Kids: Good or Evil?

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There is a huge question about whether humans are inherently good or not. Authors and psychologists alike have turned to children to find the answer to this question. William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies, explored the idea in gruesome detail that humans are not inherently good. The children turn to the leader who gives them the most freedom to do as they please, the one who doesn’t place rules upon them. Those boys end up killing any remaining boys who try to remain good, even pushing the civilized one with asthma off of a cliff before burning the entire island they were stranded on down to the ground.

 

Psychologists such as Muzafer Sherif wanted to explore this idea further. Driven by interethnic violence between Turkish people groups, Sherif wanted to perform experiments that could prove humans would act violently against one another with very minimal provocation. He set up a completely fake summer camp designed to experiment on 11 year old boys. He let the boys mingle for two days before splitting them up into two groups, the Pythons and the Panthers. Sherif wanted to show that competition over scarce resources would push the boys to work together despite violent acts toward one another in days prior. It’s believed that his drive to prove something like this was a result of extreme interethnic violence between the Turks, Greeks, and Armenians of his homeland, Turkey. According to Gina Perry, a woman who authored a book about Sherif and his exploits, Sherif wanted to understand why people would act such a way.

 

Unfortunately for Sherif, things didn’t turn out in his favor. Leaving the students to their own devices allowed each of them to make friends, and therefore, upon dividing them into groups, the boys knew that the others were actual human beings with good intentions. So when the boys actually exhibited “civilized” values, despite the “frustration exercises” that Sherif and his staff performed on them. The boys even began to get suspicious of their counselors because of those frustrating events.

 

Sherif didn’t want his hypothesis to be proven wrong, so he gathered up another group of boys for a foray into Robber’s Cave. In this new experiment, Sherif eliminated the pre grouping mix, immediately grouping the teams into two groups. This went more to plan. The Rattlers burned the Eagles’ flag after a game of tug of war. All hell broke loose for these boys. It was only when Sherif and his assistants cut off their water supply that the boys worked together to get their water back.

 

So the jury’s out on whether children are good or evil. But, I will leave you with this, one week ago a group of high school football players were charged with rape after allegedly raping their teammates with a broom. KIDS ARE EVIL!!!

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