Why we avoid the things we love the most

Do you remember that strange thing at school athletics day as a kid when you’d be about to line up for the sprint race and suddenly need to pee? Never mind the fact you’d already been to the bathroom twice in the last half hour. No, just me?

I remember being so nervous about the running races in Year 9 that I was genuinely hoping I would somehow break both legs before athletics day. There was a girl who had been bullying me a bit for the last few months and we were pretty much neck and neck in terms of fitness (9 periods of sport a week together left little ambiguity). I was pretty sure I had the edge on her but I knew that it would push me to my limit physically.

But the horror of coming second, or ‘first loser’, as some competitive people like to say, drove me on and I won every single running race in that athletics competition. The most memorable was the 400 metres, my least favourite event. Middle distance is horrible, in my opinion, because it pushes you to your limit for the longest period of time. There’s no slow and steady, and you can’t give it all in the first ten seconds. Shortly after the race my legs cramped up so badly that I was lying on the grass crying while my mother stretched out my hamstrings.

I often used to look forward to long distance more than sprinting, even though I found it less enjoyable, just because I found it less stressful. And last time I was with my boyfriend Jacques the last thing I wanted to do was sprint. Because I love it so much.

I am currently working on a novel. Writing stories makes me crazy happy and I love every amazing, difficult second of it, but I have to get my cousin to give me deadlines because otherwise I will ditch writing to do the washing, or clean the house, or reorganise my pantry. Why do I avoid the thing I know will make me come alive the most? The other things are mundane tasks, yes, but it is a lot harder to fail at them. And if I did, what’s the big deal? So, I’m not a domestic goddess after all (or am I really?).

But somehow if I fail at writing, or view myself as having failed, I feel that I have failed as a person. Every writer (who actually shows their work to others) knows that you have to develop a pretty thick skin, and I have gotten better at handling rejection over the years. However if someone were to give ‘destructive criticism’ (as opposed to the more commonly used constructive criticism) I would find it hard not to perceive it as a criticism of me as a person.

In some ways it’s easier to never try your hardest, because then your all, your absolute best, can never be rejected, or deemed ‘not good enough’.

We need to decide whether the risk is worth it. Would you rather succeed at rearranging your pantry or winning an Olympic gold medal for the 100 metre sprint? Fill in the blank with your passion, but don’t avoid using the gifts that God’s placed in you because, in some ways, it’s a slap in the face.

As a side note, of course Satan would want us to become distracted and do everything but the thing that is going to have the most impact. The thing that would make us really come alive.

Look into your own heart. What desires are in there so deep that you feel like to cut them out would to become someone else entirely? Maybe you already know.

Now ask God to help you pursue that, to his glory.




Image: https://en.fotolia.com/tag/%22sports%20race%22, sourced 21 June 2017


Is the Apex gang taking over our streets?

I took this photograph on my run this morning after seeing my third or fourth one, sadly right near a children’s playground. This ‘South Sudanese’ gang seems to be everywhere. In the parks, lighting up our news headlines, holding up our cars, breaking into and entering our homes. Most Sudanese people probably have associations with them. Right?

Without researching, would you say that the Apex gang are pretty big? Earlier today I would have answered huge, but after doing some research I found that most of my assumptions were wrong. Big shocker there.

Most news sources manage to agree that at its peak the Apex gang contained around 130 members. Melbourne is currently home to 6007 Sudanese people. Which means that the Apex gang make up just 1.85% of the total Sudanese population. With statistics that low, it is ignorant to assume that ‘any African out there’ could be a member of Apex. You also might be interested to know that of the 2000 teenagers committing crimes in Victoria between October 2015 to September 2016, 1700 of them were born in Australia. So why aren’t we running scared from them?

One of the worst parts for me is that if I’m walking on a street at night and I see a group of young men walking towards me, sometimes I feel a twinge of fear if they are African looking. Because the thought that goes through my mind is, “Well, what if they are part of that violent minority?” Just my luck.

It is assumptions like these that can lead us to discriminate against perfectly innocent Sudanese people in the community, particularly young males. Where do we get our facts from? Do we even have any actual statistics? I know that before this week I haven’t even read one single article about the Apex gang and the way they’re ‘terrorising Melbourne’. All of my information was word of mouth, probably by people who themselves have already felt the cold fingers of anxiety creep over their shoulders and shiver down their back.

I’ve always known that the minority ruin it for the majority, but what I didn’t know until I actually read some articles is that the Apex gang contains several nationalities, including Australian, which the media largely ignores.

Other information that has reached me by word of mouth is the tough situations that Sudanese friends of mine have encountered just because of their ethnicity. If you think basic racial slurs in the schoolyard are all they’ve got to worry about, you’d be wrong. From being told to ‘get out of here’ while attempting to enter a workplace to start a shift, to being run away from when you needed help after locking your keys in your car, to assault in broad daylight on the way out of the school gates.

Several schools across the western suburbs of Melbourne have banned any ‘African looking’ people from gathering in groups of more than three because it ‘intimidates’ the other students. This is the kind of racial profiling that leads people to become even more prejudiced, and African young people to feel increasingly ostracised.

The Sunday Morning Herald referred to the Apex gang as a ‘lightning rod’ for racial violence (Michael Koziol) and The Saturday Paper claim that, “When not covered responsibly, hot topics such as race and immigration encourage discrimination against groups of people that are already marginalised” (Santilla Chingaipe).

Can you imagine what it’s like living in Melbourne as a South Sudanese young person with the shadow of the Apex gang looming over your shoulder? Sudanese all across our city are experiencing fear, suspicion and sometimes even outright rejection or hatred because of their ethnicity or fears that they may be violent, based on the actions of strangers, not their own. That shouldn’t sit alright with us.

Just to be clear, I am in no way downplaying the pain that victims of the Apex gang have suffered, merely trying to shed some light on the pain of another group of innocent victims.

Probably most of us when asked if we harbour racial prejudice would say no, but what does fearing a whole people group just because of a 1.8% gang say about us?

So when you come across people from any kind of ethnicity different to you, if their behaviour is normal and peaceful, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re just a great person like you, trying to navigate life’s struggles and hoping that the world can see them for who they really are, not just the colour of their skin.




Sources (all found 15 June 2017):




Your city 100 years from now

642 Things to Write About

Fiction Prompt from ‘642 Things To Write About’ by : Your city one hundred years from now

It is the year 2117. A very old woman named Mrs Lil Van Wyngaard walks the streets of Melbourne. I specify walks not because she is homeless, because she is not, but because walking these days is a rare event. Most people hover (if they are really poor they use a hovercraft instead of having the jets surgically implanted into their feet). Lil has always been old fashioned. She tells the kids on her block that she used to be suspicious of ebooks, but they tell her that they have no idea what an ebook is. Does she mean insta-info pads?

A lot of the time they look at her funny and she suspects that they think she has completely lost her marbles (of course marbles are a relic of the past too).

The kids, not meaning to be rude, ask Mrs Van Wyngaard if when she expires (the term ‘death’ is no longer used so as to avoid offending the people mourning or those who are close to their ‘expiry date’) she will be stuffed and put in a museum, like Phar Lap? They somehow know who he is. Go figure. Although horses are extinct now. Too much pollution, and they got phased out, just like cars. Teenagers laugh at their parents when they use the word driving to describe hovering, or ‘hovving’ as the cool kids say. “Mum,” they say, “that is so last century.” Literally.

The museums are getting too overcrowded all over the world so the earth government have made an executive decision to start deleting parts of history, like throwing out old files in an office. The obsolete bits of history—the boring, inconvenient and unusable parts, of course—are distributed to the poor to take strain off the social security system. The paperback history is divided up and used by them as stuffing for their coats in the winter. Feathers are also extinct, because of all the birds being eaten. Lil’s next door neighbour Peter claims that they were worth every delicious mouthful, but his grandson tells him that that’s politically incorrect and insensitive to those birds that have expired. Peter replies, “Stuff and nonsense!”

Lil is unfortunately a widow and expects to expire soon after a nice, long life. Asking for anything more than 123 years just seems greedy, she thinks.

On sunny days she walks along the neglected grey footpath, marvelling at the city around her. She keeps her tinted UV protector bubble activated at all times. Old fashioned she may be, but her pale skin and the sun weren’t the best of friends before the remainder of the ozone layer did its disappearing act, like a bored guest at a party… so she is not taking any chances now.

The skyline of Melbourne from a distance is much the same, but like a small crop of wheat that has grown upwards, being fenced in by suburban grass on all sides. Up close though, everything has changed.

There are no waiting lines to get in anywhere, because people pre-book for everything, by law. Cigarette smoke and smog has taken a back seat, because the sun (thanks to the non-existent ozone layer) is more than capable of powering everything—and cigarettes have of course been outlawed. Perhaps most noticeable of all is that there is no sense of chaos anymore. Cars have long since gone, and everyone punches in their destination to a little keypad at the start of their journey so that collisions are all but eliminated (except when the computers melt down of course, but that’s too shocking to tell you). There are no horns blaring, and the music is in everyone’s own ears, so they’re not forced to listen to anything they don’t like, ever.

But Mrs Van Wyngaard keeps walking because four blocks east of her house, and five blocks south there is a park. One of the few parks left in the city (it’s extra special because the trees are made of recycled wood and green pained linen, rather than plastic). There is talk going round that somewhere far, far outside the city there is a park with real live trees, protected by a bubble containing a high oxygen concentrate. Dreamers discuss it with naïve hope but the realists dismiss it as urban legend, like mobile phones with actual buttons on them.

This park is buzzing. Everyone is walking or sitting or running. Lil shuffles past the ‘no hovering’ sign that is scrawled over with the graffiti ‘hovving rulz’. The hand writing is barely legible because iPads replaced handwriting in schools about two generations ago.

Lil finds her regular table and sits down, breathes a sigh of relief. Her friends at the table greet her. Some are absent today—maybe they have expired. But for right now Lil is alive; she is happy.

Smiling, she picks up the paint brush and dips into the oils, pulls a picture from her mind of an old farmhouse on a hill beside a river. The word ‘Hillegersberg’ is written on the white gate and there is a beautiful river garden hiding all her childhood friends.

She continues to paint.




Image: Alamar AV Communications, ‘Urban Melbourne’, <https://urban.melbourne/forum/melbournes-trams&gt;, sourced 31 May 2017.

What is success?


Do you consider yourself successful?

The question is asked and you start to squirm in your seat. Do you? You glance round at the others, to see if they are as unsure as you. The question goes round the circle, making its way toward you, and you go back and forth between yes and no about six times each. I mean, you’re not a total loser, but then again, you have that university degree that you’re not even using yet. You don’t own a house. Your car is worth half of what the mechanic says it will cost to fix it. And to top it all off, you’re single.

Better go with no. It seems safer. Plus, you have the added bonus of not looking arrogant to the group. Decision made.

You’re actually one of the first ones to give your answer (a lot of mind changing can happen in a few short minutes).

You say no. When asked what would you have to do or achieve to consider yourself a success, you say, “Become a professional writer.”

Not until this moment have you realised that maybe one of the reasons you want a job in this field so badly is so that you can stop feeling like a failure. Maybe even the main reason. That every time someone says, “What do you do?” it translates to you as, “How much are you worth?” and the answer you keep coming up with is, “Not much.” What I do is not impressive. I sell clothes. No one dies if I don’t get up and go to work. They just buy at Target.

Somehow your successes in the field of retail never mean quite enough to you because you don’t need a degree to do it, and so many people refer to it as their job before they get a “real” job.

This particular Tuesday night last year as I sat on the bean bag I felt tears build slowly in my eyes. Listening to the answers of the rest of the group I suddenly broke in. “Can I change my answer?” in a tone that barely concealed the panic I was feeling.

“No.” Why did that word make the tears spill over?

The other people in the group all said yes. When asked why, the most memorable answer was one of the women saying, “I would consider yourself a success if people actually like you, and want to be around you. Do you have any good, solid friendships? You’ve certainly succeeded in something!”

The way my answer contrasted with the rest of them made me feel ten times the failure I had felt before and I was suddenly undone and exposed.

What had happened in my heart that I constantly held myself to this high standard of perfection? That I had set an arbitrary bar for success and anything that was below or in another area was all stamped with the words “try harder”. Why was my standard for myself so much higher than anyone else’s for me, and so different to what my creator had in mind? Just a hint, Lil. God wasn’t looking at Adam and Eve’s careers when he said, “It is very good.”

They were good because God made them, and they belonged to Him.

Now how many people would be successful in the world’s eyes just because they were created in the image of God? No career, no great wondrous achievements. Nothing to do with what they had done and everything to do with who they belonged to.

When God says in his word not to be conformed to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2), we can often view it as him telling us off, but what if (crazy thought, I know) he put that in the bible for our freedom? Think like me, because I actually see clearly, he says. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so far are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts (Isaiah 55:9).


What does God view as success?

Faith: without it it’s impossible to please him (Hebrews 11:6).

Love: He wants us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, as well as loving our neighbour as ourselves, according to Matthew 22:37-40. In fact, the whole Hebrew law is summed up in that one sentence.

How do we show our love, according to John 14:15? Obedience.

Do you have these three things? If you do, then you’re already a raging success in His eyes.

It’s not always the most seen and heard, the rich and famous, the bosses, the stage performers, the TV stars and the hit singers who God considers close friends.

Who was Mary, when Gabriel met her where she was at in order to have a talk with her about the saviour of all mankind?

Who was Abraham? Who was this young guy Jacob, fighting with his brother, when God called him?

Jesus was born in a stable for a reason, and it wasn’t the celebrities of the day that the angels first appeared to.


What a relief then, to realise that just because we haven’t followed the world’s trail of stepping stones for us, that all is not lost. Actually, nothing is.

Just keep saying ‘yes’ to Jesus, and the day he takes you home to heaven you can hear those wonderful words.

“Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and enter my rest.”





Image 1: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/novelreadings/fear-of-failing/
Image 2: http://www.capital-moments.com/the-blueprint-of-success/


What’s more powerful for your daughter’s self-esteem than telling her she’s beautiful? Not telling yourself you’re ugly in front of her. As the video in this blog post shows, if you ask many young girls and their mothers what they either don’t like about themselves or would change, the answers are incredibly similar.

Growing up my mother never told me I looked bad. Not once. But I would sometimes watch her criticising herself in the mirror and think, if what she’s got is bad, then is what I’ve got bad too? I am a mini version of her, after all.

It didn’t affect my sisters much at all to my knowledge and I’m happy to say that they have not struggled with low self-esteem. It’s also important to say that there are many factors when it comes to low self-esteem, and this wasn’t even the most significant one to affect me, but it did impact me to some degree and I’m committed to looking at all angles of self-esteem. I am not sharing this to make my mother or any mother feel bad. My mum is one of the many wonderful, strong, beautiful women that make this world a better place just by bringing their heart to it.

But I refuse to let this continue one generation further. This stops with me. Because the way we view ourselves affects our daughters, and our relationships, and the challenges we take on in life.

I’ve decided long ago that I won’t belittle myself in front of young girls, but then I caught myself some time back criticising my drawing as I was helping my 6 year old friend with some art. She immediately started to criticise hers too and I had to pull myself up and point out all the good things in my drawing, as well as hers.

The point is that even though I was aware of how quickly younger girls can see themselves in us, I still spoke negatively about myself. If we’re going to get this right for the sake of the generations to come, we need to be very intentional.

The first time I watched this video I bawled my eyes out because it resonated deeply with me. Mothers, I know all of you want to have the most positive impact on your daughter as humanly possible. And even if you don’t feel comfortable speaking well of your appearance, just try avoiding talking about all the features you dislike, because chances are your daughter has inherited at least some of them.

We were created by God, fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), and he didn’t make a mistake with our nose, our legs, our hair colour, our freckles. He saw fit to infuse it into our DNA so that it would be replicated in the next generation in a new and beautiful way, mixed with our husband’s features.

And He looked.

And He said, “IT IS VERY GOOD.”



Our Beauty Legacy

Caring for your sensitive


Are you sometimes wondering why all one of your friends seems to do is cry? A sad movie will get them, a book, even a commercial or a cute baby animal sometimes. This sounds familiar to you, right? How they like to be hugged every time you see them? The way you feel like you’ve wronged them when you forget something so seemingly trivial (to you) as the date of their birthday–not even on their birthday! How you live in constant fear of offending them or hurting them? Or some days: like you just can’t say anything to them?

This may be frustrating to you. You may want to just tell them to build a bridge and get over it. You may want to tell them to grow some thicker skin. And you may want to tell them to just go jump. What you’re dealing with is a sensitive person. And there are certain things you need to know.


Why are they like this?

Like introverts, the world tends to sometimes bash on sensitive people. Especially sensitive males. Why can’t you man up like everyone else? Why does this hurt you? And to girls: why do you have to cry so much? Tough people want everyone else to be tough like them, because they are insensitive in many ways and want to be able to say what they like and not have to deal with someone crying at their “honest opinion.” And don’t get me wrong, I love those tougher people. I live with one, and she has helped me learn many things. But she has also had to learn—and I think is still learning—how to take care of me. Because the criteria for sensitive people is different.


What do you need to know? Part One:

Although I may have scared you (or you might have been scared long before this) there is a flip side to everything I’ve just said—a good side. While they are sensitive on one end of the spectrum (as receivers), they are also sensitive on the other end (as givers). Some people would say that either way you look at it, sensitive people are at a risk. Sensitive people have a lot to lose. A positive, sensitive person, like me, would also say that we have a lot to gain, but the risk is never eliminated (nor can it be). We are sensitive to other people’s moods, energy levels and needs. We are so affected by the people around us, and because our hearts can be penetrated by almost anything, we feel a lot of empathy toward others. We would be willing to do anything for the people closest to us—even people not so close. Because our hearts go out to people. We see suffering and it kills us. I know for myself, I cry when my friends cry before I even know the reason.


What do you need to know (and never forget)? Part Two:

In this world there are givers and takers. Sensitive people are almost always givers. However, because we so often are, you need to learn not to use this to your own gain. If you take advantage, these people will let you, so don’t. Because in my books that makes you a bad person. When someone offers you everything and you just take it all and run. That is not fair, and it is not acceptable.


So how do you deal with this “overly emotional, touchy-feely” person?

I know that I as a person, whether I like it or not, need to be taken care of. I always have been. My male friends in high school used to pat me on the head and call me delicate. And I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me that they live in constant fear of hurting me, and that they would hate themselves if they did. All that sensitive people need from you, is a little extra thought. Do they look like they’ve had a rough day? Could they use a hug? Is it important to them whether I keep my appointment with them? Do they care whether I remember their birthday? Some small amounts of taking a little more care, and a little less for granted, would go a long way—and leave you with less crying messes on your hands!

A little more thought so that everyone wins.




Image: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/sensitive-quotes/?lp=true

The double standard most people ignore


Who is your worst critic? Maybe it’s your mother, or an older sibling, but most likely it’s the person staring you in the mirror. Why are we so much harsher with ourselves, particularly in the areas of looks and achievements, than we are with other people?

I had a customer at work this week who tried on a fitted black dress because her friend’s daughter had invited her to be a guest at her Debutante ball. She was probably in her late 40’s and as we assessed the suitability of the dress for the event she started to point out all the tiny details of what was “wrong” with her. The greys in her hairline, the size of her bottom, the curve of her stomach, the crow’s feet around her eyes. It was all news to me because even though I was staring hard into the same mirror I literally hadn’t seen those things until she pointed them out. All I saw was a lovely, beautiful woman who had that special, comforting mum-vibe that only comes with years of experience and triumphing in hard times (people think that their gentleness of spirit cannot be seen by those who don’t know them, but it’s not true). And I realised that’s how the rest of the world probably sees her too. But she is walking around thinking people are thinking things that they aren’t, assuming they are zeroing in on her minute faults, and judging her for them. And it is damaging her self-esteem. Her own thoughts are hurting her.

Image result for beautiful women low self-esteem

I’ve realised a long time ago that working in women’s fashion, it’s not how the garment actually looks, it’s how a woman feels about herself in it. Because, as I explained to a new team member the other day, if she doesn’t feel good about herself in it, even if she buys it she will barely ever wear it because she feels her flaws are exposed in it.

We spend so much time trying to cover our true selves, with concealer, spanks and baggy clothes (usually black, because it’s slimming, right?) because we’re afraid the world will not accept us as we are. This is a fair assumption, considering the advertising industry spends most of its money and energy telling us that we’re not good enough.

I’m reminded of another encounter as a shopper this time. I was with my friend in the U.S. about four years ago and she came out of the change rooms and asked me what I thought of the outfit she was wearing. I said, “I think it looks like you’re trying to hide the fact that you’re a woman.” Yay for honesty. She actually got quite emotional and began to open up about some deep insecurities she has about the way she looks, and how she doesn’t feel she can wear fitted clothes. That New Year’s Eve she sent me a proud photo, wearing a dress that showed her lovely feminine figure in a completely classy way. Another victory.

She was liberated to be who she was as a woman. That would be my prayer for every woman. Stop judging yourself so harshly, ladies! You are beautiful, and wonderful, and knowing that is powerful.

Trust me, most men don’t see all the little flaws either. One of my friends said her husband has asked her to stop pointing out all her miniscule imperfections because he hadn’t even noticed them.

Here’s an idea: start viewing yourself the way you view other women – as strong and beautiful and worth envying.

Dove tends to agree with me that women are more beautiful than they think…

Lil (a beautiful daughter of the King)


Images sourced 4 May 2017

The Dishes Can Wait

Do you respect your man? If you asked most women (hopefully all) this, they would of course say yes. But lately I’ve realised an area that we can so easily disrespect our men in, without even meaning to.

We’re strong, independent women, right? A busy week, a head cold … doesn’t faze us. You want us to meet you for coffee or come help out with the charity event you’re running? No problem. I mean, we value relationship, and the event is for a good cause. We can handle it. We’ll sleep when we’re dead.

Before I was in a relationship I used to disregard the kind advice about resting from the guy who liked me. But when he became my boyfriend I realised that if I were to continue acting in that way, I would actually be damaging our relationship, slowly but surely, by disrespecting him.

Since we started going out, there hasn’t been one time that me ignoring his advice about my health or rest that has gone over well. This man loves me. He is trying to the best of his ability to lead me well and prioritise my wellbeing. And I am continuing like I haven’t even heard him. We can’t expect him to not be hurt or upset by that.

Ladies I’ve realised that if we want him to feel respected in this area we need to listen to him. His words of, “Come sit down with me” or “You need to get some rest” are never with bad intentions, and are going to stop us burning out in the long run. Sound familiar? The way we listen is by actually taking his advice. Actually sitting down and watching TV with him or reading a book, without doing three other things at the same time or feeling guilty for taking a break. Sometimes we women feel guilty like it’s our profession. It is not healthy, and I am speaking from experience.

So while, yes, we go through busy seasons in our lives, we should never think we’re too busy to rest. And if we think that, we don’t actually always know what’s best for us. Also, taking a break is not being lazy. I once heard someone describe being lazy as taking a break you haven’t earned yet. So yes, work hard. But also rest, because God did after he created the world. And next time you hear your man suggesting some R&R, don’t just reach for the nearest excuse.

The dishes can wait.




Image: http://www.thebusinesswomanmedia.com/distracted-multitasking-woman-risking-success/, sourced 26 April 2017.

What’s in a Name?

Sometimes the name “God” can lose its power to us because of the many false gods around the world, or we have a watered down view of God because of people who worship “a god of their imagination” that the Bible refers to.

But God is not whatever we want him to be. He has a personality and actual qualities; things he likes and dislikes. Things that make Him happy and angry. You can know about God as a theory, but it takes knowing him personally to discover these things.

And although he is one God, he has many names. Here are some of them that reference different aspects of God’s personality and show us who he is. And once we remember who he is, we can never make the mistake of thinking that he is bland or boring.

So who then is this God we serve?

El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty)
Never forget the unlimited power that God has. In case you need reminding…

Who else has held the oceans in his hand? Who has measured off the heavens with his fingers? Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? … Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? … No, for all the nations of the world are but a drop in the bucket. They are nothing more than dust on the scales. He picks up the whole earth as though it were a grain of sand.
– Isaiah 40:12-15 (NLT)

How big do your problems seem now?

El Elyon (The Most High God)

For the LORD Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth.
Psalm 47:2

Although we don’t admit it, we often have hierarchical thinking. Who would you consider most high in your acquaintance? In the world? Is it a celebrity, the prime minister, the queen? God is so much higher than all these people, and no one is next to God in importance, there is no list or ladder. There is God, and there is people saved by the grace of his Son. Jesus is the highest name in the whole world and one day every knee will bow before him and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. There is no unbelieving person who won’t be absolutely devastated on that day. And while there is a season of grace that we’re in now, there won’t be any second chances after the second coming of Jesus.

Adonai (Lord, Master)
People have told me before that they don’t really believe that Jesus is in control of our life once we get saved. Then why is it called giving our life to him?

Sin is no longer your master … don’t you realise that you become a slave of whatever you choose to obey? … Now you are free from slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteousness.
– Romans 6: 14-18 (NLT)

Everyone is happy for Jesus to become our saviour and give us a ticket into heaven, but the Lord part doesn’t sit quite so well with as many. If he is Lord and master, we are about what he is about, interested in the things that he is interested in. Once we invited Jesus into our hearts, he’s not just part of our lives, he is our life.


Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah)

Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner)
This is one of my favourites. This speaks of identity, but to me this also says that Jesus ties our identity with us and announces us as we march out to battle. It says that he covers us, watches over us and is proud to be seen with us. Has anyone ever seen a subtle banner?

He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.
– Song of Solomon 2:4 (NASB)

Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd)

Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
– Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

What a gentle God he is, with that parent heart that leaves the 99 to go after the one.

Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals)
His kids don’t go unnoticed by him. He has the ability and the desire to heal. One of my favourite parts about God is that he loves to restore. There is fullness and wholeness to be found in him.

I have heard your prayer and seen your tears, and I will heal you.
– 2 Kings 20:4 (NIV)

Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There)

She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’.
– Matthew 1:23 (NLT)

In Isaiah (41:9) God also says that he has chosen us and will not abandon us. Have you ever feared being abandoned? Good news. It’s not in his nature.

Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness)

In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’
-Jeremiah 23:6 (ESV)

Everything you’ve ever done wrong: forgiven. Those deeds that earned death: paid for. We exchange our dirty rags for robes of righteousness and are made right with God because of Jesus paying it all for us.

Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You)

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV)

El Olam (The Everlasting God)

But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children.
– Psalm 103:17 (NASB)

Elohim (God)

Qanna (Jealous)
I used to feel ashamed of having some jealous tendencies, but I see in the bible that God is a jealous God. It’s cool when you grow and realise more and more ways that we reflect God’s heart, and that the world around us reflects his principles and glory.

For you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
– Exodus 34:14

Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide)
Not only does he provide for our salvation but has limitless resources and can provide for every kind of need we have for the rest of our lives.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:19 (NLT)

Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace)
Last year I asked one of our elders whether he thought a certain decision was right in my life at the time. He said, “Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) so if you don’t have peace it can’t be from him.” With our God we can have peace in the midst of any storm.

Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts)
This name speaks of his authority and refers to him as the commander of Heaven’s armies.

Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in the finest of pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod. He will release the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty, like juice flowing from a winepress. On his robe at his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
– Revelation 19: (NLT)




Credit for original list of names of God goes to:
https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm, sourced 17 April 2017.

The Independent Variable (creative non-fiction)

Male college students needed for
       psychological  study of  prison
life. $15 per day for 1-2 weeks
beginning Aug. 14. For further
information   &     applications,
come   to   Room   248,   Jordan
Hall, Stanford U.[i]
—Palo Alto Times, 1971


~ ~ ~
Monday 16 August 1971
A baton smashed along the metal bars as the shrill whistle died away.
“Back off! Back away from the doors. Now!” The blonde guard known as ‘John Wayne’ roared from behind his aviators, his athletic shoulders and arms flexing automatically as he clutched his baton tighter, furious at the prisoners’ insubordinance. The prisoners stood their ground behind their homemade bed barricade that pressed against the cell bars. They boldly faced the corridor, or ‘the yard’, as the prisoners called it.
“Where do you want us?” came a guard’s voice as more of them poured into the dimly lit corridor lined with vertical metal bars. One of the original guards grabbed a fire extinguisher off the blank white wall and charged toward the steel bars of the third cell door. Carbon dioxide shot between the bars, smashing men in the mouth, the eyes, the chest.
Coughing. Lungs gasping for air. Screams. “Let us out!” The men in the cells stumbled back, pawing at their noses and eyes, spitting wet, white powder forcefully.
It wasn’t until the first guard took three steps back to take a run up that one of the prisoners realised. “Look out!” he screamed. The guard came smashing through the cell door, as other guards caught on and started to do the same. The rebellious prisoners’ wet smocks were ripped off. They were left, shivering and vulnerable, hands rushing to cover their genitals.
“Is that all you’ve got?” one of the guards sneered, pointing down at an anonymous prisoner. Several of the naked men were crying.
“Try harder next time!” another began to yell, but was soon silenced.
“#5401, #819, #416.” Guard Vandy yelled out the numbers of the ringleaders. “Into the hole!”
The selected numbers were prodded one by one into the small cupboard on the other side of the windowless corridor and Guard Vandy leaned against the door until he heard it click, ignoring the sounds coming from within. On the wall was a sign saying Stanford County Prison. Vandy winced.
~ ~ ~
“We can assume that most people, most of the time, are moral creatures. But imagine that this morality is like a gearshift that at times gets put into neutral. When that happens, morality is disengaged.”[ii]
– Dr Philip G. Zimbardo
~ ~  ~
Sunday 15 August 1971
Clay Ramsay answers a knock at the door, still in his pyjamas. Rubbing sleep from his eyes, he pauses. A police badge flashes in the morning sunlight.
“Sir, you’re under arrest.”
Clay’s right hand goes slack, slapping against his thigh. “What have I done?”
“Sorry,” the policeman on the porch drones, “but you are suspected of Penal Code violation number 459, burglary[iii] and I have to take you downtown.”
The officer grabs the bewildered young man’s upper arm, pinching the blonde hairs, and marches him toward a waiting car. He is spread-eagled across the car, his head slammed a little too hard against the roof.
“You have the right to remain silent, you have . . .”
The officer pats the young man down from behind and then click, click. The cuffs are tightened to just beyond comfortable.
Surprised and curious neighbours look on.
~ ~ ~

“I was guilty of the sin of omission—the evil of inaction . . . the findings came at the expense of human suffering. I am sorry for that and to this day apologize for contributing to this inhumanity.”[iv]
– Dr Philip G. Zimbardo
~ ~ ~
Wednesday 18 August 1971
“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess, Mr. Correctional Officer.”
The other prisoners form an obedient line in front of the cell doors, hands hanging defunct at their sides. Guard Hellmann paces up and down before them, shoes squeaking on the industrial grey linoleum, while Vandy and Ceros stand impassive behind dark, reflective glasses. Guard Landry sits on a rectangular wooden table behind the other two, watching intently. His legs swing slightly as he fiddles with the whistle slung around his neck.
“Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner . . .”
Some of them wear white lengths of cloth wrapped around their heads, tied like bandanas. Others just wear the mandatory stocking cap made from a woman’s nylon stocking. The psychologists aren’t allowed to shave their heads. On their feet are rubber clogs.[v]
“. . . Because of what Prisoner #819 did, my cell is a mess . . .”
The prisoner second to the end rattles the chain on his right ankle to the rhythm of the chanting. The number #4325 is sewn onto the chest and back of his smock.
“. . . Mr. Correctional Officer!”
He twists the side of his thin, white gown into a scrunched ball, the skin over his fist tightening. Twist. Untwist. Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner. If it wasn’t for him, their cells wouldn’t be a mess. Mr. Correctional Officer is right. The prisoner’s chests heave as they shout out the chant with vacant eyes. Their unanimous voice doesn’t even have a malicious edge, beneath the monotony. They stand, facing the guards, but staring at the blank wall; hopeless, just like Prisoner #819.
Frantic footsteps are heard as the superintendent races toward the right end of the corridor. A cell door opens. Uncontrollable sobbing. Indistinct conversation.
Prisoner #819 is a bad prisoner.
The doctor ripped open the door to the ‘holding room’ (really just a cleared out office in the psychology department’s basement) and threw himself into the room, pressing the door closed with his back. “#819! Are you okay?” He approached the bereft boy, perched on the edge of the bed. #819 sat slumped over his knees, his knuckles grazing the shiny floor that reeked of industrial strength bleach. He didn’t look at the superintendent. The only movement was the shaking of his shoulders as he sobbed hysterically.
“Let’s get out of here, alright?”
“No!” he whipped his head back to look at Zimbardo through matted brown hair with wild hazel eyes, the eyes of an animal poised under a 12-guage shotgun.
“Why not?” Zimbardo asked.
Between sobs he said, “I can’t. The others think I’m a bad prisoner.”
“Aren’t you feeling sick, though?” the doctor asked gently.
#819 nodded. “But I gotta go back and prove that I’m not a bad prisoner.” He still rasped even though his breathing was slowing.
The superintendent took a few slow steps toward him and squatted down so he could look into #819’s face. “Listen, you are not #819. You are Stewart, and my name is Dr Zimbardo. I am a psychologist, not a prison superintendent, and this is not a real prison. This is just an experiment, and those are students, not prisoners, just like you. Let’s go.”[vi]
~ ~ ~


On Sunday 15th of August, the randomly selected prisoners in Zimbardo’s experiment were rounded up by real policemen and driven in a real police car to the Palo Alto station where they had their fingers stained with dark ink as they were formally booked for their allocated crime. They hadn’t been told exactly when the experiment would begin, or what it would specifically entail. $15 in 1971 could buy you $88.09[vii] worth of beers or cigarettes or good times in today’s economy, and participating in a two week experiment over the summer would surely be the easiest $1,233.26 a young college guy could make. Blinded by an overly starched piece of cloth tied at the nape of their neck, each detainee sat in separate cells, confused and disorientated, while their soon-to-be guards donned khaki uniforms and got used to the cold feel of a billy club in their hand, preparing to maintain discipline.
~ ~ ~
Saturday 14 August 1971
Dave Burdan sat in a blank, white room trying to comprehend what he’d gotten himself into. Eleven other normal-looking guys surrounded him, each as silent as the next. No psychological problems, medical disabilities, or histories of crime or drug abuse here.[viii] No, sir. He knew that for a fact because of the rigorous psychological tests he himself had undergone to get to this room. Dr Zimbardo, the experiment’s leading psychologist/prison superintendent had just been explaining how the shifts would work. Zimbardo told them they wouldn’t be allowed to touch the prisoners.
“You can create in the prisoners feelings of boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you can and they’ll have no privacy . . . We’re going to take away their individuality in various ways. In general what all this leads to is a sense of powerlessness. That is, in this situation we’ll have all the power and they’ll have none.”[ix] Dr Zimbardo abruptly left the room. Is that all the information they were getting? No, surely he’d be back to finish the briefing.
One thing he’d ask as soon as the doctor returned was whether they were allowed to quit the experiment.
Dave waited.
~ ~ ~


At the end of 2012, about 1.35 million people experienced life in a United States prison, 217,800 in federal prison and 744,500 in local jails.[x] One of the aims of the Stanford Prison Experiment was to discover ways to improve prison life by observing how being placed in a role can affect behaviour. Dr Zimbardo was possibly a case in point as he assumed his role of superintendent so well that he seems to have forgotten his aim, as well as to an extent, his identity. If experiments lose sight of their goals, physical and emotional strain on the participants also lose purpose, and discipline can easily become cruelty.
Torture is used in prisons all over the world and is categorised as either black (physical) or white (psychological). Mock execution, for example, like water boarding, is listed as the most prevalent form of torture in prisons and war situations.[xi] Dr Schien says that isolation and . . . psychological disorientation . . . have a significantly negative effect on the human psyche.[xii]
The US-run prison in Guantánamo Bay has a room they call ‘the disco’ where they employ music torture as a way to crack their inmates. Binyan Mohamed encountered ‘the disco’ as a prisoner and said that “he could anticipate physical pain . . . but the experience of slipping into madness as a result of torture by music was something quite different.”[xiii] Around the same time as the Stanford Prison Experiment, the Irish Republican Army were using excruciating loud noises as a method of psychological torture, described by the prisoners as the worst part of their imprisonment.[xiv]
In the basement of the Stanford psychology department, similar psychology tactics are also being used, but as a method to control prisoners, rather than to extract information. One of the guards suggests using psychological tactics, seeing as one of the few things they’ve been instructed is that they cannot use physical force against the prisoners. ‘Good’ prisoners—the ones who have done their dishes and chores well[xv]—are placed in privilege cells. They are given back their clothes, taken away in the rebellion this morning, and put in front of the ‘bad’ prisoners to eat special meals. The guards, without being instructed, take it one step further. In an effort to disorientate and break camaraderie among the prisoners, they mix the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ prisoners around. In the same way that racism is used to create conflict in real prisons, this tactic succeeds in creating suspicion and distrust in the experiment’s prisoners.[xvi]
The prisoners will soon be made to clean toilets with their bare hands and be denied emptying their cell’s bucket in the mornings. The constructed prison will soon begin to smell like human waste and sweat. Woken up in the middle of the night, they will be forced to play out sexual scenarios with each other at the whim of the guards.[xvii]


~ ~ ~
The independent variable (n.)

“The independent variable, also known as the manipulated variable, lies at the heart of any quantitative experimental design.”
– Martin Shuttleworth[xviii]


One of the guards, John Mark, had already had a brush with the law before the experiment began, barely escaping incarceration. Only months before the experiment, he was returning to his exchange university in France from spending Thanksgiving in Amsterdam when he was held up at the French border for possession of marijuana. Eventually he was released from custody with no further charges, but the experience impacted him and led to his decision to volunteer for the experiment. Mark mentions that it was “very disappointing to be assigned to be a guard”[xix] but that he made the best of the situation.
Dr Zimbardo enlisted the help of several ex-convicts to make the constructed prison feel real, but various modifications had to be made, like the chain around the ankle (not used in real life prisons anymore) to serve as a constant reminder of how trapped and powerless they were.
Mark says that “Zimbardo went out of his way to create tension”[xx] among the participants and thinks that Zimbardo never intended for the experiment to run the full two weeks[xxi]; that he had just told the volunteers that to “create a dramatic crescendo”[xxii] that would increase the strain and feelings of claustrophobia and hopelessness in all the young men involved. Mark suspects Zimbardo of manipulating the experiment in order to produce the result that he wanted, and had already decided on. As a result, Mark is hesitant to agree with Zimbardo’s conclusion that “people from middle-class backgrounds—people will turn on each other just because they’re given a role and given power.”[xxiii]


~  ~ ~
Tuesday 17 August 1971

Philip Zimbardo sat with the back of his chair pressed tightly to the wall, looking from side to side. As his eyes raced across the stark walls of the disassembled prison, he listened for any sign of glass breaking, a door opening, a drill. Sweat was gathering underneath his snug collar even though he knew the warm August air wouldn’t reach all the way down to the basement. Suddenly he felt like the entire weight of Stanford was pressing down on his shoulders like the gnarled hands of a burly farmer. He thought of the students about twelve feet above his head who were probably still rambling across the grass quad at this late hour, at least one of them tipsy. The muffled bass throbbing reliably out of the frat houses in big, lazy sound waves, hitting just the wrong nerve. A guy cat-calling a group of girls from a third storey window as they pass under a tree. A pigeon landing on a street lamp. The doctor’s feet stayed firmly planted on the ground, despite the usual temptation of the wheelie chair.
Footsteps sounded on the stairs leading down to the basement. He shot up from his chair. It bounced against the wall and then hit the back of his knees, almost buckling them. The doctor trained his eyes on the door and waited. He slid his sweaty palms up and down his thighs, smoothing his black suit pants.
“Who’s there?” the superintendent whispered roughly. “Don’t come any closer; I’ve got a weapon!” he hissed, even though it wasn’t true. He flexed his empty hands. The doctor cleared his throat, unsure why he’d been whispering, and spoke at a normal volume. “Prisoner #8612? Identify yourself!” He waited.
“Phil?” The door to the stairs opened and a man stepped into view. His hands were up. Gordon Bower, Zimbardo’s college roommate, stood there, legs apart warily, waiting for the superintendent to move. “What’s going on? I just came to see how . . .”
“Gordon?”  The doctor must have been a sight, because Gordon’s hands were still up. Zimbardo shook himself and said, “It’s okay. Put your hands down.”
“I came to see how the experiment was going, but are you alright?”
“The experiment?”
Gordon nodded.
“The prison . . . it’s a mess. We had to call in extra guards.”
Gordon took a step forward, still wary, as he assessed the corridor. “Seems okay. Say, what’s the independent variable in this study?”
“The independent variable?” The superintendent’s face contorted with rage. “The security of my men and the stability of my prison are at stake and you want to know about the independent variable!?”
~ ~ ~
“I began to feel that I was losing my identity, that the person that I called Clay, the person who put me in this place, the person who volunteered to go into this prison—because it was a prison to me; it still is a prison to me. I don’t regard it as an experiment or a simulation because it was a prison run by psychologists instead of run by the state. I began to feel that that identity, the person that I was that had decided to go to prison was distant from me—was remote until finally I wasn’t that, I was 416. I was really my number.”[xxiv]

– Clay Ramsay
~ ~ ~
Monday 16 August 1971
A high-pitched whistle shatters each man’s dream. Only an hour or two after lights out, they scramble blearily to their feet, quick to obey. They’ve seen what happens when they don’t. Scurrying to form a line in front of the guards, #8612 stumbles slightly.
“Faster, dogs!” Their chains rattle. ‘John Wayne’ makes a guttural sound in his throat and shoots a stream of sour tasting spit that lands on a prisoner’s collarbone, dripping slowly down. They stand staring straight ahead, humiliated and buck naked beneath their white smocks. They are holding themselves differently than yesterday; the shoulders more tense, the back less straight. #7258 stands with his hip protruding in an oddly feminine way, Guard Ceros notes with relish.
“Head count! #8612?”
“Present, Mr. Correctional Officer!”
The count is soon complete.
“What are we going to do tonight, girls?” ‘John Wayne’ sneers.
“Seeing as they liked the push ups so much last night . . .” Vandy suggests with a smile. He orders #5486 out of the push up position and points at #8612. “Sit on his back. Yeah, I saw you stumble, #8612.”
~ ~ ~
“It was simply wrong. Boys were suffering. They were not prisoners, not experimental subjects, but boys, young men, who were being dehumanized and humiliated by other boys who had lost their moral compass in the situation.”[xxv]
– Christina Maslach, psychologist involved in experiment


~ ~ ~
On Tuesday, three days before the experiment was prematurely terminated, the scientists staged the biggest deception of all: visiting day. They cleaned the prisoners up, allowing them to shower and shave, and removed the smell of urine from the prison. An attractive young woman, Susie Phillips, posed as a receptionist and welcomed parents and friends. Zimbardo and his researchers, afraid of parents pulling their children out of the experiment, carefully manipulated the environment, encouraging visitors to view the whole ordeal as a novel, fun experience.[xxvi] Despite some concerns about the state their sons appeared to be in, most parents bought into the charade, surprising the researchers.
~ ~ ~
Dear Superintendent Zimbardo,

My husband and I visited our son at the “Stanford County Prison.” It seemed very real to me. I had not expected anything so severe nor had my son when he volunteered I am sure. It gave me a depressed feeling when I saw him. He looked very haggard, and his chief complaint seemed to be that he had not seen the sun for so long. I asked if he was sorry he volunteered and he answered that at first he had been. However, he had gone through several different moods and he was more resigned. This will be the hardest money he will ever earn in his life, I am sure.
Mother of 1037
PS: We hope this project is a big success.




Clark, J, Atteberry, J 1998-2014, ‘What are the 10 most prevalent forms of torture and why?’, How Stuff Works, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://science.howstuffworks.com/five-forms-of-torture.htm&gt;.

This web page helped me establish a difference between types of torture and infuse an understanding into my piece of the prevalence of psychological torture in the prison system.


Croomer, J 2014, ‘Prisoners, prison guards and power perversion’, 21 March, Office Politics, Rolling Alpha, retrieved 16 September 2014, < http://www.rollingalpha.com/2014/03/21/office-politics-prisoners-prison-guards-and-power-perversion/&gt;.

This web page gave me a photograph of the original advertisement calling volunteers for the experiment so that I was able to include it in my piece verbatim, adding a crucial element of explanation and non-fiction.
Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment 2004, video recording, Ken Musen and Stanford Instructional Television Network, Stanford.

This documentary was an integral part of my research, invaluable in giving me a true feel for what it was like for the prisoners and guards, including the accents of the participants as well as what the prison looked like. The only way it was disappointing was the fact that it repeated a lot of the information in Stanford Prison Experiment website, created by Dr Zimbardo (and listed below).
Ratnesar, R 2011, ‘The Menace Within’, Stanford Alumni, July/August, retrieved 16 September 2014, <https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=40741&gt;.

This online article gave me my angle, which is that scientists can often manipulate experiments to produce the result the want and have already decided on. This source also inspired my title ‘The Independent Variable’ so I could draw attention to my main focus, the fact that it was a controlled environment, despite how the prisoners and guards felt. This gave me the background of a particular guard, John Mark, who was also suspicious of Dr Zimbardo and his team of researchers.


Sherrer, H 1999, ‘Cheaper than lab rats, part II’, Prison Legal News, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 1-3, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://www.forejustice.org/write/mental_torture_of_american_prisoners.htm&gt;.

This source gave me a professional’s perspective on the effect of psychological torture on a victim’s mind, pointing out just how unethical Dr Zimbardo’s experiment was, and also raising awareness of the serious effects of using psychological methods to control and subdue people.


Smith, C S 2008, ‘Welcome to “the disco”’, The Guardian, 19 June, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jun/19/usa.guantanamo&gt;.

This online article provided information on how prisoners are still being treated today by American soldiers. I used it to raise awareness with a reliable source of what still goes on, and the deep trauma inflicted on those who are forced to endure psychological, in particular music, torture.


United States Bureau of Justice Statistics 2012, ‘Total U.S. correctional population declined in 2012 for fourth year’, (NCJ 243936, Bureau of Justice Statistics, retrieved 16 September 2014, <http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/cpus12pr.cfm&gt;.

This web page helped me give the reader an idea of how large-scale the problem of treatment of prisoners is. I used American statistics because it seemed to fit the context of the piece, being set in California, and wanted to add an element of non-fiction that would shock my readers.


Zimbardo, P 1999, ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’, retrieved 18 September 2014, <http://www.prisonexp.org&gt;.

This website was my primary (and first) avenue of information, and my most relied upon source, giving me an overview of how the whole experiment was set up and constructed. I used it as a point of reference the whole way through.


Zimbardo, P 2008, The Lucifer Effect, Random House, New York.

Zimbarodo’s book helped me to work out which events happened on which day of the experiment (so that I could provide dates at the top of some of my sections and also maintain accuracy). It was also my source for the letter written from a mother to Dr Zimbardo, as well as various other details about the experiment and its participants. Other quotes from Zimbardo and his future wife, Dr Christina Maslach, were also sourced from here.



[i] Croomer, J 2014, ‘Prisoners, prison guards and power perversion’, 21 March, Office Politics, Rolling Alpha, retrieved 16 September 2014, < http://www.rollingalpha.com/2014/03/21/office-politics-prisoners-prison-guards-and-power-perversion/&gt;.


[ii] P Zimbardo, 2008, The Lucifer Effect, Random House, New York, p. 17.


[iii] P Zimbardo, 2008, The Lucifer Effect, Random House, New York, p. 37.


[iv] P Zimbardo, 2008, The Lucifer Effect, Random House, New York, pp. 181, 235.

[v] Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment 2004, video recording, Ken Musen and Stanford Instructional Television Network, Stanford.

[vi] Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment 2004, video recording, Ken Musen and Stanford Instructional Television Network, Stanford.

[vii] Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014, ‘Databases, tables and calculators by subject: CPI inflation calculator’, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm&gt;.

[viii] Zimbardo, P 1999, ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’, retrieved 18 September 2014, <http://www.prisonexp.org&gt;.

[ix] Quiet Rage: The Stanford Prison Experiment 2004, video recording, Ken Musen and Stanford Instructional Television Network, Stanford.


[x] United States Bureau of Justice Statistics 2012, ‘Total U.S. correctional population declined in 2012 for fourth year’, (NCJ 243936, Bureau of Justice Statistics, retrieved 16 September 2014, <http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/cpus12pr.cfm&gt;.
[xi] Clark, J, Atteberry, J 1998-2014, ‘What are the 10 most prevalent forms of torture and why?’, How Stuff Works, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://science.howstuffworks.com/five-forms-of-torture.htm&gt;.

[xii] Sherrer, H 1999, ‘Cheaper than lab rats, part II’, Prison Legal News, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 1-3, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://www.forejustice.org/write/mental_torture_of_american_prisoners.htm&gt;.

[xiii] Smith, C S 2008, ‘Welcome to “the disco”’, The Guardian, 19 June, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jun/19/usa.guantanamo&gt;.

[xiv] Smith, C S 2008, ‘Welcome to “the disco”’, The Guardian, 19 June, retrieved 22 September 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/jun/19/usa.guantanamo&gt;.

[xv] P Zimbardo, 2008, The Lucifer Effect, Random House, New York, p. 73.

[xvi] Zimbardo, P 1999, ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’, retrieved 18 September 2014, <http://www.prisonexp.org/psychology/40&gt;.

[xvii] Zimbardo, P 1999, ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’, retrieved 18 September 2014, <http://www.prisonexp.org/psychology/40&gt;.

[xviii] M Shuttleworth, ‘Independent variable’, Explorable.com, retrieved 22 September 2014, <https://explorable.com/independent-variable&gt;.


[xix]  R Ratnersar, 2011, ‘The Menace Within’, Stanford Alumni, July/August, retrieved 16 September 2014, <https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=40741&gt;.


[xx] R Ratnersar, 2011, ‘The Menace Within’, Stanford Alumni, July/August, retrieved 16 September 2014, <https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=40741&gt;.

[xxi] R Ratnersar, 2011, ‘The Menace Within’, Stanford Alumni, July/August, retrieved 16 September 2014, <https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=40741&gt;.

[xxii] R Ratnersar, 2011, ‘The Menace Within’, Stanford Alumni, July/August, retrieved 16 September 2014, <https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=40741&gt;.

[xxiii] R Ratnersar, 2011, ‘The Menace Within’, Stanford Alumni, July/August, retrieved 16 September 2014, <https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=40741&gt;.

[xxiv] Zimbardo, P 1999, ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’, retrieved 18 September 2014, <http://www.prisonexp.org/psychology/40&gt;.

[xxv] P Zimbardo, 2008, The Lucifer Effect, Random House, New York, p. 170.

[xxvi] Zimbardo, P 1999, ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’, retrieved 18 September 2014, <http://www.prisonexp.org/psychology/40&gt;.

[xxvii] Zimbardo, P 2008, The Lucifer Effect, Random House, New York, p. 97.