Official Culture Reprise V: Moving Away From the Psychopath’s Dream (2)

“The conflict between the need to be accurate and the desire to feel good about ourselves is one of the major battlegrounds of the self, and how this battle is waged and how it is won, are central determinants of who we are and how we feel about ourselves.”

Timothy D. Wilson, Stranger to Ourselves, Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious


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We are work in progress…  Aalto University Commons

To begin extricating ourselves from Official Culture and the parallel process of healing our emotions from its effects, we need to understand how diluted forms of ponerological influences work through us in often subtle ways. To do so means that you act in favour of what is true, the efforts of which can help to counter what is false and subjective. But this can only be effective if we are not driven by our emotional reactions where we identify with the object of our defence as a means to displace the inner-work that has yet to begin deep inside. It is that lack of awareness that makes negative influence so effective and which offers up more chaos to those who can harvest it.

No lasting action for change can have any effect at all until we have set about changing ourselves so we embody that which we would like to see in the external world. It seems it cannot come before. Once greater numbers of people take personal responsibility for their own self growth and if requested, assist others in doing the same then perhaps a more balanced reality can emerge, not just for the recipient but eventually for the whole community of which he is a part.

Which sector of society we are born into, which country and our very genetic inheritance may determine how we respond to psychopathic influence. It means we must recognise that in order to have any hope at all for future generations to break out of these Empire cycles we must address the deep, core reasons for the continual emergence of Pathocratic dynamics rather than combating its effects. That necessarily begins on our own doorstep, otherwise we merely project our own frustrations and hurts onto the Pathocrats as convenient repositories for all our unresolved issues.

By addressing our own weaknesses to deny, avert and seek comfort at the expense of hard, often terrible realities, we can begin to gradually alter the limits we place upon ourselves. A nourished, peaceful individual who feels part of the human family without recourse to emotional manipulation or ego-defence will have positive effects on his or her environment as a mathematical certainty. It is natural process and cannot be forced. Seeking our unique current in the River of Life must surely be obtained by seeking the closest approximation of the true essence of an issue, subject-matter or individual and thus arriving at the correct impression, diagnosis or response.

Isn’t this the hallmark of not just satisfying human relations but how true science makes discoveries: learning to see what IS as far as we can and sharing the discoveries without prejudice?

The New age crew posit that we are all one anyway and we inhabit a shared system of beliefs that is ultimately an illusion so we must create what we want from that sea of “maya” and mould it towards our desires for it to manifest. Post modernists are prone to take relativism to an extreme where everything is allowed and nothing is sacred and where morality is almost a quaint diversion. To manifest what we always want based on our own desires to have and to get amounts to a spiritual narcissism based on capital. I am owed this because I’ve been so giving…all week! You may indeed manifest a reality based on urgent desire but it will be a reflection of your state of being with all the implications therein. And regarding humanism, well, in one sense Truth is relative. But it depends on context. From the perspective of an amoeba or a civil servant (they are similar, after all) then Truth becomes a different thing. From the perspective of human behaviour and the results of interacting with a psychopath – consistent data become less and less relative and closer to facts since it is comes from a consensus of shared experience. Thus, any form of social progress must exclude those whose nature runs counter to all notions of human values. The challenge to inoculate normal people from psychopaths is achievable and we must not be afraid to tackle this issue, aware that we cannot employ the same psychopathic measures to control their incursions.

While we can say that only subjective reality exists in the eye of the observer and this may be true, it is possible to arrive at an objective appraisal of an event, occurrence or dynamic and achieve a consensus, provided it is reached through a team or group that has sufficiently left most of the bias or belief behind in their analyses. This type of objectivity with ourselves is vital if we are to heal emotions and maintain a distance from the effects of psychopathy. As one who is still in that process, and who has see-sawed between light and dark for most of his life, it seems to me that sincere effort is a necessary part of growth and it cannot be avoided despite what many “love and light” philosophies would like you to believe.

There is – as they say – no free lunch.

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The Story of Humanity under psychopaths – What’s your particular “cheese”?

The only difference is that of unnecessary suffering; once we’ve got it, then it’s hard-wired and we don’t go back, even if the gold (or cheese) remains seductive in much the same way as a glass of whiskey does for an alcoholic. A certain degree of conscious suffering might arrive where you willingly take on the friction that is set up between what you perceive as a path to self-knowledge and a more truthful, cooperative road to living. The plant must push up from the dark soil to reach the sunlight; the long distance runner must push past the pain barrier whilst having faith in his ability to reach his goal; the pianist must practice for years to attain the quality of performance that allows her to play Rachmaninov and with a passion that transcends technical understanding. Quality doesn’t just arrive, it has to be consciously sought in accordance with cycles and stages as in any developmental process. Timing and sensitivity to one’s own pace in taking aboard truths about oneself and the outer world is a delicate journey that cannot be rushed. The process itself is as important as the defined goal. Inaction is sometimes as important as action. But sincerity is everything. The scale of the inevitable sacrifice toward these inner goals is not as important as the sincerity of the effort. And I’ve found that the Universe does respond as mathematical certainty, to real effort, correctly assessed.

It’s no wonder so few attempt self-knowledge and its development. The path to the growth of truth and authenticity within one’s own being is incredibly ambitious. Perhaps it is the most ambitious goal of all. (Speaking as one who is still plugging away…)

That said, Disillusionment and even depression can be stepping stones to a life that is richer and more meaningful because layers of conditioning and self-importance have the potential to be gradually reduced or shed completely from such suffering. This is the nature of the “Dark Night of the Soul,” to find ourselves alone down a very deep hole. The absence of hope and the onset that everything is futile and pointless can be the precursor to an illumination that this too is an illusion just as much as thinking that the swing between happiness and unhappiness is a state to which we are forever bound.

If C.G Jung was right in that “Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event,” then we may be sure that when we integrate the more unruly parts of our personality with a cold-bloodied examination as to who we have really become, then our lives and the lives of others will reflect such a change for the better. We might be able to say that we are on the road to developing a true quality of consciousness. But that can only occur if our own self-importance as a carefully managed protective shell against the outer world comes crashing down, or preferably gently dismantled brick by cemented brick. Poet and Philosopher Rumi reminds us of that very thing when he states: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” And in fact, there are many barriers which are drawn from a misunderstanding about how the mind and subconscious/unconscious appear to work.

We are not remotely rational beings by any stretch of the imagination, something Nobel prize winning psychologist and statistician Daniel Kahneman recently proved conclusively in his 2012 book: Thinking fast and Slow where he shows us just how predictable and subjective we truly are when it comes to opinions and belief. Let me highlight just a small sample of those inherent biases most of us harbour.

thinking-fast-slowConfirmation Bias: We tend to listen only to the information that confirms our preconceptions. This is most clearly observed in much of the conservative or traditionalist grouping but is just as  prevalent in left-liberal leanings though often more covert in expression.

This in turn, links to the Observer-Expectancy Effect which has special relevance for researchers and statistical information and why we should be highly dubious of the latest study and poll which is not aware of all these biases. Positivity and Negativity bias also feature here – seeing everything as light and happy is often as bad as seeing everything as dark and miserable since neither are integrated and thus open to poor evaluations and faulty decision-making.

Hyperbolic Discounting – wanting an immediate pay off or gratification and Outcome Bias – “Judging a decision based on the outcome – rather than how exactly the decision was made in the moment”, often clings to the former, which makes disappointment and chaos more real, since being pessimistic – joyless as it is – limits options but often makes us more cautious and objective. Self-Enhancing Transmission Bias could be placed in the self-help/New age circles as one example, where: “everyone shares their successes more than their failures. This leads to a false perception of reality and inability to accurately assess situations.” [1]

Some of Kahneman’s definitions can be included under the umbrella term of Normalcy Bias which is defined as:

… a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations.

The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It can result in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

The opposite of normalcy bias would be overreaction, or “worst-case thinking” bias,… in which small deviations from normality are dealt with as signaling an impending catastrophe.” (Wikipedia)

Failure to recognise our own individual bias illustrates the very great difficulty of self-development. More than anything, we need others whom we trust to point out our weaknesses. We all know it is easier to analyse and find fault in others but we cannot be aware of our own blind spots until someone tells us. And then we have to have the awareness to differentiate between defensive reactions (are they just acting out their own defences?) and humble evaluation. And of course, bound up in all of that is the comfort of belief. Once people find a belief that fits with their own experiences – however individual and unrepresentative – the power of “group think” and the Ostrich Effect, Loss Aversion Bias, (avoiding unpalatable realities and the preference to guard against loss rather than see the long-term gain) and Status Quo Bias (preferring things to stay the same) all become operational and explains why it’s so difficult to shift away from certain cultural precepts, something that Kahneman calls the Band Wagon Effect, which is linked to conformity and flocking together due to threats to cherished beliefs.

Clearly, we can see in the above just how strong a connection there is to the trap of conformity and authority and why the birth pangs of any new cultural paradigm is so painful. Authoritarian followers are often the dominant grouping despite and due to the transition to something entirely different. As an article on Kahneman’s work pointed out: “That we have found the tendency to conformity in our society so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning young people are willing to call white black is a matter of concern,” … “It raises questions about our ways of education and about the values that guide our conduct. [2]

There’s another understatement to beat them all!

Other highlights of his work include what he calls The Curse of knowledge, which is something we see almost everywhere. Whilst there are indeed some truly wonderful scholars and trail-blazers who are creative in the highest sense of the word, academia in general is beset with folks who are super-intelligent and well informed but wholly disconnected from real life and thus open to political manipulation and emotionally deficient decisions, often due to their perceived greatness in their field – therefore their gargantuan egos. Information bias comes in here, where action is frequently diluted in favour of more information and complexity, upon which academia and official science the world over thrives.

There is What Kahneman calls an common Empathy Gap sourced from “addiction” to intellectual satisfaction in academics as well as ordinary people who appear incapable of placing themselves in another’s position in order to imagine what their life must be like. With the rise of narcissism in the modern world (especially in young women) this lack of empathy is also connected to cemented beliefs which underpin conformity to a pleasing ideal, often bearing little relationship to reality.

Related to academia and authority figures are the “experts” which we go to for valued support. Financial advisors, economic forecasters, bankers and some therapists come to mind. Kahneman calls this the Seersucker Illusion which is frequently more about avoidance of our own responsibilities, where such experts’ knowledge often does not and cannot possibly add up in the real world, since they are basing their own evidence on all the above tendencies!

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I think there might be an elephant in the room …

Despite the legacy of Freud’s psychoanalysis where everything is sexual repression and suppressed instincts, it seems the link between the above myriad workings of mind deception is more complex still. What Daniel Kahneman called an unlikely partnership between two sets of unconscious thinking: system1 ( instinctive and emotional) and system 2 thinking (logical; deliberative) and what Daniel Goleman called the “high and low roads”, forms the rich pathways of the unconscious mind which, according to Psychologist Timothy D. Wilson, is highly adaptive and not at all like the Freudian one of old and more mysterious than even Carl Jung may have imagined…

In his book: Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (2002) the unconscious is revealed to be like a holographic collection of minutely layered states of learned behaviour which is both maddeningly elusive and beautifully inspirational. It is a conglomeration of many independent abilities, handling information about feelings, judgments and general behaviour outside the realm of conscious awareness and inaccessible to consciousness. Conversely, consciousness appears to be a single entity. Moreover, the unconscious operates in this way not necessarily for reasons of repression but due to an economy of energy and therefore, efficiency. This form of implicit learning can be likened to a psychological osmosis which seems to be operating with small children as they learn a language, and where the intellect takes a back seat. No tense hours of learning by rote but an intuitive assimilation of data takes place. Effort and intention is not present. To explain the principles of grammar is usually impossible yet, they become over a relatively fluent short period of time.

The challenge is that many higher order states of mind processing simply aren’t accessible as we have been programmed to think and perceive within a narrow band of consciousness which has been adopted as normal from childhood to adulthood. If the mind is forced to perceive and accept that which is cognitively too “dense” due to such an imposed restrictive band, then a breakdown is usually the result for those wishing to push through to the other side, thereby allowing paradoxically  the potential of a new self to be born. And clearly, what we can safely access to open up and expand our awareness as much as we can is a good thing. But we all have our different thresholds. It is those collective, artificial thresholds which have been ingrained and artificially promoted to pour scorn on non-conscious perception or thought which nonetheless plays a huge part in who are and how we perceive.  Wilson shows us that the adaptive unconscious offers a rich mix of attributes which were never fully explored scientifically in the way they should have been thanks to the popular cult of psychoanalysis.

Wilson also makes a vital point in relation to the legacy of psychoanalysis and contemporary New Age navel-gazing which is extremely pertinent to our current discussion vis a vis spirituality and psychopathy. Since there is no direct access to the adaptive unconscious, by design, then much of what we want to “see” and understand is out of reach. After all, it is the nature of the unconscious to offer rapid insights and the kind of “inner-tuition” which can provide effective resolution from all kinds of problems. The bad news is that it is difficult to know ourselves precisely because of this lack of direct access, as Wilson explains: “… our minds evolved to operate largely outside consciousness, and non-conscious processing is part of the architecture of the brain.”

He states further:

“‘Making the unconscious conscious’ may be no easier than viewing and understanding the assembly language controlling our word processing program.  It can thus be fruitless to try to examine the adaptive unconscious by looking inward. It is often to deduce the nature of our minds by looking outward at our behaviour and how others react to us, and by coming up with a good narrative.” [3]

Whilst not disparaging self-development and introspection, Wilson is of the opinion that we must become “good biographers” by creating a somewhat detached, bird’s eye view of our development, where the distillation of our feelings and behaviour can provide a more objective evidence of our true nature as reflected in the crucible of our everyday lives. This way, we avoid the danger of too much day-dreaming, “inner-considering” or self-indulgent navel-gazing. More importantly, this can all too easily slip over into dissociative states if latent and unresolved trauma is involved. Otherwise, this all becomes yet another avenue for obsession and subversion of genuine self development.

Wilson also discovered something that is pertinent to our discussion. He believes that “… the adaptive unconscious is more than just a gatekeeper, deciding what information to admit to consciousness. It is also a spin doctor that interprets information outside of awareness.”  And we therefore come back to the core driver of willful blindness since the “… unconscious is not governed by accuracy and accessibility alone. Namely, the feel-good factor and comfort-zone can also dominate and may even generate the feelings which conform to the gateposts of such feel-good criteria. And as Wilson correctly observes: When it comes to maintaining a sense of well-being, each of us is the ultimate spin doctor.” [4]

I urge the reader to seek out Wilson’s book and read further his excellent insights into the relationship between our consciousness and unconscious mind and the entirely complementary research of Daniel Kahneman.

Official Culture demands addiction and a constant anticipation of some desired objective in order for its continued existence. It requires the above irrationality and bias to keep the “discourse of disbelief” regarding anything outside of the pre-designed parameters to remain in place. Substance abuse is the most obvious but there are others such as ideologies, intellectual pursuits and seemingly altruistic endeavours – anything that inflates are sense of self-importance at the expense of establishing a true connection to the endless energy pouring out of a Universe that is creatively alive. It could be that the only way that we can reject the addiction to this pathological world is to first admit to ourselves that we are indeed “skin encapsulated addicts.” Seeking why one suffers is usually the starting point. The onion begins to peel in the inner and outer worlds and we begin to see the “Matrix” for what it is and what role we play in it.

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Propping up our Official Self with rationalisations, bias and beliefs. Where is the real “I”? | © infrakshun

In one very real sense, we are all slaves to an irrational idea, belief, an opiate or ideal, yet the awareness of how these things connect to an objective or subjective appraisal of our reality relates directly to how much ignorance we have chosen. Our deep-seated bias and the inaccessibility of the adaptive unconscious can only keep reality out for so long. Perhaps the mere fact of having knowledge of systems of control and how they work can change our own perceptions and thus allow real freedom to be born from within, rather than the proffered theories of freedom and injustice to enter from without. The latter dynamic can only be nothing more than the same twists on truth that we have swallowed for so long. Without this ability to anchor love in ourselves and to see similar lies in the external world, we remain mere machines acting out choices that are effectively what Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan Matus called: “foreign installations.”

If we so wish, we can offer ourselves up to the altars of the Elite; to be sacrificed for a thousand different pathological desires about which we are entirely oblivious. Learned pathology will always generate more of the same, until the time comes when the snake eats more than just its tail.

Despite what the dominant programming tells us, most human beings are not naturally selfish, greedy and narcissistic individuals out to trample over others in order to make a quick buck and achieve material power and status. Sure, many of us have been taught that such behaviour is normal and even necessary, but in my view, it is not the essence of humanity. It is learned behaviour from those for whom it is a natural state of being.

Most people want to live an ordinary, quiet and modestly comfortable life. How many people have you met individually from different nations and cultures and who are separated from the media and culture-induced tribal mentalities who’ve been not only friendly and welcoming but treated you as one of the family, going out of their way to assist you? It seems to me that the vast majority of people function very differently away from their peer group, cultural milieu and socio-cultural programming that resides within them. When placed inside another culture and when confronted with kindness and sincerity more often than not it is reciprocated.*

A recent study suggests that cooperation may even be hard-wired into human DNA. According to authors Robert W. Sussman and C. Robert Cloninger, humans are naturally altruistic and social, only reverting to violence when stressed, abused, neglected or mentally ill. [5] This is supported from a range of academic perspectives, including anthropology, psychiatry, biology, sociology, religion and medicine. Sussman, a professor of physical anthropology in Arts & Sciences says: “Cooperation isn’t just a by-product of competition or something done only because both parties receive some benefit from the partnership …” He continues: “Rather, altruism and cooperation are inherent in primates, including humans.” [6]

The authors state further :

“Competition and aggressive self-preservation are a definite part of the behavioural repertoire of all mammals, but they are primitive tendencies that are progressively regulated by higher cognitive processes increasing the capacity for cooperation which emerged in a step-wise fashion in the evolution of non-human primates and human beings from their common ancestors. “…cooperation and altruism are the statistical norm and represent the more typical ‘normal’ and spontaneous (or natural) healthy behavioural pattern in primates. In fact, cooperative sociality is a necessity for well-being in anthropoid primates.” [7]

Most importantly, the professors’ research has strongly indicated that not only has “… unselfish, cooperative behaviour evolved in group-living animals” but that certain mechanisms involved in the evolution of sociality and cooperation may have developed as a coping strategy for protection against predators.

As the development of our higher brain processes continues then it stands to reason the evolution of our common social ties and strategies against the encroachment of the psychopath would develop too. And this is what we must actively pursue and to which we must become aware. This should also give us a great deal of hope when we entertain the possibility that we are not all just a product of the “Selfish Gene” and destined to remain locked into such a depressing scenario. Realising that we could be naturally cooperative and altruistic can only add to the strengthening of our faith in humanity to extricate itself out of this dark pit we presently find ourselves.

Psychologist Daniel Goldman achieved widespread praise for his accessible syntheses on the latest in in the fields of social science. One of his books titled Social Intelligence: The New Science of Social Relationships (2007) arrives at similar conclusions to the professors revealing that we are quite literally “wired to connect” in a variety of ways. The brain is designed to be sociable enacting a biological dance between two persons and where an “instinctive compassion” and sympathetic awareness to others has been key in the development of the human species and NOT an exclusively evolutionary Darwinism and its blanket reductionism. Human beings are intensely social and as a long term survival strategy it may have proved more enduring to Cro-Magnon man than it did to the Neanderthals and we know which evolutionary strand continued to develop and thrive. Yet, as Goleman says, this intensely nuanced biological connection can be a double-edged sword which either encourages a mutual exchange of nourishment or a slow acting poison against our minds and bodies. What is more, emotions are contagious in the same way we can pick up a cold – we can trigger responses in each other in an almost extrasensory manner.

We can easily recognise how vulnerable the human mechanism is to the Prime Directive of the Pathocrats. Yet, the predator’s greatest fear is to be discovered within ourselves and in the outer world. Their task is to make sure that we never find the strategies that protect us against their ancietn dynamics. Human beings have this same predator instinct which has been brought to the fore by hundreds of years of programming; a reptilian brain of survival and desire that we fight to imbue with a multitude of masks. The worst thing that most of us fear is the fact that we don’t have a clue, that we are weak and full hubris, bumbling along in life too proud to let our mask of self-assurance and significance slip. Humility is difficult to embody when all of life is screaming at us to be in control and gain meaning through our wants, needs and acquisitions. Fear of humiliation and ostracisation from group think is a powerful antidote to personal freedom. This is just one of the reasons the power brokers maintain such a tight hold on our perceptions.

To keep the secret of the psychopath’s interference in humanity under the radar, they will do all they can to attack, ridicule and denigrate those who become aware of their machinations at the highest level. And they have become very good at it. For our part, a wilful, conscious defence is required whereby the amplitude of the action is disbursed across a network of creative minds whenever these attacks manifest. The first line of defence must not be to act against psychopaths and pathologically compromised persons because nine times out of ten they will win. We must defend the soul from attack by proclaiming loud and clear exactly what is happening in as many diverse ways as we can. There are many more of us than there are them, so we best get a move on and use our strength in numbers.

When we incorporate our knowledge of psychopathy into our thinking then there is no reason why technology, health, medicine, economics, science, politics, art and the human potential in general cannot be used productively to inaugurate cultures quite different to the last two thousand years. Perfection is neither possible or desired, but we can lessen the suffering and achieve workable and practical solutions to reduce and mitigate the effects and presence of psychopaths.

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© infrakshun

It is one thing to learn about psychopathy as it is reflected in our societies and our politics but  quite another to experience it in your own life.  Inspired by author Stephen Verstappen, there follows a brief summary of the important ways to defend ourselves against psychopathic incursions. [8]

Acknowledging their existence – The first step to applying the knowledge of psychopaths in our midst is to admit there is a problem and one that is much more pervasive and then we may have ever realised. Once we do so, then we have our first line of defence against their influence, not only for ourselves but for our friends, neighbours and family.

Recognition – Do not for moment think you are a good judge of character when it comes to the psychopath. Don’t even try to outsmart him on the psychology front. He will read you and re-calibrate his responses to draw you in, until s/he becomes perfectly tailored to your specific psychological profile. If psychologists and mental health professionals are fooled then don’t expect you won’t be. 

Spotting the psychopath and pathological narcissist is not easy; certainly not as easy as memorising a check-list of traits. Camouflage and deception is the psychopath’s stock and trade. However, over time we can discern the mismatch between words and actions and the elaborate masks they wear over their true nature. Once recognised, patience and the ability NOT to react is often the best line of defence until such time it is expedient to take it to the next level. Once it dawns on you that are interacting with a psychopath, the most important thing to remember is to re-affirm what you are really dealing with: a reaction-machine of supernatural cunning which thrives on drama, pain, fear, sex, and suffering. If s/he is an essential psychopath,  nothing you can do or say can ever change them.

Once you begin to project your own traits of empathy, compassion, altruism and conscience onto the individual in question – you are lost. All of it will be like a three course meal of emotional sustenance and will only embolden and expand his strategies for entrapment. Once you are in the spider’s web it will do you no good to struggle. Be “wise as serpent and gentle as a dove”, which means thinking laterally and not playing the psychopaths game.

Attack / Evade – The only weapon that can defeat the psychopath and pathocratic ideologies is networked objective truth, relentlessly and fearlessly applied. It must be done commensurate to the psychopath’s attacks and no more. As we have repeated over and over: the greatest fear of the predator is the possibility of being exposed. If all avenues for masking his true essence are barred to him and he has nowhere to go this will likely cause a retreat. For it not to be a strategic one, he must be permitted to have some form of escape route otherwise, like a caged-animal, he will attack in ways that will shock most normal people beyond imagining. Most importantly, a strong network of friends, family and co-workers must be there to back you up and provide support. Your position of power, right timing and a careful appraisal of his likely moves once exposed should ensure an eventual departure of the psychopath from your life.

Finally, never, EVER underestimate the psychopath/sociopath. They are not like you or I.

They are our worst nightmare. And once we see that, we can break the spell and awaken.

 


* Several years ago, this is something I discovered after making the choice to live at an auberge or hostel for over two years. Situated on the pilgrimage route of Santiago De Compostela, this was designed to be both a personal recapitulation toward some needed inner changes which I had failed to carry out a few years before. Call it a retreat where I was “in the world but not of it.” In my room were four beds, a fridge, cooker and sink. Very basic and functional. In this little room someone new would arrive almost every night. It was a excellent way to observe people from every culture and nation, and to observe oneself in a relentless social interaction punctuated by periods of solitude. I learned what made me angry, annoyed, uncertain, happy, aroused, sad, depressed and fearful. I learned to be open whilst remaining at a friendly distance. I discovered new “false” layers of the self and more authentic ones. I saw myself through their eyes and realised I had no idea who I was and what impressions I had been giving out for all these years. My sojourn here wasn’t easy by any means, since I was also working during the day. But not only did it allow me to step outside society while strangely remaining within it, I was able to see that the vast majority, young and old, regardless of their cultural background were absolutely designed to cooperate, connect and change in the most surprisingly creative ways. Although as a human race we are weak and frail in the face of outside forces, ultimately, I came to the conclusion that our will to sacrifice and cooperate with others is far stronger than our selfish desires.


Notes

[1] ’58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do’ by Drake Baer and Gus Lubin. Business Insider at http://www.businessinsider.com/cognitive-biases-2014-6?op=1&IR=T#ixzz36QAuMOCZ
[2] Ibid.
[3] L.200 Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious (2002)By Timothy D. Wilson (Kindle Edition).
[4] Ibid. L.475
[5] Origins of Altruism and Cooperation (Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects) By Robert W. Sussman and C. Robert Cloninger. Published by Springer; 2011 | ISBN-10: 1441995196.
[6] ‘Humans naturally cooperative, altruistic, social’ Eureka Alert September 8, 2011. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-09/wuis-hnc090811.php
[7] op. cit Sussman and Cloninger; (Preface.)
[8] ‘Defense against the Psychopath – a Brief Introduction to Human Predators’ taken from the book by Stephan Versteppan The Art of Urban Survival. |See also: http://www.chinastrategies.com/defense-against-the-psychopath/ | http://www.chinastrategies.com/

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