Addiction

The Psychopath: A Different Species? II

“Natural human reactions … strike the psychopath as strange, interesting, and even comical. They therefore observe us… They become experts in our weaknesses and sometimes effect heartless experiments.”

Andrew Lobaczewski, ‘Political Ponerology’


Are there neurophysiological signs which could indicate the presence of psychopathy?  Research into differences between the brain of a psychopath and a normal person is providing many insights into the behaviour of our predatory neighbours.

The British Journal of Psychiatry found that psychopaths “showed less activity in brain areas involved in assessing the emotion of facial expressions…” [1] with a high possibility that this psychological “disease” is the result of a dysfunction of the frontal cortex of the brain. In one study from Canada described by bio-medical scientist Renato M.E. Sabbatini, PhD, the results showed that there was significant:

…. Impair[ment] on all the ‘orbitofrontal- ventromedial tasks’ but not in the function of other areas of the frontal cortex. The similarities between psychopaths and patients with prefrontal cortex damage surfaced in several areas of the study. ‘Both the psychopath and the orbitofrontal or ventromedial frontal patient show an exaggerated preoccupation with sexual matters, acting in a promiscuous and impersonal maladaptive way,’ observed the researchers. ‘Both are remarkable for their lack of social and ethical judgment. Both neglect long-term consequences of their actions, choosing immediate gratification over careful planning.’ [2]

Brain dysfunction supports the evidence that they may look human but for all intents and purposes they act in ways that are anti-human. Or, as psychotherapist Amos A. Gunsburg describes it, they are “humanoids” mimicking those with conscience:

Mankind has spent centuries trying to make sense of these creatures as some form of human being. All in vain. Not only in vain, but at enormous on-going cost to our civilization. These creatures are not human beings gone wrong. They are a different species … dedicated to the murder of human values … as a prelude to the murder of human beings … e.g., the tactics used by Nazis, past and present.

They laugh at us. They say: “No one understands us. People can’t put themselves in the minds of men who act without a conscience. They try to understand, but they can’t.”

These creatures do not THINK human. They do not SPEAK human. They do not know what it is to BE human. We classify them as “humanoid.”

Yes, they have human form. If we manage to resist their onslaught long enough, we will eventually develop technical scanning equipment which will measure how different they are from human beings, despite their similarity of form. In the meantime, the quality of our lives … and often our very lives … depends on our recognizing these creatures for what they are, and taking steps to neutralize their attempts to destroy us. [3]

If you are thinking that the above is way too harsh – then you are not getting it. It is exactly this immediate projection of conscience onto effectively empty shells which allow entry and conquest of the soul.

It really is that profound.

It is also important to note that we must not adopt the same psychopathic traits in order to oust the “humanoids” in our midst. The only way we can reduce the effects of psychopathic actions is to build our awareness of the problem so that we set in motion a new social contract that would prevent psychopaths from assuming positions of responsibility and power. Prevention seems to be the key and that comes from a strong knowledge base. The lessons of history show us very clearly what we have repeatedly failed to do: prevent unhealthy conditions arising which attract and thereby foster pathological infection. Once taken root as an individual and collective “dance” between the predator and prey, there is usually only one conclusion – the dissolution of the organism, whether it be an individual, community or nation.

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We know that psychopaths take special pleasure in cheating, deceiving, lying and manipulating. Indeed, it is this drive that informs much of the psychopath’s reason for engaging with his victim. Prolonging this dance saps the emotional energy from an individual or group leading to innumerable states of negative emotion vital to the game. The psychopath is then able to extract the maximum quotient of energy from the suffering which amounts to a massive endorphin rush. The bigger the potential for emotional drama the greater the “hit”, which means it’s also important to recognise the power of bio-chemicals in the “dance” between the normal person and the primary narcissist and psychopath. The greater the deception, the bigger the high.

One might say that psychopaths are addicted to extracting psycho-spiritual nutrients of those with conscience.

Dopamine is one such neurochemical that plays a part in all sexual activity. It is involved in the pleasurable high that is experienced during orgasm and activates the reward circuitry in the brain.  Just as the drug addict craves his drug of choice to release the dopamine rush, this operates in a similar way when we become attached, dependent or “addicted” to someone who gives us the same rush.

The neurochemical that is responsible for “love” bonding is oxytocin, which is released into the bloodstream during sex.  It is a fascinating bonding hormone associated with nurturing and affection. Present in women in higher quantities than men, this hormone is also linked to emotional and physical benefits which include the healing of wounds and the tranquilising effect that can help us in times of stress. Breast-feeding stimulates oxytocin production in both mother and child while the connection between milk production and oxytocin promotes the mother-baby bond. During sex the chemical is stimulated by the female hormone oestrogen and enhances its effect, whereas with men, the opposite is the case, where testosterone dampens down production. (This may explain why women want to cuddle up after sex and talk and men become drowsy and switch off). However, despite glowing reviews of the benefits of oxytocin, it is not a panacea.

Psychologist Shelley E. Taylor, PhD and her work on oxytocin shows that the hormone may also “enhance negative social cues.” Taylor found that “…oxytocin rises not only in women who are in good, affectionate relationships, but also in women who have distressed relationships. In the latter case … oxytocin may be signalling the need to seek other social contact.” In other words, it is not saying stay close to that person but stay close to someone, anyone as long as that oxytocin high is maintained. The Doctor gives some salutary advice on this point:  “It’s never a good idea to map a psychological profile onto a hormone; they don’t have psychological profiles.” [4]

Further research from Mount Sinai School of Medicine psychologist Jennifer Bartz, PhD and her colleagues had some interesting results when they exposed men and women with border line personality disorders who often had volatile relationships to a dose of oxytocin. Data showed decreased ability to work in a team and a parallel erosion of trust compared with a placebo.[5]Chemicals seem to have a dark side which can act as a potential trap in dysfunctional relationships.  Mental health is a key factor as to how those chemicals will augment or help to confuse the relationship in question. If one is a psychopath then this chemical reactions can be turbo-charged on the part of the “prey”.

Unsurprisingly, sociopaths/psychopaths and pathological narcissists seem unable to secrete the hormone in anything like the same amounts contributing to the reasons for zero empathy and high levels of manipulation that eventuate. [6] What does this say when a woman is stimulated to overflow with levels of dopamine and oxcytocin in a psychopathic partner who has a hyper-reactive dopamine reward system and a lack of oxcytocin? [7] Greater and greater need for sexual and emotional hits on the part of the psychopath while the victim is trapped to giving all by an illusion made in flesh. The vampire sucks the blood of his prey until there is nothing but an empty container; an intense biochemical bond that effectively “milks” the endocrine system of the victim and which has nothing to do with any authentic emotion but everything to do with a primal addiction. Hence the reason that so many women and men have difficulty in extricating themselves from the psychopath’s powerful sphere of influence.

It is not just the tenacious nature of the psychopath’s personality but a very real physiological pull sourced from an abnormally intense biochemical bond that clamours to be satisfied despite the abusive nature of the relationship. The pain and anxiety is however, partially ameliorated by the release of oxytocin ensuring that the victim is led down the deadly garden path for more. Frequent sex alongside a permanent state of anxiety and pressure keeps the victim trapped in a spider’s web of dependency that gradually destroys the life and soul of the individual. The psychopath begins dispensing pleasure and pain simultaneously, until that is, life becomes intolerable. Then the real fight begins for freedom, one that the psychopath sees as the disappearance of “food.”  This is how the psychopath bypasses logic and rationale by essentially making an addict out of his victim.

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Official Culture is loaded towards the psychopath, making it even easier to succeed in their quest to trap. Despite the victim hating the predator in her life, he nevertheless remains an object of desire she is powerless to resist without considerable outside support. When pathological or dysfunctional expressions of sexuality become the norm this further encourages psychologically compromised individuals to take advantage and propagate such deformations. Where people so often go wrong is by confusing the psychopath with a normal human being and thus misunderstanding that this has nothing to do with your explanation of the facts and logic within a given situation. The psychopath will always find ways to move the goal posts and invent reality according to his desires. Truth means nothing. It is about maintaining the bio-chemical dance and the use of any and all methods to sustain it, until that person is a husk of her former self. When that happens he simply moves on to another source to feed on.  For these humanoids, there is no real distinction between a tree, a rock and a human – all are circulating objects in the psychopath’s heliocentric Universe existing as psycho-biochemical nutrition to feed his black hole of existence. Any semblance of introspection goes no further than a primal cunning of decision-making regarding how best he can quench that insatiable appetite to dominate and control.

Take one psychopath who was interviewed by Robert Hare’s team who was happy to share his thoughts on this point: “The first thing I do is I size you up. I look for an angle, an edge, figure out what you need and give it to you. Then it’s pay-back time, with interest. I tighten the screws.’ Another admitted that he never targeted attractive women – he was only interested in those who were insecure and lonely. He claimed he could smell a needy person ‘the way a pig smells truffles.’” [8]

The data at present suggests that kind, vulnerable and “giving” women are particularly targeted by these individuals, though it is more than conceivable that men can be equally targeted by the female version in the right setting. Because of his talents for mimicry and an almost psychic knowledge of the emotional profile of his prey, it is easy to insinuate himself into the lives of those naturally trusting. When caught manipulating the truth or blatantly lying, it matters little: “…they are seldom perplexed or embarrassed – they simply change their stories or attempt to rework the facts so that they appear to be consistent with the lie. The results are a series of contradictory statements and a thoroughly confused listener.” [9]  What makes matters far worse for the victim is that he has no remorse for his actions, with “… a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have on others. Often they are completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that they have no sense of guilt, [and] are not sorry for the pain and destruction they have caused [which] is associated with a remarkable ability to rationalize their behavior.” [10] 

Since they see no flaws in sense of self, they see no reason to change. According to their own pathological egotism, they can do no wrong. And it is from this realisation that metaphysician, historian and author Laura Knight-Jadczyk makes this chilling set of speculations:

Anyone who has ever observed a cat playing with a mouse before killing and eating it has probably explained to themselves that the cat is just “entertained” by the antics of the mouse and is unable to conceive of the terror and pain being experienced by the mouse, and the cat, therefore, is innocent of any evil intent. The mouse dies, the cat is fed, and that is nature. Psychopaths don’t generally eat their victims.

Yes, in extreme cases the entire cat and mouse dynamic is carried out and cannibalism has a long history wherein it was assumed that certain powers of the victim could be assimilated by eating some particular part of them. But in ordinary life, psychopaths and narcissists don’t go all the way, so to say. This causes us to look at the cat and mouse scenarios again with different eyes. Now we ask: is it too simplistic to think that the innocent cat is merely entertained by the mouse running about and frantically trying to escape? Is there something more to this dynamic than meets the eye? Is there something more than being “entertained” by the antics of the mouse trying to flee? After all, in terms of evolution, why would such behavior be hard-wired into the cat? Is the mouse tastier because of the chemicals of fear that flood his little body? Is a mouse frozen with terror more of a “gourmet” meal?

This suggests that we ought to revisit our ideas about psychopaths with a slightly different perspective. One thing we do know is this: many people who experience interactions with psychopaths and narcissists report feeling “drained” and confused and often subsequently experience deteriorating health. Does this mean that part of the dynamic, part of the explanation for why psychopaths will pursue ‘love relationships’ and ‘friendships’ that ostensibly can result in no observable material gain, is because there is an actual energy consumption?

We do not know the answer to this question. We observe, we theorize, we speculate and hypothesize. But in the end, only the individual victim can determine what they have lost in the dynamic – and it is often far more than material goods. In a certain sense, it seems that psychopaths are soul eaters or ‘Psychophagic.’ [11]

And “soul-eaters” comes closest to the place which psychopaths have in our civilisation, and the social and cultural inheritance they have inspired. They are the progenitors of evil alluded to in so many ancient wisdom texts which intuitively grasped the meaning thought without the science of neuropsychology to back it up. If there is indeed a chemical and “energy” component to the interaction with psychopaths then the dimensions of their predatory dynamics may expand into areas we simply do not yet understand. Nevertheless, we must guard against their encroachments with the seriousness of a scientist dealing with an explosive device or a highly contagious disease.

Perhaps then we may understand how it is that humanity has gone so far down the road to chaos.

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The following extract is from the book by clinical psychologist Martha Stout called The Sociopath Next Door. (Stout uses “sociopath” in place of psychopath). Her eloquent appraisal of the psychopath’s mind goes right to the heart of why we must educate ourselves and the consequences for society and its direction if we don’t:

Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken. And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools. Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless. You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.

In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world. You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.,/span>

How will you live your life? What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)? The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same. Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people – whether they have a conscience or not – favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites. […]

Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all. If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people’s hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction.  [Emphasis mine] [12]

Far from being the kind of criminal psychopaths who are the serial killers of celluloid, the real destroyers of civilisation are the garden variety humanoids you might find in everyday life. What Stout describes above is exactly what characterises most of the Establishment institutions of our day. High level psychopaths corral the public into perpetual wars, economic insanity and repetitive social policies devoid of imagination and creativity but replete with CoIntelpro programs appealing to all social classes and psychological profiles.  Power must be maintained for a minority and power for its own sake is the psychopath’s aphrodisiac.

When you have established a network of hierarchical systems over a considerable period of time, it is relatively easy to inculcate normal people towards a pathological perception of reality, thus giving more and more protection to a burgeoning psychopathic elite. Robert Hare makes this pertinent observation: “Try to imagine someone who seeks power for no reason other than to have power, or someone who deceives just to experience the delight of having done so. Or someone who tortures another person physically or emotionally for the enjoyment of watching them suffer. Imagine someone doing these things, and not losing a moment of sleep at night (zero remorse).” And most importantly: “… add to all this, the ability to conceal themselves from an extremely naive public”. [13]

We are like a herd of wildebeest being observed by crocodiles from the deep water, or a grazing herd of gazelles under the eyes of cheetahs crouching in the grass. The thrill of the chase (the act of deceiving) is just as thrilling to the essential psychopath as the final kill, whether literal or not. As psychologist Dr. Anna C. Salter mentions: “Deception is not just a by-product of deviant activities for the psychopath; often it is the main event.” [14]

There are many methods by which the psychopath quarries its prey just as there are variations of psychopaths and psychopathic tendencies. They are acutely aware that they are different to normal people and disturbingly enough: “… learn to recognize each other in a crowd as early as childhood… develop[ing] an awareness of the existence of other individuals similar to them.” [15] A narcissistic culture helps maintain the camouflage of psychopathy by erecting ego-fed barriers against anyone who has been duped or fooled by the psychopath. That is, people would rather go along with the manipulation and herd mentality rather than admit what they intuitively feel to be right. Moreover, a mass psychosis akin to the psychological impairment of “Stockholm syndrome” where the abused comes to love their abuser may well be in operation.

Our own collective self-importance is proving to be a boon in protecting evil. When built from a foundation of fear and insecurity cherished beliefs are wide open to being torn down at some point along the trajectory of pathocratic inculcation and are an essential part of the fall of Empires. Such an event can be extremely painful and can cause extreme cognitive dissonance in the victim when embroiled in the psychopath’s deadly games. This is why self-knowledge must replace ignorance on this issue, as much for a person’s potential to grow and expand their awareness as it is for society as a whole to get past beliefs which allow evil to continue undeterred.

There are also a number of secondary psychopaths that exhibit the same traits, though with modifications. These include being prone to stress, worry or guilt and the avoidance of pain. In other words: the obstruction of their formidable desires. They have vestigial conscience which is eclipsed by the lure of vicarious temptations the satisfaction of which forms the core reason for their lives. There are those who are governed by powerful sex drives and unpredictable rages where the endorphin rush leads them to risk-taking and any illicit or illegal indulgence. Others prey on the victims using charisma and charm with the ability to attract as if casting a spell. Lies and almost supernatural persuasion are an integral part of the psychopath’s emotional weaponry. They are often irresistible which is why so many women fall prey to their machinations. (Though there are also female psychopaths the data at the present time suggests the number is lower. However, this may be due to cultural camouflage and natural discourse of disbelief regarding the idea of female psychopathy as we shall see). [16]

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As discussed, there are still those who posit that the psychopath can be cured or that it is the environment that is a defining factor in producing primary or essential psychopathy. Such approaches are not in alignment with the facts however, and play right into their hands. Most psychopaths would gladly support such an approach and greedily use new curative processes as a means to pull the wool over the eyes of their assigned psychologists that they “getting better” or have “miraculously changed.” The statistical truth shows a different story.  Scores of studies have repeated the same findings which show that the attempts to cure psychopaths merely gives them new and useful psychological information which they use to dupe their therapists and future victims. [17] The very notion of psychotherapy in this context could be erroneous from the outset as one journalist mentioned: “It is the conscience, and the related capacity for concern for others, that drives the serious scrutiny of one’s motives, which underlie one’s behaviour. Yet psychopaths lack conscience and concern by definition.” [18]

Faulty wiring in the brain and a suitable set of genetic indicators may denote a condition that is incurable because it is natural for that person. However, such  individuals may respond to medication whilst steps are taken to make sure that they live their lives away from positions of responsibility and influence.

To underestimate the depths to which the psychopath is prepared to go to achieve his or her aims is to assist the fulfilment of their primal desires. The emergence of psychopathy in any given culture has profound implications for the future psychological health. We have seen the effects of a critical mass of psychopaths who hijack centres of power to create a Pathocracy.  Such a process does not lend itself to simplistic appraisals. It may be sometime before we can truly understand the trajectory of evil and how it manages to maintain its freedom and impunity.

Robert Hare reiterates this point in the following extract:

It is true that the childhoods of some psychopaths were characterized by material and emotional deprivation and physical abuse, but for every adult psychopath from a troubled background there is another whose family life apparently was warm and nurturing, and whose siblings are normal, conscientious people with the ability to care deeply for others. Furthermore, most people who had horrible childhoods do not become psychopaths or callous killers. Illuminating as they may be in other areas of human development, the arguments that children subjected to abuse and violence become abusive and violent adults are of limited value here. There are deeper, more elusive explanations of why and how psychopathy emerges[19]

One thing we can say for sure, is that humanity is gradually waking up to the predator in our midst. And for that reason alone, the future has more possibilities and thus more hope.

 


Notes

[1] Psychopaths’ brains ‘different’ BBC News, December 2006.
[2] ‘The Psychopath’s Brain – Tormented Souls, Diseased Brains’by Renato M.E. Sabbatini, PhD, 1998 Universidade Estadual de Campinas. Brain & Mind Magazine, Campinas, Brazil, Center for Biomedical Informatics.
[3] ‘Beyond Sanity’ By Amos M. Gunsberg, founder of the School for Quality Being Psych News International, Vol. 2 Issue 5.
[4] ‘Oxytocin’s other side’ By Beth Azar American Psychological Association, March 2011, Vol 42, No. 3  page 40.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Thanks, Mom!’ by Tiffany O’Callaghan, ‘Time Magazine, June 7, 2010.
[7] ‘Psychopaths’ Brains Wired to Seek Rewards, No Matter the Consequences’ Science Daily, Mar. 14, 2010.
[8] op.cit. Hare (p.147)
[9] Ibid. (p.46)
[10] Ibid. (p.42)
[11] ‘The Psychopath – The Mask of Sanity’ by Laura Knight-Jadczyk and members of the Quantum Future School; a Special Research Project of the Quantum Future School. http://www.cassiopaea.com.
[12] Stout (p.1-2)
[13] Ibid. (p.48)
[14] (p.123) Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders (2004) By Anna C. Salter
[15] (p.151) Political Ponerology Lobaczewski
[16] Abnormal Behavior, Sixth Edition, by David, Derald, and Stanley, 2000. “The American Psychiatric Association that the general estimate is 3 percent for men, and less than 1percent in women [Personality Disorders and Impulse Control Disorders, 238].
[17] ‘Beyond therapy: Some evil can’t be cured’, by Norman Doidge, National Post, January 07, 2000. “…a recent Canadian study on group treatment for 238 sex offenders (rapists, incest offenders) from Warkworth penitentiary in Ontario… includ[ing] some well-documented psychopaths. All were taught to “empathize” with victims, and understand their “offence cycle” as part of treatment. After their release, it was found that those who had scored highest in terms of “good treatment behaviour” and who had the highest empathy” scores were the more likely to reoffend on release into the community. […]The important study by Seto and Barbaree replicated — unintentionally — a 1992 Canadian study that found treated psychopaths reoffend more than psychopaths who are not treated. A larger study, just completed in Britain, shows the same. It may be that all psychopaths learn, in our new ersatz empathy institutes, is how to manipulate better by appearing more caring.”
[18] Ibid.
[19] op. cit. Hare (p.5)

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)

Pornucopia: The Cult of the Body II

woman 2“Porn reflects the endemic cruelty of our society. This is a society that does not blink when the industrial slaughter unleashed by the United States and its allies kills hundreds of civilians in Gaza or hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Porn reflects back the cruelty of a culture that tosses its mentally ill on the street, warehouses more than 2 million people in prisons, denies health care to tens of millions of the poor, champions gun ownership over gun control, and trumpets an obnoxious and super patriotic nationalism and rapacious corporate capitalism. The violence, cruelty, and degradation of porn are expressions of a society that has lost the capacity for empathy.”

― Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle


Author and psychologist Marnia Robinson thinks that Internet porn is “an extreme superstimulus.” This is due to massive changes in our environment which has left the “reward circuitry” and mammalian brain lagging behind. Bingeing on food and sex evolved as a response to when these opportunities were scarce. Now there is an endless stream of superstimuli which play havoc with our reward circuitry which can lead to withdrawal symptoms, cravings and compulsions for more stimulation, and sometimes more permanent brain changes. [1]

Sounds like the foundation upon which Official Culture thrives …

The cycles of stimulus and withdrawal are caused by peaks and crashes of dopamine making a return to normalcy extremely difficult. Moreover, the genetically-driven push to focus on the object of our evolutionary desires is not necessarily a guarantee that it’s worth our attention or that our mammalian brains have got it right. And usually, it hasn’t.

Urban environments often ensure that we become addicts to a greater or lesser degree placing our attention away from things that offer stability and quality in the long term but do not always deliver the dopamine kick that takes us out of the inevitable melancholy that we face when trapped in these cycles. Dopamine does not necessarily have any connection with the liking or the end result of the “chase” but it is very much linked to the process of wanting. With constant superstimulus soaking the young brains of teenage boys with unnatural quantities of dopamine, this sets up and consolidates the neuronal connections responsible for the various cravings and associated compulsive behaviours that internet porn users become habituated. This leads to massive “re-wiring” of certain images into the pleasure centres of the brain. When these images do not elicit the same level of dopamine response, then more “hardcore” images are needed to do the job.

The final result is a re-shaping of the brain as psychiatrist Norman Doidge observes: “Pornographers promise healthy pleasure and relief from sexual tension, but what they often deliver is addiction, tolerance [the need for more extreme stimulation], and an eventual decrease in pleasure. Paradoxically, the male patients I worked with often craved pornography but didn’t like it.” [2]

Referring to young male adult porn addicts Robinson describes the addiction in these terms: “There was always another enticing image just a click away, and their mammalian brains were determined to leave no picture unfertilized. Their issue wasn’t shame; it was addiction. When they tried to unhook themselves, they faced intense withdrawal symptoms that fluctuated in intensity for weeks.” [3]

As we will see as a recurrent theme in these posts, the side effects of frequent “supranormal stimulation” means that normal pleasures atrophy and slowly lose their capacity to please us. It is then that we face a progressive habituation to pathology that is caused by a change in our perceptions. It also increases the likelihood of “cross-tolerance” where other forms of addiction are drawn into the sphere of overstimulation. This is one of new and potent addictions characterising Official Culture. If that is so, what effects will this have on the societies in the near future?

Robinson tells us:

A recent study showed that mere exposure to images of sexy females could cause a man to devalue his real-life partner. He rated her lower not only on attractiveness, but also on warmth and intelligence… Other experiments show that porn causes men to devalue marital fidelity and makes them more likely to believe that women like rough sex…These shifts set off a downward spiral, making partners less likely to engage in the generous affection that actually bonds them and lets them enjoy each other. [4]

Children will mimic and experiment with what they see at an early age representing a natural stage in child development that is often colloquially labelled “doctors and nurses.” However, the easy availability of sex and violence on the internet and T.V. with “jolting” images disconnected from context have its effects on the psyche of the child. There are cases which reflect the premature absorption of programming that “forces” children to partially act out certain scenarios for sexual experimentation that will be beyond the emotional maturity needed for such adult explorations. In many cases progressive and habitual exposure to pornography has played a key role in influencing this experimentation.[5] Though it may not be a primary factor in every case, both in minor offences and criminal felonies, pornography is invariably present as an indirect or direct influence, particularly with rapists and child molesters, as we shall see presently. [6]

London is the official porn capital of Europe and with over £31.1 billion slice of the $57.0 billion global market; [7] pornography is becoming so acceptable that teenage girls are beginning to see it as a valid career choice. In “porn-speak” this acceptability starts from “glamour” as it is now named. It is this glamour industry ideal that is attractive to over 63 percent of 1,000 girls questioned in a British survey 25 percent preferred the idea of lap dancing. [8] The mobile phone has also been taken over by instant messaging porn. Now you can get aroused during a coffee break or in rush-hour traffic.

As far back as 1999, Internet tracking company Forrester Research, estimated that $1bn of the $7.8bn spent online went on pornography. It has since doubled. Private Media Group, On Command Corp. and Metro Global Media and Vivid Entertainment are just some of the porn corporations listed on NASDAQ. Wall Street knows that selling sex is immensely profitable which is why AT&T, MCI, Time-Warner, Comcast, Echo Star Communications, GM’s DirecTV, Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Radisson, VISA, MasterCard and American Express, as a brief sample, are all involved in receiving enormous revenues from the porn industry. They are understandably coy about revealing this side of their financial interests.

The first cable company to offer hard-core adult movies to subscribers was Adelphia Communications Corp. who had also donated large sums of money to some of the most right wing members of Congress. Some of the hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton earn about $190 million per year from in-room pay-per-view porn videos while AT&T and MCI WorldCom are leading the 1-900 phone-sex market, generating almost $1 billion per year. [9]

woman 2Adult toys chain Castle Superstores Corp operates outlets in 11 Wal-Mart stores in the Mid-West of the US, while Europe too is getting in on the act. In the late nineties German bank Commerzbank acted as financial advisor for Beate Uhse, a German sex merchandise firm that floated on the Neuer Market. It was not the first flotation to tempt the family bank. In fact, it has taken part in many of Europe’s biggest porn-related, corporate deals. [10] Due to the accessibility of internet porn there is undoubtedly a rise in children and teenagers becoming addicted to images which distort an otherwise healthy sexual self, leading to young people objectifying both sexes in their quest for peer approval. Sex and love are terminally confused in the world of the adult, let alone the emerging adolescent. There appears to be a deficit of accessible examples of healthy loving relationships, though there are more than enough instances of sex as the primary channel by which young adults can find their identity – minus the emotional know-how to go with it. For young males especially, porn offers and instance release of tension and an easy access to endless images catering to equally endless hormones.

In one researcher’s words, boys are: “consuming porn literally every day since they were 14. Our sexual cues and desires are learnt during adolescence, and . . . these young men were regularly viewing bestiality and group sex”. Many researchers agree that the average age of exposure to pornography begins at around eleven years old, though 90 percent of children are exposed to some form of pornography from the ages of eight – sixteen, often while doing their homework. [11]

Assuming we are even online at all, how familiar are we with what is out there on the wonderful world of the internet? Carry out a search using the keyword “porn” and you will find over 130 million hits alone with well over 260 million pornography related internet pages.[12] Some of the easily accessible websites include links to a variety of other sites which include hard-core porn categories which make up by far, the biggest market. This may be categorised variously as “interracial sex”, “S&M”, “Fetish”, “Anal”, “Rape” “Mature” “Transsexual”, “Rough” “Extreme” “Bi,” “Lesbian”, “Gay” “Bestiality”, “Teen,” “Hirsute”, “Ebony,” “Latino,” “Blonde”, etc. in an almost endless stream of titles to cater for soft porn to extreme deviancy. All the above categories have sub-titles with endless networked sites that create revenue from DVD sales, sex toys and one off monthly, quarterly and yearly subscriptions.

Although some sites have an adult password age verification warnings, the former can easily be obtained, while the latter is ignored by any hormonally compromised school boy. All, or most of these websites will include free samples of movies and clips of both soft and hard core sex acts from playboy models to Japanese-schoolgirl-sadomasochistic bondage; foot-loving fetish to farm-yard animal exploits. All is accessible on your friendly family search engine if parental controls are not observed.

Do-it-yourself-porn is also online with a vengeance. Webcams are hosted by either company backed porn starlets or individual “amateur teens” branching out into their own blog with “pay-to-view” live-cam experiences. We can be sure that the internet is providing an expansion of both amateur and professional porn entrepreneurialism. The internet is merely reflecting the next phase of “market need” that is appearing within the technology-savvy living rooms of our “American beauty” suburbia. [13] Dating websites have the technological capability to meet your every sexual need it seems… A variety of spin off porn-come-dating sites have sprung up where you find the partner of your dreams or just have “no strings attached” (NSA) fun. Sexsearch, Adultfriendfinder, Be Naughty and countless others have millions of members between them. Via online instant messaging linked with a webcam you can obtain your “quickie” and get a good eye-full of what lies in store.

Most however, discover that the majority of these potential dates are either those looking to exercise their online fantasies without ever leaving their home and others who are merely “scammers” looking to earn an extra income by stripping off. Most of these women are from 18 to 30 the average age being 21. Theses entrepreneurs  use dating websites to hook potential clients from the “chat” system eventually asking for payment for a nude show from the individual’s mobile or an online payment system. Obviously the dating websites are none too pleased but attempts to stem the flood of such young lucrative exhibitionism is an uphill struggle. Young men and women are also getting in on the act by creating subscription webcams with a variety of carrots to retain their followers.  There are also websites which allow you to submit your own amateur porn to a communities of ardent hedonists.  Blogging platforms such as Tumblr are particuarly awash with closely networked hetero and gay subject matter which spans artistic erotica to simulated rape.

All of which is accessible to your average young teen – if they aren’t getting in on the act themselves that is.

The porn industry is proving to be highly lucrative. Web-cams or digital videos, the do-it-yourself amateur porn business is booming with “self-help” books teaching you “how to get rich quick.” A cursory peruse around internet book stores offer such titles as Adult Website Money: How to Build, Start, and Market an Adult Website Business for Little to No Cost in 30 Days! Or, How To Use Your Computer Internet Skills To Get a Date or Have Sex with a Video Porn Star, Stripper, Escort or Model. Then there is the feverish title of Adult Video Business: How You Can Find Attractive Women to Star in Your Own Adult Films, Make Money, and Quit Work in 7 Weeks. They are beginning to appear more frequently each year. And as the author of one popular paperback claims: “She lives happily on the beach in Malibu with her Jack Russell terrier, Arpy.” [14]

With such a glowing endorsement of well-adjusted porn stars with their contented pooches it seems there is no need to worry, the porn business is comfortably seating itself into the mainstream. That being the case, one piece of research urges caution over what they consider to be a “porn myth” as regards online saturation of pornography websites. In a study conducted by Dr. Steve Lawrence and Dr. C. Lee Giles for the NEC Research Institute they found that only 1.5 percent of Web sites contain pornographic content. This is more understandable when “the Web contains about 800 million pages encompassing about 15 terabytes of data and about 180 million images.” And further: ‘The sex sites were much less than you would have thought,’ Lawrence said.” Their findings also confirm that it is not so much pornography that has taken over the web but corporations and their commercial websites that make up 83 percent of internet with only 6 percent containing scientific or educational content. [15]

images© infrakshun

Nevertheless, there is much more the search engines cannot access or index which logically amounts to millions and millions of sites. Yet half of the porn sites (though not the most popular with US surfers) are hosted outside the US, so American-based legislation will continue to be ignored. This is both good in terms of censorship and bad in terms of those underage. Possibilities for blocking are available, assuming that parents are sufficiently able to monitor their offspring which is unlikely. Moreover, whether there are only 10 million, 20 million or 260 million, if a child punches into a search engine an overtly sexual term – which they will – it does not matter the precise number if websites that will instantly appear offering hardcore images to view. The pages are there. And pornography of even 15 years ago has transformed into the cyber porn of the 21st century which bears no resemblance at all to its former top shelf days. Playboy and Penthouse are like the soft whispers of a tabloid angel compared to the material any school boy can access.

In Asia, many Japanese men feel threatened by the growing sophistication of women in their country and are therefore turning to the fantasy of prostitutes dressed up as school-girls. “Image Clubs” as they are called cater for every paedophilia fantasy for a price tag of over $170 an hour. As it is legal for men to have sex with children older than 12 and with no specific child pornography laws, porn involving minors is regularly and widely consumed. Japan is drenched with paedophilia imagery from Manga comics to coffee adverts.

Prosecutions of hard core contraband have actually decreased as popularity for more extreme versions of porn have increased which include bestiality, sadomasochism, necrophilia, rape and incest. In the early 1980s, European and American pornographic video tapes were the most prevalent form of contraband seized by Japanese custom agents from travellers returning from aboard. One researcher illustrates the level of the American exporting of porn has now been normalized abroad: “These materials were routinely confiscated. Now such tapes are locally produced and readily available in Japanese shops. They often contain actors or actresses that are still legal minors.” [16]

The spear-heading of the new Capitalistic-Communist phenomenon that is the Republic of China has the sex industry generally at the forefront of its economic drive. The country now provides 70 percent of the world’s sex toys. Plastic vaginas, red bondage outfits and all shapes and sizes of vibrators are part of the new boom industry.[17]

China’s youth is also becoming more promiscuous with increasing cases of Triad-run prostitution rackets. A lack of sex education is being filled by porn, violent computer games and conformity to the state. To ease the transition from one form of Pathocracy to another; a communist paucity to a capitalist excess is now fusing together.

The interactive possibilities of cyber-porn has corporations salivating at the prospect of finally and literally plugging in our senses to a virtual world of soft, seductive fantasy. This is still far from reaching the dizzy heights talked of in cyber magazines and net journals. However, imagine that you can eventually install an “in-game body” to act just like your biological body, where your brain is disconnected from your biological senses and connected to a synthetic ones?

Somehow, I don’t think this will end well …

 


Notes

[1] p.136; Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships by Marnia Robinson. Published by North Atlantic Books,U.S.  2009. / ISBN-10: 1556438095.
[2] Ibid. (p.149)
[3] Ibid. (p.143)
[4] Ibid. (p.146)
[5] ‘Hamilton School Children Imitating TV and Internet Porn in Sexual “Experiments”’ April 5, 2004 LifeSiteNews.com
[6] W. L. Marshall, ‘The Use of Sexually Explicit Stimuli by Rapists, Child Molesters, and Non-offenders,’ The Journal of Sex Research 25, no.2 (May 1988): 267-88. This study reported that 53 per cent of child molesters deliberately used the stimuli of pornography as they prepared to offend.
[7] N2h2.com survey from http://www.securecomputing.com
[8] ‘Mummy, I want to be a porn star’ by Kira Cochrane, The Sunday Times September 18, 2005.
[9] ‘Wall Street Meets Pornography’ by Timothy Egan, New York Times, October 23, 2000.
[10] ‘Selling sex: A Beate Uhse store’ by Edward Helmore, The Observer, September 12, 1999.
[11] p.58; Pornified: How Pornography is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships and Our Families by Pamela Paul. Published by St. Martin’s Griffin; Reprint edition, 2006 | ISBN-10: 0805081321.
[12] N2h2.com survey from securecomputing.com (data from 2003).
[13] ‘Officers discover sex-slave cult’ BBC News, 19 May 2006 “Durham Police discovered the bizarre sect after raiding a home in the area, after receiving complaints that a woman was being held against her will. But a spokesman said the Canadian was a willing participant and the other people involved were consenting adults. The group, called Kaotians, follow the Chronicles of Gor novels which depict a society where women are dominated. The 29-year-old woman is said to have voluntarily attended the sect after finding out about it over the internet.
[14] 1-2-3 Be a Porn Star! A Step-By-Step Guide to the Adult Sex Industry by Ana Lori
[15] ‘Why is the Web like an iceberg?’ By Joel Deane, ZDNet News, July 6, 1999.
[16] ‘Pornography, Rape and Sex Crimes in Japan’ International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 22(1): 1-22. 1999.
[17]  ‘Sex is China’s latest boom industry’ by Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, June 25, 2005.

Pornucopia: The Cult of the Body I

crudenude By M.K. Styllinski

“Lying is the native language of porn stars because they can’t afford to tell you the truth. Not only would it ruin the fantasy for their fans but more importantly, it would ruin the amount of their paychecks.”

– Shelly Lubben, ex-top porn-star


Even though responsible cosmetic surgeons insist that their clients must be 18 to have surgery, many girls (who are now mature much more quickly) will be seen by the surgeon if accompanied by an adult such as a parent. It is the army of advertisers, television makeover shows, obsessive celebrities and film stars which create the demand for the booming global business of cosmetic surgery. [1]

A recent study found that by the age of 12, three-quarters of girls disliked something about their appearance and by 16, one in four were considering cosmetic surgery. [2] In the US, cosmetic surgery is another symptom of a growing number of insecure girls and women. Americans spent just under $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2004. [3] Some of the most popular treatments include liposuction, tummy tucks, breast enlargements, eyelid surgery, face lifts, lip implants, and rhinoplasty. Non-surgical cosmetic procedures are also rocketing with Botox and collagen fat injections, chemical peels, micro-dermabrasion, haylauronic acid and laser hair removal, all up by large percentages, hyaluronic acid being the most significant at a whopping 659 percent. [4] Or perhaps you want a: “… booty like J-Lo’s? With buttock-boosting surgery, it can be yours!” In nearly every US state plastic surgeons are being inundated with requests from patients to provide them gluteal implants, the latest rage among young and not so young, American women. [5] In 2004, the upward trend in popularity for cosmetic surgery continued to almost 11.9 million surgical cases. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) this represents a colossal 465 percent increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures.[6] Once again, the onus on women to change is represented by a total of 90 percent of all the surgery with men at only 8 percent. The most common procedures for age 18-and-under were: laser hair removal, chemical peel, microdermabrasion, rhinoplasty, and laser skin resurfacing.

The number of teens who choose to get plastic surgery is also on the rise. 335,000 people 18 years and younger had plastic surgery in 2003, up from about 306,000 in 2000. Although much of this includes procedures that could be considered necessary such as scarring, facial or body abnormalities, or where individuals suffer from severe psychological stress, equally appears to result from children’s distorted attitudes to their bodies. Consequently, the most common procedures teens choose include nose reshaping, ear reshaping, acne treatment, and breast reduction/enlargement.

In Scotland, UK, under the influence of ever more available pornography and glamour rags hundreds of teenagers have had National Health Service (NHS) funded cosmetic surgery, including breast enlargement, some of them in a desperate bid to escape being bullied at school. [7] While across the Atlantic, a rise in breast enlargements for teens in California stem mainly from peer pressure and the quest to find the perfect image for graduation. One surgeon commented on the latest influx of 16-18 year olds who regarded the surgery: “as having your hair done or getting a new watch.” [8] Or, as another surgeon expressed it, breasts are indeed a “fashion item.” And with prices for breast augmentation starting at just under $4,000 to $10,000 this is definitely a nouveau-riche teen market that ultimately plays havoc with girls’ transition to womanhood and their place in a male dominated world.

As in the US, Australia’s Gold Coast graduates are taking on jobs to fund their wish for bigger breasts or smaller noses.  Singapore’s recent boom in cosmetic surgery includes a surgical makeover package “the trendy new thing to do in a wealthy city-state, where girls as young as 15 have their features altered or enhanced.”[9] Or if you tire of the dangers of silicon perhaps you would like to grow your own breasts via stem cell research, currently the rage in Russia? [10] There appears to be no limit to the lengths to which our body sense is forced into new synthetic designs and no limit to the number of surgeons willing to line their pockets to do so.

As a major symptom of our narcissistic culture we are seeing a rising tide of body-centrism manifesting through the highly lucrative worlds of entertainment. Voyeurism is a standard mechanism of T.V. and cinema. Our desire for  “reality T.V.” and “true life” drama veers dangerously close to feeding off and “getting off” on the cruel and degenerate, the salacious and gratuitous, to which we are now all accustomed to believing is somehow “entertaining.” The task of entertaining (or entraining) the new generations of children has been taken on by what has been called the “pimp and whore” culture of the pop world, where role models appear to be celebrating the underbelly of human trafficking and prostitution that befall millions of girls and young women worldwide.

Pop icons such as Christina Aguilera, or Rhianna fresh from the factory line of “made-to-order-music” simulate endless videos of choreographed “orgies,” while scores of Beyoncé’s and Britney’s writhe around their male dancers creating “doggy-style” dance poses, pouting cynically while their managers and accountants salivate. They are curious ambassadors for a kind of soft porn consciousness for emerging teenagers. School girls think that this is worthy of their aspirations in order to be liked and loved adding to the burgeoning pressure to conform and perhaps even contributing to a rise in the early onset of puberty. [11]

X-factor, American Idol and Big brother reality shows are the mainstay of weekend television. Programmes such as Dutch reality TV show “Pimp my life” is a case in point and representative of an extreme but increasingly common trend. Tramps are plucked off the street, given a state of the high-life then sent out to get a job within a certain timescale. The cable Music channel MTV’s “Pimp my Ride” that showcases new talent all normalise and popularise the jargon of the underworld. This creates the idea that prostitution and exclusive sex are cool and hip. They become role models and legitimate aims of the young, tied as they are into fashion and entertainment that are so much a part of youth consciousness. When such images are partnered with multi-million dollar advertising campaigns the emptiness of this programming only reinforces insecurity and self-esteem problems. To be liked, one must be thin; to be accepted one must be wearing the latest Nike trainers; to be desired one must be, above all super-sexual. Too bad that these are purely tried and tested marketing ploys aimed at tapping the freshly rushing hormones of youth in order to provide maximum dividends for the old.

Sex, not least pornography, has settled easily into the mainstream flow. It is not a question of playing a puritanical card or being prudish concerning the nature of human sexuality, rather, the mainstreaming of the sex industry as a relatively marginal influence has come to occupy a strategic and central position in the development of international capitalism and sociocultural mores. We see the continuing “prostitution” meme manifesting in implicit and explicit terms. Entertainment is the residual leftover of this toxic economy in human misery.

With adulthood effectively being sold to kids of a younger and younger age, there is now a kind of caste snobbery in the classroom where children judge each other by their branding and their wealth. Teens now aspire to be twenty-something’s in a manner more desperate than even ten years ago. Look at glossy magazines and the almost pre-pubescent girls on many advertising campaigns appear to cater for the pederast within the fashion industry than the ordinary buyer.  You may also find it difficult to correctly age teenagers now as we walk in the high street. This has ramifications for sexual misdemeanours and alleged felonies when 14 year olds look 6 to 7 years older due to biological factors, peer pressure and the associated influences of the entertainment and media industry that demand their brand of “perfection.” The two influences may not be unconnected.

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

The Miley Cyrus entertainment puppet who introduced the “twerking” phenomenon as another variant of simulated sex. An updating of the Madonna school of programming. And of course, this is merely another form of female emancipation? Or just the whore archetype projected as role model?

In the late 1990s up to 2003 Magazines such as “Nuts,” “Zoo,” “Bizarre,” “Loaded” “Guts” and many others were filling a marketable gap between soft and hard porn with accompanying stereotypical images, often positioned next to violence and death depicted from all four corners of the world. However, their appeal has waned, not perhaps due to their content, rather to the notion of accessibility: why buy a magazine when you can view it on your i-pad for free? If we remember the previous summary of neurology and visual imagery contouring certain neural fields, we can see that this could be considered an important factor in the distortion of developing emotions and the emerging world views of children, notwithstanding the chemical components of addiction and early stereotyping.

The connection between abuse and the drastic change in accessibility of porn and its gradual mainstreaming into prime-time viewing is not necessarily the cause but it can be seen as an underlying shift in perception whereby children are encouraged to step into the cross-hairs of a premature, precocious sexuality. The role models both in fashion and MTV-Pop lifestyle offer a mix of what one writer bluntly called: “The Empowered Whore Archetype,”[1] and a stick-thin drug-chic lauded in the fashion industry. And on other hand we have the gym-pumped male who wears eye-liner, the uniform of gelled-hair and tattoos while seeking to emulate the myths of Don Juan promiscuity to match the new low standards that girls are encouraged to aspire.

Veteran journalist and feminist Joan Bakewell expressed her disquiet on this issue in a recent article:

“So what is there to complain about? It is the availability – indeed, the marketing – of such raunchy videos to the young and impressionable that disturbs me. Something has shifted in our culture to bring sub-teens within the orbit of suggestive sexual activity. T-shirts with cheeky, even lewd slogans – jokes that only adults can understand – are designed and sold to the under-10s. Children can hunt on a multitude of television channels for something that looks vaguely adult and vaguely transgressive. Can it be good for them?”

Set against a narcissistic culture, increasing abuse and acceptance of what is essentially, a psychopathic world-view – the answer has to be no. As Bakewell eloquently states, she was certainly at the forefront of sexual liberation in the 1960s, yet while this cultural shift pushed the boundaries of adult sexuality it bears little resemblance to the level of sexual imagery which bombards children and young adults on a daily basis. This amounts to an induction of pathologies where “traditional values” (without the baggage of conservative or religious connotations) are seen as “quaint” or passé.

The transition of Miley Cyrus as actress and girl-next-door role model, to the pop star-whore archetype is a particularly graphic example of the music industry’s manipulation of soft porn sensibilities marketed to the younger generation. Whether Ms. Cyrus thinks she is striking a blow for feminism or simply believes that this is indeed a suitable marketing coup to rake in the dollars, is anybody’s guess. For such a transformation to take place her producer (or pimp)  has clearly taken advantage of the emerging womanhood of Cyrus and exploited it to its fullest extent. The music standing on its own merit seems lost in yet another new phenomena of “twerking.”

Sex and music have always been joined at the hip. This time however, the sophistication of technology, has made it highly accessible (not least, musical content and often occult imagery – but that’s another subject ) which means that the lowest common denominator of instinct and gratuity is assimilated into the highly impressionable and emotional minds of the young 24/7.  Official Culture demands it. With no role models available to mitigate this onslaught and fused with so many other subtle addictions tweens and teens are exposed to highly charged imagery flooding the fives senses. Not only is this way too early but it is gratuitous to the point of complete saturation.

Alongside all this sexual hoopla and no doubt following on from trail of gratuitous-porn-gore-violence-set-to-motown-music so beloved of film director Quentin Tarantino, we have the massive popularity of the US TV drama series Dexter currently cleaning up on ratings and book sales. It tells the story of a forensic scientist by day and psychopathic killer by night, hacking and bludgeoning his way through various unsavoury characters who “deserve to die” no doubt acting as an entertaining catharsis for the millions who tune in. Of course, the character is sexy, funny, ostensibly caring and intelligent. He could be anyone of us. Is it merely the same re-enactment of serial killer voyeurism, or is there now an acceptance of the psychopath as somehow human and honourable if he takes out the dregs of humanity? And what message does this send to kids unconsciously grappling with the very real effects of psychopathy in our culture at large?

This inverted super-hero rides on the back of a glut of vampire, demons and werewolf movies and books aimed at teens and young adults. Evil hasn’t become just an anti-hero but the hero or heroine to root for.  The “good and evil” duality has all but disappeared to be replaced with “evil vs. evil” along with all the seductive trappings of black leather, buxom babes and steely-jawed sensitive males. The film Underworld (2003) about a beautiful gun-toting vampire who falls in love with a werewolf has the promotional catchphrase: “Which side will you choose?” The choice has become like so many elections the world over a choice between “the lesser of two evils” which in fact, is no choice at all.

So many disenfranchised youth on the streets of American cities are not finding meaning and purpose in the standard representation of family life plagued by socio-economic factors as well as the inevitable psychological dislocation which results. Instead many children and young adults gravitate towards gang culture which provides meaning and emotional belonging. However, many gangs require initiation tests of brutal violence and sometimes murder. Indeed, gang violence is one of the most pressing problems in both the UK, the US and Latin America. It indicates a spiritual vacuum in our youths that goes to the heart of Official Culture. Mixed messages in the representation of sexuality, emotions and the incessant focus on self-image and celebrity shapes the developing minds and bodies of the young. In turn, this will have a direct influence on their notion of morality, ethics and how they eventually perceive the world and their place in it.

Viewing explicit sexual imagery literally charges the blood. It is a bio-chemical “opiate”. After all, these are the chemicals that flow through our bodies that create liaisons, affairs, unions and marriages. The latter rituals are naturally very often doomed to failure precisely because of this false chemical romance. A frequent, early exposure to such visual stimulation in the child may in some cases a desensitisation which means a greater threshold of stimulation is required causing the desire to seek out material of a harder or more extreme quality. Increasing stimulation can lead to addiction whether child or adult. The former however, is more vulnerable to the power of such images due to the level of emotional immaturity and hormonal influences. The net result is an atrophying of the finer emotions and the ability to love in deference to power of instinct.

Former porn actress Shelley Lubben is an expert on the reality of the multi-billion dollar business. She even wrote a book about it called The Truth about the Fantasy Behind Porn – The Greatest Illusion on Earth which shatters the myth of glamour and sexual liberation that the industry and their models try to promote. Lubben believes that the porn industry frequently destroys lives and she is someone that is in the position to know.  She states: “I used to brag endlessly to fans and pornographers about how I loved making porn movies. I lied 100 percent of the time to 100 percent of the people.” [2]

Lubben has carefully researched some interesting statistics about the world of porn that has become so normalised in the 21st Century. On her website and her book we learn that:

  • 36 porn stars died that we know of from HIV, suicide, homicide and drugs between 2007 and 2010.
  • 66percent of porn performers have Herpes, a non-curable disease.
  • 2,396 cases of Chlamydia and 1,389 cases of Gonorrhea reported among performers since 2004.
  • Over 100 straight and gay performers died from AIDS.
  • 26 cases of HIV reported by Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation (AIM), since 2004.
  • 70percent of sexually transmitted infections in the porn industry occur in females according to County of Los Angeles Public Health.
  • Chlamydia and Gonorrhea among performers is 10x greater than that of LA County 20-24 year olds.
  • The largest group viewing online pornography is ages 12 to 17.
  • More than 11 million teens regularly view porn online.
  • There are 4.2 million pornographic websites, 420 million pornographic web pages, and 68 million daily search engine requests. [3]

A more lengthy extract from Lubben’s book is worth including here in case the reader is under any illusion at all as to the nature of the industry. Here, from the horse’s mouth:

Many believe the widespread fairy-tale that women enjoy making porn movies but the truth is there are no happy endings for the women of porn. Women do NOT enjoy making porn movies and a closer behind-the-scenes look will show you several reasons why.

In the world of hardcore sex, an average day on the set for a porn actress is a long and tedious process. Women are told to come in around 8 am for makeup but it’s only to make sure porn actresses arrive on time to work. Porn stars have a nasty habit of arriving late because they’re often hung over from drugs or alcohol from the night before.

After make-up, porn actresses usually wait around long hours until it’s their turn to do their scene. Some scenes take an hour and some take several hours to film. It really depends if the male actor in the first scene could “perform” or not. It also depends if female actresses have to stop the clock because they can’t handle the pain of a hardcore sex scene.

While waiting around, jaded porn performers usually end up in the rest rooms with bottles of alcohol and lines of speed or outside in their cars for a heroin fix or gathered in the back yard with other actors to smoke marijuana.

To add to the mind-numbing process, women are never able to experience sexual pleasure because of the continuous cutting during sex scenes. In the background the director constantly yells, “cut” and the flow of action is interrupted in order to get a better shot, adjust lighting or to wipe up bodily fluids. Repeatedly pornographers stop scenes and ask actors to “freeze” in position during very hardcore sex acts, which causes great physical and emotional pain for porn actresses.

I speak from personal experience when I say to be in the middle of a hardcore sex act with several actors at the same time and told to “freeze” in position for several minutes while lighting or cameras are adjusted is extremely painful and degrading. It’s also very humiliating when scenes are stopped in order to wipe up bodily fluids such as semen, feces and blood.

Despite the fact women do not enjoy making porn movies, they continue to lie to their fans and proudly insist they enjoy making porn movies. Of course they do. They get paid hundreds and thousands of dollars to lie because this is their occupation. Porn stars are paid professional liars who know how to “act” and they do it well. In fact, because porn stars spend a great deal time in front of the camera and never step out of character, they usually have greater acting abilities than mainstream Hollywood actors.

I used to brag endlessly to fans and pornographers about my extreme “Italian” sex drive and how I loved making porn movies. I would go on and on about how I needed more and more to fulfill my insatiable appetite. I lied 100 percent of the time to 100 percent of the people. Lying is the native language of porn stars because they can’t afford to tell you the truth. Not only would it ruin the fantasy for their fans but more importantly, it would ruin the amount of their paychecks. Don’t believe porn actresses when they proudly proclaim they enjoy making porn movies.

They’re ACTING.” [4]

 


Notes

[1] ‘Makeover shows ‘increase desire for surgery’ Reuters, July 13 2006.
[2] Quoted in ‘Teens max out on plastic’ Phil Bartsch, Courier Mail, May 01, 2006.
[3] Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Research Statistics and Trends for 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
[4] Hyaluronic acid (also called Hyaluronan) is a component of connective tissue whose function is to cushion and lubricate. It has since been synthesized and marketed on this basis as a sort of “key to the fountain of Youth” and a remedy for premature ageing. The resultant gel is injected into the face to smooth lines, wrinkles, and scars on the skin.
[5] ‘Want a booty like J. Lo’s? With buttock-boosting surgery, it can be yours’ By E.J. Mundell, MSNBC Feb. 18, 2004.
[6] US physicians and surgeons survey by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 2004 (ASAPS).
[7] ‘Teenagers go under knife to beat bullies’ By Richard Gray, Scotland on Sunday, July 9, 2006.
[8] ‘Teens Getting Breast Implants for Graduation’ By Susan Kreimer, Women’s eNews. June 30, 2004.
[9] ‘Plastic surgery booms in Singapore’IOL South Africa, April 25 2006.
[10] Grow-your-own breast implants on the way’ by Sophie Goodchild, The Independent, March 28, 2005.[11] ‘Stress “fuelling early puberty’ BBC News, 7 February, 2006. “Children’s bodies are maturing faster unhealthy lifestyles and unstable family environments may be contributing to a fall in the age that girls reach puberty, research suggests.”
[11] ‘The “Empowered” Whore Archetype Destroying the Feminine’ by Thomas Sheridan thomassheridanarts.blogspot.com Sat, 22 Oct 2011.
[12] http://www.shellylubben.com
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ibid.

The Rise of Narcissism and the Loss of Meaning III

“Addiction cannot be understood simply as an affliction of certain individuals with genetic or acquired predispositions to addiction in otherwise well-functioning societies. The most powerful risk factors for addiction are social and cultural rather than individual”

Prof. Bruce K. Alexander


Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung saw “Every form of addiction [is] bad, no matter whether the narcotic be it alcohol, morphine or idealism.”

The word “addiction” for most people instantly conjures up the addled alcoholic or heroine user, perhaps the late night gambler or street-child glue-sniffer. There is certainly a case to be made that substance abuse is a major problem in the modern world. When worldwide sales of cocaine earn more than Microsoft, McDonald’s and Kellogg’s combined, then we know we have a major problem in our culture. [1] However, there is a flipside to a more covert form of addiction. A culture that sees only its own reflection will not only stagnate but will seek more and more sensation and distraction to claw back any sense of self. When you have a society bereft of meaning – any old substitute will do, however fake and illusory. If it serves the power brokers strategies for corporate or political compliance, then all the better. The philosopher John Ruskin once said that: “a man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel,” and the smaller the parcel the more difficult it is to unwrap.

Narcissism is closely aligned to addiction in all its forms. Both are self-absorbed and consider their own needs before anyone else. Both exhibit a failure of self-regulation [2] the substance abuser visiting greater and greater destructiveness upon his health and relationships and the narcissist, through his addiction to the admiration of others where unimpeachable façade actually repels healthy relationships and increases the intensity of craving.  Yet each will exercise self-regulation only insofar as it achieves their self-centred goals. Just as the drug addict feeds his need with crack, so too the narcissist uses people as props to feed his own façade, which unless pathological, phases in an out of intensity. Ultimately, flattery, admiration and attention are never enough and so they seek more and more, just like the substance abuser. If narcissism is a form of addiction and addiction is a form of narcissism, they are surely two sides of the same coin. This means that the definition of addiction is misplaced and encompasses a great deal more than we may realise.

Narcissism and addiction are such close bedfellows because we live in social systems which generally elevate a fake emotional currency as the only means of exchange thus our reality becomes increasingly defined by examples of addictive behaviour en masse. But as we shall discover as we go on, the nature of addiction is compartmentalised towards the obvious like class-A drugs, smoking, alcohol and gambling. What about other less socially acceptable forms?  We can be addicted to video-games, i-phones, anti-depressants, sex, pornography, a toxic relationship, exercise, shopping and many more which can slip under the radar of our conceptual models but nevertheless be found under the umbrella of serious addiction. Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is now officially listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). A recent Newsweek article on web addiction underscores just how immersed we truly our in the addiction mentality, with particular attention to China, Taiwan and Korea who see IAD “as a grave national crisis.”

Journalist Tony Dokoupil, whom we cited in the last post, explains further:

In those countries, where tens of millions of people (and as much as 30 percent of teens) are considered Internet-addicted, mostly to gaming, virtual reality, and social media, the story is sensational front-page news. One young couple neglected its infant to death while nourishing a virtual baby online. A young man fatally bludgeoned his mother for suggesting he log off (and then used her credit card to rack up more hours). At least 10 ultra-Web users, serviced by one-click noodle delivery, have died of blood clots from sitting too long.

What about addiction to belief, ideology, power and control? Indeed, anything that restricts potential and creates negative effects but delivers the “hit” can surely be classed as an addiction. The “hit” may serve to self-calm against the harsh realities of life, to give meaning and security, even if those qualities are based on lies and falsehoods. They may offer significance to our sense of self where subconsciously we know that without such external props we are weak and ineffectual. We can be addicted to intellectual pursuits if they serve to bolster our ego whilst neglecting to heal our emotional self. Whenever our mind is locked in one direction, wholly identified with the object of our attention that we cannot see any other reality then a large proportion of what makes us human will begin to atrophy. Without intervention of some kind, all addiction creates a dynamic of diminishing returns and a spiral of extremes to complete the final descent. We begin to love our addictions as part of who we are until it takes over our very essence, using the external world and all its “toys” to supplant the hope of truth and meaning in our lives. Hence, narcissism and addiction become a one-way ticket to a spiritual death in the profoundest sense.

Psychiatrist David Brin agrees that the word “addiction” limits our perception of a wider realm or a “…general behavioural reinforcement within the human brain.” He observes that if neurochemical processes reinforce “good” habits such as loyalty, love, and joy in music, then addiction should be studied in a larger context. Mental addictions might cause as many problems in our societies as standard categories. He explains: “Self-righteousness and indignation may sometimes be as much about chemical need as valid concerns about unfair actions. Among other outcomes, this becomes more ‘pathologically altruistic’ behaviour.” [3]

In much the same way that pathology has become the “official culture” Bruce K. Alexander, Professor Emeritus, at the Simon Fraser University in Canada sees “a poverty of the spirit” that now characterises interpretations of addiction in general. He sees the word “addiction” as having undergone a: “kidnap[ing] in the 19th century by medical and moralistic interest groups, who gave it a new meaning. Their medical and moralistic approaches to defining and eliminating the problem of addiction failed abysmally. Despite obvious failure, their approaches have coalesced in recent decades as a doctrine which is, I submit, properly called the ‘Official View of Addiction.’” Alexander contends further that the: “…stultifying presence of the Official View stands in the way of a rigorous, scholarly examination of addiction. It therefore leaves the world subjected to a truly menacing addiction problem that has been rendered incomprehensible. I submit that, in cases like this, murder is a lesser evil than the continued existence of a pernicious Official View.” [4]

image001Courtesy of www.brucekalexander.com/

The professor holds that the use of the word “addiction” was: “… gradually medicalized, moralized, and oriented towards drugs, relative to its traditional usage” by academics and the religious moral rectitude that pervaded the educated classes of the time. It became associated with “… inebriation related to the excesses of the working classes.”  As we shall see “official culture” strengthened and sustained by psychopathic and narcissist worldviews incorporates a legion of “official” views.

According to Alexander’s studies six foundational elements comprise the official view pertaining to addiction, its sources and treatment, all of which have been thoroughly institutionalized as correct and authoritative:

1. Addiction is fundamentally a problem of drug or alcohol consumption.

2. “Addictive drugs” have the power to transform some or all of the people who use them into addicts, overcoming their normal will power.

3. A major portion of people’s vulnerability to addiction comes from inherited genetic predispositions

4. People who become addicted suffer from a chronic, relapsing brain disease, which is essential incurable.

5. Although people with the disease of addiction cannot be cured, they can be successfully managed through professional treatment or membership in self-help groups.

6. Addiction is an illness of deviant individuals within otherwise well-functioning societies. Scientific Faith: Commitment to objective science guarantees that the foundational elements of the Official View are correct and certain. Medical Promise:  Medical research will soon find an effective treatment for addiction, which will probably be pharmacological. [5]

Professor Alexander summarises his views in a recent paper derived from his 2008 book The Globalization of Addiction: A study in poverty of the Spirit where he disputes the above proving that there are six foundational elements and four postulates based on persistent assumptions and beliefs.

He states:

1. Addiction is not primarily a problem of alcohol and drugs. In fact, alcohol and drug addiction is only a corner of the vast, doleful tapestry of addiction. This contradicts the 1st foundational element. […]

2. The large majority of people who use “addictive drugs” do not lose their will power to resist these drugs, and do not become addicted. This contradicts the strong form of the 2nd foundational element. […]

3. There is no substantial evidence that the minority of drug users who do become addicted lose their will power, and strong reasons to think that they do not. This contradicts the weak form of the 2nd foundational element of the Official View. […]

4. Genetic research provides no substantial evidence of a genetic predisposition to addiction. This contradicts the 3rd foundational element of the Official View. […]

5. Natural recovery is the most likely outcome of addiction. This contradicts part of the 4th foundational element of the Official View. […]

6. Despite countless interventions carried out under the rubric of the Official View, the prevalence of addiction has continued to rise throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. This shows the futility of the 5th foundational element and of the Official View as a whole. […]

7. Addiction cannot be understood simply as an affliction of certain individuals with genetic or acquired predispositions to addiction in otherwise well-functioning societies. The most powerful risk factors for addiction are social and cultural rather than individual. This contradicts the 6th foundational element of the Official View. […]

8. The Official View has drawn its principles more from moralistic social movements than from scientific discoveries. This contradicts the claim that the Official View is based on dispassionate science and seriously undermines part of the 4th foundational element. […]

9. Contrary to the child abuse version of the Official View, childhood abuse is not a primary cause of the flood of addiction, although it is very important in some individual cases.

10. Contrary to the claims of its advocates, the most up-to-date form of the Official View is intrinsically moralistic and punitive, most obviously by providing justification for some of the violent excesses of the “War on Drugs”. [6]

These ten points shatter the illusions surrounding addiction offering proof that it is a far more complex, widespread and misunderstood phenomena than we have been led to believe. It seems convenient for the mass population to continue in such misapprehension, as it clearly serves to keep the machinery of finance and social care ticking over despite the massive financial cost to us all.

As stated previously, a vast panoply of addiction exists falling outside the current largely drug-based definitions incorporating all kinds of addictive practices such as shopping and sex. Voluminous data on the myths that addiction is terminal, is restricted to the working class and that prolonged use of class A drugs causes permanent addiction have also been published. Large-scale studies have also shown a high rate of natural recovery with more than half recovering before they are 30. [7] Alexander reinforces the reason for these well documented cases of natural recovery are not as mysterious as they may seem. When a natural recovery takes place stronger relations with the community occur and / or a new reason or meaning is found to continue life a different way.  He states: “Addicted people who do not recover on their own fill the treatment agencies and social service centres. A large number are refractory to treatment, creating the illusion of a chronic disease, which has been incorporated into the Official View to explain the marginal success of treatment regimens built on its doctrine.” [8]

Despite widespread intervention based on these official views, the levels of addiction have continued to rise based on the idea that all addiction is a chronic disease of the kind that cannot be permanently overcome. Is it no surprise that the multibillion pharmaceutical industry happily agrees with the above official view that there is: “… no way left to substantially reduce the prevalence of addiction, apart from the long-promised, but still-undelivered pharmacological cure.” But looking for that elusive cure is profitable nonetheless, while other forms of addiction fall by the wayside due to the dismissal of the proof that our societies are predicated on mass addiction of every kind, with acausal factors and non-traditional outcomes.

Even more interesting is the presentation of Alexander’s and others’ data that claims child abuse is not a primary factor in the onset of addiction:

Quantitative research reveals a strong relationship between childhood abuse and later addiction to alcohol and drugs, especially for women.… However, the relationship becomes very much smaller when abused children are compared with children from families that are equally distressed but did not abuse their children. In general, sustained family and community dysfunction are far more powerful predictors of addiction than traumatic child abuse alone.

Even the fact that an addicted person was physically or sexually abused as a child does not necessarily mean that the abuse was the cause of their addiction. Families of abused children typically have other severe problems in addition to child abuse. Several of these other problems, for example drug abuse by parents or spousal abuse, appear to predict later addictive problems as well, or better, than sexual or physical abuse of the child. ….

At the other end of the social spectrum, “From Grief to Action” is a group organized by well-off parents of drug addicts who were not abusive to their children and are horrified to discover that many people automatically assume that they must have been, in the context of dramatic presentations of the child abuse version of the Official View. … As an addiction specialist at a large university, I have worked with severely addicted youths who were children of non-abusive faculty families that were not dysfunctional in any ordinary sense of the term. [9]

The fact that child abuse does not necessarily mean addiction while a dysfunctional family becomes more probable in the manifestation of addiction in children and later adults confirms both the prevalence of a rising narcissism and the symbiosis between the two. It also explains the absence of class distinction in relation to this pathology.

Genetic factors do not explain addiction in itself, the evidence for social and cultural influences determining addiction rates is much stronger. This led to Alexander accounting for the failure of the official view and the true reasons for the presence of an endemic addiction in our Western societies via his “Dislocation Theory.” Built on the traditional definition of “addiction” rather than the medical/moral/drug definition, the theory: “… draws attention to social causes of addiction that can only be remedied through deep changes in the status quo.” [10] Which is precisely why and how these “official views “and “official culture” itself is maintained, because it keeps the status quo fixed in place, no matter what.

If logical, sensible and innovative alternatives seek a hearing they are hard pressed to penetrate the pathological constructs that now define societies. It is then that we must collectively begin to question, where does this narcissism, addiction and dislocation really come from?

Before we gradually answer that question let’s a have a look at the official culture in which we find ourselves and paint a picture of some of the commercial and institutional pathologies which are now taken as the normal part of our modern day existence in the West. Once we do this we will be in a better position to go deeper as this exploration progresses.

 


See also: The Demoralized Mind By John F. Schumaker, The New Internationalist

Everything You Think You Know About Addiction Is Wrong


Notes

[1] ‘Narcissism as an addiction to Self-Esteem’ by Roy F. Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs, Dept. of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University.
[2] Pathological Altruism edited by Barbara Oakley, Ariel Knafo, Guruprasad Madhaven and David Sloane Wilson. Published by Oxford University Press, 2012. (Introduction).
[3] ‘Rise and Fall of the Official View of Addiction’ by Bruce K. Alexander, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University Revised 23 December 2010.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Addiction: A Disorder of Choice by G.M. Heyman, published by Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009, chap. 4. Quoted in ‘Rise and Fall of the Official View of Addiction’ (Alexander).
[7]  Ibid.
[8]  Ibid.
[9]  Ibid.
[10] Ibid.

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The Rise of Narcissism and the Loss of Meaning II

“As individuals and as a nation, we now suffer from social narcissism. The beloved Echo of our ancestors, the virgin America, has been abandoned. We have fallen in love with our own image, with images of our making, which turn out to be images of ourselves.”

– Daniel J. Boorstin


Individualism does not have to be selfish and uncooperative. On the contrary, individual integrity while communing with the whole is what being human is all about. Whereas conforming to a bland, homogenous consensus of selfish dictates that defines so much of economic and cultural discourse is one sure way to lose one’s conception of self. What society seems to be growing is an unhealthy and destructive self-obsession that is rapidly normalised as a symptom of a “dog-eat-dog” world. To “be someone” means that we have to play the game and it is a one that gradually brainwashes you into thinking that this is what you do – for the rest of your life: be one of the herd or be an outsider that attains “success.”  Yet, perhaps those two avenues are really just the same? What does it mean to groove oneself into a routine of 9-5, TV, weekend peace and family life with barely the time to think? What of that desire to have wealth, status and to be adored? The latter is directly mirroring the Establishment perception made up of corporate leaders, politicians, members of the monarchy and endless TV shows like X-factor and American Idol that tell us if you are not wealthy and do not have power and influence, you do not exist – you have no significance.

You must conform to the idea of success and love as defined by our culture. In effect, your we do not have the time, space or energy to truly shape our own identity outside the bubble of cultural dynamics within which we are immersed. Urban life and present technology is only reinforcing that largely unconscious existential crisis.

It is a tired cliché that success does not define individual integrity any more than integrity can define the type and quality of that success. To have personal integrity automatically places value on the type of success you wish to attract and pursue.  Which is perhaps why, despite the obvious material advances for many, we are not getting happier. This is especially true for young women. As we get more unhappy, yet more affluent the unhappiness becomes a form of aggressive entitlement for material acquisition, status and the ease and comfort this provides. No one wants to be a pauper either but there appears to be a serious displacement of core needs lying deep within societies; a spiritual yearning that is not only being ignored but actively subverted.

In 1999 a comprehensive study was carried out in the UK on the incidence of: “…common mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks and anhedonia (loss of capacity to experience pleasure). The results showed an increase in these disorders with a significant increase for girls from 19 percent to 32 percent. But the latest sets of results are even more dramatic. There has been an increase for both sexes: boys are now on 21 percent, and girls are at a staggering rate of 44 percent.” [1] Reasons for such a change left most social scientists and psychologists floundering ranging from: “… declines in family life, rises in inequality or reductions in social cohesion.” However, all of those factors seemed to be the effects rather than the cause.

Enter American Psychologist Jean Twenge: “…whose most recent work has been to analyse what she describes as a ‘narcissism epidemic’ in the US that is disproportionately affecting women. Her meta-analysis covered 37,000 college students. It found that in 1982, 15 percent got high scores on a narcissism personality index; by 2006 it was 25 percent – and the largest share of this increase was women.” And further: “…in the 1950s only 12 percent of college students agreed that ‘I am an important person’, but by the late 80s it was 80 percent. In 1967, only 45 percent agreed that ‘being well-off is an important life goal’, but by 2004 the figure was 74 percent.” [2]

Twenge and W. Keith Campbell’s findings are included in their 2009 book: Living in the Age of Entitlement: The Narcissism Epidemic that describes  that: we are living through the results of something very rotten indeed being expressed with increasingly alacrity through the minds of the young. They reveal that: “Nearly 1 out of 10 of Americans in their twenties, and 1 out of 16 of those of all ages, has experienced the symptoms of NPD. Even these shocking numbers are just the tip of the iceberg; lurking underneath is the narcissistic culture that has drawn in many more. The narcissism epidemic has spread to the culture as a whole, affecting both narcissistic and less self-centred people.” [3]

Authors Twenge and Campbell paint a picture of Western culture in dire need of a sense of meaning and purpose away from the thrall of artifice:

On a reality TV show, a girl planning her sixteenth birthday party wants a major road blocked off so a marching band can precede her grand entrance on a red carpet. A book called “My Beautiful Mommy” explains plastic surgery to young children whose mothers are going under the knife for the trendy “Mommy Makeover.” It is now possible to hire fake paparazzi to follow you around snapping your photograph when you go out at night — you can even take home a faux celebrity magazine cover featuring the pictures.

A popular song declares, with no apparent sarcasm, “I believe that the world should revolve around me!” People buy expensive homes with loans far beyond their ability to pay — or at least they did until the mortgage market collapsed as a result. Babies wear bibs embroidered with “Supermodel” or “Chick Magnet” and suck on “Bling” pacifiers while their parents read modernized nursery rhymes from This Little Piggy Went to Prada. People strive to create a “personal brand” (also called “self-branding”), packaging themselves like a product to be sold. Ads for financial services proclaim that retirement helps you return to childhood and pursue your dreams. High school students pummel classmates and then seek attention for their violence by posting YouTube videos of the beatings.

Although these seem like a random collection of current trends, all are rooted in a single underlying shift in the American psychology: the relentless rise of narcissism in our culture. Not only are there more narcissists than ever, but non-narcissistic people are seduced by the increasing emphasis on material wealth, physical appearance, celebrity worship, and attention seeking. Standards have shifted, sucking otherwise humble people into the vortex of granite countertops, tricked-out MySpace pages, and plastic surgery. A popular dance track repeats the words: ‘success, fame, glamour” over and over, declaring that all other values has “either been discredited or destroyed.[4]

An important point is made in the introduction that “Narcissism is a psycho-cultural affliction rather than a physical disease, but the model fits remarkably well.” Indeed it does. This understanding is vital for comprehending the depth to which psychopathy has filtered down from the top after similarly infecting the centres of power within all institutions, something we will explore in depth. For now, what do the authors consider to be the causes?

Twenge and other psychologists believe one of the primary drivers is parenting supported by the competitive world of the consumer market. Aside from the mass-market entertainment industry that thrives on narcissistic themes, the constant drip-drip of pathologies in both public and private institutions and governing bodies which are preventing alternative and more integrative frameworks from appearing. Meantime, parents and teachers will inevitably pass on learned behaviour and unconscious narcissistic traits.

Benczur-narcissus

Narcissus by Gyula Benczúr

The very nature of parenting in British and American societies will be fraught with difficulties. The happy, well-adjusted and emotionally nourished child seems to be disappearing. Due to the emotional osmosis that occurs from the womb to the formative years and beyond, parental influence deeply imprints the child’s emerging personality. If the parents have any number of unconscious fears or unresolved character deformations they will certainly appear in their offspring to a greater or lesser degree. The modifying properties will be dependent on the child’s inherent will, strength and spiritual capacities to overcome such influences and forge his own unique destiny. As s/he proceeds through schooling these parental influences will rage for dominance in the mind until such time as developmental thresholds are surmounted and integrated. If not, then the personality health is held back by a number of traumas, large or small, that nevertheless have a direct connection to early childhood parental influence. These internal and external influences meet and cause all kinds of fears, insecurities, anxieties and confusion to manifest along with the atrophying of natural emotional development. By fourteen or fifteen it will be evident that a fully-rounded out individual who is able to make his or her way in the world is not present, or if it is, it is the narcissistic false personality that is empty within and sporadically capable without. His parental pathologies, minor or major, now mix with his own to create the false image and the commensurate pain and suffering that ensues to keep that façade alive.

Clinical psychology 101 will tell us that the absence of self-awareness and blind-spots in the parents regarding their own fears and neuroses, emotional traumas of the past and present will seed themselves in the new-born as unconsciously learned behaviours. It is vital that would-be parents seeking the best for their unborn child understand that the only way to reduce the danger of one’s child developing a narcissistic personality disorder in our present times, is for them to embark on a process of self-knowledge and self-awareness prior to the birth so that unresolved psychological “blockages” or underlying disorders are recognised and a method of healing initiated.  If the parents can reduce the level of problems within and mitigate their transference to the arriving child, perhaps this is the greatest parental gift one can give to an emerging soul.

Why is it that we are seeing serious personality disorders in teenagers and young adults that seem to come from families with no presence of overt abuse? The above describes a new form of dysfunction that is quite different to the overt emotional, physical/sexual abuse that can occur within the family environment. What we have here is a type of parental position within the family that confers a covert-narcissism, where the needs of the parents take precedent of the needs of the child or children which is sacrificed for the good of “family appearances.” This is a largely unconscious dynamic on the part of the parents (or single parent) and usually occurs sometime during the developmental stage of differentiation between child and adult i.e. when the child begins to assert his identity and seeks to become individual.

What is interesting is that the needs of the child within these types of families are certainly met when they are babies or toddlers. As s/he grows up a more skilful parenting based on self-knowledge is required and when the true nature of the relationship becomes known. Psychologists Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman describe the process:

As the child’s psychological needs become more of a factor in the life of the family, the narcissistic family truly develops. The parent system is unable to adapt to meet the child’s needs, and the child, in order to survive, must be the one to adapt. The inversion process starts: the responsibility for meeting needs gradually shifts from the parent to the child. Whereas in infancy the parents may have met the needs of the child, now the child is more and more attempting to meet the needs of the parent, for only in this way can the child gain attention, acceptance, and approval….the needs of children, especially the emotional needs, increase geometrically as their tractability decreases. [5]

A host of reasons from the parents’ point of view can interfere with this process where their own needs – due to stress, mental illness, work demands etc. – are placed before the needs of their child. This largely refers to emotional nourishment rather than material demands. As the child feels misunderstood and neglected he begins to draw attention to the fact and a battle is set in motion between the parents’ needs and the child with the result that in sometimes subtle ways affection and attention are withheld so that the child is forced to confront his own emotional confusion. This means the child’s emotional needs go unattended and his independence and opportunity to learn about himself and the process at work is denied. He waits and reacts to parental expectations which relates to passivity and reaction rather than an emerging healthy independence. This breeds dependency and insecurity based on the reflection of the parents’ needs and expectations rather than his own.

This frustrated need for validation becomes a driving force in all external relations along with an undercurrent of anger and unhappiness leading to depression, chronic dissatisfaction, poor self-esteem and lack of confidence. As he sought to find his true personality the absence of an emotional foundation comes back to haunt him as indecisiveness and indecision due to an over-reliance on external cues and with no role-models to show him the way forward. If others’ needs and expectations have taken over his own then it is those to which he will identify, further eroding his sense of self. The net result of all this is the loss of the child’s true identity and the appropriation of a number of pathologies, the most common of which is overt narcissism.

The only way forward for such an individual is via acceptance and responsibility. Acceptance arrives when he understands that what happened was beyond his control and the chance to take responsibility for your his own psychological health. Most of all: forgiveness. Parents are immersed in the same world as their children and they are victims of the same to varying degrees. But victim-hood, as we will discover, must not become an escape from reality or an excuse to repeat the same patterns. The only way to break the hold of narcissistic tendencies and pathologies in the world at large is to heal our emotions and accrue knowledge of their presence in ourselves and our environment. Without this will to heal, we all become “preformatted” to fit into the emerging narcissistic culture. The factors leading to parental ignorance of these matters derive from the pathologies we have looked at previously and will go into greater depth as we continue.

What is perhaps even more disturbing is the twist on reality dispensed by the American Psychological Association who believes that because narcissism has become so ubiquitous it should be re-evaluated as a personality disorder.

Andrew E. Skodol, MD, chair of the DSM-5’s personality disorder work group and a psychiatry professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine believes: “There is a fair amount of literature suggesting that narcissism is a dimension varying amongst people and across disorders,” and: “not necessarily a disorder in and of itself.” Yet according to Thomas Arthur Widiger, PhD, a University of Kentucky psychology professor who served on the DSM-5’s research planning committee the new decision was not “… based on a systematic or objective review of the data and, if implemented, would have a chilling effect on personality disorder research.” Widiger is unequivocal as to the result of such a ruling: “By turning narcissistic personality disorder into a list of traits that will lack official coding within a medical record, you are essentially relegating it to a sidebar that will unlikely draw much research or diagnostic interest.” [6]

Many psychiatrists and psychologists concur as it will play right into the hands of further pathologies arising like building blocks on the firm foundations of normalised narcissism.

What if extreme entitlement and exploitation of others makes these individuals more likely to extreme forms of rage, aggression and violence against innocent people even in the absence of provocation? In fact, recent scholarship has identified this probability in narcissists along with some researchers suggesting that pathological narcissism may actually be psychopathy: “…when egocentricity, lack of empathy, and sense of superiority of the narcissist blends with the impulsivity, deceitfulness, and criminal tendencies of the antisocial, the result is a psychopathic individual who seeks gratification of selfish impulses through any means without remorse or empathy.”  [7]

 


Notes

[1] ‘The narcissism of consumer society has left women unhappier than ever’ by Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, July 26, 2009.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Living in the Age of Entitlement: The Narcissism Epidemic by Jean M. Twenge PhD and W. Keith Campbell PhD. Published by Free Press, 2009.
[4] op. cit. Twenge, Campbell, (p.1)
[5] The Narcissitic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman, Published by Jossey Bass; 1st Pbk. Ed edition, 1997. ISBN-10: 078790870.pp.28-29.
[6] ‘Narcissism and the DSM’ February 2011, Vol 42, No. 2, page 67 American Psychological Association.
[7] Personality disorders in modern life. By T. Millon and R. Davis 2000. Published by John Wiley & Sons. 1st edition.
[8] Cocaine:An Unauthorized Biography byDominic Streatfeild. Published by St. Martin’s Press, 26 Jun 2002 |  “On May 16th, 1499 Amerigo Vespucci set sail for the New World. Three months later, having navigated his way along the coastline of Brazil, he washed up on an idyllic desert island fifteen leagues from the mainland. There he was appalled to discover a tribe of hideous Indians, their mouths stuffed full of leaves “like beasts.” The leaves were coca, source of the drug cocaine.Five hundred years later, the effects of the discovery are still felt. In 1999 South America produced 613,4000 tons of coca, with a potential yield of 765 tons of cocaine. Last year a United Nations report estimated that the global cocaine trade generated $92 billion per year – $20 billion more than the combined revenues of Microsoft, Kellogg’s and McDonald’s.”