The Rape of Conscience: I, Psychopath

By M.K. Styllinski

“It seems impossible to convince people that private behavior cannot be predicted from public behavior. Kind non-violent individuals behave well in public, but so do many people who are brutal behind the scenes.”

– Anna C. Salter PhD.


Deaths

Perpetrator

Country

Year

32 – 70+ million

Mao Ze-Dong

China, Tibet

1958-61, 1966-69

12+ million

Adolf Hitler

Germany

1939-1945

8+million

King Leopold II of Belgium

Congo

1886-1908

6+million

Jozef Stalin

USSR

1932-1939

5+million

Hideki Tojo

Japan

1941-1944

2+million

Ismail Enver

Turkey

1915-1922

1.7million

Pol Pot

Cambodia

1975-79

1.6 million

Kim Il Sung

North Korea

1948-1994

1.5 million

Menghistu

Ethiopia

1975-1978

1 million

Yakubu Gowon

Biafra

1967-1970

900,000

Leonid Brezhnev

Afghanistan

1979-1982

800,000

Jean Kambanda

Rwanda

1994

 Genocides 19th – 20th Century / source: scaruffi.com


Dr. James W. Prescott Ph.D. one time developmental neuropsychologist with the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development agrees there is direct link between economic disparity, poverty, mental instability and the manifestation of abuse. Indeed, the present foundations of our societies may even ellicit such imbalances. He states: “The problem of child abuse is not just a problem of certain adults assaulting certain children, but rather it is deeply rooted in the fabric of our entire society. Why do husbands beat their wives? Why do so many of us support capital punishment? Why do we find so much entertainment and enjoyment in films and television programs that depict physical violence? The answer is that we are a physically violent society and that child abuse represents merely one aspect of that violence.” [1]

Is that true?

From genocides of Maoist China to the Gulag’s of Stalinist Russia, the massacres in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing of the former Yugoslavia, is it a natural part of the human psyche, an indelible flaw in our evolution that demands the survival of the fittest at any cost? Are we less than animals operating on instinct alone, intermittently out of control because our ancient limbic brain demands it? Or does the cause have its roots in monotheistic religions which program us to see violence and separatism as part of a Divine justice? If it is in sown into the very fabric of our societies then is it a genetic pre-disposition that we all share?

Or is there something or someone loading the dice?

Well, that’s a lot of questions which we may or may not answer over this series but let’s see where it takes us…

On November 26th 2013, The Independent’s Heather Saul published a piece entitled: ‘Young children ‘are committing sex abuse on other children as part of gang violence.’’ Saul highlighted evidence cited as “profoundly distressing” from a report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England which found that children aged carrying sexual abuse and sexual assault on victims aged 11 or younger with shocking levels of sexual sadism in evidence. The commission report confirmed the awareness of paedophilia but realised the subject of: “… children abusing each other through gangs or groups is rarely acknowledged by society.” Perhaps most significantly, the commission found that rape was considered “normal” with sexual violence occurring across all levels of class from deprived areas to the more affluent areas of England. The article rightly commented: “The scale and nature of sexual attacks – including rape – indicates a “deep malaise” within society that needs to be addressed.”

This suggests something that is sourced not just from the accessibility of internet technology and multi-media images but a progressive psychological infection derived from an Official Culture of addiction and implanted psychopathology. The idea of fantasy, sexual violence and rape are being blurred, as is the line between consensual and forced sexual activity. Teenagers who are sexually active are hopelessly confused and children, while being peer-pressured into experimenting with sex so early, are doing so under the influence of glamourised and distorted messages, where violence and coercion is a normal part of sexual experience. (See: Pornucopia: Cult of the Body)

Sex and violence are fast becoming an integral part of a new rites of initiation in the young. The report is a vital warning that society is comprehensively failing our children in ways that adults cannot process. Where no suitable role models exist and with the ubiquity of distorted sexual messages underpinned by a deep materialism to be found literally everywhere, it is inevitable that new forms of meaning will be found to fill the emptiness.

Gender roles are being pushed where the young male must be the brutal macho rapist and the girl a submissive whore or feminist liberator who generally desires such abuse. The provocative dress code is now a normal part of pre-teen fashion thanks to advertising and marketing.

So, where is the rise in gang culture and sexual violence coming from?

In his ground-breaking book: Political Ponerology – A Science on the  Nature of Evil Adjusted for political Purposes (2007) the late Clinical Psychologist Andrew M. Łobaczewski discovered that psychopathy has a pathogenic quality, the seeds of which cyclically penetrate otherwise balanced social systems that may ordinarily have had a much greater probability of success. So much so, that he believes a basic understanding of the psychology of the psychopath and defences against the encroachment of such individuals into our public and private lives is essential for a healthy society to evolve. Without this understanding and knowledge all human endeavours will fail, just as an organism will eventually deteriorate both in vitality and functional ability if measures are not taken to counteract the symptoms of ill health.

Psychopathy has been traditionally studied from the victim’s experience rather than from the perpetrator’s view. After all, psychopaths do not seek help as he perceives nothing wrong with his immorality as a natural state of being. A new conceptual framework is desperately needed in order to place the magnifying glass firmly over the actions of evil and its genesis.

Rather than lapsing into the past habit of creating a theological construct over a psychological theory, Łobaczewski called this new science, “Ponerology” which the dictionary defines as: “n. division of theology dealing with evil; theological doctrine of wickedness or evil; from the Greek: poneros – evil”. Whether an organisation or an individual, the full expression of one or more psychopaths can obliterate the chances of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual harmony in the entity in question, leading to chaos and disequilibrium so severe that failure and death may eventuate. With this in mind we can realise that it is not any one “-ism” in any particular belief system that determines the eventual collapse into chaos – at least, not as a primary cause. Rather, it is the lack of awareness concerning the pathogenic factors involved which give rise to erroneous believes and which serve as channels for evil to evolve. Accordingly, Religious authoritarian personalities for instance, offer a perfect platform for the psychopath. Unless we become aware of the nature of psychopathy and the ways in which it can seed itself in our relationships and our government candidates we will continue to see the disastrous results manifesting in the world and explained away as a consequence of “human nature.”

If by “evil” we mean extreme negativity as a natural pathway then the psychopath is a perfect embodiment. Certain fashionable beliefs in New Age circles that evil does not exist and that we just need to pray for peace and send love and light has played a part in adding to the sophisticated cover afforded to these creatures who bear little resemblance to human souls and who lack any potential for higher emotion.  The advances in brain scan technology has allowed us to see the major neurological even physical differences in psychopath’s brains, in particular the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. Observing the bloody course of history and the abject misery and suffering that has resulted when the psychopath gains positions of power is ample proof that these psychological dynamics, despite frequent warnings from the past, has remained largely camouflaged from normal peoples’ perceptions. We might say that they are the vampires and werewolves of folklore; the collective shadow made manifest. Perhaps the real hope for a more just and equitable world lies in education: the understanding of basic psychology and the rise of psychopathy in our social systems.

But it is right and proper that we don’t go down a eugenics path of neurological “pre-crime” whereby everyone is scanned for possible deficiencies. It may be that because the horse has bolted and we are currently seeing a genetic rise in psychopaths the danger of such technology in the wrong hands is very real indeed. However, surely an ethical balance can be achieved as part of a wide-ranging remedy of prevention? It is also characteristic of materialist science – just the kind of science we need to guard against – that all the answers are to be found in the brain. This is surely not the case and thus represents another avenue ripe for distortion. We need to take a highly multi-disciplined approach to this problem bring our intuition, innovation and intelligence to bear from a wide range of specialisations, from social science to psychology, history to neurology.

The social environment in which the individual finds himself appears to have a large part to play as well as the genetic component. Psychopaths may be born that way and negative environmental influences may make them “super-charged.” This may be especially true for “garden variety” psychopaths who go about their business as part of the herd instinct without overt predatory behaviour. Brain damage can also cause serious degradation in personalities which can result in the same set of behaviours characteristic of pathological narcissists and psychopaths, so due caution in this complex field is not misplaced.

Conversely, when a high proportion of psychopaths inhabit positions of power then it stands to reason that society will be progressively shaped, causing a feedback cycle of negative human behaviour as a reflection of those power centres which in turn, are emboldened by the disintegration and fragmentation of higher human values. This is the central premise of this blog after all. Looking at the incarceration rate of US prisons and the high number of psychopathic personalities who reside there; as more abusive childhoods occur and the socio-cultural influences become more and more degraded by pathological influence – sometimes helped by social engineering implemented by similar psychopathic perception – then it is not hard to fathom why we have ended up in the mess we have.

The kind of society we wish to create for the future must take on the possibility that the values of the psychopath have taken over that of the human being who values conscience.  As psychologist Martha Stout has mentioned in her book The Sociopath Next Door, why else would there be higher numbers of sociopaths in the Western world than in most other cultures and societies? With Eastern cultures sharing between 0.03% and 0.14% of psychopaths and the rising numbers reaching at least 5% in America (not counting pathological narcissists and other mental illnesses) there seems to be a very fertile ground for such genes to be cultured. This leads to many of us adopting psychopathological traits to varying degrees based on the insidious influence of normalising what was originally a pathological “infection” spreading through societies over differing time spans.

In Łobaczewski’s book Political Ponerology he lays out the background as to why we find ourselves dominated by a minority of psychopaths and psychological deviants. The cornerstones of Western civilisation’s beliefs are derived from Greek, Roman and Christian schools of thought which have been hopelessly inadequate in coping with both spirituality and psychology since they are largely rooted in materialism, authoritarianism and the Rule of Law. This had serious repercussions in the way we perceived reality and therefore our ability to recognise the methods and processes which gave rise to evil in our societies.

Greek culture drew its inspiration from nature, mythology and the literary tradition and Rome incorporated them into an overarching monolith of administration, politics and law, where the inherited Greek philosophy was designed to have real world applications with little room for psychological awareness. The legacy was a continuing impoverishment for knowledge of human psychology and devolution of morality at the individual and collective level. Instead of integrating the best of psychology and philosophy of the ancient cultures of the Middle East, which seemed to flower for the first few centuries of its existence, Christianity was subverted into something quite different to its original intentions, a long-term victim of a progressive “ponerisation.”

Łobaczewski takes up the story:

A civilization thus arose with a serious deficiency in the area which is supposed to protect societies from various kinds of evil, and we are the inheritors of this defect. This civilization developed formulations in the area of law – national, civil, and canon – which were conceived for invented beings, not human beings, and which gave short shrift to the total contents of the human personality and the great psychological differences between individual members of the species Homo sapiens. For many centuries, any understanding of certain psychological anomalies found among individuals was out of the question – even though such anomalies cause disaster.

Thus, Western Civilization is insufficiently resistant to evil, which originates beyond the easily accessible areas of human consciousness and takes advantage of the great gap between formal or legal thought and psychological reality.

In a civilization deficient in psychological cognition, individuals with dreams of imposing their power upon their environment and their society are not recognized as being fundamentally different, and they all too easily find a ready response in individuals with insufficiently developed consciousnesses. […] [2]  [Emphasis mine]

Although there are signs and portents in our cultural heritage that psychopathy followed a cyclic manifestation best expressed through empire-building, the core reasons for its domination has been cleverly concealed for eons. It is for this reason that Łobaczewski stresses the deep importance of cultivating correct psychological knowledge of our inner and outer environment in order to counter the effects of the psychopath and other inherited pathologies.

Since we are embedded in the society in which we find ourselves, the notion of free-will is somewhat a misnomer by the time we have unknowingly unlocked the predator’s cage. Once free, it begins to weave a spell that creates an array of seductive belief-traps which permit the illusion of freedom when in fact, it allows a Global Predator consciousness to progressively to corral its prey. As Łobaczewski tells us: “Human beings have a tendency to repress from their consciousness any associations indicating a causative conditioning of their world-view and behavior,” so the shadows of negative behavior both in ourselves and then the outer world are the first to be painted over. On top of this, is the “natural psychological, societal, and moral world-view” into which we are sheep-dipped from infant to adult. This raises some fundamental questions concerning the validity of our views about the world drawn from a natural tendency to follow a subjective set of principles so often cultivated by figures of authority and furnished with a sufficient amount of sweeteners to keep us there, if it is in their best interests to do so.

It is our emotions which dictate the direction we choose to take regarding the nature of reality. Psychopaths in power are not creative in the pure sense. But they have animal cunning and an innate understanding of human emotion, knowing perfectly how to mimic and inflame those emotions so that they can be used against us.

Łobaczewski continues:

It is thus significant that the main values of this human world-view of nature indicate basic similarities in spite of great spans of time, race, and civilization. It is thus suggested that the ‘human world view’ derives from the nature of our species and the natural experience of human societies which have achieved a certain necessary level of civilization. Refinements based on literary values or philosophical and moral reflections do indicate some differences, but generally speaking, they tend to bring together the natural conceptual language of various civilizations and eras.

People with a ‘humanistic’ education may have the impression that they have achieved wisdom, but here we approach a problem; we must ask the following question: Even if the natural world-view has been refined, does it mirror reality with sufficient reliability? Or does it only mirror our species’ perception? To what extent can we depend upon it as a basis for decision making in the individual, societal, and political spheres of life?

Experience teaches us, first of all, that this natural world-view has permanent and characteristic tendencies toward deformation dictated by our instinctive and emotional features. Secondly, our work exposes us to many phenomena that cannot be understood and described by natural language alone.

Considering the most important reality deforming tendency, we notice that those emotional features which are a natural component of the human personality are never completely appropriate to the reality being experienced. This results both from our instinct and from our conditioning of upbringing. This is why the best traditions of philosophical and religious thought have counseled subduing the emotions in order to achieve a more accurate view of reality. [3] [Emphasis mine]

Łobaczewski highlights the process of our natural egotism drawn from an insufficiently objective system of values which has become entrenched in our social customs. And it is the lack of attention to our emotions and instincts which have acted as an open door. This has led to the world being plagued by a phenomenon which is so outside the natural experience of normal human beings that we have refused to contemplate such predatory evil exists while gradually taking on its subtle traits – and we have done so through ignorance and pride. Meanwhile, psychopaths have consolidated their position and hunkered down for the long-term.

If, as Łobaczewski mentions: “Developing and popularizing the objective psychological world-view could thus significantly expand the scope of dealing with evil via sensible action and pinpointed countermeasures”, then now is the time to begin the process of knowledge dissemination if we as the majority are to wrest back control. But for us to do this we must recognize that we already live in the psychopaths’ world and are, to varying degrees, products of their reality.

In the last post we looked at the possibility of exploring “countermeasures” against the pathologies currently gripping our societies. Łobaczewski reiterates the challenge of understanding just how deep this recognition needs to be. Indeed, it stretches back through time, through myth and history:

Ever since ancient times, philosophers and religious thinkers representing various attitudes in different cultures have been searching for the truth as regards moral values, attempting to find criteria for what is right, for what constitutes good advice. They described the virtues of human character and suggested these be acquired. They created a heritage … which contains centuries of experience and reflections. In spite of the obvious differences among attitudes, the similarity or complementarity of the conclusions reached by famous ancients are striking, even though they worked in widely divergent times and places. After all, whatever is valuable is conditioned and caused by the laws of nature acting upon the personalities of both individual human beings and collective societies.

It is equally thought-provoking, however, to see how relatively little has been said about the opposite side of the coin; the nature, causes, and genesis of evil. These matters are usually cloaked behind the above generalized conclusions with a certain amount of secrecy. Such a state of affairs can be partially ascribed to the social conditions and historical circumstances under which these thinkers worked. Their modus operandi may have been dictated at least in part by personal fate, inherited traditions, or even prudishness. After all, justice and virtue are the opposites of force and perversity, the same applies to truthfulness vs. lies, similarly like health is the opposite of an illness.

The character and genesis of evil thus remained hidden in discreet shadows, leaving it to playwrights to deal with the subject in their highly expressive language, but that did not reach the primeval source of the phenomena. A certain cognitive space thus remains uninvestigated, a thicket of moral questions which resists understanding and philosophical generalizations. [4] [Emphasis mine]

The resistance to the comprehension of evil is profound. It penetrates into the heart of our cultures and represents a complex matrix of psycho-social blockades built over centuries. Ponerological disease has had a very long time to adapt to normal humans’ psychology and strategies have developed to transpersonify * particular sections of our modern societies, most of which we will explore over the coming months.

The pendulum always swings to extremes if we are unable to find the median point of creative tension. Forcing the issue and preferring to trust our insignificant human perceptions rather than the natural universal laws and rhythms of life has led to more and more excesses in search of an ideal that doesn’t exist and which has fed self-aggrandizement and personal power. It may be that humans function best in networked clusters of communities with service to others as the byword for a spiritually nourishing and sustainable future. Łobaczewski makes one of the most important insights into the nature of evil and how, in the future, we can prevent psychopathy from attaining widespread influence. Once the pursuit of exclusive pleasure for the self alone has become habitual and community cohesion forsaken then an endless cycle of “good times, bad times” ensues and which is reflected in the narcissistic psyche of 21st Century humanity. It is during these good times, according to Łobaczewski, that: “… people lose sight of the need for thinking, introspection, knowledge of others, and an understanding of life.”

The following crucial points are the primary reasons why psychopathy begins to insinuate itself into normal societies, a period of cyclic change Łobaczewski called the “Hysteriodal Cycle” which he describes in the following passage:

When things are ‘good’, people ask themselves whether it is worth it to ponder human nature and flaws in the personality (one’s own, or that of another). In good times, entire generations can grow up with no understanding of the creative meaning of suffering since they have never experienced it themselves. When all the joys of life are there for the taking, mental effort to understand science and the laws of nature – to acquire knowledge that may not be directly related to accumulating stuff – seems like pointless labor. Being ‘healthy minded’, and positive – a good sport with never a discouraging word – is seen as a good thing, and anyone who predicts dire consequences as the result of such insouciance is labeled a wet-blanket or a killjoy.

Perception of the truth about reality, especially a real understanding of human nature in all its ranges and permutations, ceases to be a virtue to be acquired. Thoughtful doubters are ‘meddlers’ who can’t leave well enough alone. ‘Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.’ This attitude leads to an impoverishment of psychological knowledge including the capacity to differentiate the properties of human nature and personality, and the ability to mold healthy minds creatively.

The cult of power thus supplants the mental and moral values so essential for maintaining peace by peaceful means. A nation’s enrichment or involution as regards its psychological world-view could be considered an indicator of whether its future will be good or bad.

During good times, the search for the meaning of life, the truth of our reality, becomes uncomfortable because it reveals inconvenient factors. Unconscious elimination of data which are, or appear to be, inexpedient, begins to be habitual, a custom accepted by entire societies. The result is that any thought processes based on such truncated information cannot bring correct conclusions. This then leads to substitution of convenient lies to the self to replace uncomfortable truths thereby approaching the boundaries of phenomena which should be viewed as psychopathological.” [5] [Emphasis mine]

It seems we are presently navigating through the after effects of an Hysteriodal Cycle where the outcome is unknown. While conscious awareness of this psycho-biological phenomena has been inadequate at best, there are signs it is beginning to cause ripples across public consciousness and fields of academia. As such this “Cult of Power” is at a decisive point in its influence across human awareness.

In the next few posts we’ll start to explore the behaviour and effects of the psychopath in order to better understand how he has re-ordered the world in his own image and what we may expect in the future.


* Transpersonification is a word coined by Łobaczewski to describe the negative effects on the mind and personality from persons with certain inherited or acquired psychopathologies.

Notes

[1] ‘Child Abuse in America: Slaughter of the Innocents’ By James W. Prescott, Ph.D. From Hustler, October, 1977.
[2] p.35; Łobaczewski; Political Ponerology.
[3] Ibid. (p.38)
[4] Ibid. (p.69)
[5] Ibid. (p.62)

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4 comments

  1. ‘With Eastern cultures sharing between 0.03% and 0.14% of psychopaths and the rising numbers reaching at least 5% in America’

    Really? Says who? And why have you got that Mao killed 0+ people?

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      1. Couldn’t find these figures at Sott or in Political Ponerology but I finally tracked them down to ‘The Sociopath Next Door’.

        The relevant quote, p 136, is:

        ‘Though sociopathy seems to be universal and timeless, there is credible evidence that some cultures contain fewer sociopaths than do other cultures. Intriguingly, sociopathy would appear to be relatively rare in certain East Asian countries, notably Japan and China. Studies conducted in both rural and urban areas of Taiwan have found a remarkably low prevalence of antisocial personality disorder, ranging from 0.03 percent to 0.14 percent, which is not none but is impressively less than the Western world’s approximate average of 4 percent, which translates to one in twenty-five people.’

        And she lists her sources as:
        ‘Intriguingly, sociopathy would appear to be relatively rare in certain East Asian countries: See P. Cheung, “Adult Psychiatric Epidemiology in China in the 1980s,” Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 15 ( 1991): 479-496; W. Compton et aI., “New Methods in Cr�ss-Cultural Psychiatry: Psychiatric Illness in Taiwan and the United States,” American Journal of Psychiatry 148 ( 1991): 1697-1704; H.-G. Hwu, E.-K. Yeh, and L. Change, “Prevalence of Psychiatric Disorders in Taiwan Defined by the .Chinese Diagnostic Interview Schedule,” Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 79 ( 1989): 136-147; and T. Sato and M. Takeichi, “Lifetime Prevalence of Specific Psychiatric Disorders in a General Medicine .Clinic,” General Hospital Psychiatry 15 ( 1993): 224-233.’

        My chances of tracking these publications down are probably close to zero, but what I will say is that her quote is for ASPD, which has only tangential relevance to psychopathy (Hare says the following, ‘Snakes in Suits’):

        ‘Some of those with APD are psychopaths, but many are not. The difference between psychopathy and antisocial personality disorder is that the former includes personality traits such as lack of empathy, grandiosity, and shallow emotion that are not necessary for a diagnosis of APD. APD is three or four times more common than psychopathy in the general population and in prisons.’

        So essentially (from the information she’s given and rading between the lines of her sources) the figures refer to criminals who end up perhaps in the forensic psychiatric or legal system and are classified as having ASPD, in China and Taiwan. Somehow this rings 100% UNtrue. Maybe they don’t go in for obvious violence – but on the other hand mafia-type gangs certainly exist. Maybe their antisocial behaviour is more covert – corruption, gambling, drugs, hidden domestic violence. Maybe the culture of group first, individual second has something to do with it. Were the studies based on self-reporting? A culture of saving face might also be relevant. And what about the society itself, just after Tianeman Square – was it still effectively a dictatorship? And how many people were sent to psychiatric hospitals? Are there many psychiatric hospitals? Did relatives fight tooth and nail to keep their loved ones out of psychiatric hospitals? Criminality certainly exists in China just as anywhere else because humans are humans the world over.

        Regardless, they’re not truly measuring psychopathy, and they’re very certainly not measuring the prevalence of high-functioning psychopaths. I call BS.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. All good questions. It may well be true that Asian countries have just as many cases of psychopathy as the West it is just culturally camouflaged or manifests more commonly in group dynamics as a result of a prevalence for group action (see Lobaczewki) rather than individuals. (This may also be similar to the appraisal and statistical information on female psychopaths which may have a cultural bias against perceiving its presence thus affecting statistical data and analysis). But judging from recent history alone I’d say the West is generally more ponerized than the East which is why I picked up on that quote. Confirmation bias? Perhaps perhaps not.

          I think what we can agree on is that essential psychopathy has an enormous psychological footprint – whether it’s 6% or not – which will affect and manifest symptoms within each nation/continent differently, thus it has a direct relationship to the incidence and rise of ASPD, cluster B traits (particularly narcissism) globally. I don’t see it as “tangential” but an essential symptom of core institutional psychopathy as a whole.

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