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Human nature is not cruel - Essay Example

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On the basis of Milgram’s experiment and the Kitty Genovese event, (Catherine Kitty Genovese was a young woman,28 years of age, who was brutally murdered by a man, Winston Moseley, who attacked and stabbed her…
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Human nature is not cruel
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Extract of sample "Human nature is not cruel"

Tianjiao Zhang Kuehner English 151RW
Oct 23, 2014
Human nature is not cruel
Several terrible things take place every single minute nowadays. On the basis of Milgram’s experiment and the Kitty Genovese event, (Catherine Kitty Genovese was a young woman,28 years of age, who was brutally murdered by a man, Winston Moseley, who attacked and stabbed her on Friday of 13th March,1964 outside her home in Queens as she was coming home from work .All this took place while 38 witnesses observed and did nothing to save her),the “bystander effect” refers to the fact that people are less likely to help other people in distress, while in crowd.
Whereas, Kitty’s case has been subjected to several inaccuracies and misrepresentations, many other similar cases have been reported recently. Clearly, then, the “bystander effect” can have a strong impact, especially on social behavior, leaving people asking why exactly does it occur? And why do people not assist others when they are part of a crowd?
More and more people are starting to pay attention and consider such kind of events as these. What leads people to become more apathetic, immoral or even cruel? Is human nature cruel? Human beings are not born cruel. A baby is always naïve and pure, they are not intentionally cruel to others. I believe that humans are not always cruel depending on certain circumstances surrounding an individual.
Furthermore, Milgram’s experiment is all about obedience to authority. It found that 65 percent of participants deferred to the authority of the experimenter and administered the final 450 volt "shock”. The other 35 percent refused to continue with the experiment. This experiment tells us that people always obey authority. I don’t believe the 65 percent of subjects were cruel just because they completed the experiment. They wanted to stop the experiment, but the experimenter kept emphasizing things such as “the experiment requires that you continue, go on please, the shocks are painful but they are not harmful.” It made participants very nervous and confused, meaning that the experimenter’s authority pushed them to be cruel and even hurt innocent people.
In brief, Milgram’s experiment is not enough proof that human nature is cruel, but people will be cruel under certain circumstances. Any normal person, usually, will not easily hurt others just for the sake of it. And if they do hurt someone they will definitely feel guilty. Someone however could be wondering that, if human nature is not cruel, then why are there so many murderers in the world? I believe murdering someone is cruel, but they are not always cruel. “People are likely to do anything to anyone if instructed to do so.” If they feel threatened or instructed by authorities, they are bound to do something cruel.
When Kitty Genovese event happened, people felt sad about the whole episode, and may easily end up condemning the 38 witnesses, as to why they never did anything to save her inspite of her pleas and screams for help. Assuming you were one of the witnesses, would you have dared come out, on hearing Kitty screams and pleas for help at that unearthly hour (3.20 am)? Would you have rushed out to help her? I am of the opinion that majority of the people will uphold justice, and claim that they would have come out and helped the young lady, but when people are indeed in real danger, I don’t think all of them will act as they claim.
Why do I say so? Because I have been to New York before and I am aware of all the hustle and bustle present in that city. Just like Kitty Genovese event happened, someone may absolutely fail to assist a person in distress. New York is an extremely, fast-paced large populated city, bustling with activity. New York urbanites lack a true show of humanity and everyone is busy, hurrying to accomplish their many and varied chores. This is one of the reasons which lead people to being indifferent to others as well as events taking place things around them. However, this also is not adequate proof that human nature is cruel.
In some occasions, people become indifferent because of the environment. However, under such a circumstance, people turn out to be selfish and indifferent, but not cruel. In addition, 38 witnesses is just a small account of number, in a big society and environment and thus cannot entirely be used as an argument for people being cruel. The murderer who killed Kitty Genovese is the real cruel person. There are several factors that could have contributed to the 38 witnesses behaving the way they did. One of them is what is known as responsibility diffusion, which possibly could have been contributed by the other witnesses. Since there were other people in the neighborhood, the witnesses did not feel compelled or pressurized enough to act, because the responsibility to act is believed to be shared amongst everyone present.
In conclusion, therefore, human nature, generally, is not cruel, but people will be cruel under certain circumstances. Many different kinds of situations and temptations will push people to become cruel. No one wants to be a loser, and it is no doubt that everyone craves success. But reality is cruel; it’s impossible for everyone to become successful. People may, thus, become cruel not because of their human nature but due to their present surrounding circumstances. Psychologist also argue that one can reduce the “bystander effect” is by being aware of it themselves and actually, this is the best manner to break the cycle. Read More
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