The Psychopath: A Different Species? III

“In any society in this world, psychopathic individuals and some of the other deviant types create a ponerogenically active network of common collusions, partially estranged from the community of normal people… Their sense of honor bids them to cheat and revile that ‘other’ human world and its values at every opportunity.”

  Andrew Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology, p.138)

While criminal justice and mental health systems are slowly beginning to take seriously the nature of female as well as male psychopathy, this pathogenic disease distributes and propagates the same essential evil in our world regardless of gender. Fundamental legal reform must be initiated if there is to be any hope of tackling this problem – a problem, as we shall see, goes to the heart of the human condition.

Is it possible that we can detain those with severe personality disorders in mental institutions even if no crime has been committed?  Our first reaction might be that such a measure is wholly outside what we would consider to be some of the basic tenets of a moral society that enshrines human rights and civil liberties as cornerstones of pluralistic and democratic visions. Ghandi wryly observed when a newspaper reporter asked “what do you think of Western civilisation?” I think it would be a good idea.”  And there lies the rub. Without preventative measures that would reduce and eventually eliminate the complete control that psychopaths and anti-social personalities now exert over almost every facet of our lives the hope of a more equitable and just society will remain a pleasant theory.

If it is true that the prevalence and widespread nature of anti-social behaviour exists primarily due to the increase in psychopaths at certain nodal points of power, then it is surely a logical step to accept that such dominance could only take place by first establishing fertile conditions so that their genetic code is propagated with ease. This may be what we have cyclically faced in the past and which we must now confront in the present.

Barbara Oakley reiterates the Machiavellian nature of anti-social personality disorders and sociopathic emergence:

“[T]he effect of the environment on those with a potentially Machiavellian genotype is not necessarily as straightforward as it might seem. For example, a talented boy with an underlying set of problematic genes might, as a result of abuse, descend by adulthood into obviously pathological behavior—borderline or psychopathic—that could result in his incarceration and removal from society. However, the same Machiavellian-oriented child with a mild upbringing might flower into a full Machiavellian as an adult—a charismatic man whose sinister influences could ultimately affect millions. [1] [Emphasis mine]

At the same time, psychopaths shape their environment and the people within it according to a pathological world view, whether in the heart of a family or the channels of government. Therefore, non-genetically predisposed narcissists and sociopaths can flower as a result of being exposed to these toxic influences which have subverted the chances of an otherwise normal personality growth.

psychopath3© infrakshun

Dr. Robert Hare, after decades of study is also convinced that psychopathy has an important genetic component. Could it be that the high rate of sexual promiscuity amongst male psychopaths and the subsequent abandonment of women involved indicate a high fertility rate which increases the probability of children inheriting a predisposition to psychopathy? [2] This means an increase in psychopaths or those with psychopathic tendencies within the population from causative factors which are both environmental and genetic. These somehow provide a feedback cycle that propagates and encourages a psycho-social “fertility”.

The basis for psychopathy having a strong genetic component is gaining ground from new research. One example comes from Dr. Essi Viding of the London Kings College Institute of Psychiatry and his colleagues who have discovered that “…early-onset anti-social behaviour in children with psychopathic tendencies is largely inherited.” The preliminary findings of a Twins Early Development study (TEDS) indicated that: “…within the early-onset group there are at least two etiologically [*] distinct groups of children. Antisocial beha ior in 7-year old children with callous and unemotional traits is under strong genetic influence, whereas antisocial behavior in children without such personality traits is primarily environmentally mediated.” [3]

The finds further showed that anti-social 7-year-olds “with callous and unemotional traits,”… “was strongly genetic in origin” with “a  group heritability of 80 percent”. [4] Dr. Viding stresses the preventative possibilities in achieving a tentative consensus whereby: “If these youths can be identified early, perhaps with a genetic test on cells from a cheek swab, one could target programs for them.” He stated further that: “Genes are not a blueprint that determines outcome,” … “Rather; they act together with other risk or protective factors to increase or reduce the risk of disorder.” [5] The study of East European adoptees makes a strong case in favour of environmental factors producing and selecting for sociopaths.

A psychiatrist working with so called attention deficit (AD) children recounted one experience where he was looking after a six-year old little girl with curly blond hair and blue eyes, who enthusiastically informed him she could: “‘… make the new teacher change colors!” The teacher was taken aback and asked the child to do so, curious as to what this innocent-looking child was talking about:

“We sit down with the teacher and the girl points to me and say ‘That ugly man put his hand down in my panties just now!’ Our new teacher turns pink/red, consuming this interesting piece of information. The girl smiles happily, then looks sternly at her and says ‘I know what you did yesterday to Tommy – I could tell the grown-ups all about it!’ The now quite pale woman had forgotten to pick up a child at the bus stop and had been too embarrassed to tell the other staff members. Thus the girl went on, and after a while she turned to me and triumphantly announced with innocent enthusiasm ‘You see – I can make her change colors any time!’ I told the girl to stop playing with the woman and go play with her bike instead, while I reassembled the teacher. This girl is aged six, and still cannot tell a person from a thing. To her a staff member is an advanced slot machine. A week later the girl hands me a dead pet rabbit which she has just sliced into four pieces with a pair of scissors and says unaffectedly, “It doesn’t work anymore, and it bleeds all the time – can’t you put it together again?’ – So much for happy childhood…’” [6]

What will this precocious child be like as an adult and what implications does it have for her relationships? Other cases depend on the level of exposure to sexual trauma, violence, neglect, etc.  which would indicate the need for counselling and psychotherapy rather than incarceration. The passage above is telling in its implications of mis-diagnosis and potential for accusations of abuse from psychologically deviant children. **

What seems to be a vital component in the awareness of psychopathy is the understanding that some children are born psychopaths. Evidence strongly suggests a genetically inherited factor is at play for essential psychopathy as opposed to conditioning by environmental factors. (i.e. the sociopath). Sometimes it is not the fault of a narcissistic family, parenting and social traumas but simply that the essence of the child is a psychopath. The hope is that those children with psychopathic tendencies psychological and psychotherapeutic “buffering” may be enough to ameliorate the severity of the effects against the rest of society in the future. [7]


The film Joshua (2007)  charts the rise of a disturbed child in a typical family setting and how his deceit and manipulations destroy the family unit whilst elevating his status to that of victim. Acknowledging dramatic licence, it is an instructive piece of film-making offering a window into the mind of a child psychopath and the cultural and medical ignorance surrounding the possibility the cause of the chaos stems from the child alone.

As psychopathy becomes more clearly defined and when scientific research reaches an unassailable consensus that a t least an epigenetic factor is strongly indicated, (a fact that seems to be fast approaching) it ironically raises questions of how society will deal with these people without falling into a Brave New World mentality. Certain limitations would have to firmly enshrine in law. But how to do so when psychopaths and pathological narcissists are already ensconced within our institutions with the power to enact those ethical laws?

One journalist posed some related questions:

Once psychopathy as a genetically caused condition becomes accepted and genetic testing and genetic engineering becomes possible do you favor or oppose the use of either genetic testing (for selective abortion) or genetic engineering (perhaps delivered in utero) to prevent the development of psychopaths? Consider your other choices. Early and lifetime institutionalization of kids who are bad to the bone would prevent them from preying on others but conflict with the assumption of “innocent until one has committed a crime”, let alone “innocent until proven guilty”. The other option is what we do now: let those kids grow up and victimize people before being caught committing crimes. That latter option consigns some people to future victimhood and, worse yet, not all psychopaths are ever caught by the criminal justice system. “Successful psychopaths” with an increased corpus callosum but with a symmetrical hippocampus are much less likely to get caught by the police than psychopaths that also have an asymmetrical hippocampus. [8]

If psychopaths determine the socio-cultural, and by extension, political and geo-political standards for behaviour in our world, then it behooves us all to begin to join up the dots and develop some creative solutions that would provide an inoculation against their pervasive and damaging influence. It is the accumulative effects of psychopathology taking place at the global level of international relations which demands attention and which have enormous consequences for the ability of normal people to successfully establish and maintain genuine relationships and a truly civic society. Underestimating the importance of this trans-millennial problem has brought our world to the brink of collapse and promises new forms of servitude. It is for this reason we must begin to wrest back the propensity for the human spirit to bond, share, create, love and network by grounding our survival in the knowledge of the psychopath and its hold on humans with conscience.

Let’s return to Andrew Łobaczewski’s enormous contribution to the understanding of institutional psychopaths and in his book: Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes. [9]

ponerology2edThe author has created a compelling hypothesis from his own experiences and that of his colleagues in psychology as to why such horror and destruction continues to plague the earth and it inhabitants; accounting for the effects of a systemised pathology within our societies.

Having suffered greatly himself under the Nazi regime and then communist Poland, Łobaczewski sought to understand why it was that pathological social systems come into being and how easily they distort and deform the purity of the initial concept or ideology.  He was well placed for this type of research and was able to “ascertain the possibilities of understanding the nature of evil, its etiological factors and to track its pathodynamics,”where his personal experience and “refined methods in clinical psychology permitted reaching ever more accurate conclusions.” [10]

Due to the inadequacy of the conceptual framework within social science which do not seem to take into account biological, psychological and pathological premises, Łobaczewski and his colleagues introduced the science of ponerology from the Greek: poneros, meaning “evil.” This is a new branch of science arising from and utilising the disciplines of biology, and clinical psychology in order to study the causes and effects of the emergence and growth of evil. According to the author: “It clarifies unknown causative links and analyses the processes of the genesis of evil without giving a short shrift to factors which have so far been underrated.” [11] This process or “genesis of evil” was called, correspondingly, “ponerogenesis”. Biological, and psychological terminology were used “to bring into focus the true nature of the phenomenon” and to discover the core reasons for the wider formation of psychopathology under any system of beliefs.

To remind ourselves what globalisation is veering towards, Łobaczewski uses the term pathocracy: “a system of government … wherein a small pathological minority takes control over a society of normal people,” and where “… a certain hereditary anomaly isolated as ‘essential psychopathy’ [is] catalytically and causatively essential for the genesis and survival of large scale social evil.” [12]

Or more simply put: the inmates take over the asylum.

Psychopathic activity seeds itself in governments and other institutions of power, developing exponentially into  destructive processes which eventually kill both the “host” and the progenitors involved. The carriers of these pathological factors are persons that are analogous to pathogens or biological agents that can cause disease and characterised by negative psychological deviations. This would explain why certain countries which have adopted the extremes of political ideologies and the authoritarian structures that accompany them result in a natural state of adaptive psychopathy. [13]

Thanks to Łobaczewski and his research colleagues, many of whom paid for their ground-breaking efforts with their lives, they were able to shine a powerful light on the reasons why it was that Western society repeated the mistakes of the past. Łobaczewski believes the qualitative analysis of such a phenomenon and their causal relationships can give rise to a new understanding and thus the possibility of ameliorating the effects by introducing protective measures which would offer a natural immunization against the growth of evil.


In order to get to grips with some of the different pathologies, the author lists the primary categories of psychopathy which effectively form a hive mind of connections and which act as “worker bees” for the national and international Pathocracy. These acquired deviations include:

Characteropaths – These are individuals who have suffered brain tissue lesions as children or adults. The condition is irreversible and manifests emotional violence, egotism, insufficient control of emotions and academic or behavioural difficulties. They can act as pathological agents for ponerogenesis with sub-categories of drug induced, paranoid, frontal characteropathy. These pathological symptoms can be covertly transferred to the population at large and which can be likened to a “tenderizing” of normal persons for the later stages of ponerogenesis. Characteropaths are often dispensed with by the Pathocracy once their job is done. Entire generations of people can grow up “with psychological deformities regarding feeling and understanding moral, psychological, social and political realities.” [14]

Paranoid characteropathy – includes adherence to beliefs which have been nurtured and nourished in order to maintain their specific worldview. They are often egoists and spurn true reasoning and logic.  The power of the paranoid stems from their ability to “… enslave less critical minds, e.g. people with other kinds of psychological deficiencies, who have been victims of the egotistical influence of individuals with character disorders, and, in particular, a large segment of young people.” [15] Not all paranoid individuals have brain lesions some are functional and behavioural.

Frontal characteropathy – defined as perinatal brain tissue lesions occurring at the frontal areas of the cerebral cortex. The author states that such damage occurs frequently in the past, usually near birth, but also later in life. It plays a less dominant role in present societies mostly due to improved health-care. The condition is distinguished by manifesting an overall blanket of hysteria which develops as the individual ages, encompassing an overdevelopment of the psychological functions that were not damaged. This overcompensation leads to the dominance of knee-jerk reactions and instincts. Charisma, brutality, ruthlessness, pathological egotism, cunning and debased intuition for selfish gain are the net results. Anomalies in personality development can eventuate from being exposed to the pathology of such people over an extended period of time i.e. parents effecting (“infecting”) their children. Disregarding these characteropathic pathologies allows further extreme manifestations of the ponerogenic process to appear.

Spellbinders have pathological egotism as the dominating attribute. Such people are characterized by fanaticism and charisma to garner the converts and supporters they need to keep their ideologies and belief systems strengthened and thus their chosen denial of objective reality. They can be found in both characteropaths and psychopaths.

Inherited deviations include Schizoidia, wherein the characteristics of this anomaly include hypersensitivity, pessimism, distrust, intellectual arrogance and a lack of emotional foundation. They are prone to stress which causes them to collapse easily, though a low sensitivity to true emotional feeling allows the development of the reasoning faculty. A lack of empathy and disdain for psychological realities leads them to erroneous interpretations of others’ activities and intentions. They are hyper-reactive which can lead to psychotic states, often mistaken for schizophrenia. A condition of obsessive compulsion appears to dominate the intellectually centered types. They gravitate towards activities which have a moral foundation a description of reality that is dangerously simplistic and prone to what the author calls “double-talk” from Orwell’s “newspeak” and “double-think.” *** The use of “paramoralisms” **** and conversive thinking ***** occur across the smorgasbord of psychopathological deviancy.

Essential psychopathyPsychopaths are characterized by an absence of conscience which affords them the ability to hone their predator sense to a very fine degree indeed. After all, without the encumbrance of conscience, where are the limits on manipulation and deception? Due to this fact, psychopaths have no checks and balances on their predatory behaviour, therefore, no domain of society is immune from their workings.

Though essential psychopaths are statistically small in number in any population, their psychological footprint is large. When combined with other sub-categories of pathology such as narcissism, addictive personalities and authoritarian followers the influence is exponentially increased as those with an evolutionarily normal “psychological substratum” are targeted as fair game.

Łobaczewski identifies 2 per cent of the population as having sub-categories of psychopathy which cannot be classed as essential (primary), though at this later juncture it is likely to be much higher. These include asthenic psychopathy, which is a form of weak or partial psychopathy found in individuals that exhibit a high degree of variation and intensity. They are characterised by hypersensitivity, fervent idealism, a less sexually focused “appetite” and superficial displays of conscience.

Other psychological anomalies are designated as carriers of schizoidia or schizoidal psychopathy for whom hypersensitivity, lack of trust and self-obsession mean that the feelings of others are seldom recognised. Their hypersensitivity causes them to assume extreme positions and react to seemingly trivial transgressions. They can be eccentric, strange, with a limited capacity to understand their own psychology and that of others. They project their often warped ideas of reality and self-importance onto others’ intentions whilst coloured with their own pessimistic view of human nature. They frequently believe themselves to be mentally superior to others and sometimes excel in intellectual activities and the capacity to exercise reason. This is due to their lack of emotional foundation and understanding.

Spheres of activity that require mental calculation and cold examination are attractive to schizoidal types or anywhere where humanistic qualities of emotion are not required to be at the forefront of activities. Consequently, parenting skills are poor and the “black and white” version of reality they inhabit tends to get them into trouble through their reliance on simplistic and moralistic evaluations. Łobaczewski tells us that “… their ponerogenic role can have macro social implications if their attitude toward human reality and their tendency to invent great doctrines are put to paper and duplicated in large editions.” We can also find clues to their psychology in their statements and writings. The author gives the following example, the typical expression of which he names the “schizoid declaration” where: “Human nature is so bad that order in human society can only be maintained by a strong power created by highly qualified individuals in the name of some higher idea.” [16] 

Thus elitism, fascism, synarchy and all forms of authoritarian rule are highly appealing to such types. Schizoidal types are the book-keepers, academics and ideologues who comprise any emerging pathocracy.

Skirtoids are recognized as tough and hardy individuals with strong constitutions, inflated egos and good psychological and physical endurance. Consequently, they are attracted to the military and ill-suited to peace-time. This is not your average family man, though they will defend and seek to protect conservative or fascist principles as an inverted declaration of “family values.” Hence we may look to America once again for a probable high percentage of drafted Skirtoids within the US Army and law enforcement. Judging by the listed recordings of police brutality currently rising in the United States it is easy to conclude that Skirtoids are thick  on the ground.  One study places the incidence of this psychopathy as 5 percent much higher than Łobaczewski’s estimate of around 1.5 percent. [17]

This also brings to mind intelligence and “black-ops” cannon fodder that Łobaczewski calls Jackals which would categorise some of those who work for private security firms, mercenary units, as well as assassins and hired thugs; those who delight in the “armed struggle” rather than the freedom they claim to follow. They are in a category all their own, defined by the lack of emotional feeling, though often endowed with mental alacrity and organisational ability. Łobaczewski believes that these individuals could be examples of a “hybridization” stating that: “A jackal could then be imagined as the carrier of schizoidal traits in combination with some other psychopathy, e.g. essential psychopathy or skirtoidism.” [18]


*     Etiology:  the study of the causes and origins of diseases.

**   For an instructive look at the reality of child psychopaths and the havoc they can cause have a look at the film Joshua (2007) and We need to talk about Kevin (2011).
*** Łobaczewski refers to components of Double-talk or Double-think in the following way “The main ideology succumbs to symptomatic deformation, in keeping with the characteristic style of this very disease and with what has already been stated about the matter. The names and official contents are kept, but another, completely different content is insinuated underneath, thus giving rise to the well-known double talk phenomenon within which the same names have two meanings: one for initiates, one for everyone else. The latter is derived from the original ideology; the former has a specifically pathocratic meaning, something which is known not only to the Pathocrats themselves, but also is learned by those people living under long-term subjection to their rule.” (Łobaczewski ; Chapter 5; p.207)
**** “Paramoralisms: The conviction that moral values exist and that some actions violate moral rules is so common and ancient a phenomenon that it seems to have some substratum at man’s instinctive endowment level (although it is certainly not totally adequate for moral truth), and that it does not only represent centuries’ of experience, culture, religion, and socialization. Thus, any insinuation framed in moral slogans is always suggestive, even if the “moral” criteria used are just an “ad hoc” invention. Any act can thus be proved to be immoral or moral by means of such paramoralisms utilized as active suggestion, and people whose minds will succumb to such reasoning can always be found.” In searching for an example of an evil act whose negative value would not elicit doubt in any social situation, ethics scholars frequently mention child abuse. However, psychologists often meet with paramoral affirmations of such behavior in their practice, such as in the above-mentioned family with the prefrontal field damage in the eldest sister. Her younger brothers emphatically insisted that their sister’s sadistic treatment of her son was due to her exceptionally high moral qualifications, and they believed this by auto-suggestion. Paramoralism somehow cunningly evades the control of our common sense, sometimes leading to acceptance or approval of behavior that is openly pathological.” – (Łobaczewski Chapter 4; p.151). The editor’s note referenced from the same passage is also worth including in this context: “Many examples of recent years include children beaten to death by their parents for “religious reasons”. The parents may claim that the child is demon possessed, or that they have behaved so loosely that only beating them will “straighten them out”. Another example is circumcision, both for boys and girls by certain ethnic groups. The Indian custom of suttee, where the wife climbs on the funeral pyre of her husband; or in Muslim cultures where, if a woman is raped, it is the duty of her male family members to kill her to wipe away the shame from the family name. All of these acts are claimed to be “moral”, but they are not, they are pathological and criminal.”
***** “Conversive thinking is highly contagious and acts a dangerous infection entry for truly pathological material. People who have lost their capacity for logical thought (and thus the ability to distinguish between truth and lies) are thus more prone to accepting the paralogic and paramorals of psychopaths and characteropaths. For example, observe the behavior of the ‘Christian Right’ and their uncritical acceptance of war propaganda.”



[1] op.cit; Oakley (p.282)
[2] op. cit. Hare.
[3] ‘The Origins of Antisocial Behaviour, Twin Study’ Medical News Today, 25 May 2005.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Severe Attachment Disorder in Childhood – A Guide to Practical Therapy by Dr. Niels Peter Rygaard authorized by D.P.A., Aarhus C, Denmark Translated from N. P. Rygaard, L’enfant abandonn6. Guide de traitement des troubles de I’attachement. 2005; Printed in Austria by SpringerWien New York. | ISBN-10 3-211-29705-7.
[7] ‘Study finds psychopaths have distinct brain structure’ By Kate Kelland, Reuters, May 7, 2012.
[8] ‘Ruthlessness Gene Discovered’ Nature April 5, 2008 |  “Some children ‘born bad’” by Debbie Andalo and agencies, The Guardian, May 25, 2005 | ‘Twins Study Finds Genetic Cause For Psychopathy’By Randell Parker, May 26, 2005.
[9] Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes by Andrzej M. Lobaczewski, Translated from the original Polish by Alexandra Chciuk-Celt, Ph. D. Corrected by the author in 1998 Edited with Notes and Commentary by Laura Knight-Jadczyk and Henri Sy. Published by Red Pill Press, 2006. | ISBN 1-897244-18-5.
[10] Ibid (p.99)
[11] Ibid. (p.180)
[12] Ibid. (p.197)
[13] “The conclusion is that the American way of life has optimized the survival of psychopaths with the consequence that it is an adaptive “life strategy” that is extremely successful in American society, and thus has increased in the population in strictly genetic terms. What is more, as a consequence of a society that is adaptive for psychopathy, many individuals who are NOT genetic psychopaths have similarly adapted, becoming “effective” psychopaths, or “secondary sociopaths.”– ‘Official Culture in America: A Natural State of Psychopathy?’ By Laura Knight-Jadczyk, July 30, 2003,
[14] op. cit. Lobaczewski (p.106)
[15] op. cit. Lobaczewski (p.111)
[16] Ibid. (p.128)
[17] “Construct Validity of Psychopathy in a Community Sample: A Nomological Net Approach”, Salekin, Trobst, Krioukova, Journal of Personality Disorders, 15(5), 425-441, 2001) quoted from Political Ponerology p.18.
[18] op. cit. Lobazewski (p.138) [6 Ibid. (pp.226-227)


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