HomeArticleOn Psychopathy And Power

On Psychopathy And Power

Due to a very painful and disturbing revelation in my personal life I have had the unfortunate occasion to spend the last several days thinking a lot about psychopaths and what makes them tick. I don’t want to get into the hairy details at this time, but I would like to share some of the more general thoughts that have been coming up here on the matter.

It is interesting that psychopathy should have reached a dark tentacle into my life in the way that it did, given that the three years I’ve been at this gig have been spent writing more and more about the way our world is run by calculating manipulators who are devoid of empathy. I often say that we have found ourselves ruled by psychopaths because we have a system wherein (A) those who are willing to do anything to anyone are rewarded with immense wealth, and (B) immense wealth translates directly to immense political power. Add in the fact that studies have shown that wealth itself kills off empathy and compassion, and you’ve got yourself a perfect recipe for a plutocratic dystopia dominated by antisocial personality disorder.

I’m not really interested in getting into the specific clinical diagnoses of psychopathy and sociopathy for the purposes of this discussion. What I’m talking about here is a specific slice of humanity that is neurologically wired in such a way that they experience the world more as a series of puzzles which can be manipulated around to get them them whatever they want regardless of who it hurts, rather than experiencing a world full of fellow sentient beings with whom you can have deep, meaningful connections and interactions. Not all people who are diagnosed as psychopaths are high-functioning enough to manipulate people at high levels, and not everyone who manipulates people in this way would necessarily be diagnosed as a psychopath or even a sociopath. Feel free to mentally substitute whatever term you prefer.

Whatever you want to call it, people who have this condition (and are able to avoid prison) tend to do quite well for themselves by our society’s standards. Because they don’t see other people as anything other than tools and resources, they don’t let empathy and compassion stand in their way when viciousness and exploitation will help them achieve their goals. Because they don’t value connections with other people, they don’t see narratives and descriptions as paths toward deeper understanding, but as tools which can be twisted and distorted in order to secure themselves more wealth, status, sex, or whatever else they want. They quickly rise to the top in corporate and financial settings, in media institutions, in government agencies, and in politics. In modern society this ability is a natural advantage that the rest of us simply cannot compete with.

But it’s not just our current iteration of society which elevates psychopaths to the top. A casual glance through recorded history all around the world reveals an essentially unbroken track record of genocide, slavery, torture, exploitation and degradation as far as the eye can see, with the driving characters time and again being depraved dominators, conquerors and mass murderers. Research some of the horrors that were inflicted upon the Aboriginal people of Australia and the indigenous populations of the Americas and you’ll see that the whole thing was driven by a total lack of empathy for those human beings. Throughout history our main problems have been caused by the way we keep designing systems which elevate psychopaths to positions of leadership, who then go on to make psychopathic decisions.

Given the fact that people who are indifferent to truth or human suffering have always been so adept at ascending to power positions, it’s hard to even imagine a society where we don’t find ourselves ruled by psychopaths. George RR Martin set out to tell a story about a cast of characters all vying for power in an epic game of thrones, and that story wound up being populated almost entirely by psychopaths and sociopaths. It makes for a compelling tale because it’s very believable based on what we all know deep down about human behavior patterns, but it’s also a relentless assault on the audience’s empathy center.

So what can be done, then? How can we ordinary, feeling, caring human beings protect ourselves from this segment of the population which has been driving us into disaster after disaster since the dawn of civilization before they get us all killed?

Psychopathic leaders have never had any trouble figuring out how to get rid of segments of the population who they deem problematic: they round them up and exterminate them. This would obviously be out of the question for many reasons, not the least because in order to implement it we’d need to become psychopaths ourselves. We’d be “curing” the sickness by becoming the sickness.

Passing a bunch of laws against manipulation and deception wouldn’t work either. Manipulators actually love rules and laws, because they can figure out how to manipulate them and use them to their advantage. Julian Assange is currently awaiting extradition hearings in Belmarsh Prison because a bunch of psychopathic manipulators decided to pretend that it was very, very important to respect a series of laws and rules ranging from bail protocol to whistleblower source protection to government bureaucracy to embassy cat hygiene, and they were able to engineer a result that just so happens to look exactly the same as imprisoning a journalist for exposing US war crimes. All the worst atrocities in human history have been perfectly legal.

I’ve seen some people advocating mandatory brain scans for anyone seeking a leadership position. It is true that a psychopath’s brain shows up differently from the rest of us on a PET scan, and it is possible to envision a future where the collective is so aware of the pernicious dance between psychopathy and power that such a policy might be set and enforced. The problem of course is that manipulators manipulate, and there are many ways to manipulate one’s way around such a system; they’ve been inserting themselves into unofficial leadership positions for ages, for example, which they’d never need to be tested for. Plutocrats, advisors and propagandists are all in unofficial leadership positions.

Maybe you’ve got your own ideas about this, but I personally can’t think of a single solution to the fundamental problem of psychopaths inserting themselves into positions of power which doesn’t involve drastic, unprecedented changes in our civilization and our culture. Even if you completely tore down capitalism, ended plutocracy and replaced the entire system with a government-planned economy, you would still have positions of power and the absolute certainty of psychopaths manipulating their way into those positions sooner or later.

I’m talking about changes as drastic as the end of anyone having any power over anybody at all. A society where the idea of having power over anybody became so culturally taboo that even an unequal power dynamic between spouses would be seen as outrageous and ugly, to say nothing of governments or police forces. Such a society is very far from what we’ve got now, but it would surely be a very inhospitable environment for psychopathy. There would be no positions of leverage for one to manipulate their way into in order to force others to give them what they want, and if you started trying to create one everybody would immediately point at you and yell “Hey! What are you doing? Stop that, that’s weird! If you want something from us you need to form consensual collaborative relationships with us, just like we’re all doing.”

It’s also possible to imagine a culture in which manipulation is seen as an unacceptable taboo which immediately draws public backlash in the same way. In such a culture children would learn from the youngest age what honest and sincere interaction looks like, with examples of deceit and manipulation clearly illustrated for them in all forms as something gravely disordered. Advertising would cease to exist in such a society, as would propaganda in all its forms. And psychopaths would be like fish out of water, because manipulation only works when it isn’t recognized as such.

One can also imagine a culture which values empathy, compassion and helping others instead of valuing wealth, accomplishment and conquest. In such a culture we’d see the ability to connect with people and work for the good of the whole elevated, rather than seeing the ability to do whatever it takes to claw your way to the top of the heap elevated. In such a society psychopathy would actually be an immense disadvantage, rather than an immense advantage.

And that, in my opinion, would be the marker of a healthy society: one in which psychopathy and sociopathy become grave mental handicaps that the afflicted need to actively seek help for. A society that is so empathic and collaborative that having a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder isn’t such a big deal because your neighbors work with you and help you with what you need rather than pushing you to conform and achieve, while having psychopathy or sociopathy is a debilitating disorder which will turn you into a pariah sleeping on park benches if you don’t get help. Right now we have the opposite: people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses are treated like worthless hindrances to a society which values achievement over empathy, while psychopaths and sociopaths almost never seek help unless it’s court-ordered.

A healthy society would flip this. It would reward the things psychopaths are unable to do, and it would reject the things that psychopaths excel at. We can actually look at what psychopaths are and are not good at, and from there kind of reverse-engineer an idea of what a wholesome society would look like.

Is such a society possible? I don’t know. I recently put together some evidence which seems to suggest that our species may be on the verge of a drastic shift in consciousness, which would be the only facilitating agent I can think of that would make such massive cultural changes feasible. We seem to be headed for either huge changes or extinction relatively soon, so if there’s a future humanity on the other side of what’s coming, it likely exists because it made extraordinary changes in both its behavior and in its relationship with the phenomenon of psychopathy. We’ll either make the jump or we won’t.

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Latest comments

  • There’s a useful youtube channel out there whose main focus is on how to recognize and then deal with narcissistic personality disorder — a video follows below.

    While it is good to know that psychopaths exist and that they are out there doing the hard-core damage on the world stage, the narcissus is actually more prevalent within the overall population, and it is THEY who support and maintain the psychopaths reality-construct for domination and destruction. In this sense, the narcissist is actually a low functioning psychopath wrecking havoc at the grassroots level by furtively undermining confidence and self-esteem in those around them on a daily basis and in a more personal sense. They are found by the numbers within EVERY family setting — these are the one’s we have been calling the “sleeping masses”. By the very nature of how their disorder works, ‘waking up’ is NOT something they will ever do and we should be fully aware of this fact, and stop waiting for it to happen.

    The following 12 minute video on the Surviving Narcissism channel is about distinguishing the difference between the Narcissist, the Sociopath, and the Psychopath. I recommend selecting from Les Carter’s other videos as well and get acquainted with the enemy that is everywhere.

    https://youtu.be/XZOOA9heAf0

  • There is quite a bit of discussion about the types of Cluster B disorders. It is very much worthwhile for people to think about this category first, before trying to analyze the particular branches of the tree.
    I enjoyed Dr. Narvasula’s presentation, but I don’t think that the distinction between sociopathy and psychopathy is fruitful. I think that it is fine to ignore the concept of sociopathy, as it implies that normal brains can be trained to be abnormal. The true damage from combat-related PTSD comes from placing normal persons in dreadful environments. They do not act and think anything like psychopaths.
    I’m worried about the analysis of the particulars. Cluster B personalities should carry a warning for others in the community – High Voltage! Do Not Touch! Stay Away! The different types of electrocution danger that they represent is only of academic concern.
    Psychopaths see us as defective. We are crippled by conscience, something that they do not understand and are repelled by. It causes “normal” people to act like weaklings. When things get real, “normies” crumble under the weight of conscience. To a psychopath, this is contemptible; such people ought to be exterminated. Remember that when you suspect someone of being a psychopath. Narcissists don’t care about anyone else, and borderlines are stably unstable in a never-ending spiral. But psychopaths despise you for breathing. Remember that.

    • BUT another excellent read is “Wisdom of Psychopaths” by Kevin Dutton. It should be recognized that psychopathic traits actually do dovetail with “leadership” virtues (i.e. courage, ability to influence/persuade, personal charisma, perseverance, focus, self-confidence, high degree of personal ambition, etc) whilst many times replicated and well proven social psychology (Asch and Milgram) experiments reveal the “banality of evil,” the prevalence of “group think” and obedience to authority, how 2/3’s of all people are susceptible to having their emotional buttons (i.e. fear, hate, greed, false pride and blind loyalty) pressed. So the two groups: the less than 1% psychopathically oriented and the 66% more emotionally vulnerable work in tandem with each other, like a Yin-Yang, producing the history of all human civilization. That leaves about 1/3 in what I call the “WTF Club” and obviously Caitlin and a larger majority of her readers fall into that category of not being so well-endowed with psychopathic “leadership” qualities but also not as susceptible to “group think” and obedience to authority.

      • Thanks, Colleen. I’m not familiar with Dutton, and I will explore his writings and videos. I have unfortunately run across a number of these Cluster B beasties in my profession. The most healthy thing to do in the real world is cut-and-run. I have read a book some time ago, whether by Robert Ressler or John Dutton of the FBI, I forget, about these folks. The author chides women, especially, for a lethal habit – ignoring their intuition for fear of appearing irrational. The author said something to the effect that if one gets off the elevator in an empty parking garage, and feels creeped out, LEAVE!! Don’t play the tape “THERE’S NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF, SILLY.” Men do it too. That little voice of intuition and experience is part of your humanity.
        As for the numbers, I disagree with the assignments of population. 1% to 5% of the population are the antisocial wing of Cluster B – psychopaths, ASPD, whatever. Interestingly, as Dave Grossman points out in his book On Killing, a preponderance of the human population, taken at random, are unfit for combat involving the killing of others (Praise God and Hallelujah!) A preponderance of us softies will cut and run – even at the risk of being killed in an attack – rather than trying to kill another human being. About 1/3 or so can kill, but reluctantly. These are like Milgram’s compliants. (I call them the Children of Cain.) I like those numbers better. Thanks.

  • Initiation of coercion is the main culprit to a civil society. The more the initiation of coercion is reduced the happier and more prosperous civilization will be.

    Only those that are pathological would claim to have the right to initiate coercion. Who does claim to have this right? What organizations claim to have monopolistic rights to the initiation of coercive force? Governments and gangs claiming areas by drawing borders and claiming territories.

    Centers of power are where psycho and sociopaths do the most damage. Government is the most dangerous power center. All major damage is either initiated, orchestrated and or allowed by the State. No private individual or organization could get away with initiating coercion without the hand of the State; not for long. Pharmaceutical corporations rely on two lobbyist for each member of congress. Cartels and street gangs selling “illegal” drugs rely on government initiation of coercion that make certain plants and chemicals illegal, which does not eliminate the market for these products, just makes them black markets.

    Civilization is a long way from eliminating psychos and socios. They will probably never be eliminated which is also true of centers of power. Eliminating the biggest, most destructive centers of power is our best defense against these pathological predators.

    For most the idea of no State puts them in a state of cognitive dissonance. They just haven’t thought past what is commonly portrayed as anarchy. Anarchy does not mean no governance just no Government.

    A society based on private property is our best solution. Who owns you? You do. Private property starts with yourself. You can extend your property beyond your body with your ideas and actions. These boundaries, established without the initiation of coercion, are the only legitimate borders.

    A private property society (PPS) will reduce the size of power centers, scattering these pathological predators and their coercive abilities.

  • Caitlin, amazing as usual. First, in describing her ‘improved version of the world, I believe she perfectly crystallized ‘The Milennial Ideal’ better than I’ve ever heard it stated before. Parts are good, parts bad, but all of it drips with first world hubris. I liked reading it far less than I thought I would. As much as I despise the term, I have to say it mostly just oozes privilege.

    Secondly she approaches psychopathy like any good professional victim would. And like any good victim she sees no problem in talking openly about eradicating or casting out an entire demographic as vengeance for her perceived slights. The truth is psychopaths are like guns. They are neither inherently good or dangerous. That is solely dictated by how the rest of us use them. And the fact that we tend to view psychopaths as murderous hucksters and not brave leaders and risk takers only shows how badly we are using them. Yes psychopaths have done bad things, but they’ve also given us light in dark times. Sure they were lying. Sure they were making it up. But it doesn’t change the fact that it was exactly what we needed at that moment. What gives them their ‘juice’ is seeing us reflected in them and them reflected in us. Not the pure act of manipulating. And how crazy they act is typically proportional to the strength of that bond. A psychopath will kill for you or kill himself for you. Yet the psychopath that you ignore is usually no threat to you. But the ones YOU VOTED FOR on the other hand…. Am I wrong? We’re all who we are. We’re all a little bit psycho. I’m not ready to return to the jungle yet, but I’m also tired of humans being held to ideals that sound nice but are unprecedented in all of human history. Let’s start with accepting exactly who we are. Because we’re ALL selfish, prejudiced, competitive, ornery, gluttonous, indifferent, lazy and jealous. Not always. But at least a little bit sometimes. Dont hold it against me and I won’t hold it against you. But it’s better than both of us lying to each other over who is living up to the unattainable standard better. To me the grandest PSYCHOPATH manipulation of all time is posturing as the ‘most equal’, ‘most tolerant’, ‘most accepting’, ‘most blah blah blah’. Look at the world around you. Every psychopath sings a part in that chorus. I’m so exhausted with it. Just get pissed and scream ‘I hate you!’ already. You’re human. We forgive you. Is the person who can’t forgive the psychopath for being who he is the better person?

    So I stand by my statement. On both topics Caitlin is amazing.

    • And the fact that we tend to view psychopaths as murderous hucksters and not brave leaders and risk takers only shows how badly we are using them. Yes psychopaths have done bad things, but they’ve also given us light in dark times… Is the person who can’t forgive the psychopath for being who he is the better person?

      Okay, okay, you can join the Junior Joe Stalin league. Let me tell ya – there is a huge difference between normal humans and psychopaths, no matter how you want to spin your words. Psychopaths thrive on the emotional and physical murder of human souls. And not in a good way, let me clarify it for you. They are like candy laced with cyanide. Just because it hasn’t hurt anyone doesn’t make it an innocent thing.
      Shame on you for your statement. Is the person who can’t forgive the psychopath for being who he is the better person? If you are stalked by the bear, and the bear is going to eat you, kill the bear. Every psychopath is an imminent danger to any souls around him. (The vast majority are men.)
      A wise man said, “When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” M Scott Peck wrote a book called People of the Lie to explain the concordance between evil and mental illness. The subtitle is The Hope for Healing Human Evil. Don’t f*ck around with these people. They will kill you. First they will whisper in your ear that it’s all your fault. Don’t play on that side of the street.

      • Right on, thank you Steve. The discussion was getting out of hand from those without a clue to what a psychopath is or does. Caitlin who’s experienced what they do knows.
        One of the best examples of what they do for the public to understand is Trump. He’s what is inspiring the long overdue interest in mental health and one of the easiest to help understand is the book“The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” Explains that it is difficult for mentally and emotionally healthy people to understand narcissistic psychopaths behavior — and amplifies their ability to engage in lawlessness, corruption and the debasement of those they manipulate, like American democracy for example. A white collar psychopath can be expected to be a criminal. It’s what they do while their convincing others your the criminal and their the victim. It seems most of today’s wealthy and political leaders are psychopaths to one degree or another. Their really of little use to the human race and are what is actually holding our advancement back. Their manipulations together will likely collapse modern civilization just in time for climate change.

        • Thanks, Don. I appreciate your posting.
          As for Mr. Trump he passes the “Trail of Wreckage” test, or “The Inverse Midas Test” Read his resume – everything he touches eventually turns to sh*t. This is an accurate way of picking up on a bunch of the Cluster B types, especially Borderline Personality disorder. If someone seems like a dreamy catch, but has more than four ex-spouses, be on the lookout. Wreckage warning.

          Thou shall not entrust your life to that which does not cry.

          There. That should drive any self-admiring antisocial ballistic. It’s important to remember.
          Monsters 1.0 – the individual human psychopath.
          This is what we’ve been talking about. But it’s not the biggest problem in the future.
          Monsters 2.0 – the bureaucracy.
          Bureaucracies are more like psychopaths than normal human beings. They are unaffected by human feelings. They work on reason. They have caused a lot of our misery today. Nazi Germany was a bureaucracy without conscience.

          “I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.” CS Lewis

          Monsters 3.0 – Artificial Intelligence
          We are racing towards a world where we are controlled by unfeeling slavemasters disguised as algorithms, under the pretense that it is our fumbling humanity with its illogic and weakness, that causes the travails of the world.
          Boy are we fucking stupid.
          ’nuff said.

      • No, people with ASPD (I’m a professional – I use professional terms) are most certainly not “mostly men”; Borderline Personality Disorder is really just another form of ASPD, and it’s mostly women. As for your advice to not fuck around with these people – that is absolutely correct. They will kill you or ruin your life.

  • “Advertising would cease to exist in such a society”

    Why? Advertising does not need to be manipulative and/or deceptive. Even to this day there are areas where products, mostly equipment, is sold on cold hard specs. Of course these are usually things aimed at companies to buy rather than individuals.

    “are treated like worthless hindrances to a society which values achievement over empathy”

    Valuing achievement, real achievement, like creating something that other people benefit from and becoming wealthy for doing so, is not a problem. In fact what has happened is that sort of achievement is looked down upon but political and institutional advancement is not. It is the later sort of achievement that is the problem. Socialism and its related political forms are prime examples of this. The person who makes a new affordable widget that better the lives of all is considered to be horrible greedy exploiter but the psychopath, the manipulator, the politician is seen as a savior. Political and institutional systems are changed and grown by the psychopaths to make the environment more hospitable to them. The merit based advancement is a threat to them. In world where power over others is looked down upon it is a voluntary merit based hierarchy that will arise.

    As to the discussion on CO2 above in the comments, this is one of the greatest manipulations in human history. Of psychopaths looking for power over everyone else. The fundamental relationship of CO2 to hydrocarbon energy and life allows them a rule set to control literally everything. It would take an advancement like affordable zero-point energy to break that grip and they’ll have the power to make sure it never happens. While being so advanced at its core is the most ancient scam. The ruling class pays an intellectual class to tell the masses that they must obey and sacrifice to the ruling class or else the weather will be bad and they will die. And looking at the measurement data ourselves shows we are being manipulated. They pick start and end points deliberately to do so. They make adjustments, estimates, and more to do so. They prune and graft different data sets to do so. It’s simply another scam by psychopathic manipulators and those that serve them.

    • Very well said B. Just keep in mind that we (maybe you, not me) willingly cast a vote for those manipulator politicians. Usually because they’ll do the thing to the other guys that we don’t have the balls to do ourselves. Anyone who doesn’t believe that this is 50% of voting, needs to rejoin reality. So who is really the bad guy? Are gang members victims?

      • I go to vote only if there is tax increase issue to vote down. self defense.

        Voting is ultimately about voting the government to do one’s bidding against others or an attempt at self defense from others using the government on you.

  • The nuances between psychopathy and sociopathy are critical to understanding social dysfunction.

    A sociopath is an otherwise socio-normal individual convinced to shut down empathy under certain conditions and go with the flow. Sociopaths are far more dangerous than psychopaths and may be the dominant of the two, because they still have the spectrum of emotions, whose normal expression has been compromised.

    These latent emotions in the sociopath can become depression, but also be trained to shadenfreude, pleasure in the pain of another, rather than abhorrence. Pain inflicted in a perceived retaliation, for example, is seen to be deserved and felt to be empowering. Any number of superhero movies revel in the villain’s comeuppance, for example, the 5-year-old in the adult brain recalled.

    The textbook example of trained sociopathy is soldier conditioning, dehumanizing the other into something that can be harmed and in fact must be harmed as an godless enemy. Society also memes sociopathy against empathy; disregard for ‘the poor’ or ‘the rich’, with cultural trigger mechanisms like red flag words; the name ‘Hitler’ or some terrible disease like ‘cancer’ or worse.

    Perhaps psychopaths manipulate sociopaths, but sociopaths may have the deeper, stronger emotional motivations to go beyond material ends to perverted spiritual satisfaction psychopaths can’t perceive let alone conceive.

    The most stunning example right now of mass sociopathy is the turning of Progressives and Greens to accept that there’s ‘no other way’ with respect to climate change but to use, and even abet the crisis to attain political power to ‘fix’ things.

    They have become disaster capitalist sociopaths, accepting human suffering and extinction of whole species for partisan political gain, and some may even like it because humanity ‘deserves’ it.

    Thirty years ago John Martin discovered that by iron fertilazation of the world’s ocean phytoplankton pastures, excess CO2 could be sunk into the marine ecosystem and eventually from that living carbon sink into the deep ocean floor. Yet, no-one promotes this simple, cheap, easy and nearly instant (in geological terms) solution to CO2 poisoning of the ecosystem.

    Thawing the poles and creating global disaster crisis to exploit has clearly taken priority over fixing the problem. Iron dusting the world’s ocean pastures and filling them with marine life removes CO2 and saves lives and whole species. Of course, there’s the whole other side of the debate that there isn’t enough CO2, but they are looking at the wrong gas; its the oxygen levels that matter and where that’s going to come from reliably when the phytoplankton are extirpated.

    Russgeorge.net and fisherycrisis.com are run by two who are probably the only real environmental activists on the internet. Russ George is just an amateur naturalist and businessman, while Debbie MacKenzie is a nurse. I’ve taken some liberties with their positions, insofar as I’m saying, they are ignored on malign purpose, not foolish ignorance.

    • Using your uninformed and uneducated guessing about the difference between Psychopaths and Sociopaths to grind your axe about climate change is the hallmark of a poor education, and frankly, a cheap and weak argument. Argue one of the other, and don’t conflate two things, neither of which you are qualified to comment on.

      • Your pile-on of logical fallacies is not an adequate rebuttal of my position.

        Leading with a trite ad hominem and following up with blunt avoidance of addressing any factual points is a mark of average rhetorical skills put to dishonest purpose.

        In the age of the internet, anyone can check my definitions and argument (or yours, such as it is) for themselves.

    • One of the most concerted efforts to study the phenomenon from a modern clinical sociological standpoint in the crucible of the Soviet Union as related by the late Andrew Lobaczewski bears out what you are saying. At a post-WWII university in Eastern Germany, he (if you haven’t read his work, Political Ponerology, you have to) related that his colleagues and he noted a “six percent” phenomenon, in which six percent of the students were persuaded by the insane pronouncements of a clearly psychopathic instructor who’d been sent to indoctrinate them, while everyone else gritted their teeth. At any given time, it was always six percent. One person would snap out of what seemed to be a hypnotic state, and right away, someone else would go under. He said tobacco seemed to be prophylactic.
      Likewise, there may be circumstances under which larger proportions of the socio-normal go under the spell.
      The most important lesson is that without the fatal flaws in normal human psychology, the psychopaths would be capable of nothing more than isolated atrocities and making fools of themselves in society
      When the pathological plus the zombies reach about 20% or so in positions of power, the rest are along for the ride no matter what they do. I’m certain that there are plenty of people caving in right now in America out of fear for their loved ones. The only thing you can do, apparently, is distance yourself from the pathocracy to avoid endangering yourself and contributing to the insanity while it runs its rabid dog course.

      • Six percent of crazies inflicting harm that can be prevented by simply speaking up and pointing out where they’re wrong to the other ~94%.

        Hoping every time a six percenter screams “Climate Change Taxes and Totalitarianism NOW, the sane calm answer will be iron dust the ocean pastures and settle down.

        The people behind russgeorge.net, fisherycrisis.com, and even theoceancleanup.com (a project to collect plastic ocean waste) have been heavily criticized for successfully trying to solve actual problems at the cost of abetting discourse to empower a self-interested political faction.

        Environmentalism has been reduced to pretext, not purpose.

        The political opposition to addressing strong scientific candidates for resolving the climate crisis and disappearing those constructive voices, is intriguing at the very least.

      • Having owned and read Ponerology cover-to-cover some years ago, there seemed to be no difficulty for the Polish Communist government to rule over the many terrified normal people in Poland, throw Andrew Lobaczewski in prison, and burn his only manuscript of his book, not once but twice. (Third time’s a charm.) The prevalence of antisocials of various type in society seems to be between 1-5% In the US, 25% of incarcerated persons have antisocial personality disorder, and about 1% of the US population is incarcerated. Do the math. The majority are free-range threats.
        Psychopathy is a subset of ASPD, itself a subset of “Cluster B” personality disorders, all wrapped up under the designation of “Axis II” psychiatric disorders.
        Robert Hare, PhD, is truly the international teacher of Defense against the Dark Arts. He’s studied psychopathy for years. Read his stuff before you start to form any idea of how psychopaths and ASPD’s work.

    • Regarding iron fertilization of the oceans, I would be concerned about unintended consequences. CO2 levels have been higher than now in the past. If feedback loops such as permafrost thawing start pushing it in the direction of a global oceanic die-off, I could see it an an emergency response, so it is good to have that information. In the meantime, less drastic means of carbon sequestration, such as planting lots of trees would be useful.

      • Focusing on CO2 alone appears to be a misdirection; the correct question is, what is the optimum O2 level for us and optimal balance of CO2 and O2 (and other gasses) for our ecosystem? Then, what is the balance of land and marine fauna we need to regulate both reliably?

        Solar, planet rotational and magnetospheric, and cosmic climate forcers we can’t control. CO2, we can control. Climate change and rising oceans need not happen uncontrolled. We could shut all that down right now with iron sulfate dust.

        However, this is a living switch, and if that switch is broken by mass die offs and even extinctions of critical species, some of which are only just discovered and many more not well studied, that living mechanism is broken permanently.

        In the past CO2 levels were sometimes high; the Paleocine-Eocine Thermal Max (~55 mya) had levels well over 1000 ppm and the Pliocine (5 mya) is credited as the last time the planet say CO2 levels over 400 ppm. However, the carbon dumps happened over thousands of years, not decades and the ecosystem had time to adjust. There were still extinctions.

        Planting trees is not a complete solution. Land forests (and grasslands) are prone to being cut down, fires, and other disasters which turn them from net carbon sinks to net carbon releasers. This happens but never within our species’ experience minus ocean phytoplanton to buffer the effects. Steep O2 drops coincide with mass extinctions.

        Marine pastures far off the continental shelves are primarily limited by Liebig’s law of the minimum (actually Sprengel’s) which is, growth is limited by the scarcest nutrient. Which is iron, normally blown from land as dust.

        High CO2 has greened the land and reduced the dust (iron) blown out into the ocean, resulting in starving oceans and declining fisheries. Artificially fertilizing the oceans with the key nutrient of iron seems very promising.

        John Martin’s theory was successfully tested three times, twice off the Galapagos islands and once off the Haida coast of Canada by Russ George. In all cases there was a phytoplankton boom followed by a life bloom of marine animals springing up from the renewed base of their food web.

        If we wait too long, the die-off will be too far along. We can’t bring extinct species back to life, nor do we yet have a complete catalogue. Millions of human lives and hundreds, possibly thousands, of marine and terrestrial species are at risk.

        There are other arguments of course. Some say we have a CO2 deficit. Overuse iron and take out too much CO2 and as John Martin joked, an Ice Age/glacial maximum could happen.

        Ending the ice ages permanently has some long-term plusses for denizens of the Northern Hemisphere, but not so much the global south, equatorial, and island nations or ordinary people everywhere who have to face climate change without a protective blanket of money.

        All the business and military geopolitical news suggests thawing the poles is a done deal. They’re even impatient it already hasn’t happened. The decision has been made to end the ice ages once and for all. No amount of straw and oil bans removes the carbon already released.

        A huge elite-level decision backed by deception appears to have been made. Climate change is not our fault, as popularly promoted, but appears more a deliberate policy by global political leaders.

        This includes denying real solutions like iron fertilization of the oceans, and instead demanding more taxes and authoritarianism to deal with the chaos of eco-disaster capitalism.

    • Ironically I believe that this is the very thing that ‘Chemtrails’ are allegedly doing (whether you believe in them or not). Dropping blankets of aerosolized aluminum and iron. It’s described in patents.

      I have no other point than that. But it is curious.

  • i.e. natural selection even though it will lead to global collapse and probable extinction.

  • The answer to your the underlying accurate “diagnosis” of the system given its form of governance i.e. its “constitution” and underlying structural flaws : democracy is not at all about centralized and voting-for-party-based governance; a discussion with author Astra Taylor describing the predictable outcome in concentration of power. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-23-ideas

  • This is a topic that I also think about quite a lot.
    Thanks for writing (so well) about it, Caitlin.
    I have a few thoughts that I would like to share on the topic, as well.
    (Much of what follows, Caitlin (or others in this forum) has (have) already stated, but I like to put things into a form of a list of statements — to make is as simple and clear as possible.)
    + There are a myriad of ‘dynamics’ in the world, all acting at the same time, but the aspect of anti-social leadership may be one of the key ones to focus on
    + We’re mostly talking about folks with “little or no empathy”, which circumstance is strongly associated with certain behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs
    + The psychologist, Lawrence Kohlberg did a lot of research and thinking on this topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development
    + Professional psychologists tend to use the phrase “anti-social personality disorder”, instead of either “psychopathy” or “sociopathy” (but using the more familiar common terms makes for easier general communication)
    + As Dr. Durvasula stated in the embedded video, some people with little or no empathy are born that way, and some are ‘made’ (by their experiences in life — particularly in early childhood)
    + Some folks distinguish the “psychopath” as someone who was “born’ that way”, and the “sociopath” as someone who was “made that way”
    + It is thought that the folks who are “born that way” can never really be influenced to change, later in life
    + People who were “made” can vary in their extremeness, and may be influenced by other factors (such as other personality aspects, ideology, and later-life environments)
    + I prefer the umbrella term “sociopath”, as “psychopath” is overly associated in the public arena with “psychopathic killers” — I am referring to those folks who have “little or no empathy”, as “sociopathic” (if you will)
    + It is my perception that the amount of empathy people have varies a great deal in a population— it is NOT an “all or nothing” situation — it may be described best by the model of a spectrum
    + Sociopaths can be of ‘any’ intelligence/cleverness
    + It is the ‘clever’ ones that are most dangerous, for society; less smart (or ambitious) ones can be dangerous, but usually on a more personal level
    + This general concept seems (to me) to be a key concept in understanding human dynamics, and how ‘discord’ (wars, injustice, inequalities, etc.) appears in societies — many, many people should know about this topic, to some extent
    + Part of their ‘power’ is their rather “single-minded focus” … on what it is that they want (while the rest of us tend to have very scattered interests) — this can be very ‘effective’ for them
    + Further, there is often a seeming of a “lack of fear … of consequences”, which allows them to have behaviors that the rest of us cannot imagine, and gives them much advantage over the general population
    + As something of an ‘aside’, the sociopathic folks have little or no “loyalty”, to anything or anyone, except themselves — they are willing to “throw anyone under the bus”, at a moment’s notice; “family” is often seen as ‘emotionally attached’ to the sociopath, and are the last ones to be jettisoned; “ideology” can be seen as a “useful tool” by them
    + There is little appreciation for knowledge or truth — lying is as easy and frequent as is breathing
    + Sociopaths are often extremely ‘deceptive’ — pretend to be one thing, while actually being something else; and ‘manipulative’ — use deception to modify the behavior of other people, to suit the purposes of the sociopath
    + “Laws” and “regulations” rarely contain their behavior, as they often succeed in persuading others that what is “red” is “green” (via deception and manipulation)
    + We tend to think of people (“leaders”, etc.) as ‘individual humans’ — without putting them into ‘categories’ — this ‘lack of categorization’ is usually a ‘good thing’, except when it comes to these sorts of personalities
    Raul Limington: “The reason people can’t see that psychopaths rule the world is they assume other people are like them; decent humans, just doing the best they can. They can’t imagine the level of depravity of the elite, so they can’t see it.” (I couldn’t have said it better.)
    David Dunaway: “The myths attached to individualism play into the hands of those with predatory natures.”
    + A phenomenon that I recently am coming to see is that people who are sociopathic tend to be attracted to one another — tend to ‘clump together’, under a singular leader; one sociopathic leader tends to admire another sociopathic leader
    + The ‘other half of the equation’ is that such personalities tend to be very influential over many other folks (who aren’t sociopathic) — their strong (emotionally-laden) wording and certitude tends give them power over some folks, so that they develop a cultish, adoring following
    + People who are afraid, confused, and feeling helpless, seem most subject to the direction of a sociopath
    + The ‘cult followers’ may be willing to be quite radical in their behavior, if directed by their ‘leader’
    + It is the ‘followers’ who are the ‘dangerous instrument’ wielded by the sociopath
    + Sociopaths can be ‘successful’ — gain much status and decision-making authority — in any social system
    + Capitalism/corporatism is particularly well-suited, as it has an amoral basis
    What can/should be ‘done’ about this?
    + There is a danger in categorizing people (such as “sociopathic”), but there is also a lot of danger of NOT categorizing at least some (relatively few) people
    + Caitlin proposes “cultural changes”, but it is my sense that, similar to “laws and regulations”, “cultural norms” could also be easily overthrown by deceptive, single-minded manipulators. (I sensed that “torture” was “beyond the pale” for the U.S. society, but Cheney proved me wrong.)
    + I don’t have a single-solution to this fundamental social problem — we non-sociopaths need to put our heads together on this one
    + “Education” about this topic, is one avenue (but unlikely to be very effective, by itself)
    + Media. [This will sound jargony — I’m sorry — I’m trying to propose something novel, in very few words.] I envision the possibility of a world-wide network of local, cooperative, “media-cells”, as an alternate source of information than either government (“all governments lie”) or profit-seeking enterprises. This would NOT be a guarantee against sociopathic ‘corruption’, but I sense that such as system would be ‘resistant’
    + Creating a society of basic equality, and freedom-from-want, IF it could be established, would go some distance towards reducing the effectiveness of sociopathic manipulators
    + As an aside, I am curious as to who else has been recommending brain-scans as a potential remedy, as this is also something of a “best chance” scheme that I can come up with; not just ‘looking at the brain’ however, but also the brain’s reactions to visual stimuli
    + Are we going to have to resort to tattooing a large red letter S on the foreheads of sociopaths (to keep them out of any position of decision-making and influence)?
    + I also hypothesize that using the internet as a form of “world brain”, to make decisions by all those who are interested in participating, with cellular and block-chain connections, might greatly reduce the evil influence of sociopaths on the world-at-large

    • Your optimism is nice, but online gaming suggests an internet ‘world brain’ would become a sociopathic playground of trolls moderated by other trolls with everyone else still playing straight just minnows in the victim pool waiting for the next bad update.

      • It appears to me that we’re in something of a conundrum — the ‘bad actors’ are taking us down, and there doesn’t seem to be much that we can effectively do about this situation. I don’t know what the answer(s) is (or “are”), but I’m willing to try and imagine some “new mechanism” (some new element in the social system, from what we’ve already experienced). Yes, I am very concerned about sociopaths gaining the upper hand, in any social system, including one that is computer-connected. However, I am also hoping that ‘system analysts’ might be able to create some designs that both mimic the human brain, and remain resistant to corruption and manipulation. I intuit that ‘cells’ of six-members each could form the basic ‘unit’ of a world-brain, wherein everyone within a cell is familiar with everyone else, and thus might be better able to spot and ‘label’ a potential manipulator. Further, the block-chain technology would seem to eliminate manipulative “changes of the record”, so that there was both transparency and assurance-of-documentation. To paraphrase Gramsci, I am intellectually pessimistic, but am willing to be optimistic in my efforts. Thanks

  • “Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.” – Robert F. Kennedy

    In the work she publishes, Caitlin Johnstone embodies the moral courage referred to here by Kennedy. While I have no evidence of her bravery in battle [but no reason to doubt it either], there can be no question of her intellect and only those of ill intent could fail to welcome her ongoing efforts on behalf of all of us and the planet on which we briefly abide.

    May she, you and I live to see the changes she seeks.

  • Caitlin has nailed it here as she usually does. I’ve long pondered the question of how to change humanities organizational systems to overcome the psychopath/sociopath domination with no path forward occurring to me. The problem is precisely as Caitlin outlines. Decent people, by their very nature, are unable to use force to create a benevolent society.

    “No doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should” but I yearn for some as yet only hinted-at serendipitous event or process leading to the world we desire.

    Perhaps “our species may be on the verge of a drastic shift in consciousness” as Caitlin suggests. If so it may usher in the type of person and world I wrote about in a science fiction story “The Yearning Stars” some time ago.

    Caitlin’s article “The Humans Are Waking Up” deals with an awakening that would allow us to work unselfishly together toward a very productive co-operative future as envisioned in some detail in the story referred to above.

    Failing such an evolution in human consciousness………….something dreadful this way comes.

    • That ‘thing’ is open source and many of us have been involved in it and promoting it for years. While people who talk like you were camping out to get the new iPhone or Tesla. You are the one denying your own utopia. Me and millions of others are out here building an alternative economy of free exchange. We have 3D printers, drones, Arduinos, networks, operating systems and many things that are years ahead of your overpriced consumer junk and cost pennies. So feel free to join us whenever if you ever get done listing all your virtues. An Italian guy has built a cold fusion machine that costs a few thousand dollars to make. It can power a town for a day using the amount of nickel IN a nickel. Unfortunately the person you keep voting for is on the bankroll of OPEC and the oil companies. So spare us all the bleeding heart. Everybody here virtue signaling with their crocodile tears for the world are an embarrassment. And psychopaths.

      • The good thing about the internet is that I can experience people like you without having to actually meet them. A bit like a virtual zoo. The bad thing is that it provides far too much scope for the proliferation of your type of delusion and its concomitant arrogant aggression.

  • That thing about the Reptilian shapeshifters who secretly rule the world… yeah, that.

    • Right on Lloyd. There’s literally nothing we can do about it. We all want a tolerant, Equal, democratic world with an unchanging climate. But alas we are all just victims. Are you dripping with tears yet?

  • ‘A casual glance through recorded history all around the world reveals an essentially unbroken track record of genocide, slavery, torture, exploitation and degradation as far as the eye can see, with the driving characters time and again being depraved dominators, conquerors and mass murderers. … Throughout history our main problems have been caused by the way we keep designing systems which elevate psychopaths to positions of leadership, who then go on to make psychopathic decisions.’
    .
    This medicalisation of the issue is mistaken. Banality of evil, anyone? The attitudes that have made possible the historical genocide, slavery, torture, exploitation and degradation have almost always been shared by the overwhelming *majority* of the population or at least large segments of it, not just by a handful of allegedly abnormal individuals. The leaders did what their societies approved of; there is no reason to assume any neurological abnormality for the leaders either.
    .
    ‘All the worst atrocities in human history have been perfectly legal.’
    .
    Debatable. Also, most legal systems in human history were not designed to prevent atrocities as such to begin with.
    .
    .’A healthy society would flip this. It would reward the things psychopaths are unable to do, and it would reject the things that psychopaths excel at.’ ‘In such a culture we’d see the ability to connect with people and work for the good of the whole elevated, rather than seeing the ability to do whatever it takes to claw your way to the top of the heap elevated.’
    .
    The value system is important, but one problem is that harmful individuals clawing their way to the top of the heap are also very good at ‘connecting’ with people in a certain way (what you call manipulation) and at pretending to be ‘working for the good of the whole’. The current system already rewards these abilities.
    .
    ‘Even if you completely tore down capitalism, ended plutocracy and replaced the entire system with a government-planned economy, you would still have positions of power … I’m talking about changes as drastic as the end of anyone having any power over anybody at all. ‘
    .
    First, the whole point of a government-planned economy, coupled with a functional democracy, *is* to decrease power disparities. A more or less anarcho-syndicalist system, if workable, may be even better at this. But completely eliminating all power of people over other people is impossible; there will always arise some situations in which person A needs person B to do (or not to do) something more than vice versa, and that is power. What you can do is work to minimise this sort of thing, especially *stable* disparities.

    • QUOTE: ***This medicalisation of the issue is mistaken. Banality of evil, anyone? The attitudes that have made possible the historical genocide, slavery, torture, exploitation and degradation have almost always been shared by the overwhelming *majority* of the population or at least large segments of it, not just by a handful of allegedly abnormal individuals. The leaders did what their societies approved of; there is no reason to assume any neurological abnormality for the leaders either.***

      Where is your evidence for this? Could you cite some books or journal articles, perhaps?

      As I see it, the ‘majority’ were initially just common peasants who just wanted to get on with life. They wouldn’t have had any special ideological interests or inclinations of any nature — except to get along with their fellow men and women, which helps in getting on with life. (Indeed the banality of GOOD seems a more plausible thesis, since people need to get along in order for society to exist at all, which is conducive to survival.) Only at certain points in history might they have been indoctrinated with various ideas and beliefs originating from certain influential individuals, such as the founders of various religions. And not all religions have condoned the exploitation of other humans.

      • The colonisation of the Americas and subsequent oppression was generally approved of by the European colonisers and their descendants. The Christian crusades were approved of by the Christians. The Muslim jihadi conquests and subsequent oppression was approved of by the Muslims. The Mongol conquests were approved of by the Mongols. The atrocities of the Romans were approved of by the Romans. The atrocities of the Scandinavian Vikings were approved of by the Scandinavians. The burning of heretics and witches was approved of by the orthodox Christians. The mass human sacrifices of the Aztecs were approved of by the Aztecs. The atrocities committed between the various Iroquoian and the Algonquian tribes in the Beaver Wars were approved of by the perpetrating tribes. The value systems of these peoples did not contradict these actions, and neither did those of their victims.
        .
        During 99% of history, the majority has been okay with dehumanising and hurting those defined as being outside of their community. You can call that indoctrination, I would call it acculturation, but various forms of such indoctrination/acculturation have been characteristic of human societies during most of history, and it has been propagated not just by a few extremely influential individuals, but by untold numbers of individual members of the respective societies in each generation. No single Genghis Khan could ever embark on a brutal campaign of world conquest if there weren’t hundreds of thousands of more or less average people who believed that brutal conquests are a good and normal thing to do.
        .
        Common peasants are not exempt from tendencies towards individual or collective selfishness, and harming other living beings in relatively safe and profitable ways *is* one way to get on life with life and survive. Ideology is not the primary source of evil; in the real, material world, evil is often efficient and profitable, although ideology may work to misrepresent the exact distribution of the gains from evil between the members of a society.
        .
        As for religions – no religion has consistently opposed the exploitation of other humans (otherwise they wouldn’t have been allowed to exist in class societies) and each of them has either taken it as a given or actively found excuses for it. But anti-humanistic culture is something far wider than just religious dogmas, and it does not result only or mostly from them.

        • Thanks for keeping it real. It’s much easier to invent hobgoblins to blame for our worst traits than to own accept and navigate society’s imperfections. The problems in any society come from the direct actions of everyone in that society. Maybe there are a few creeps behind the scenes trying to pull strings in the wrong direction. But they’re not accomplishing without the consent of the willing. It’s like how people every day cry something about ‘Nazis’ in some capacity or another. And what horrible things did Nazis do? Well for one they did medical experiments on unwilling ConcCamp victims. They gave them no choice. You took the pill or shot or you didn’t eat or worse. At Nuremberg the world, collectively disgusted by this, declared informed consent a basic human right. Your country signed that agreement. All of them did. So how are the good Nazi-hating people of the US today righting all the wrongs? They’re making laws that force you to give your 5 year old 26 vaccines ( that have only been around since the 90s and thus don’t have long term data) or you are forbidden from educating them. Even at home. Japan, Italy, Korea, and Russia have banned these same vaccines entirely. Because they’re more interested in the long term health of their children than taking petty sides or seeing the ‘other guy’ forced to to the thing you want to force him to do. Just like a psychopath would. But we force them on people while we call them names. Such inclusivity! Likewise Our Social Justice Warriors are up in arms over children who crossed our borders illegally being separated from the mules that snuck them in when they get detained. But they have no beef with CPS taking kids from their REAL parents because the refused a vaccine. Behold the deep deep psychopathy that blasted across the news and even the subject of late night TV jokes. “Oh those ‘anti vaxxers’ they want RIGHTS now. Let’s shame them further” Where is the empathy here? Where is the acknowledgement of someone else’s desires or pain? Or the victims that came before? Imagine being Jimmy Kimmel, a Jew, making jokes about people who want informed consent because they saw what happened to the Jews that were denied it. How is Jimmy Kimmel NOT a psychopath, pissing on the suffering of his own people to make money telling jokes to make gentiles laugh. He is. And he has millions of fans. There are many other examples of our societal psychopathy and the majority of our society actively participates daily.

          Who among you will lift a finger to change any of it?

          So then who among you is the victim and not the psychopath himself?

  • Message for David Dunaway. I could not post in the proper place so I’m just posting randomly at the top.

    So true about projection. While many are very familiar with the concept of negative projection they aren’t always aware that projection works both ways and we project our positive traits upon others as well.

    • Thank you, Demitra.

      I will be unsubscribing to escape the email overload I’m currently experiencing from this thread, but will leave by repeating the need to pay attention to our political formats. As others are noting, anarcho-syndicalism is synonymous with democracy; anarcho-syndicalism is the antithesis of the hierarchical corporate structures of our near universal constitutional monarchies which empower those with predatory natures.

      >>>_Politics_, Aristotle.<<<

  • The only rule not dominated by psychopaths is mob rule but that tends to get messy and is not a long term solution.

    • Sad but so true.

  • I’d love to imagine that we humans will collectively undergo some kind of major shift in consciousness where we’ll all become telepathic, so that anyone will be able to read anyone else’s mind like an open book. All sociopaths will instantly be put right out of business, since lying is always their game. Heck, I sometimes even think of writing a fantasy/sci-fi trilogy along the lines of a New-Age Olaf Stapledon — if our current world hangs together long enough for me to do so, that is — where the heroine (yes, it will be a female protagonist) discovers towards the end an entire race of beings who have all become saints will super-psionic abilities after their kind evolved for a few billion years. 😛

    In the meantime, though, we remain stuck in a world where sociopathic miscreants rule the day, so one of the primary questions we face for the time being will be how we can protect ourselves from or even turn the tables on them. In this respect some have resorted to the occult — with surprising results. The series of books released by the Gallery of Magick have in this respect garnered constantly high ratings at Amazon. I myself have used a spell found in one of the titles to move a sociopath out of my life. Serious. I’m not joking. Those of you who are interested might like to check it out. https://galleryofmagick.com/

  • I am writing books on how Dog/Horse/People Whisperers and have studied behavior for decades. Animals are simpler to deal with. People are more complex. People who are generally nice can turn into awful people given certain circumstances. Most aren’t raging monsters. I’ve concluded that we choose a path based either on “Ego/Material/Power” enhancement opportunities or “Soul/Good” reasons. Every day we make choices using either of these modalities. Do I use everything I have to compete for this job or do I let someone else get it because they are the better person and really need it? Do I pretend to be someone’s best bud so I can make the sale or do I REALLY care about what’s best for them and maybe have them pass on this transaction? Most of us do not have the power to inflict great harm to vast populations. It takes a person of great character to resist taking the path of Ego/Material/Power once they rise to that point in the hierarchy. Most of the people who run for public office start off as idealists who really want to make a difference for their constituents. Then they get elevated to that pedestal and now they can do things they couldn’t do before. They are no longer “one of the people.” They have privilege. They are told that to get things done they must “play ball.” The lines between right and wrong get very fuzzy and suddenly nothing is “wrong.” They let their underlings go crazy in war. As guards in the prisons. As police on the streets. School principals look the other way when students bully each other. Might is right.
    There is indeed a shift. I’ve read about it from astrologers, from psychics and intuitives and others who operate on the metaphysical level. Sounds weird but Sloan Bella who “channels” celebrities gives some insights into this war between psychopaths and humanity in her video clips on Jeffrey Epstein and Heath Ledger. People who sold their souls for power. In one, she was told “The outcome has been decided.”
    We cannot control psychopaths. We can only live our own lives and choose the Soul/Good/Light path in everything we do. We can be examples to others so they will choose this path, too. I saw it with a woman who crossed America on covered wagon and horseback recently. One of the purest souls I’ve ever met. Inspires everyone who crosses her path to do good things. If we all choose to do this it will spread. This is the only way out of the darkness that the psychopaths rule. Negativity will only generate more negativity and darkness. The choice is ours.

    • Aye, aye; well said!

    • QUOTE:***Most of the people who run for public office start off as idealists who really want to make a difference for their constituents. Then they get elevated to that pedestal and now they can do things they couldn’t do before. They are no longer “one of the people.” They have privilege. They are told that to get things done they must “play ball.” The lines between right and wrong get very fuzzy and suddenly nothing is “wrong.” They let their underlings go crazy in war. As guards in the prisons. As police on the streets. School principals look the other way when students bully each other. Might is right.***

      Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      One of the lamentable aspects of humanity…

      • “Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst and corrupts the best.” Edward Abbey

    • You should try writing a book about human whisperers.

  • I’ve wondered about this often and the thought keeps arising that humans have evolved for small social groups where it was probably a lot harder for psychopaths to hide their machinations and evil deeds. (Large civilisations have only existed for a small part of human history.)

    So, is it possible to reintroduce the corrective mechanisms that the smaller social groups had? Not being able to get away with things by disappearing into the crowd might seem like a start, and something the Internet could enable, but that can take us in an Orwellian direction.

    • That’s a very good observation. Anarcho-syndicalism would bring the basic unifying social unit down to a much smaller, controllable scale.

      • I had to look that up. Interesting, and it reminded me of a recent video on socialism by Richard Wolff (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5I45KVLe2Vo). I shall read more, with the idea of scale forefront in my mind.

  • It’s good we are talking about this before they shut down the Internet entirely to anything but corporate interests. I wrote a lengthy comment at Op-Ed News, but some computer SNAFU will not let me log in there now. Google Chrome won’t let me access yur site. I have to go through Internet Explorer, which takes time, but at least I arrive here.
    Have you ever noticed how t he word “cynical” is used to refer to both psychopaths and anyone who notices their behavior? People have been trained to self-criticize when noticing psychopathy, and tunr that criticism on anyone else who does. Also, people are afraid of categorizing others with this term, knowing how easily name-calling can be turned against them, and psychopaths are gifted at framing the unsuspecting. It takes years of observing patterns of behavior to identify a psychopath, and then everyone else around you will swear up and down that the SOB is “the nicest man in the whole world” and some will rat you out to the SOB. At best, you can warn people about potential problems with the SOB, being careful whom you talk to.
    Several years ago, I wrote a series of articles and posted them on Op-Ed News about Confucianism as a system that puts up roadblocks to the advancement of psychopaths. Any system can be corrupted, but Confucianism has quite a following from the perspective of stifling the rise of pathocracies. It was developed over centuries by people suffering under one after another after another bloody-minded empire.
    Now let’s see if I can post this.

    • I was just thinking of mentioning the Confucian narrative and it was a delight to see someone else here has done so. 🙂 Certainly premodern China, a milieu guided by this narrative, can be credited with having inflicted far less damage upon the biosphere and other peoples than many other cultures did. Contemporary author Jeremy Lent said as much. https://www.jeremylent.com/culture-values-and-history.html

      • Someone in Asia, were you active on the late Mike Rupert’s Collapse Net? I was Madam Oh. I hang out these days at Ecosophia.
        Confucianism is counterintuitive from a western perspective, impeding psychopathic ambitions through a more rigid hierarchy. It includes a social contract that demands benevolence of leaders, allowing for redress when that is not forthcoming. From what I’ve experienced in Japan, leaders are expected to wait hand and foot on their subordinates. I’ve seen certain apparently psychopathic individuals gather a bevy of fawning followers, who after a few years get frustrated and leave, with a few particularly trusted ones staying on, admitting quietly that the SOB has a few problems. Aum Shinrikyo, who gassed the Tokyo subways a while back, was a counterexample, but those are not very common.
        Most apparent psychopaths I’ve seen pursue individual ambitions, such as hang gliding, where they were a dime a dozen, where they don’t have to interact with people very much, and these people were all sidelined in their jobs, where they were given a desk and something to occupy them. Confucianism condemns typical psychopathic behaviors.
        A while back Caitlin wrote critically of Confucianism, and I was tempted to point out this other side to it then. This was a much better opportunity.
        Now let’s see if I can post this. The last attempt got swallowed and I had to rewrite this in a Word file. I’m having all kinds of problems with this site.
        BTW, t ank you for the link!

        • Well, hello again, Patricia/Madam Oh! 😀 Good to hear from you again! Yes, I’m the very same SomeoneInAsia who frequented the late Mike Ruppert’s website. (Peace be unto him, he was a genuine American hero…) Hope all has been well!

          As I see it, one of greatest and most important features of Confucianism is its self-critical nature. Confucius actually avoided setting down his teachings in hard-and-fast rules, and got upset when his students just parroted his words without questioning them. I think genuine Confucians should welcome critical evaluations of Confucian thought by people like Caitlin, who should be seen as doing this school of thought a favor.

          Anyway, good to hear from you again. Please take care. Be looking forward to reading further posts from you!

          • So glad to be in contact again! Very important point on the self-critical nature of Confucianism. I think it influenced a lot of eastern philosophies to be open to criticism. In Shinto one of the first things I learned was to thank people for criticizing me.
            Confucius was right: whenever you codify a system of rules or moral precepts, clever grifters find ways of using them against the average person for their own advantage. They use what Lobaczewski called “paramoralisms” to punch people’s guilt buttons, and become especially strident toward anyone noticing their hypocrisy. Observe major Democrats’ behavior recently.
            Chinese Confucianists in worshipping him as a god may actually be practicing the philosophy closer to what he intended if they cultivate the connection in the heart rather than focusing on precepts set down by his successors over the centuries. My first impression of Confucianism in Japan was that it could be quite oppressive in its proscriptions.

  • “We’ll either make the jump or we won’t.”

    can i quote you on that?

    seriously, great piece and i love your work and have almost always referred to what passes for leadership as nut cases…when i’m being tasteful…capitalism is bringing us down only if we let it and democracy is our salvation…keep the faith!

  • Battles with psychopaths have taken major tolls on my life.I am sure my neural pathways and mindset have been hugely determined by these battles. I now live in a foreign country as we had to permanently decamp in order to protect our children.

    This article reminds me of a tense conversation I once had with the senior psychopath, a very dangerous person, in the family I married into. As she tried to cajole and manipulate me back in to her control she said,

    ” I have always known that the human soul has a deep need for hierarchy.”

    I said, “Hmm. I think I prefer constellations.” She gave an involuntary little shriek as if in pain. So strange.

    I think we may be at the beginning of the end of the Era of Hierarchy as the organising principle of human power and are approaching the threshold of a new dispensation that administers through understanding/wisdom/caritas emanating from the tiniest stars as well as from the greatest.

    • How, after at least 7,000 years of humans’ warring against and enslaving each other, can you argue that psychopathy is not permanently encoded into humanity’s genetic structure?

      • Dear Loup-Bouc…I don’t really argue that we’re not genetically twisted out of shape…but I am always looking for the way(s) to correct that. And lots of wonderful things on all scales were also going on during the 7000 years. I think our psyches are like the rotating scroll of a player piano…what is etched there, those impressions, those patterns will be the tune that plays out as that individual’s experience unless we can intervene and correct. Which is why it is so important to be a good parent, a deep, gentle, constant parent to our babies and children. That is when the “etching” happens. And that etching can become genetic..there was a study done in the 70s showing that stressing rats systematically resulted in genetic changes that could last generations. Experience- becomes- genes- becomes- experience.Forever. Like a mobius strip.

    • Been there, done that.
      Oh and my deepest sympathies to you and to Caitlin for what you had to go through. Some amount has been written about how normal people are affected by their dealings with psychopaths, but not enough from what I can tell. Andrew Lobaczewski, who authored Political Ponerology recommended a clinical attitude, but even after identifying and mentally preparing to talk with psychpaths, he (and he said others too) reported an urge to gargle with something strong. They mess with your mind. Normal children of psychopathic parents, mothers in particular, are said to respond with neuroticism and depression. American society is going like that overall right now.

      • Thank you for those kind words Patricia. It’s amazing how much kind words mean to me now! And I am so sorry that you have had to be there and do that!

        I’ve got Political Ponerology and have been seeing how true AL’s ideas are for several years. His understanding confirmed everything that I had painfully processed on the front lines. Do you know a book by Lawrence Swaim called The Trauma Bond? It suggests that the infliction of pain, physical/moral/emotional is the psychopath’s primary currency by which he/she bonds with targets who identify with their aggressor in order to survive or to escape pain and fear.This is the basic dynamic of the clustering tendency of psychopaths that Lobaczewski describes that results in corruption and vast harm across institutions,governments …all organisations.

    • RE: AS / OCTOBER 16, 2019, which appears below — your assertion that “it is so important to be a good parent, a deep, gentle, constant parent to our babies and children.”

      You delude yourself, AS. Consider, e.g., these works — and my note following my citation of them.

      Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, Paperback, Third Edition, 432 pages
      Published November 1st 1980 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1933), ISBN 0374508844 (ISBN13: 9780374508845),
      available online at http://ouleft.org/wp-content/uploads/reich-fascism.pdf
      and at https://archive.org/stream/MassPsychologyOfFascism-WilhelmReich/mass-psychology-reich_djvu.txt

      =====

      Wilhelm Reich, The Murder of Christ: The Emotional Plague of Mankind, Published 1974 by Noonday/Farrar Straus & Giroux (NYC) (first published January 1st 1953), ISBN-13: 978-0374504762, ISBN-10: 0374504768,
      part of the text available here: https://www.amazon.com/Murder-Christ-Emotional-Plague-Mankind/dp/0374504768/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0/140-7494997-4733467?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=0374504768&pd_rd_r=7a05dfcc-7d3f-4e96-bad2-86a3d320d216&pd_rd_w=tg9xq&pd_rd_wg=bUH7E&pf_rd_p=5cfcfe89-300f-47d2-b1ad-a4e27203a02a&pf_rd_r=X0KZSXT9BSRECQP5MKCA&psc=1&refRID=X0KZSXT9BSRECQP5MKCA

      =====

      Wilhelm Reich, People in Trouble, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (New York, first printing 1976)), first published by Reich in 1953, ISBN: 9780374510350.
      available online here: https://www.wilhelmreichtrust.org/people_in_trouble.pdf
      =====

      Morton Herskowitz, Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric Orgone Therapy, published December 31st 2008 by LIT Verlag (first published August 30th 1998), ISBN 3825835553 (ISBN13: 9783825835552)

      =====

      Charles Konia, The Emotional Plague: The Root of Human Evil, © 2008 Charles Kronia MD, (publisher ACO Press, Princeton NJ, Release date: 11/01/2007), ISBN 978-0-9679670-3-5,
      part of text available here: https://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Plague-Root-Human-Evil/dp/0967967031

      =====

      In Morton Herskowitz, Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric Orgone Therapy (supra), its Chapter 10 (pp. 142 – 159) Dr. Herskowitz shows, unintentionally, that humanity’s epidemic psychopathology is virtually irreversible, since because humans cannot rear psychically healthy (non-psychopathic) children, because many thousands of years ago humans ceased being beasts. The same conclusion inheres ultimately in Wilhelm Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism (supra).

      Morton Herskowitz, Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric Orgone Therapy (supra) presents, most lucidly, the socio-therapeutic difficulties that impede reversing the cause of humanity’s psychopathology. I knew Herskowitz many years. For 5½ years he was my psychotherapist. I have continued to feel great affection for him. But Dr. Herskowitz did not himself from suffering the ultimate trouble of humanity’s core ill: limited or absent empathy felt for non-sentient creatures — a trouble that seeps or spills into humans’ treatment of other humans.

      Alas, however insightful and analytically accurate the above-cited works, they do not address, even apprehend, the ultimate problem — that just as humans use “racial,” national, societal, intellectual differences to excuse themselves for their intra-species cruelties, they distinguish themselves irrationally from other species to excuse their empathically/intellectually untenable killing, maiming, torturing, enslaving, and abusing, even annihilating, non-human sentient creatures.

      Se the matter in reverse.

      For the “reason” that humans excuse their clubbing infant harp seals to death to strip their pelts for profit, since humans enslave and torture non-human animals to eat them despite their flesh is unhealthful for humans — for the “reason” that non-human animals are “different” from humans — for the same “reason,” through many millennia, humans have murdered and maimed, even mass-murdered & mass-maimed (warred against), tortured, even mass-tortured (e.g., Hiroshima, Dresden, Nakasaki, Auschwitz , Gaza, the Roman Colosseum), enslaved, abused, even EATEN and even annihilated, other humans, because the other humans are “different.”

      Humanity’s overwhelmingly preponderant majority is, and always will be, psychopathic.

      • CORRECTION:

        Alas, I committed a typing error in this sentence:
        “In Morton Herskowitz, Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric Orgone Therapy (supra), its Chapter 10 (pp. 142 – 159) Dr. Herskowitz shows, unintentionally, that humanity’s epidemic psychopathology is virtually irreversible, since because humans cannot rear psychically healthy (non-psychopathic) children, because many thousands of years ago humans ceased being beasts.”
        =====
        The error is the term “because” appearing immediately after the term “since.”
        =====
        The sentence ought to be this:
        “In Morton Herskowitz, Emotional Armoring: An Introduction to Psychiatric Orgone Therapy (supra), its Chapter 10 (pp. 142 – 159) Dr. Herskowitz shows, unintentionally, that humanity’s epidemic psychopathology is virtually irreversible, since humans cannot rear psychically healthy (non-psychopathic) children, because many thousands of years ago humans ceased being beasts.”
        =====
        Sorry.

      • ANOTHER CORRECTION:
        For “But Dr. Herskowitz did not himself from suffering the ultimate trouble of humanity’s core ill….”
        substitute this:
        “But Dr. Herskowitz did not free himself from suffering the ultimate trouble of humanity’s core ill….”
        Again, sorry.

      • I REGRET THAT I MUST NOTE TWO MORE TYPING ERRORS. I AM DEEPLY SORRY.

        (1)
        FOR THIS LAGNUAGE
        “But Dr. Herskowitz did not himself from suffering the ultimate trouble of humanity’s core ill: limited or absent empathy felt for non-sentient creatures — a trouble that seeps or spills into humans’ treatment of other humans.”
        SUBSTITUTE THIS:
        “But Dr. Herskowitz did not himself from suffering the ultimate trouble of humanity’s core ill: limited or absent empathy felt for non-human sentient creatures — a trouble that seeps or spills into humans’ treatment of other humans.”
        THE ERROR WAS “non-sentient creatures,” which ought to have been “non-human sentient creatures.”

        FOR “Se the matter in reverse.” SUBSTITUTE “See the matter in reverse.”
        =====
        Very sorry.

        I wish this comment system included a means of editing.

      • Reich was a charlatan.

    • Did Larken Rose have an annual taxable income ( i.e. net of expenses) of $500,000?

      If he did, how does that equate to equitable volunteerism?

  • wrong video

  • Freedom is what we are. We should not settle for less.

  • The problem is much deeper and much wider than Ms. Johnstone suggests. Humanity is a predominantly psychopathic species — near wholly psychopathic. [I choose the term psychopathic (not sociopathic), because the problem is not merely how a human relates to other humans. The problem is how humans relate also to all non-human sentient life.]

    Only humans and baboons wage war. Only humans, baboons, and (though very much less) chimpanzees take from others more than they need. (Be scrupulously careful in perceiving the meaning of “need.”) But even baboons and chimpanzees do not destroy millions of other living things of their own and other species, and ever more cruelly.

    Only humans and domestic cats torture other sentient creatures. But even domestic cats do not torture their own kind.

    Near-all humans act as others call “good” because of fear or law, not empathy. I use the term “law” to denote not only formal social codes of conduct (statutes, government regulations, common law, international law, ethics rules of organizations like guilds or the AMA, APA, or bar associations), but also religion and other moral-code-bearing structures, even individuals’ internal moral codes, even super-ego.

    If a human’s “goodness” depends on morals, the human is NOT good, but psychopathic — potentially, if not immediately manifestly.

    Rather than presume to put a disquisition regarding the psychopathology of humanity and human systems (individual and social, religious or irreligious), I offer this:

    TAO TE CHING, Chapter 38

    [My translation, copyright © 2015]

    A truly good man does not apprehend his goodness, and SO is good.
    A foolish man tries to be good, and SO is NOT good.

    A truly good man does nothing, yet leaves nothing undone.
    A foolish man is always doing, yet leaves much unfinished, even unattended.
    When a truly good man does something, all is complete.
    When a just man does something, he leaves much needing to be begun.
    When a disciplinarian does something & no one responds, he grinds his teeth and tries to enforce order.

    When Tao is lost, goodness does not exist.
    When goodness is lost, kindness begins.
    When kindness is lost, justice begins.
    When justice is lost, ritual begins.
    Ritual is the husk of faith & loyalty, the beginning of confusion.

    In “knowledge” of the future one finds just a gaudy sham of Tao.
    Prescience is the beginning of folly.
    The great man is the truly good, who dwells on what is real — the fruit, not the flower.
    Accept the fruit; disregard the flower.

    =====

    Though I dislike (even disrespect) most of Shakespeare’s work (immensely overrated, even mindlessly quasi-worshiped), I appreciate the essential thought of two lines of Shakespeare’s play Richard III, because, vaguely, those two lines reflect (albeit adventitiously) a faint apprehension of the vital perception expressed in TAO TE CHING’s Chapter 38:

    ANNE: No beast so fierce but knows some touch of pity.
    RICHARD: But I know none, and therefore am no beast.

    [“ANNE” is Lady Anne Neville, widow of Prince Edward (of England) and daughter-in-law of the late King Henry VI (of England). Though Anne knows Richard (King Richard III of England) is responsible for the deaths of her husband and her father-in-law, she submits to being manipulated into marrying Richard.]

    Humanity is psychopathic because many thousands of years ago, homo sapiens ceased being a species of solely of beasts.

    Cheers,

    Loup-Bouc

    • CORRECTION:

      A typing error mars my main comment’s final full paragraph. The error is an errant “of.” The final paragraph ought to be:

      Humanity is psychopathic because many thousands of years ago, homo sapiens ceased being a species solely of beasts.

    • I disagree with you. The news is full of psychopathic exploits and ignores instances of common decency. Perhaps where you are living the people feel they have to emulate psychopathy to get by.

      • That he thinks Shakespeare is overrated speaks volumes. What little we’ve seen of this man’s “thought” is merely justification for an authoritarian worldview.

      • Don’t worry, that he thinks Shakespeare is overrated speaks volumes. And what little we’ve seen of this person “thought” lends itself to an authoritarian worldview. He’s just trying to poison the discussion.

    • In my estimation, only a very small percentage of humanity is actually psychopathic, the rest are comprised of various degrees of severely abused and traumatized beings merely trying to survive.

      When humanity was still in it’s childhood, it was abducted by alien beings with a very different plan and agenda — since then humanity has been forced to engage in the practice of damaging and killing under threat.

      In this regard, being traumatized does not make a person inherently psychopathic but it does make them more prone to knee-jerk reactions rather than mindful responses, that’s for sure. My guess (or did I read it somewhere before) is that psychopathy can be classified like Diabetes — there is a Type 1 and a Type 2. Type 1 is the genetically predisposed group (the 1% the invading factor), while Type 2 is due to unnatural environmental control factors being imposed (in the 99% of natural humanity). The former cannot be fixed nor can they be changed –they are what they are– but the latter, with time and a whole lot of love, care, and compassion, can potentially be extracted from this mind-maze of crazy they’ve been forced into adopting and recover to they natural state.

  • Recommended reading, the Authoritarians, Bob Altemeyer, University of Manitoba.

    Book free to download, also interesting website.

    • Highly recommended. The other side of the story on how they acquire power.

  • Thank goodness you’re back, Caitlin!

  • Solution is in structure. Society must reorganise into self-ruling communities. No (absolutely necessary) pyramidal power structures allowed. Psychopaths will have to conform like everyone else to serve their own best interests or form their own communities where they can sit around and debate who’s next for dinner.
    Emanuel Swedenborg (the most interesting human being who ever lived [imo], a man who repeatedly visited the eternal realms in the 1700’s) told us that this is how the heavens and the hells are organised.

    This fellow (Howard Strorm) saw the future of the world in the most powerful near-death experience ever reported:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytUqTRC1twE

    Sounds all good to me. Let’s make it happen.

  • There is no solution to the problem of psychopaths who have plagued humanity as far back as can be determined. The problem is primarily with male genetics and as the human genome has not changed in the last 100,000 years, it is unlikely to change soon.

    Unless you are willing to act as a psychopath – that is to do anything to achieve your ends – there is no way to resist eventual domination by these motherfuckers. And this has always been the conundrum of civilization – to protect your life, property, rights, etc, you need to hire your own psychopaths to fight off those who would steal, murder, etc. And “your” psychopaths inevitably seize power.

  • At last, we are closing in on the root cause of our biggest problems — sociopaths. Solving this problem is critical to human survival and progress. Revamping our entire society is a mighty tall order and highly unlikely to occur. A more workable solution is identifying sociopaths via mandatory and periodic testing and then simply disqualifying them from holding positions of power and control over others. We already do something similar for driving. If you want to drive a vehicle on public roads, there is a mandatory test for proper visual acuity. If you can’t see well, your driver’s license is denied. This is reasonable, as a driver who sees poorly is a danger to others on the road. Your license must be periodically renewed, and the vision test is required each time. Why not do the same sort of thing with regards to sociopathy? If you want to hold a position of power and control, you need a license. To get a license, there is a mandatory test that identifies sociopaths. If you don’t pass the test, the license is denied. If you do pass, you will be required to renew your license periodically, perhaps every year. This is far easier to implement than revamping human society.

    • There is no test that reliably identifies psychopaths. The Hare scale is not a test and has no reliability or validity. At best, it might be called a checklist, and it presupposes knowledge of the presumed psychopath that one probably doesn’t have. It was originally developed for use in prisons, and for that it works fairly well but the examiner also has access to a mountain of historical data on the prisoner. You won’t have that if you are testing people who are not incarcerated. The idea of “testing” these people is a joke.

  • One solution to diminish the power that psychopaths and sociopaths can attain is by exposing how they operate in order for empathetic and compassionate people to recognize the risk when dealing with these antisocial types. First off, they are charming. The psychiatric manuals call this superficially charm but a lay person like me doesn’t know how to recognize superficial charm. Be suspicious of anyone who is overly charming. We naturally invite television newscasters into our living rooms every night because of their charming personalities not realizing how superficial that charm is. Is your date, future landlady, or boss mirroring your every mannerism? Do they focus on your eyes so much that they seem to see your inner soul and accept you faults and all? Does drama swirl around them but it always seems to be someone else’s fault?

    I went through my own period of in depth research into psychopathy some years ago. At the time, Australia was going through what appeared to be an intense public education campaign on how Australians could protect themselves from psychopathic bosses, landlords, and dates. Much of what I learned about the disorder came from watching these news shows on Youtube. I read Robert Hare’s “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us.” I learned that about 15% of the population have no conscience. Psychopaths and sociopaths are either criminals or corporate superstars, newscasters, presidents, politicians, religious leaders, cult leaders, corporate raiders, brain surgeons, and the like. They are very good at taking credit for other people’s work. A true psychopath is not helped by therapy. Therapy only helps them become better manipulators. I think the most telltale sign of a psychopath or sociopath is existential boredom. They have a constant need for stimulation and drama. They go out of their way to start arguments or upset others just to see what reaction they get. They feed off the emotions other people have as have no experience of emotions themselves. Power over someone else is their approximation of what it feels like to feel something.

    I think that the trait of psychopathy has been useful in human evolution. It times of stress and upheaval, a psychopath keeps a clear head. They never suffer from either anxiety or fear. I suspect these were helpful traits back when humans banded in warring tribes. However all that warring may have been fomented by the psychopaths in the first place.

    Just as you’re encouraging a mass worldwide consciousness raising, we need a similar awakening to the danger posed by psychopathic leaders. I think that if we are collectively smart enough to identify the psychopaths and sociopaths among us, we can take away their power to manipulate us.

    • Good characterization in my experience. I’ll add that the psychopaths I have identified tend to be quite fun people–but not always. Actively seeking novelty, but very unfaithful and usually disappointing. And then there are home-body psychopaths who accrue power within a sphere they know well. They can be the most difficult to spot and the most deadly.

  • for a more immediate assessment of the situation, read “we’re in a permanent coup” by Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com, and share it with everyone around you!

  • Here’s my two cents worth to the topic.

    There is a similarity between cancer and psychopathy. The difference being that the former is found within the individual human body while the latter is found within the human collective body. Yet both are SYMPTOMS of a living organism out of natural balance with itself, and so both require a similar type of change for Nature to reassert Itself.

    The reason we even have so many psychopaths amongst us at this time is because they are extremely clever at remaining hidden (just like cancer in the body) and average folk live in virtual ignorance of their presence. And as long as we remain naive and ignorant, we don’t realize the mortal danger we are in, nor do we do anything about it. When we do nothing the psychopaths, like cancer cells, just keeps on multiplying, systematically destroying the host. However, if the host still lives, there is still hope for recovery.

    So what is the correct kind of change for Nature to reassert Itself within a collective body? The answer is simple really. We each have to develop life-affirming habits that become a lifestyle, and it starts with, believe it or not, a healthy diet. The only way to get rid of psychopathy is for ALL people to have access to clean water and nutrient dense food. It starts there because just as the INDIVIDUAL human body must consume food that is nutritional and healthy in order for the mindset to commence shifting toward life-affirming lifestyle values, the human body COLLECTIVE must also attend to it’s nutritional consumption habits for there to be a life-affirming lifestyle change. As more individual people live nutritionally sound lives the more the collective mindset begins to naturally shift towards a healthier lifestyle norm. Psychopaths cannot be sustained by such an environment.

    Also, the psychopathic culture around us cannot be eradicated by employing the same tactics for cancer treatment that the mainstream medicine forces on cancer patients (such as surgery, radiation, and chemical poisoning). The reason why these things don’t work in the long run is because cancerous growth is only a SYMPTOM of an overall unhealthy constitution. Change the condition of unhealth back to health and the cancer goes away too. Cancers develop and thrive in sickly conditions, but introduce the vital vitamins and minerals that are missing from a given body and cancer naturally disappears as well. This in turn affects society.

    In other words, eat right, feed the body all the vitamins and minerals it needs and minimize prolonged damage and stress to the body. When the body is overall healthy, the mind clears and becomes more discerning, and then readjustments to lifestyle become infinitely easier. This is precisely what we are faced with in our society right now. Many of the unhealthy choices people make are directly linked to the fact that so very few are nutritionally fueled correctly — they don’t think straight. Bottom line, in order to rid ourselves of the psychopaths we have to change our food industry and feed ourselves right, from there on in everything else will naturally fall into place at the appropriate time.

  • Be careful when wishing for mass consciousness change. For most of us ethics, morality, and conscience derive from solitary explorations of our own observations, experiences, thoughts, feelings and the development of internal cohesion, i.e., integrity. Group consciousness is unhinged from personal integrity and can be easily manipulated and controlled. One of the primary tools of malignant narcissists and psychopaths is the smear campaign — we see it used against truth tellers like Julian Assange, Tulsi Gabbard, and you, Caitlin. Smears are a group consciousness phenomenon and they aim to destroy their targets’ relationships and reputation, often via the social crime of scapegoating. Those who use and manipulate group consciousness are profoundly dangerous, as our corrupt, sociopathic media demonstrates for us every day. We need to stay connected to our internal sense of right and wrong. We also need to retain some degree of logic — not that we can’t dance, sing, and play, but linguistic manipulators like Frank Luntz specialize in smashing logical connections, destroying the ability of humans to think and reason.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. This is where liberalism tends to go wrong, thinking a new humanitarian solution will work if they can just exhort people to go along with it. The result is a psychopath’s playland. I think it is better to look back at what has been tried before and judge it based on the results.
      Moreover, psychopaths are human too, and cannot help being what they are. It would be good to consider outlets for that.

  • The Roman Republic was supposed to do away with one individual (the king) with absolute power – Rome being ruled by two consuls at a time who could only serve once and only for a year. That system endured for some centuries but was subverted and corrupted along the way. I’m not up to speed with all the details but Julius Caesar was certainly one of the culprits. Shortly after Caesar we had the first of a line of emperors (basically back to having a king) that endured until the empire fell. So… a brave attempt in ancient times but the psychopaths found their way past it!

    • A most interesting parallel to our experience is that the Roman Imperium was never officially acknowledged as such. Every year for hundreds of years, the day on which the first Roman Emperor, Augustus, formally assumed all the offices of the republic to the Principate was celebrated as “Restoration of the Republic” Day. Nearly four centuries later Constantine and his sons minted floods of coins celebrating “the health of the republic”, “the glory of the republic” and so on. Elections were held as always, consuls elected, Senators took office and passed new laws and even appointed new rulers from time to time, but the real decision-making power had passed from the empty shells of the long-dead republic to the man who could hold the loyalty of the legions.

  • Caitlin wrote – “….they round them up and exterminate them. This would obviously be out of the question for many reasons, not the least because in order to implement it we’d need to become psychopaths ourselves. We’d be “curing” the sickness by becoming the sickness.”

    Cutting out a cancer does not turn a surgeon into a cancer!

    Pulling weeds out of a garden let’s the flowers grow.

    Amputating gangrene let’s the rest of the organism survive.

    Removing a mouldy strawberry from the punnet is good.

    • I question whther a distinct class of humans who could be reasonably called ‘psychopaths’ even exists to any significant degree.. Most people exhibit a spectrum of behaviors ranging between total self-interest to total other-interest with many points in between, varying over time and according to circumstances. A 100% self-interested person would have great difficulty merely surviving. One would have to consider it to be an important brain defect.

  • Psychopaths are masters at manipulation. And they are creating huge problems. They look down on us because we are so bound by morals and conscience and they are not. They see us as sheep to be sheared. But a large part of the problem is not them but us. Most of us ARE sheep. We mindlessly conform to society’s expectations. Few of us have dug down into ourselves to find our own spirit, our own way, so that when a psychopath arrives on the scene we can keep our clarity and have the courage to actively fight back.

  • Unfortunately, there is little to nothing that can be done about it, on a societal or governmental level. Any organization, which typically depend on some form of hierarchy, will eventually be dominated by psychopaths. Their skills of manipulation and deception guarantee so. We can only combat them as individuals, aware of their dysfunction, and our susceptibility.

    I believe we are on the cusp of a world wide economic collapse. Something the species has never experienced before. This will result in a cascade of fracture at all levels of society. Hard times ahead. Psychopaths won’t take it well. If we happen to survive their reaction, our future will depend on how we restructure. Whether we insist on reforming the failed structures which got us where we are now, continuing the cyclic rise and fall typical of our history. Or develop simpler, more personal structure. Or perhaps no structure at all. If we continue as before, at least it will take considerable time for the world wide thing to happen again.

  • Man has certainly never, as yet, learnt to scoop the scum that rises to the top in any society.

    BUT

    With a little bit of Martin Luther Kings awarenesses and GHANDI’s prescription of ‘non violent protest’ sprinkled with some Benjamins, man has the knowledge and the tool to challenge the status quo.

    They do not want you with a voice at their table, paid for with their millions of Benjamins, their power and connections. But when you wake up you will realise that we may have only a single Benjamin BUT there are billions of us. When we awake and are heard, will be at the head of the table.

  • Anarchy, is the form of society you are looking for.

    • I was thinking the same thought as I read the article. No masters, no slaves, and only voluntary relationships between consenting adults. This leaves government (a force and violent controller of humans), especially BIG government, out of the human relationship. I suspect that some religions and political ideologies would also have to be excluded from society.

      Anarchy does require a certain level of individual consciousness and a certain amount of awareness in order to detect and defend against sociopathy and psychopathy in others. Sadly, the government now controls the education systems, the marriage relationships, the economy, the business environment, etc.

      The trick, or course, is to help the individual become self sufficient and in charge of his own life, and that is difficult when we have government and at least one religion using force and violence to keep that from actually happening.

      We have our work cut out for us, eh.

      • Thank you, Caitlin. This is exactly what I’ve been trying to communicate to my small circle of friends for some time. Psychopaths are a small but not insignificant percentage of our species; their social skills enable them to manipulate others for their own benefit; in time, the environment they create, in turn, creates sociopathy – a defence/coping mechanism for survival in that environment. Those who cannot cope (the 99%), suffer. For many within that group, that suffering is debilitating.

        Structure and language are the keys to the solution:

        What we have been indoctrinated to call ‘democracy’ is not. Liberal democracy, representative democracy and the like are all variations on the monarchist, hierarchical structure; in our era, with constitutions that aim to limit the power of the one at the top… and as we should all have noticed is that the politics connected to the quest for power revolves around the effort to control the dialogue of the state – and that invariably means disconnecting citizens from one another – variations on the Delphi Technique – which is exactly what psychopaths do in group situations: divide and conquer; cut the intended prey off from the safety of the herd. The myths attached to individualism play into the hands of those with predatory natures.

        We are hard wired to communicate. The original intent of the Internet was to preclude any interruption in communications. It’s now primarily a pay to play marketing vehicle subject to throttling when curiosity strays off script; where communication is pushed towards the infantile by a 260 character limit; further inhibited by the volume of distractions. H.G. Wells’, “babble machinery” – whatever your particular persuasion, the print, audio and video reinforcement of that persuasion will be ubiquitous. The obvious is that we need to reject the formatting that is being pressed upon us. We must seek out and adopt those communication formats which allow us to fully express ourselves; that allow us to communicate unfettered. “Tell truth and shame the devil” – most of us are capable of seeing through BS, and with help, all of us are. That is the power of community; the safety valve that not every individual possesses. Working together, to ensure none is excluded from the herd, will quickly expose those who seek to inhibit communications in their effort to exploit others.

        Mention has been made of the warring nature of Man and Chimpanzee, but there is evidence that Benobos don’t engage in war simply as a consequence of an abundant food supply on their side of the Congo; that is scarcity of food where Chimpanzees and Gorillas compete which leads Chimpanzees to wage war among themselves. Darwin, too, recognized the import of competition in the development of species – but there are also species which survive as a direct consequence of their co-operation.

        Co-operation is not a novel idea among humans. In the heart of capitalist America, co-op stores are a common sight. As a defense against recent,capitalist upheavals, workers have begun to take over factories – syndicalism. Syndicalism was the hallmark of the Spain Franco destroyed… Franco, the monarchists’ ally. Long before that England had its Diggers. The Amazon’s indigenous tribes often have a nominal king, one who decides, but does so in open consultation with the whole of the tribe – much as Pericles was esteemed the head of Athens’ democracy. And there is the key we’ve always had. From our grade school lessons we were told that everyone was compelled to attend the Agora. By contrast, our laws forbid all but a few into our legislatures. Courtesy of our acquiescence to the ballot box as a synonym for democracy, we are excluded from participating in our governance. Those most adept in the manipulation of others have created a haven for their secretive, socially-parasitic wonts atop the hierarchical structures of our governments.

        The lone caveat that must be kept in mind in regards to Athens and democracy is that as populations grow, it can become unwieldy in the face of crisis and expediency: Pelopponesian War – wherein the Agora surrendered to the 3000, which, in turn, surrendered to the 30, which, then surrendered to the Tyranny of the Three. The nation state is not conducive to democracy; the size of modern cities suggest that even the city state is not conducive to democracy. That we need to think in smaller terms. Syndicalism?

        Syndicalist federations?

        To that end, we need to reclaim language. Words have meanings – until those with an agenda convince us otherwise with their sophistry.

        “The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.” — Philip K. Dick

        See again, ‘democracy’. In Canada, like Australia, our constitutions vest all executive powers in the Queen. Solon’s first move when implementing democracy was the abolition of the monarchy. The tripartite structure of the US constitution is modeled on that of Britain at the time of William & Mary – substituting an elected president for an hereditary king. Aristotle (_Politics_) showed us how simply one can distinguish between democracy, oligarchy and monarchy. To whose benefit is it that, in today’s world, our various Zeitgeists (allied and competing) have us unable to distinguish constitutional monarchy from democracy?

        Connected to that lost memory, that illogical conclusion, is the inanity of the insistence that the whole of human politics can be and is contained within the framework of a single, left v right dimension.

        Consider, instead, four quadrants on a plane; clockwise, those of aristocracy, libertarians, syndicalists and communists; labeling the axis dividing syndicalists from communist, ‘co-operation’, and libertarian from monarchist, ‘competition’; and the axis dividing communist from monarchist, ‘privilege’, and libertarian from syndicalists, ‘liberty’: the traits that join or distinguish the ideologies from one another. Consider also, that within this model, when a monarchy goes rogue, you encounter the ‘star chamber’; that ‘gulag’ is the result of communism gone amiss; ‘chaos’ results when libertarians fall upon one another; and that ‘anarchy’ is the result of syndicalism run amok.

        We all understand that the fates of those who run afoul the dictates of a politburo are essentially the same as those who run afoul of the proclamations of an aristocracy – gulag and star chamber. But what we seldom consider is the difference between chaos and anarchy; that chaos is a state wherein no one has power but everyone wants it, while anarchy is a state wherein everyone has power but nobody wants it. Anarchy, as Thoreau described it in the last few sentences of his essay, _Civil Disobedience_, would demand no more of its citizens than that they be good neighbours; that going rogue in a syndicalist community, wherein liberty and co-operation are the guiding principles, there would be little to fear from those who, without constitutional authority, behave decently.

        But that distinction is impossible to make as long as we are confined to simplistic perspectives; confined to thinking within the sophistry of a Zeitgeist that has evolved to best suit psychopathy.

        Outcomes are always a direct function of the format.

        • Nicely expressed — thank you for that!

          • Something else which may need underscoring is that psychopaths are able to manipulate others in large part because those others, empaths, are prone to projecting their own morals and beliefs onto those they encounter. I.E., during the course of election campaigns, candidates veer away from telling voters what they stand for or believe for fear of scaring voters away from supporting them, instead, knocking on doors and saying, ‘what can I do for you?’ – inviting voters to project. Again, the format of the polity.

    • Yes! Looks like Caitlin’s on the verge of becoming a Voluntaryist (a nicer sounding label for anarchist).

      “I’m talking about changes as drastic as the end of anyone having any power over anybody at all. A society where the idea of having power over anybody became so culturally taboo that even an unequal power dynamic between spouses would be seen as outrageous and ugly, to say nothing of governments or police forces.”

  • Caitlin,

    I am planning a trip to Australia and would like to include you in my visit.

    The central theme of my work. http://www.skil.org overlaps your effort.

    we are underestimating
    who is going to be injured on the present course
    and overestimating our abilities to ameliorate
    any injuries coming toward our children.

    This 200 word Invitation ,
    https://www.evernote.com/l/AAnhUtwkYnBJK7EzjgORqIyWG1KXotayNuU
    I am sending my colleagues
    to request help in setting the priorities of my lab,
    Maybe it will help you set your priorities too.

    Jack

    Jack Alpert PhD Director:
    Stanford Knowledge Integration Laboratory http://www.skil.org
    (C) 913 708 2554 alpert@skil.org skype: SKILdog
    13617 W. 48th Street Shawnee, KS 66216

  • Been aware of this and ranting about rule by psychopaths for a long time. There is a word for it: ponerology, the study of evil behavior. Everything Caitlin says here is 100% spot on.

  • Fossil fuels were the cocaine of energy sources & that propelled this hunter gatherer into a world where power over people (Trump) became more important than power with people (Bernie).

    If we paid 20% as much to politics, with the outcome can be very serious, as we do to celebrity gossip, sports or entertainment, which impact us not at all, we might get there! I hope we do but it’s not looking good!

  • Thank you Caitlin for another excellent article and the many constructive comments that it has produced.

    I have lived with a diagnosed psychopath and I can assure you they are the most lazy, selfish, cunning, creepy, devious, evil, heartless, soulless creatures on planet earth. A predator may kill to survive: a psychopath will kill for pleasure.

    After many years of research, I believe it is very simple to reduce the influence of psychopaths in power by citizen awareness of Anti Social Personality Disorder, ASPD and its influence on people personally and globally.

    The vast majority of emotionally aligned people on this planet have never heard of psychopathy or have any idea the impact ASPD has on EVERY society.
    Psychopaths will do whatever it takes to achieve their goals; they fake sincerity, lie, cheat, bribe or murder and most terrifying of all: pretend to be human.
    With absolutely no conscience or moral restraint, they quickly realise that ordinary humans could never believe they exist or the level of evil they will sink to in order to gain power and control. They cleverly weave their web of invisibility with counterfeit charm and sincerity to maintain their position in society.

    Its not that power corrupts, its that corrupted people seek power.

    The media portrays psychopaths as anti-social loners, but this is not reality. Psychopaths learn to recognise each other from an early age and will clump together if the goal is material benefit. The organisations they create select personality types similar to theirs, whether they be gangs, mafia or globalist elite corporations.

    The reason people can’t see that psychopaths rule the world is they assume other people are like them; decent humans, just doing the best they can. They can’t imagine the level of depravity of the elite, so they can’t see it. Once shown the nature of psychopathy, the whole global desire for control, warfare and surveillance becomes clear.

    We don’t need pitchforks and violence to eliminate psychopathic control.
    Simply arm people with the knowledge of ASPD and how it effects their daily lives.

    This is the first time in recorded human history we have the tools to expose psychopathic mayhem.
    Once unmasked, psychopaths can no longer deceive.

    • “Power is always dangerous. It attracts the worst and corrupts the best.” –Edward Abbey

    • Thanks for that comment. It rings true.
      The power of a person with this psychopathy is the uninformed victims.
      Education is the key.
      Comprehensive mandatory education about mental disorders would greatly help.

    • Well said Raul, thank you. I’m lucky nobody in my family & friends fits ASPD, but it’s been obvious the whole race has been affected by just a few individuals throughout human history. Time for people to learn to recognize and isolate them instead of following them as so many are doing with Trump, even as crude as he is at playing narcissistic psychopath. He should’ve been obvious to anyone!
      So how do we expose and communicate the danger they present to everyone?

  • You need to read Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” proving that the advance of law has reduced the frequency and severity of violence throughout history. Of course psychopaths will always find ways to use laws to their benefit, but law does reduce violence and abuse, and that is the real issue, isn’t it, not whether or not one carries an official diagnosis of psychopathology. People like Obama and Hillary Clinton are not psychopaths. They have a demonstrated ability to show empathy. These people act like psychopaths as a consequence to their role descriptions and expectations within society. Change the role descriptions and expectations and you get less behavior that looks like psychopathology. The confounding of psychopaths with roles that create psychopathology is continued by your post, and you need to read Pinker and get clear on the distinction. It’s important.

    • “You need to read Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature,” proving that the advance of law has reduced the frequency and severity of violence throughout history.”

      Nice theory by Pinker. The problem is that it’s palpably wrong. How can anyone say the world currently is in a process of decreasing violence? Maybe if you only count middle and upper class people in 1st world countries. Sure, there’s been no world wars. We do them now by proxy at a politely safe distance. Pinker is an empire hack.

    • The empire that Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Bushes serve is a war-mongering, death-dealing empire that worships the sudden accumulation of great wealth at the expense of both the natural environment and of the inherent rights of simple, common working people (“deplorables”). “Showing” empathy is not the same as feeling empathy. Neither is virtue-signaling that same as virtue. Deceiving others is neither kind, nor honest. The best I can say for Obama is that he did not cackle with delight when referring to those he killed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

    • “People like Obama and Hillary Clinton are not psychopaths.” We would need to test them with fMRI to confirm this, which has not been done. I see them as classic sociopaths, and any empathy they display is disingenuous. If you study their behavioral history, it will be obvious that they are indeed psychopaths.

  • Caitlain, I wrote a book called Love and the Three Levels of Consciousness. It explains how we have three levels of consciousness, and not one as is the current understanding. The brainstem sensations are, or should be, the ruling power over the rest of the brain. The human brain is mostly dysfunctional because we give power to the intellect in the prefrontal cortex and not the power of love that starts life as a sensation in the brainstem. I live in Melbourne and would like to explain this in person, if you are interested.

  • The solution will come in the form of a phone app. Not a fully developed app, but a kernel built atop the ideal of a social network based on trust.
    The kernel will establish a trust network for the owner and continually search that network for other kernels, building itself that way and, at the same time, using advanced forms of artificial intelligence within the kernel and the ensuing ever-growing network to improve its ability to reach its goal of maximum connectedness.
    No two client apps will be the same because they will be growing independently out of the kernel, so it will be impossible for authorities to extinguish it, even with the help of the talented IT experts they will surely buy. In response to attempts to kill it, it will learn to camouflage itself and pass new harder-to-detect versions back to the devices from which it was removed.
    It will offer secure communication within the network without the need for centralized servers, so it will be immune from centralized authorities cutting it off. It will provide an alternate pathway for people to send money to each other (which is hardly a revolutionary idea in the days of Bitcoin.) And it will take the place of the server-based social networks such as Facebook, its serverless architecture making it impossible to be censored.
    Such a thing would be ripe for abuse by psychopaths and other miscreants if it were not for having the Web of Trust as its basis.
    Unlike today’s web, where anything can theoretically reach anything, the new web will only be accessible through one’s web of trust. Calls will not go out to DNS servers to be translated to IP addresses, calls will go out instead to the local web of trust–those people whom the user trusts from previous actions. That web will branch out exponentially to encompass as many users as can be trusted.
    Trust will be the highest, most sought-after currency, because when it is broken it will leave the trust-breaker isolated and helpless, cut off from the world where things are getting done.
    Once firmly established, the app will make the existing system of nation-states irrelevant and in fact counter-productive. Those who now call themselves politicians will be cast out of the trust web of honest people, who will conduct their lives peacefully and with mutual respect.
    Corporations that act immorally will quickly crash, as their ability to reach customers and suppliers is taken from them.
    This may happen, or it may not. We don’t know the future, but we know what the future can be, and the above is well within the ability of certain people working with artificial intelligence to focus on and make happen.
    Will they do it soon enough to avert the catastrophes we fear? We’ll soon see.

    • An interesting idea. Thank you. Echoes what the Chinese are attempting to do. There would need to be a differentiation of trust based on role or competency. For instance, I am a good listener but if you trust me to separate your darks from your lites and put your clothes on the right setting in the washer, you will hate me forever.

    • Such a cool idea!

    • The trouble with “apps” is they typically rely on a handheld source of microwave radiation, which has been demonstrated to affect the nervous system through such mechanisms as breaching the blood-brain barrier. Some researchers are even saying that these “low” levels (i.e., non-thermal, but extremely high compared to historic levels) of non-ionizing radiation can impact our ability to feel empathy.
      I am a highly biased observer, but even prior to hearing these concerns, I was noting a reduced ability to care among my women friends after they acquired a cell phone. Not so much among the men, who were not using cell phones as much, and a few were even complaining about the new ball and chain their ladies were insisting they carry.
      In one extreme case, a sweet-hearted primary school teacher I’d known for years suddenly morphed into a gold-digger, marrying a doctor, bragging openly about her boyfriends, aggressively commanding people around her to wait on her constantly, competing to outdo men in every endeavor, and finally ditching Japan for Australia.
      To feminists, this was all very empowering, but good grief, at what cost?
      One real problem corporatism (and the legally defined psychopathic entities it has unleashed in the form of “corporate persons”) has caused our society is suppression of knowledge like this when it impacts their bottom line.

  • Thank you Caitlin.
    Don’t let you be brought down by a Sociopath.
    And what’s in a name… An empathyless barbarian by any other name is as barbaric.

    I have been researching on this subject you raise too.
    I share it with you:

    “Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us”:
    An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities
    from Paul Verhaeghe, The Guardian Sept. 29 2014:
    ->https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/neoliberalism-economic-system-ethics-personality-psychopathicsthic?CMP=share_btn_tw

    What about Me ?:
    The struggle for identity in a market-based society
    by Paul Verhaeghe (professor of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis at the University of Ghent in Belgium)
    ->https://www.amazon.com/What-about-Me-struggle-market-based/dp/1922070904/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
    (27 New from $2.99 )

    Occupy Schagen.

  • I believe in the “Wrong place, Wrong time, syndrome”.
    This can account for many problems in life, some damage the inner self severely. Blame is levelled at all the wrong people.
    It represents a huge challenge to get back on track.

  • The answer is within and of the group ie. Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki – Which gives us the possibility of finding the best solution to the problem by asking the crowd what they think is the answer. Combine this with AI, algorithms, blockchain tech etc as well as full transparency and full accountability. You have to take the ego out of the equation.

  • This is all about the WORD NO! just say no thanks, this defeats the monster of Oedipus, the monster of the Sphinx, Just say no to GREED and the LUST for POWER and Profit following along in it’s deadly wake. Just put on your walking shoes, and step out-side that door, and literally:Move on OUT, Put on your walking shoes Babe, and step on out-side that fucking door, and keep on moving on; that is what it is all about; The Walking Shoes; be willing to strap them on your feet, and then; just start off walking; You will find a place that will Well-come You in

  • Only two things can bring a psychopath under submission:

    1. A bigger psychopath.

    2. Letting psychopaths in control know we understand their diabolical personality disorder, their cold hearted effect on society and refusing to acknowledge their insane, enforced reality. Relentlessly pursuing those in power with the nature of their vile personality disorder and forever reminding them they are not authentic humans.

    Freedom from psychopathic control does not require pitch forks, brute force, weapons and death. It requires awareness of the power of conscience and spirit contained in all authentic life forms and the enthusiasm to seek positive, non violent social change for all. It requires truth and transparency. Making bureaucracies accountable for their actions and ensuring transparency in financial and diplomatic dealings is simple for feeling humans and necessary for sane governance.

    Freedom requires the knowledge that those in control are often seriously emotionally challenged and should be pitied and isolated. Freedom requires individuals to share their knowledge of Anti Social Personality Disorder (ASPD) with as many people as they can. Knowledge is power and with knowledge of ASPD, you are powerful beyond belief.

    How do you defeat a monster? You start by recognising the monster for what it is.

    LOVE is the four-letter word that terrifies your leaders. They have no understanding of this fundamental energy that binds caring, functional societies. Psychopaths in power will mumble they understand love, but they have no neuron connection to the area of the brain responsible for love, empathy and compassion. Simply ask them to explain what love is. They can’t; they truly have no comprehension of the incredible gift most of humanity has in common.

    Love really baffles socially adept psychopaths; they can’t tax it, declare it illegal, control it, understand it, feel it, sell it or declare war on it, yet the exploitables they loath, thrive on it.

    Pity those in power and challenge them with knowledge.
    It is possible to reduce their influence, simply and effectively.

    • This is all about the WORD NO! just say no thanks, this defeats the monster of Oedipus, the monster of the Sphinx, Just say no to GREED and the LUST for POWER and Profit following along in it’s deadly wake. Just put on your walking shoes, and step out-side that door, and literally:Move on OUT, Put on your walking shoes Babe, and step on out-side that fucking door, and keep on moving on; that is what it is all about; The Walking Shoes; be willing to strap them on your feet, and then; just start off walking; You will find a place that will Well-come You in

  • I, too, believe that drastic changes are coming. I do not know if these changes will be good or bad, what I do know is that they will be overwhelming and effect everyone.

  • You’ve really touched a nerve with this topic! Thinking of possible solutions to your questio, I was as others have been, drawn to simpler, smaller societies; however I suspect we harbour unrealistic fantasies about traditional indigenous life. Aldous Huxley wrote of such a society in his last book “Island”, but even he predicted it’s overthrow in an attempt to “modernise” the Island. Many of us dream of such a paradise, sadly I believe few will ever see it.

    • Wouldn’t want to be human as they age and eventually die.

      Wouldn’t want to be an intimate egalitarian society as they can get taken over by pathological growth-based empire builders..

      Can you see the strange thought couplets you are advancing in your post?

      Best doesn’t mean either perfect or invulnerable.

  • I’m a mental health professional. You are really talking about a Personality Disorder in this essay, and personality disorders cannot be treated as they are congenital in nature. Sort of like trying to cure people from being gay.

    • Certainly a gradient of pathological behaviour might well be genetically determined, but isn’t it also the case that people generally are devout mimics when (A) they are immersed in a prominent behavioural pattern, and (B) such mimicry offers to provide significant personal rewards?

      Have you ever considered that the societal perspectives embedded within your training course have made you think that things are that distinct? Of particular note is the manner in which The System routinely trains us all in various ways to focus upon the culpability or defect of the perpetrator, and then most stridently upon the perpetrator(s) furthest down the pecking order.. It assiduously seeks to defer attention away from there being anything structurally defective within The System itself.

  • Reward Empathy! 🙂

  • Earlier today I was floored by this article. I have to admit that the real truth hurts deeply. It is rare that a man of the cloth moves me like this:
    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-age-of-radical-evil/

  • That had to be God awful, as someone who has either lived with or been surrounded by sociopaths their whole life, it is a blood sucking journey into hell. Some of whom I loved for decades, and even now I am dealing with a sociopath on a personal level, but at least now I can spot these people within minutes, because of short phrases or simple questions they’ll ask in addition to the pathological stare. In closing I would just like to say that many mental illnesses are caused by the bacteria in our guts, and the pathogen in cat poop infects and controls the minds of 25 to 50% of all humans which can make people dangerous, and there are many other such mind controling pathogens. All persons should be tested annually for these diseases. And, finally, although, convenient those terms, sociopath, psychopath and narcissistic should never be used, because they are so readily used by psychologists in judicial settings to deprive defendants of their personhood before the court, as a psychologist’s diagnosis is more dependent on who is paying for what rather than any basis in reality.

  • Thank you, Caitlin. I also went through a big and painful and psychically overwhelming “reveal” last week with a family member. I think something was in the air. Or astrology.

    People who would not have otherwise are drastically changing how they approach things. This is all so intense to watch and be part of.

    (Sincerely, the other middle-aged Caitlin who spells her name correctly)

  • “Is such a society possible? ”

    You need to investigate pre-neolithic social structures. Pre-European Australian society is a good place to begin. Although its neolithic/pre-neolithic status is an arguable point, that is not the critical concern.

    Significantly in such traditional forms, large scale social groups are avoided, there is no capacity for or sanctuary in anonymity, consensus is paramount concomitant with an absence of urgency for change, ancestral/family lineage and respect has a clear and powerful presence within consciousness, and the integrity and spirit of the host landscape is held sacrosanct above all else. Together these things purge the influence of the sociopath/psychopath from having any traction and thence such behaviour is not role-modelled as an ideal for people who are not so genetically afflicted but who might want to ‘get ahead’ anyway and thereby mimic and learn how to be an arsehole.

    Suitably small social groups can form larger cultural assemblages via federated, considerate interaction between autonomous groupings. Local knowledge and informed local polity is respected, not crushed and left as remote outposts of the empire. All roads do not lead to Rome.

    There is a need to avoid the idea that we can ‘progress’ to a better human form. Progress is a myth. We are what we are. We simply need to be the best we can be, rather than pursue socio-economic structures and mechanisms that direct us to dredge and wallow in the worst of it. We simply need to reverse the devolvement and decadence that 10,000 years of ‘civilisation’ has inculcated into us. Of course that is easier said than done as the psycho’s will only release their power when they are dead or sufficiently disenfranchised to be openly marginalised and vanquished to… ??? Any ideas on that one? However it presents an historically discernible construct that could be re-imagined. That’s a better bet than the miracle of an evolutionary metamorphosis.

  • Corporate Capitalism creates a society that values wealth and power and little else. The three richest men in the US have more combined wealth than the bottom 50% of America’s entire population, over 160 million people. As long as that system is in place and allowed to control our political process things will never change.

  • Only two real solutions I see: 1) Identify all psychopaths and lobotomize + sterilize them, or 2) Go back to hunting and gathering. Looks more and more like we’re gonna get the second, sooner or later.

    A little from Vonnegut: pp99-102 of his “Man Without a Country”. He recommended too that we all read: “The Mask of Sanity” by Dr. Hervey Cleckley.

    But who knows, maybe a miracle or two will happen and we’ll find ways to keep psychopaths out (at least minimize their impact) of the control loop and still have a modern economy based on food production?

  • This is why I say nationhood is necessary. If the world becomes akin to one biological cell, we lose and the psychopaths win. It’s already most of the way there. But if nations are protected and can grow healthy cultures from within because some are not as badly fucked up as others, there’s a chance for us. (I’m regretting my focus on US politics to the exclusion of Australian politics for this reason. We have a chance of making Australia sane again in short order so it can become an example to other nations, but it requires effort.)

    Also, there’s a lot of “they know not what they do” involved in what could otherwise be diagnosed as psychopathy/sociopathy today. The individuals themselves are explicitly trying to do the right thing, but because the system itself is shot through with sociopathic relics, their “right thing” is often the wrong thing, but they just don’t know it.

    • Along the lines of nationalism, what we need is a strong system that discourages the centralization of power. The reason that globalism is so dangerous is that it concentrates power in a way that we’ve never seen before. People will lose any control over their own environments and their own bodies in a centralized system. I’ve come to the realization that the more factured the political (power) system, the better it is at providing the individual agents a better opportunity for autonomy and voluntary cooperation with those around them.

  • Read Robert D. Hare’s book:
    Hare, R. D. (1998). Without conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us. New York, NY: Guilford Press.
    Hare’s web site: http://www.hare.org/
    Hare has an extensive bibliography for further reading, not just his own books. Hare wrote the test still used to determine whether or not someone is a psychopath.

    The label “psychopath” was first coined by Hervey M. Cleckley in The Mask of Sanity. Psychopaths can mimic emotions, but they don’t actually feel any of the things they mimic. They’ve learned their mimicry by watching other people with emotions react to situations. The superficial charm and affable humor is noted in the behavior of most psychopaths; it’s usually their #1 trait.

    There is NO cure for psychopaths. They are born, not made (altho if a child is raised by a psychopath it might act like its parent unless it gets away young enough to be influenced by people with a conscience; there is, however, a potential genetic component to psychopathy). From birth their brains are wired differently from normal people; they operate from the reptilian section of their brains. There are no pills, potions, or prayers that can help them, and – according to Dr. Hare – counseling actually makes them worse because they discover new ways to manipulate people. Not all psychopaths get their way by brute force; but they will resort to physical violence if their fatal charm and psychological manipulation does not work. Most don’t even kill other people; it’s the thrill of the chase, the acquisition of money and praise for their intellectual prowess (corporate takeovers, for example), and the power over other people that is the goal. Some may mellow with age, but they are still psychopaths, and they will die as psychopaths.

    The only real defense against psychopaths is to avoid them, cut them out of your life if you can, and never have contact with them ever again; mourn them as dead. This is difficult to do if the person is a relative, especially a child, and the process may take years. One always lives in hope the psychopath will magically change to being a normal person and feel regret and contrition for their abominably selfish and narcissistic actions. That hope is misplaced and in vain. See an old 1956 movie called The Bad Seed. Psychopathy does show up in children.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZt7gtFiVJk

    Wherever psychopaths go in life, they will sow discord, sadness, and regret that they were ever allowed into the lives of the people they harm to excess.

    • Also read Kevin Dutton’s “Wisdom of Psychopaths” detailing some of the more recent research and experiments. Leadership traits/talents such as perseverance, focus, personal charisma, big egos and “ability to read” and manipulate people are actually considered leadership virtues. Many psychopathically talented people can find career niches that use some of those traits and only seek to become leaders if they also possess overriding personal ambition.

      The flip side of psychopathic leaders (which are less than 1% of the human population) is that 2/3’s of all people will fail the Asch, Milgram, Zimbardo social psychology experiments making them especially emotionally vulnerable and susceptible to both group think as well as to authority, i.e. authoritarian leaders. That leaves only 10 to 20% of us not in either the psychopathic leadership or the groupie minion camps which camp we can maybe call the WTF Club.

  • There are no psychopathic rulers in our future for the simple reason that if we don’t find a way to weed them out we have no future.

  • Tom at INN World Report sent this clip of President Trump talking to a large crowd in Iowa this past week. He cued it up to the part where Trump talks about the worst thing he has to do, which is to sign all the letters to the families of dead servicemen and women. He reads the letters.He greets the planes and the families sometimes.He describes his first time greeting families of dead soldiers on the tarmac. I wish you would watch these three minutes. He wants them to come home alive, now. He seems to genuinely mean it.
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT3O5WFYUxo&feature=youtu.be&t=4825

    Trump can’t be a sociopath, having made that unscripted speech to those people. He also can’t be a complete narcissist, though he sure has some narcissistic traits.
    He’s human.He’s “The Gray Champion” of this country, for this particular systemic-reset-round, as history deploys.
    I had a dream early Sunday (yesterday) morning, that I was (sort of) Donald Trump, and I started speaking truth, correcting history, apologizing for nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and explaining why, and explaining FDR’s trick to get Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, to get the US into the war, and assure that so many Americans died that day and then more and more, and about JFK and 9/11, and how this is our real world.
    It was a good dream. It felt good.
    Just a dream, right?

    • Sorry, but you got conned. All our presidents pretend to care about fallen soldiers. Maybe some do, but they still put them in war zones and drop bombs on innocents.

      Also, anyone who runs casinos isn’t a person capable of empathy. Anyone who runs beauty competitions doesn’t see women as equals. Anyone who has a proud and outspoken history of screwing over the little guy (the weak) is a predator.

      Please, don’t let one stage performance where he mimicks human emotion make you think the guy who boasted about killing the (innocent) families of terrorists, has had numerous scam operations from a for-profit college to money-laundering charity, and who has always been obsessed with self-aggrandizement and celebrity, is actually a caring person. Next you’ll be telling us Hillary Clinton is a sweetie because she loves her grandkids and once hugged an orphan.

      • Well explained, Geo! Sociopaths are great actors when it comes to mimicking normal behavior and empathy. And most “normals” fall for the act, precisely because of their empathy. The dynamic between trusting “normals” and conniving sociopaths is like the perfect storm.

  • Excellent article. I’ve often thought that psychopaths are an integral part of human evolution: any power structure we utilise will as you say, soon be populated by these other humans with no capacity for empathy. Hence, the only solution is ANARCHY – NO RULERS.

    Welcome Caitlin, glad you have come to his conclusion, as have many others who have realised the only answer is to remove all power structures.

    With love,
    BB

    • Anarchy would be a perfect system if it weren’t for humans as we currently are. I agree with Caitlyn that it will take an evolution before such a society is possible. Anarchy in our current over weaponized social-Darwinian culture would be nothing but warlords and strife… you know, like all those nations we remove the leaders and arm the rebels.

      It’s worth working toward but none of us will live to see it. It will be many generations of social evolution before we can achieve that.

  • It’s a long time since I was in formal education but back then many heroes we learned about were by any definition mass-murderers, what we now call war criminals. These included the ‘great generals’ Caesar, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, various heros of the British Commonwealth, eg Rhodes. There are many more – all with horrendous death tolls to their credit as they rampaged across continents killing, enslaving, raping, ethnic cleansing. A feature of all empires.

  • according to the author of The Sociopath Next Door (as well as the creator of the psychopath Test Robert Hare) – these 2 terms are interchangeable
    sociopath is just a more PC way to say ‘psychopath’
    the only difference between narcissist and psychos is that the former actually care about being liked by others and psychos genuinely don’t

  • one improvement would be to make it mandatory to perform the Psychopath Test for people trying to get into positions of power.
    This test exists this Canadian psychologist invented it – and there is a great, informative book about how he did it and why written by a former FT journo I think – it’s fascinating.

    Different societies have different tolerance for psychopaths. Western Anglo Saxon countries I think are the worse – being ruthless is most tolerated in Anglo-Saxon countries in my experience. Psychopaths are very useful in wars – for the simple reason that they can kill without blinking an eye while normal people find it quite hard. So countries that needed such killers like British Empire (to kill Australian aboriginals etc) selected for psychopaths – and today London, LA and NY are officially world’s capitals of psychopathy. I’ve lived in all the 3 and I think London is the worst.
    it’s interesting you mention schizophrenics – when I studied Psychology in London – we just focused on schizos – and they are pretty harmless compared to psychos – a well placed, charismatic and a good actor psychopath can destroy a whole company or even a country. Schizophrenics can kill one person or so. At my uni in London they pretty much did not even mention psychopaths (hoe convenient considering London is the world’s capital of psychopaths) – it tells you the powers psychopaths hold over education.
    I think a solution to this problem is simple.
    Most people don’t even know what psychopath is (I did not know it even though I have 2 degrees in psychology) – until I read that book.
    So reading about it , becoming aware of the problem and the hidden war they wage against us (while blaming us for being ‘crazy) is the first major step.
    Once you understand – they are actually quite easy to spot
    a good indication is someone who tries to make you feel sorry for them )their favorite trick since you drop defenses if you feel sorry for someone) – while at the same time being ruthless and brutal towards others (kind of like Israelis vs Palestinians)
    Once a critical mass of us is aware – they will have no chance.
    I know since I read these book – psychopaths run away from me
    Previously I suffered under them in LA and London
    THere is definitely hope
    That book The Sociopath Next Door is very good on inspiring change.

    Here is the link for the book which explains how Robert Hare created the Psychopath Test:

    https://www.amazon.com/Psychopath-Test-Journey-Through-Industry-ebook/dp/B004XFYWC0/ref=sr_1_1?crid=14OZDWEEW36QW&keywords=psychopath+test&qid=1571103094&s=digital-text&sprefix=psychopath+test%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C221&sr=1-1

    • Thank You, Tomo. Good service you are doing with this informative and helpful comment.
      I basically like schizophrenics. They are sort of a rough caricature of who they were before the bug scrambled their frontal lobes. They mostly appreciate being understood and treated decently. You have to earn their trust. It’s work.

      • Psychopaths are much more destructive than schizophrenics. Mostly because they are much harder to spot. Psychos are often charming and great actors. I’ve met very many during my 8 or so years spent in Los Angeles – one of word’s 3 capitals of psychopathy.
        That book I discovered by chance (after I finished reading Steve Job’s biography while on a holiday in Greece about 6 years or so ago) – The Sociopath Next Door – literally saved lives of a few friends of mine.
        Only after they read it they could manage to make sense of tricks and plots done by their bosses, BFs and GFs.
        The problem is very few people even know what it means to be a psychopath. they usually confuse it with schizophrenia.
        Psychos are the most dangerous because they literally don’t and cannot care about others. THey can only look at us as tools to be exploited, used and discarded without any concern.
        Some ‘cultures’ are structured this way – that thought occurred to me as I read these books (reminded me of many people I know in LA) – a culture as a psychopath.
        that is also important to spot – as i said one of psychopaths’ most fundamental tricks apart from fake charm and acting is to try to make you (the victim) feel sorry for them. So you lower your defenses. At the same time they are very ruthless towards others and you the victim (but behind your back of course while they pretend they love you and are your very best friend). Seeing this is considered a pretty safe indicator that you are dealing with a psycho.
        Just read one of those books – they become very easy to spot. And as soon as they sense you can ID them they move to another victim. IT’s the most important skill. Only as more of us learn to spot them can we prevent them from doing the only thing they can do – to exploit and use others like say a washing machine or a fridge (and when their victims die that’s how they feel – as if their washer broke down). They are not really human. But can act. That’s why Hollywood is full of them and that’s why the psychopaths who own and control it – promote propaganda which glorifies psychopaths and makes it feel desirable to become a psychopath enabler. The whole USSA is based on this principle. UK too. It’s mostly the Anglo thing in my experience – they have been removed from human instincts and biology the most.

  • It is historically just the reality that psychopaths are naturally drawn to any totem pole system, business, politics, warring (or even art) and are happy to crawl over whomever they need to to get to the top. It happens again and again, and we have been treated equally to assertions that as a collective we will somehow outgrow this phase, but it NEVER happens because we are hard wired brutal animals who happen to be very clever, have opposable thumbs that let us utilize this cleverness, and we spend most our energy and cleverness and figuring out ever more fiendish ways to kill one another. We are at the end stage of this phase, and it ain’t gonna be a sudden Eureka of consciousness that shifts, but rather a grand finale war as we scrabble for the last vestiges of food/water/survival land on the planet we have nearly finished wrecking.

    One of the species most clear traits is hubris, and an amazing capacity for self-delusion, individually and collectively.

    Meet Pogo.

  • No More War

  • Spot on, as usual, Caitlin.

    I’ve thought about this a lot too. For me the answer lies with the media. Most people form their opinions from ‘information’ and ‘analysis’ they get from the MSM which is the Deep State brain-washing department. If most people informed themselves via independent media featuring journalists like you, these psychopaths could never have achieved the power they have. The Deep State could be outed and defeated very quickly if you, Caitlin, and your ethical colleagues were most people’s sources of information.

  • Wish I’d read this a few months ago. I’m just in the recovery process from a relationship with a narcissistic ‘friend’ who is…surprise, surprise…very wealthy. I’d already worked out the ‘no empathy’ bit by myself and the rest due to several videos about narcissism. Hope you’re OK.

  • in an unjust society, those in power are by definition sociopathic pyschopaths, that is, bad, period.

    and the first premise of a just society is equality, in that all members are regarded as equal in their worth. everyone makes contribution to the society in her or his own way, and is provided with what they need by the society.

    it’s an idea as old as humanity.

    • according to the author of The Sociopath Next Door (as well as the creator of the psychopath Test Robert Hare) – these 2 terms are interchangeable
      sociopath is just a more PC way to say ‘psychopath’
      the only difference between narcissist and psychos is that the former actually care about being liked by others and psychos genuinely don’t

  • very interesting subject – I think our main problem today is that we have allowed psychopaths to percolate into most important positions of power. I got this idea about 6 or so years ago after reading Steve Jobs biography (I was in Greece on a holiday and there was nothing else to read). I was shocked with how crazy SJ was and how nobody had anything nice to say about him. I spoke to a friend in London about it and he told me that SJ was a psychopath. I ordered a few books on the subject and they really clarified so much about the world today.
    I think that without understanding psychopaths – we have no chance of understanding the world – at least not the western civilization.
    these are the best books on the subject that I have read:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1572304510?pf_rd_p=2d1ab404-3b11-4c97-b3db-48081e145e35&pf_rd_r=NQDW8VX0BP9KY6RRHDCY

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+sociopath+next+door&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&crid=179M0C2NY5OR2&sprefix=the+sociopath+ne%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C161&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_16

    and this one is basically on a ‘culture’ as a psychopath (or a psychopath club):

    https://www.amazon.com/s?k=the+sociopath+next+door&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&crid=179M0C2NY5OR2&sprefix=the+sociopath+ne%2Cstripbooks-intl-ship%2C161&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_16

    psychos could not care about anyoen even if they wanted to due to their mental defect. So all they have is games of power and money, lying and acting. It’s not even their fault. It’s up to us to prevent them from getting into positions of power. Since having them in charge is like having a fox in charge of a hen-house.
    Until a critical mass of us learn to recognize them – nothing will change at the plantation that is the 21st century west.

    I always though vampires are a great metaphor for psychopaths: charming, destructive and fatal – and they can’t help it

    • I would also suggest “Columbus and Other Cannibals” by Jack D. Forbes. Look a First Nations description of the “Wétiko” and their approach to resolving the conundrum. Been thinking about all this for years and years. Books suggested above are all useful. This subject is near the core of our worst suffering.
      Caitlin, love your writing. Maybe I’m not crazy at all.

      • Thank you – I ordered the book you recommended.
        I agree with you – this is the root of all the most pressing problems we face.
        And the biggest issue is the lack of awareness about what psychopathy is and what they do and why and most importantly how to spot them and prevent them from exploiting/ruing us.
        I have 2 degrees in psychology (from England) – and even I did not know much or anything about psychopaths. I only learned thanks to reading that book on Steve Jobs – I was so shocked by his evil madness – I realized something deeper was wrong with him. And the friend told me about psychopaths. Then I read and I helped others with boyfriend/girlfriend/boss issues.
        Psychos are masters of making you feel you are crazy – and they are right. They do most of their fraud behind their victims’ back and are masters of Orwellian renaming and acting.
        That book The Sociopath Next Door literally saved my friends’ lives (3 of them in LA and SF). Only after they read the summary I made of that book could they connect the dots and realize what is happening
        Psychos are masters of gaslighting.
        it’s much harder to figure them out if they are very good looking (and they are mostly all very fake-charming and good actors since they learn early they are very different from others and they need to act or all is exposed) My former roomate dated a guy who I though was a great guy (he used to be my roommate also) – he was an Armani billboard model and actor. What he did to her was unbelievable – and he would not let her leave him. After reading the book she dumped him like a disease and never looked back.
        University courses are a problem – since they tend to teach what their masters the wealthy donors etc require (and many of those are psychopaths). I studied economics also in England – and all they taught us was how to basically steal form the poor and give to the rich. It took me a decade to forget all the Milford Freedman (he as a Hitler of economics) BS…Psychos should be taught in every school – how to spot them etc and to prevent being eaten alive.

        • Fascinating! Yes, I first heard of psychopathy in a college psychology course, but it came across as an extremely rare aberration and struck me as a dumb kid trying to get attention. Little did I know I was living with an example.

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