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Mock Prison Experiment / Consciousness

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Date Host George Noory
Guests Stephan Schwartz, Philip Zimbardo

Renowned social psychologist and creator of the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, Philip Zimbardo, discussed this landmark study which saw ordinary college students transformed into either sadistic guards or emotionally broken prisoners. He explained that the intention of the project was to see how certain situations can shape a person's behavior, but it quickly grew out of control. Zimbardo lamented that the faux guards were "almost competing with each other to see who could be most creatively evil" towards their 'prisoners.' Amazingly, he said, even though the victims of this increasingly cruel treatment could have exited the experiment at any time, they opted to endure it until he put an end to the experiment after only five days.

Having explored how ordinary people can become evil by way of the proverbial role that life has thrust upon them, Zimbardo turned his attention to the opposite effect in his subsequent research by looking at heroic behavior. Specifically, he focused on "everyday heroism" wherein individuals "stand up, speak out, and act with integrity," especially when it could come at a cost to them personally. He pointed to someone diplomatically confronting a colleague who is acting like a bully as an example of this desirable attribute at work. Ultimately, Zimbardo said that people facing similar circumstances can tap into the hero inside them by asking "what is the best approach to change the behavior that is undesirable" and then put that plan into action.

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In the latter half, author and futurist Stephan Schwartz discussed his research into how consciousness appears to operate outside of our perception of linear time and, therefore, can be used to look into the future. He detailed a thought-provoking project which he began back in 1978 wherein remote viewers looked at the year 2050. Their visions for how the future would unfold have, to date, proven to be incredibly accurate, Schwartz said, pointing how the respondents 40 years ago envisioned that the Soviet Union would simply disappear, which seemed wholly fantastic at the time, and that a new blood-based disease would emerge that, in retrospect, appears to have been the AIDS pandemic. What has puzzled him after studying the data, he said, is the question of "when people remote view the future, are they describing a fixed future or are they describing the highest probability at the moment" the session occurs.

Schwartz hopes to solve that riddle by way of a new endeavor in which he is surveying 1,500 people regarding the year 2060. He explained that this thought-provoking project, which Coast listeners can participate in, is broken down into two different pools of respondents. The first survey asks for an individual's "rational, intellectual assessment" of what the world will look like in 40 years based on what they know. For those who are able to remote view, he has a second survey designed to collect their input on 2060. Schwartz believes that once all of the data from the project has been studied, which he expects to be at some time later this year, he will be able to compare it to the 2050 results and, in turn, put forward a series of predictions for future events that are likely to unfold.

News Segment Guests: Jerome Corsi, Peter Davenport

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