Welcome back to Humor Nation. One of the biggest questions that humans always wonder is what makes a person corrupt? Is it something inherent, something people are born with? Or is it something that we learn from our environment? Well, one famous experiment sheds light on the true human nature. If you think you know about humanity really well, then you really don’t know humanity. In the year 1974, Yugoslavian performance artist named Marina Abramovic decided to conduct a horrifying experiment to examine the thought process of people. Marina’s experiment was called ‘Rhythm 0’ and was conducted at Studio Morra in Naples, Italy.
This performance piece which Marina dared would require her to stand still for a period of six hours straight. This performance piece which Marina dared would require her to stand still for a period of six hours straight. During this time, the people who came to see her at the studio were urged to do whatever they wanted to her. The people could use any of the 72 objects that were placed on a table by her to do things to her.
Marina Abramovic stood in the middle of the room. There was a notice board on which the following words were written:
At first, some photographers went closer to her and started taking pictures.
After a while, people starting picking up stuff from the table kept near to her.
Then some people made her sit down and then they humiliated her by pouring water and drinks on her.
There was lots of items on the table which included objects of destruction and objects of pleasure. The harmless objects included flowers and feathers while the dangerous items included razor blades, a knife, and a loaded gun.
There were some who changed her position, took her to different spots. What happened next is truly terrifying.
Then there were some people who began attaching things to Abramovic. The artists still didn’t move, she stood still. An art critic Thoma McEvilley who was present among the crowd who observed everything said that it all started tamely, some person turned her around. Some then thrust her arms into the air. Then there was someone who touched her intimately.
One person used a razor and made a cut on her neck.
A person made her point the loaded gun at herself.
Things got far worse in the last two hours. Abramovic’s own account of the things happened to her is truly heartbreaking. The artist recalled,
Some men stripped her and then groped her.
In the third hour, all the clothes from Abramovic’s body were cut off using the razor blade. In the fourth hour, the razor blades explored her skin. During the fourth hour, many minor sexual assaults were also carried out of her. But Abramovic was so committed to her performance piece that she would not have resisted rape or murder if the people decided to do it.
When the period of six hours were over, Marina started walking among the people. What happened next is surprising.
The people couldn’t bring their eyes to look her directly in the face. They were avoidant of her. Marina observed that people avoided any kind of confrontation with her. The people did not want to be judged or held accountable for their actions, what they did to her. It seemed as if the people just wanted to forget how carelessly they hurt her and were relishing it when they were doing the act.
This experiment reveals something far terrible about the human nature.
1. The experiment showed how quickly a person can hurt another under favorable circumstances where the fear of punishment is absent.
2. It showed that if a stage or a platform is provided where one could easily get away with something then the majority of so called ‘normal’ people could become truly violent.
People behave in righteous ways mainly because of:
1. The fear of legal punishment
2. The fear of social condemnation
When these two fears are absent, people can do even the most vile and horrifying things in life.