If we weren't narcissists by clinical standards, I wondered, what were we? People with too many gadgets to think clearly? To feel clearly? People with good intentions, short attention spans and a propensity to do what's best for ourselves? People trying to figure out this mess of a universe one bus ride at a time? Whatever we were, we needed to become something else, more compassionate.
This unilateral focus on the dark side has had the unintended effect of blinding us to one of the most obvious and inspiring features of the experiment: it also showed that hundreds of ordinary people -- though the minority of Milgram's participants -- did in fact have what it takes to stand up for what is right.
I think South Africa needs more taxi drivers like Paul, and kids like the ones in Philippi. I think it needs more sociology and international relations majors. Because if you don't know why things are the way they are, it's going to be difficult to push with any impact toward the way they ought to be.