivist point of view.
A person who is raised this way tends to see himself as functioning well only in relation to the valued members of the clan or the community which he belongs. The needs of the rest of the members of his community will always be a consideration. In contrast, the same person when raised and bred in an individualist culture such as in the American setting, tends to only see his function and identity through the training of his parents and community to look out for himself first and the needs of the rest of the family or community come second (Rajagopalan, 1992).
Women are expected to occupy the role subordinate to their husbands or men. Consequently role expectations involved that of obedience and nurturance. Alongside this, children need to exhibit strong obedience traits to the mother (Rajagopalan, 1992). iv. Acceptance or obedience George Herbert Mead is a major influencer to many theorists who developed his major concepts into equally powerful viewpoints. His works although never published even during his lifetime had been influential to many of those who followed the path that he carved not only for himself but others close to him. Mead coined a lot of phrases and terminology.
An important consideration when attempting to understand “obedience or conformity” and the idea that all that a person needs is his relationship be improved and eventually show that what motivated an individual is either because of a basic human need which is acceptance or that forces kept a person from committing a deed which is within the bounds of almost modern day type of living. To George Mead, an all important consideration when responding to stimuli of various forms, may actually come from this so-called “looking glass self” which is a mental picture resulting from assuming if a role of another person.
In other words, social interaction is more than the mere contextualization of present experience; rather it takes into account that there is the importance of how the social exchanges take place. This looking glass self is an approach into getting insights in many of a person’s decision-making processes and how that person responds depend a lot to the degree of reality-based kind of relationship (http://www. afirstlook. com/manual6/ed6man04. pdf_). SYNTHESIS AND CONCLUSION Common knowledges are often inane talks.
They are handed from generation to generation through word of mouth and are thus accepted as they are without clear scientific bases. They are not a good source of information because they are often misleading. They often prevent people from seeking laudable information and at times could be lethal. It should be noted that psychologists now utilize careful measures and specialized research techniques and procedures to avoid pitfalls of the so-called common knowledge (Aronson, 1972).
Psychologists, being scientists, are concerned with investigating and explaining behavior. They make use of scientific inquiries in gathering data for obtaining facts about human behavior. These facts are collated, organized, and interpreted or analyzed according to the aims of the research (Aronson, 1972). Experimentation and direct observation are two modes that are employed in the empirical approach to investigation – the approach that is guided by experience.
They propose hypotheses or propositions to be tested, which may either be derived from theories or formulated from observations. Hypotheses may be tested by experimental or non-experimental methods (Bower et al. , 1987). There are several well-known methods in social psychological research. Although not all are used for a given research project, a knowledge of these approaches will help one to choose the most suitable way to obtain most data and the most effective technique to use especially when studying individual behavior in groups (Aronson, 1972).
Reference: Aronson, E (1972). The Social Animal. San Francisco Freeman. Atkinson, Rita L. , Richard C. Atkinson, and Ernest R. Hilgard (1983). Introduction to Psychology. 8th ed. , New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. Berkowitz, L. (1972). Social Psychology, Glenview, Ill. Scott. Foresman. Bower, G. H. , R. R. Bootzin, R. B. Zajonc (1987). Principles of psychology today. New York: Random House.