Obedience Essay, Research Paper
Though conforming to group is the easiest option, standing up for what you believe shows you to be a person of character. If a person doesn’t use their morals to make decisions, there is much more room for conflict. People that are easily suggestible probably have a harder time determining what the right thing to do is. When a person reaches a certain maturity level he/she is forced to start deciding what the right thing to do is. They are no longer able to get away with doing what a group they belong to wants.
A great example of someone who did not follow the group was Martin Luther. At a time when he could be thrown in jail for speaking bad against the catholic church, he stood up for what he believed. His goal was not to start a new religion but reform the one that was already there. By posting the “diet of worms” he told catholic officials where he thought the church had problems. Luther knew he could be severely punished but decided to take that risk to do what was right. He was not being pressured into doing this by anyone. He simply knew it was the right thing to do and knew he had to do it.
Because most people are members of more than one group, and sometimes those groups have conflicting interests, a person who is relying on a group to make a decision will have a very hard time. I find it the hardest to make a decision when I am being pushed in opposite directions by different groups. My parents think I should go to bed so I can wake up for school while my friends think I should hang out with them later. Everyone is faced with these kind of decisions every day. When you are a certain age your parents can’t make you do anything and so you are forced to make your own decision. Many kids feel they must hang out late so they are not made fun of by their peers. They do not make decisions on facts but rather on feelings. Someone making their decision on facts would have factored in: when their earliest class is, how much homework they have, how much sleep they need to be a productive student, etc.
A person that is counting on a group to make decisions will have a harder time determining what the “right” thing to do is. Most children start out morally sound but ditch their morals when trying to gain acceptance with a certain crowd. Studies show that “peer pressure” is one of the biggest factors in whether a child will experiment with harmful substances or not. Though the kids know these substances are bad and may harm their bodies, they feel they must use them to gain acceptance. Because the kids are in a very awkward time in their lives, they want to feel normal by having their personality defined by a group.
At a young age we are taught to be obedient. We are punished if we do not do what our mothers say. This is so parents can keep control of their children. Children are not mature enough to make their own decisions so we have someone else do it for them. Children are not capable of making decisions for their futures. They make all decisions based on what they want at the time. When a child becomes more mature, hopefully he will have the ability to make his own decisions and not rely on a parent. A child’s parents make decisions they hope the child will make in the future. They are essentially teaching the children how to make decisions.
When a person reaches a certain maturity level, there are fewer incidents where a group influences their decisions. There are people who despite their age, are always looking for someone to take orders from. These people have other psychological problems that prevent them from maturing past a pre-teen level. A good example of a person like that is Charles Ng. Charles Ng committed multiple murders while taking orders from his partner Leonard Lake. Ng’s lawyer’s claimed he was not responsible for the murders because he was simply a tool of Leonard Lake. The only crime Ng committed was wanting acceptance from Leonard Lake. While a sane person would stop trying to be accepted when he/she was forced to murder, Ng thought being accepted by Leonard Lake was more important than the lives of the many people he killed..
Not all bad decisions are made because of peer pressure. There are people who enjoy committing crimes. These people are making their own decisions but have other psychological problems. Leonard Lake was not taking orders from anyone and was presumably not trying to gain acceptance. He simply enjoyed watching people suffer. This is a bigger problem than doing the wrong thing because you want to gain acceptance. A person like that needs to get
Taking orders is no reason to commit a crime. When Adolph Eichman was put on trial for the crimes he committed in the concentration camps, he claimed he was just following orders. He felt his life would be in danger if he didn’t take the lives of many jews. This shows the little respect he had for Jewish lives. He felt his life was more important than the Jews lives and so he should be able to save his own neck by killing many Jews. Another person, that didn’t hate Jews, could not follow orders to torture and kill people. There has to be a point where you stop being a soldier and start being a human.