Are You Obedient To Authority? (3 min read)

The Set-Up

In a chilling experiment conducted in the early 1960s, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram set out to understand why Nazi soldiers followed orders to murder millions. The set-up of the experiment was clever. Members of the public would act as a teacher and test another supposed member of the public, the learner, on simple word association tests. A scientist, the experimenter, would oversee this.

The teacher was told by the experimenter to impart successively larger electric shocks to the learner when they made errors – the voltage started at 15V and would go up to 450V. Continue reading “Are You Obedient To Authority? (3 min read)”

The Intoxication Of Power (2 mins)

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After this week’s UK and European political developments, I thought about Machiavelli, Shakespeare and Sun Tzu. The latter wrote in his “Art of War” that all warfare is based on deception (how true!). He went to describe this in more detail (as did Charlie Sheen in the 1980s classic “Wall Street”):

“Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable;

When using our forces, we must seem inactive;

 When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away;

 When far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

Another more controversial Chinese classic was written around the same time in 500BC, it was called “The Master of Demon Valley”. It was associated with Continue reading “The Intoxication Of Power (2 mins)”

How Music Can Challenge Power

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In a world of shallow, manufactured and derivative music, where the only controversies are how vulgar the lyrics or videos are, Saul Williams stands out. He’s a singer, poet, activist and artist. His songs are full of passion and politics. It reminds me of the early days of Hip Hop when it was angry, defiant and political.

Saul came out with a new album a few months called “MartyrLoserKing”. It’s play on the name Martin Luther King Continue reading “How Music Can Challenge Power”

What I Learnt From Cicero (and Caesar)

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I finished reading Robert Harris’ “The Dictator” about the rise and fall of Caesar as told from the perspective of the statesman-philosopher Cicero. While it wasn’t as fun as the first two in the trilogy, it still had many gems of insight:

“How easy is it for those who play no part in public affairs to sneer at the compromises required of those who do” (Cicero had stuck to his principles and been banished from Rome).

Continue reading “What I Learnt From Cicero (and Caesar)”