"- via Psychologists Have Uncovered a Troubling Feature of People Who Seem Nice All the Time - Mic
What researchers discovered was surprising: Those who are described as ‘agreeable, conscientious personalities’ are more likely to follow orders and deliver electric shocks that they believe can harm innocent people, while ‘more contrarian, less agreeable personalities’ are more likely to refuse to hurt others.
The study also found that people holding left-wing political views were less willing to hurt others. One particular group held steady and refused destructive orders: ‘women who had previously participated in rebellious political activism such as strikes or occupying a factory.’"
“When I was younger, I believed that I was my own person, free to shape my character and do whatever I wanted to do. Recently, though, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m more a composite of my parents, who are so different from each other that I wonder how they could have ever been together. I know them well enough to see their shortcomings. The older I get, the more I realize that the things they struggled with I struggle with now, and have been my whole life—I just never knew it.
“On one hand, it’s a really depressing idea that you are doomed to be your mom and dad. On the other hand, I think that while I’ve inherited those struggles, I’m probably more able to overcome them than my parents were. It’s like a vaccine: it gives you just enough of the virus so your body can resist it. I got their shortcomings, but just enough that I can overcome them if I am determined. Still, it’s a difficult thing to do.”
“Which feeling prevails: hope or inevitability?”
“I tend to be an optimist, so I think that I can overcome my parents’ challenges. But maybe that’s not true. Maybe I’m doomed. Maybe that’s just how the world works: we’re doomed to live our parents’ lives over and over again, from generation to generation.”
“You said they were very different from each other.”
“Yes, my mom was a single parent and always worked but remained poor. My father graduated from Harvard, and he’s been quite successful. Everybody thinks that I’m trying to be like him—I also graduated from Harvard. For most of my life, I’ve wanted to live up to the ideals that my father created, to prove that I have it in me even though I grew up in more modest circumstances. So I chased after certain things, but now I think, ‘What am I doing? These things aren’t even truly valuable.’I realize now that what my mother gave me was much more valuable.
“I’ve only recently—in the past five years or so—had a relationship with my father. I moved here to take care of him when he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. That’s how I got to know him: those noble, virtuous qualities that I associated with my father weren’t there, replaced instead by underhanded, manipulative, cowardly characteristics. The more I get to know him, the more I realize that I’m thankful that my mother raised me. He’s one of the worst people I know—I don’t want to be like him at all.
“At the same time, I also wonder how it makes me look to think such things about a man who has accomplished so much.I feel strongly, yet I’m very reluctant to talk about it. My dad is very sensitive, and if this dialogue becomes public I know that he will be hurt to realize that I didn’t blindly worship him. Even though I have my issues with my dad, I still want to protect him.”
“You haven’t spoken very harshly of him—I don’t think that you hate him.”
“Well, to go back to the beginning, I’m a composite, so I can’t hate him without hating myself. In a way, I see myself in him. That’s what makes it so complicated and confusing: I identify with his undesirable aspects. I have to embrace and work on them because they’re in me, too. The same is true of my mom: she was super loving and giving, but she was also a drunk and a drug addict. I play up the love, because that’s desirable and allows me to embrace the idea of her.
“I want to protect my parents because their qualities are a part of me. They are seriously flawed human beings in very different ways, so I have no clear role model to follow: no one to ask for advice, no compass. I feel that I’m at a crossroads, but I don’t know what I should be pursuing. That’s what dominates my life right now: what’s valuable? What’s right? I’ve had this hodgepodge of life, and now I’m confused.”
Today is a very, very I Hella Miss Oakland day