Lucifer Effect, Abu Gharib Prison and Emergency

Lucifer was favorite angel of God. He was above every other angel in heaven. His appearance was beautiful and dazzling as he was covered with gold and shimmering jewels.

Lucifer began to grow proud of his own glory and wisdom. He wanted himself to be worshipped like God. One third of angels in heaven supported him. This forced God to throw him out of heaven along with his followers. He got the name Satan after he was thrown out of heaven. Satan and his angels are demons. They tempt and influence people on earth.

Philip George Zimbardo is a psychologist at Stanford University. He is known for his Stanford prison experiment.


Zimbardo was influenced by story of Lucifer and wrote a book called “The Lucifer Effect” which explains how good people turn evil. Zimbardo’s main assumption on why good people do terrible things is due to situational influences and power given from authority.

The “Lucifer Effect” describes the point in time when an ordinary, normal person first crosses the boundary between good and evil to engage in an evil action. It represents a transformation of human character that is significant in its consequences.

Lucifer Effect was first demonstrated in Stanford Prison Experiment, which was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The participants in this experiment were divided into prisoners and guards.

The participants adapted to their roles well beyond Zimbardo’s expectations, as the guards enforced authoritarian measures and ultimately subjected some of the prisoners to psychological torture. Many of the prisoners passively accepted psychological abuse and, at the request of the guards, readily harassed other prisoners who attempted to prevent it. The experiment which was supposed to go on for 2 weeks had to be called off with six days.


Another example of Lucifer Effect can be seen in case of prisoners in Abu Ghraib Prison. Control of a prison in city of Abu Ghraib in Iraq was taken over by the US army in 2003. The US army misused their power over prisoners to torture and kill the prisoners. The event shook the world.


Colombian artist Fernando Botero, who is known for his signature style called “Boterismo”, which depicts people and figures in large, exaggerated volume, did series of paintings on torture of prisoners at Abu Gharib.


In India, between 25th June 1975 to 21st March 1977, then prime minister of India to get rid of her opponents declared emergency in India.  Rights of citizens were taken away. Her son Sanjay Gandhi become de facto ruler of India. He misused the vast power emergency gave to his mother.


Opponents of his mother were put in prison; hundreds of suspects were arrested and tortured. Many were forcibly sterilized. Homes of many were demolished under the slum rehabilitation scheme.

After lifting of emergency Indira Gandhi lost elections.



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