The Man Who Shocked The World

Milgram’s warning—that when an individual "merges…into an organizational structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of individual morality, freed of human inhibition, mindful only of the sanctions of authority"

"We didn’t need Milgram to tell us we have a tendency to obey orders. What we didn’t know before Milgram’s experiments is just how powerful this tendency is. And having been enlightened about our extreme readiness to obey authorities, we can try to take steps to guard ourselves against unwelcome or reprehensible commands."

"What accounts for the far-flung influence of Milgram’s obedience experiments? I believe it has to do with how, in his demonstration of our powerful propensity to obey authority, Milgram has identified one of the universals of social behavior, one that transcends both time and place: conformity. And people intuitively sense this."

It is fitting that, in an article about Milgram, he should have the last word on this matter. In a letter to Alan Elms, a former student at Yale (now on the faculty of the University of California at Davis) dated September 25, 1973, Milgram wrote:

“We do not observe compliance to authority merely because it is a transient cultural or historical phenomenon, but because it flows from the logical necessities of social organization. If we are to have social life in any organized form—that is to say, if we are to have society—then we must have members of society amenable to organizational imperatives.”