Psychology and the New Heroism

One of the finest films I’ve seen...about a man who in 1971 changes his own life and took on the U.S. government at the ultimate cost to his career.
— Oliver Stone, filmmaker, Born on the Fourth of July, Platoon, and most recently "The Untold History of the United States"

Psychology and the New Heroism

A conversation between Philip Zambardo and Daniel Ellsberg

Philip Zimbardo is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University and creator of the well-known Stanford Prison Experiment. Daniel Ellsberg is a former analyst at the Rand Corporation and served in the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. An author and political activist, he is best known as the whistleblower who released documents to the public which detailed the secrets and lies that shaped three decades of American foreign policy in Vietnam — documents which became known as the Pentagon Papers.

These two icons of progressive thought in America met for the first time to discuss a salient question for our times: Why are some people willing to take courageous nonviolent action in defense of ethical principles –even at personal risk to themselves? This video captures that conversation and calls for a new era of truth-telling or whistle blowing by citizens privy to crucial and often classified information that the public deserves to know. Zimbardo and Ellsberg also call for a new ethic of accountability by those leaders who govern the United States, its judiciary and its military.

They challenge ordinary people to do extraordinary things—to envision themselves as active and empowered and willing to take calculated risks in the service of their conscience and their fellow citizens. This defines the New Heroism. Students of psychology, sociology, political science, and recent United States history will find much to learn from this poignant and historic encounter.

A Production of the Berkeley Group Education Foundation.

Psychology and the New Heroism is an engrossing film, touching on a subject that is rarely assessed: heroism. I found the insights of Daniel Ellsberg and Philip Zimbardo penetrating. Bill Roller is to be congratulated for having the vision to put them together. In a time when personal courage is more necessary than ever before, this film comes at exactly the right moment.
— Robert W. McChesney, Professor of Communications, University of Illinois; Co-founder of FREE PRESS; Co-author of "Dollarocracy: How the Money-and-Media Election Complex is Destroying America"

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