Project Civic Mirror Analysis

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Project Civic Mirror In the spring of 1845, Karl Marx wrote, "... the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of social relations" [1]. Marx's idea was that a change in the "ensemble of social relations" [1] can change "the human essence" [1]. In June 2004 the communist North Korean government issued a statement to its starving citizens recommending the consumption of pine needles. Pyongyang maintained that pine needle tea could “effectively prevent and treat cancer, arteriosclerosis, diabetes, cerebral hemorrhage” [2], and even “turn grey hair to black” [2]. Tragically, human nature isn't at all as advertised, and neither is pine needle tea. According to the U.S. State Department,…show more content…
Consider the “Stanford Prison Experiment of 1971” [5] below: Guards and prisoners had been chosen randomly from volunteering students at Stanford. Some participants developed their roles as the officers and enforced authoritarian measure and ultimately subjected some prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, by the officers' request, actively harassed other prisoners who tried to stop it. Zimbardo, in his role as the warden, allowed abuse to continue. Two of the prisoners left mid-experiment, and the whole exercise was abandoned after six days following the strong objections of graduate student Christina Maslach. Dr. Zimbardo was later asked to testify before Congress about prison reform. He described the study as “an attempt to understand just what it means psychologically to be a prisoner or a prison guard.” But he also emphasized that the students in the study had been “the cream of the crop of this generation” [5], and said that the guards were given no specific instructions, and left free to “make up their own rules for maintaining law, order, and respect” [5]. In explaining the results, he said that the “majority” of participants found themselves “no longer able to clearly differentiate between role-playing and self” [5], and that, in the six days the study took to unfold, “the experience of imprisonment undid, although temporarily, a lifetime of learning; human values were suspended, self-concepts were challenged” [5], and the “ugliest, most base, pathological side of human nature surfaced”

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