narcissistic personality disorder

The Hissy Fit Generation and the Loss of Free Speech IV: The Narcissism Factor (1)

By M.K. Styllinski

Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

“We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”

Chuck Palahniuk


We live in a culture that promotes degrees of narcissism as though it were perfectly normal. Indeed, the core of American exceptionalism and NATO warmongering is large-scale abusive narcissism, so it is little wonder Americans are being confronted with a choice to become part of that pathology or to resist it. It is that resistance by our younger generations that may define our future.

So, are millennials inherently narcissistic? Absolutely not. In fact, the common belief that millennials and Generation Z are narcissistic by default is often sourced from older generations like the Baby Boomers [1] many of whom happily gloss over the fact that it is they who are largely responsible for the psychological conditions now surfacing in the young. Many findings are reflective of a mixed bag of societal conditioning that points to generational confusion and a loss of meaning more than any one overarching psychological condition.

Postmodernism and its viral-nihilism has a lot to do with the suffering of millennials. Similarly, clusters of narcissism may emerge in certain groups like the SWJ’s for example and other forms of radicalism, but this is quite different to labelling a whole generation as inherently narcissistic. Such a ready conclusion might even exacerbate the problem. It is more probable that they have common narcissistic traits as symptoms of Official Culture which feed into a host of other mental conditions. So, it seems the extent of this “narcissism” within the millennial generation and Generation Z is still under question, though evidence is growing that this condition is pervasive to some degree or another.

One study carried out by Joshua Grubbs, a clinical psychologist at Case Western Reserve University, millennials and BB’s and older were asked to rank generations on their narcissism.  Millennials came in at 65.3 on a 100-point narcissism scale, rating themselves as 61.4.  Grubbs’ study found that despite admitting that they had narcissistic traits they didn’t like the label of narcissist and felt it to be a “putdown.” They also, (unsurprisingly perhaps) rejected accusations of arrogance, selfishness and vanity. Yet, if we are told something often enough we may come to believe it whether this is overstated or understated. This may have an effect as they grow older.  Or as Grubbs stated: “Over time, the ‘narcissistic’ label could impact how millennials feel, their mental health (and) their attitudes about themselves and general generation.” [2]

Interestingly, it was classic narcissists that didn’t mind the diagnostic label and according to Grubb: “..there are very few of them.” He believes that it is more a case of individualism than overt narcissism, though speaking generally his study led him to conclude that: “on the whole, people of my generation probably are more narcissistic than in past generations.”

This is a real diffculty: if these generations do have a predominance of narcissism, then a constant reiteration of this label may further entrench the condition. This has been proven to be so in a variety societal milieus in my own experience from prison inmates to ethnic communities.  If you are told you are an offender often enough then you may come to believe it, especially when the inducement to remain under such a category is more compelling than constructive change, which often lacks social support. Falling back into victimhood isn’t useful either, but since that too is encouraged in our social systems we have a complex vicious circle which is sadly not broken by adopting multidisciplinary solutions.

It is also true that an entitlement complex in the millennial generation is on the rise. A University of Hampshire study found that “youngsters scored 25 percent higher than people aged 40 to 60 and 50 per cent higher than those over that age bracket.” [3] [4] Which may explain why millennials suffer increasing anxiety and stress when they don’t get their own way. It is also evident from Grubbs’ research that millennials “experience more anger, frustration and sadness over the  [narcissism] label than other generations”. The fact that it bothers them shows that the majority of millennials are not suffering from classical Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) but incorporating the traits of narcissism as opposed to full blown pathology. And Official Culture thrives on promoting narcissistic habits and values. Again, postmodernist philosophy and left-liberal politics is instilling false expectations and the stress and anxiety that comes with it; not least from a depressed market for work and job satisfaction. Match this with a socially encouraged infantilism it can only lead to the rise of a lost generation, rather than an inherently narcissistic one, though obviously these lines are very blurred.

(more…)

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The Rule of Law? III: Forensics and Impression Management

“Our educated guess is that many practitioners in the field of law and psychology have faced a situation … where they have experienced difficulties in identifying the “true nature” of the psychopathic interviewee, until the situation has proceeded to the point where they’ve been fooled or some ways misled.”

– Helinä Häkkänen-Nyholm, Psychopathy and Law, a Practioner’s Guide


The British justice system is still at odds with reality where fathers’ rights in custody battles are considered an irrelevance. The opinions of children in this matter are ignored as is basic psychology that a child grows and develops best when he or she has both parents present in their lives and access to respective family relatives. Although surprising to some, family law courts in the United Kingdom and in a significant number of cases in the United States, heavily favour the rights of the mother.

Many pressure groups on behalf of fathers’ rights as well as social justice organisations campaigned for a change in the law that would view the rights of both parents as a prerequisite for a just and equitable resolution in custody cases, while also addressing the “shocking delays” in custody battles in general. In the United Kingdom, several years ago the government family justice report chaired by David Norgrove made a review of these claims. Certain aspects of the family courts were marginally improved, cutting down the time where decisions must be taken to no more than six months rather than years, though this has been a sporadic rather than a consistent success.  Moreover, the issue of equal parenting rights – with special focus on fathers’ rights – was deemed unworkable. A spokesman for the Norgrove report said: “While is it usually in the child’s interest to have contact with both parents, seeking to enshrine that right in law would lead to greater conflict and confusion.” David Norgrove stated that: “Fundamentally, this is not about the rights of parents, it’s about the welfare of children and we should be focused entirely on that.” [1]

i-love-you-lets-fight© Infrakshun

Many campaigners believe that the issue of children being granted accessibility of both parents was crucial factor in addressing the welfare of the child and were at a loss to see how such a conclusion could have been reached. With one in three children in the UK without a father it does tend to stretch credibility that these decisions would help to alleviate such a sad statistic. The Centre for Social Justice a UK charity and campaigning organisation on issues of poverty, crime and family law stated in their 2009 family law review, Every Family Matters that “…legislation should acknowledge that children are most likely to benefit from the substantial involvement of both parents in their lives.” [2]

Ken Sanderson, of the campaign group Families Need Fathers, said: “The core failing of the current family justice system is that the rights of children to maintain meaningful relationships with both parents, as set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, are not adequately supported or enforced. By choosing not to address this issue, any other proposals… will be merely superficial adjustments to a fundamentally broken system.” [3] And these superficial adjustments are a common theme through the legal and justice systems in both the UK and the United States. Tinkering around the edges allows just enough leeway to placate media and pressure groups for a short time whilst altering very little.

Fathers 4 Justice Campaign Director Nadine O’Connor was even more scathing of the report and revealed the corrupt background of the legal system as a whole. In a detailed response to Norgrove she outlined some of the reasons for what campaigners believed were unreasonable and unjust conclusions arrived at by report members and suggested an agenda on behalf of those taking part. A long list of grievances were listed including the belief that the:

  • The report’s primary function was to look at procedure, not principle;
  • The review panel was not impartial – it excluded parents and users of the system;
  • The rejection of a 10,000 parent testimony
  • The highlighting of the support given by the report of “secret courts”
  • The rejection of “transparency and public accountability;”
  • The rejection of a parents right in law to see their children;”
  • Claims of gender bias despite 93 percent of residencies being awarded to mothers;
  • The rejection of the principle of equality and shared parenting, stating it was ‘not in the bests interests of the child.’ [4]

O’Connor also drew the intention of the media and public to the fact that the report acknowledged that “no records have been kept on the outcomes for children,” and logically asked the question: “How can the Family Justice Review panel know what is in the ‘best interests of a child’ without empirical evidence?” [5]  Further attention was given to failure of the report to address: “… the number of warring parents going to court and the impact government cuts to legal aid will have in the increase in the number of unrepresented parents going to court; condemnation of the court system itself “…which is run by an ‘unelected, unaccountable and unsackable judiciary operating in complete secrecy;’ the inappropriate nature of courts originally intended for criminals rather than dealing with family cases. [6] The review also concluded that it was still necessary for “…grandparents… to go to court to demand access to their grandchildren when it is denied” which many believe dismisses the value of family and community. Which also means a division opens up between the rich and poor once again, and where only the wealthy can find justice to pursue their familial rights. [7]

The above report represents a classic example of the kinds of stone-walling within government and the judicial system which campaigners face year in and year out, not least the thousands of parents and their children who get caught in this iniquitous system.

According to Saga an insurance and investment company for senior citizens: “…the [court] process is extremely difficult and many grandparents simply can’t face a court fight that they feel may be unfairly stacked against them. They had hoped that the law would recognise the importance of their rights properly.” [8] Saga Director-General Dr Ros Altmann opines: “The relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent can be an extremely special one, and can provide consistency for a child when the family unit breaks down. “This Review rightly points out that decisions should be made in the best interests of the child, however to give one adult ‘rights’ to access that can be withdrawn by the courts, whilst all others have to fight for any right to maintain a relationship with their child or grandchild is surely wrong.” [9]

In the United States, the story is the same though with a greater State by State and case by case variation. This is illustrated with the following examples. Firstly, according to Anne P. Mitchell, fathers’ rights attorney and Founder of Dads’ Rights:

Men absolutely, and often, get the short end of the stick financially in divorce. There is a big myth out there that men make out like bandits in divorce, and women get left in poverty. This is completely untrue. Ironically, it is this myth that causes women to resist fathers having more parenting time, as the less time the child is with Dad, the more money Mom gets. So fathers get the shaft twice: their time with their children is limited, and they get to pay for being pushed out of their children’s lives.” [10]

Judge Michele Lowrance, child of divorce, divorced mother and author agrees that unfair treatment of men is borne out by the statistics:

For example, 85 percent of non-custodial or non-primary residential parents are men who typically see their children only two out of 14 days. In addition, 40 percent of America’s children will spend at least part of their childhood without their fathers living together with them. This translates to over 21 million children. There is definitely cultural paranoia about each side having an advantage. Women think men have the advantage because, for example, it is hard to support the average family on a small percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. If Dad earns $2,500 net and there is one child, in many jurisdictions Mom would only get $500 for support. Understandably that feels unfair to her, as clearly she might need more to support a child. [11]

While on the other hand, Scott Hampton director of Ending Violence:

When I was presenting a workshop at a national judges’ conference I asked those judges whether there was bias in family courts during divorce. Their answer: Yes, but usually it’s against women, not men. Their reasoning makes perfect sense. Society expects mothers, not fathers, to be the natural nurturers. So, if Mom falls just a bit short of the ideal parent, we unconsciously penalize her. In contrast, if Dad changes a couple of poopy diapers, we unconsciously give him extra credit. So if that’s true, then why do mothers more often have custody? The judges explained that it’s not the court’s bias against fathers. It’s men’s bias against fatherhood and dads who run away from their responsibility. Those are the ones who are skewing the numbers. It’s the men who fight paternity or who are abusive who are making responsible fathers and husbands look bad. The fact of the matter is, when men actually want and ask for custody, they are much more successful than some would have us believe. [12]

Father’s running away from their responsibilities, uncaring of their children, mothers taking advantage of a biased system and financially milking their ex-husbands remorselessly; false accusations of child abuse alongside authentic cases that somehow pass through judicial loopholes and the many corrupt judges open to those with the right money.

The system is broken and quite obviously ponerised.

There are many other similar cases where the male-dominated courts and judicial system do not necessarily override the apparent bias against fathers. Nevertheless, while negative attributions are fielded on both sides of the fence the statistics paint a very bleak picture for the father in the majority of cases. Despite psychopathic predominance in the male (at least so far, data is still being collected) the female pathological narcissist and psychopath also exist. As awareness of the bias against diagnosing women with psychopathy becomes more widely known, statistic are likely to reveal even more of a prevalence that is not necessarily seated in criminal activity but within domestic and public institutional settings.

Disturbing statistics that seldom get any airplay in the media denote an inversion of the female attributes that collectively express a highly significant reaction to the mass pathology inflicted on Western societies. As to how custody battles are reflected in statistical analyses these figures are from the late 80s’ and early 90s’:

  • 79.6 % of custodial mothers receive a support award
  • 29.9 % of custodial fathers receive a support award
  • 46.9 % of non-custodial mothers totally default on support
  • 26.9 % of non-custodial fathers totally default on support
  • 20.0 % of non-custodial mothers pay support at some level
  • 61.0  % of non-custodial fathers pay support at some level
  • 66.2 % of single custodial mothers work less than full-time
  • 10.2  %  of single custodial fathers work less than full-time  [13]

By 2007, five of every six custodial parents are mothers, yet the number of custodial mothers in poverty is 27.7 percent in contrast to the percentage of custodial fathers in poverty at 11.1 percent [14]  With one in four divorced Americans yet to receive child support or alimony and of those who are supposed to receive spousal support, 49 percent are not receiving any of it, fighting to get it, or have completely given up, what does this say about the system of allocating benefits to each parent and the ability of fathers to find work over mothers? What of the prevalence of mental illness and undiagnosed pathology hidden from view? [15]

In custody and criminal trials prosecutors will have no compunction in using gender myths as a strategy to win their cases or “… packaging the myth for persuasive purposes” depending on which position they are advocating. [16]

5960558-lg© infrakshun

Impression Management

It might be an idea to revisit the Female Psychopath in a court setting.

The female psychopath’s own formula of “impression management” is especially effective yet we have no way of knowing how many take advantage of the criminal justice system except through reading between the lines of statistics. Is it simply self-presentation or cunning manipulation of the jury and all participants, from detectives to judges? Impression management is a crucial tool of the psychopath yet relatively unexplored in forensic psychology. If the overriding need to control and win is a primary driver of psychopathic behaviour this suggests a huge psychological loop-hole that takes advantage of the idealised image of feminine passivity which is then ruthlessly exploited.

Criminal trial attorney Frank S. Perri and clinical psychologist Terrance G. Lichtenwald see law enforcement and the criminal justice system facing a serious challenge in their ability to correctly perceive, diagnose and bring to justice female psychopaths. For instance: “Diane Downs, the woman who killed her two children by shooting them, came to her jury trial pregnant, projecting the image that a mother could not commit such an act. [Serial killers] Golay and Utterschmidt projected a disposition of two elderly, grandmotherly-like women, and Karla Homolka projected the image that she was under the control over her husband when she helped kill three young women.”  [1]

Other examples of possible misdiagnosis and leniency include one Marie Noe, who in 1999: “… admitted to killing her eight children [and] received probation. It had been suggested that her 72-year-old appearance, mannerisms and her gender affected the decision and because society is reluctant to believe that women kill serially, law and prosecutions lacked the motivation to investigate and vigorously prosecute these women.” Another female serialist received only 10 years in prison after admitting to killing her five children, but the jury felt sorry for her because she had lost all the children in her life.”  [2]

The courts, forensics and law enforcement are areas more likely to encounter male and female psychopaths than any other profession. The absence of courses in psychopathy awareness is still not forthcoming where it is needed most and where: “…the study of violent offenders is lumped together under the same umbrella that somehow criminals are from the same mold.” The authors therefore pose the following questions:

Does this individual understand that parents who kill may not be mentally ill but possess psychopathy traits that, in fact, make them more prone to planning their child’s death? Does this person have training on how to spot psychopathic traits or are does he harbor the view that a mother is incapable of intentionally killing her child because of her gender? If the parent did plan the murder, could this professional participate in the evaluation of such a case without resorting to myths to resolve the “shock” he or she experiences? […]

It can be particularly unnerving for professionals to realize that a female is capable of brutal violence, especially homicide, and project normalcy to those she encounters. Unfortunately, many in the law enforcement and behavioral field resort to the myth in order to resolve an uncomfortable inconsistency between what they observe and what they want to believe. […]

Professionals’ beliefs about female aggression influence their approach to inquiry, interviews, investigation, and their reactions to female disclosures about their criminal acts have an enormous impact on who is labeled a victim or an offender… [3]

Given the custodial, socio-economic statistics and those for female psychopathic traits that point to high incidence of biological mothers as perpetrators of some forms of child abuse and child deaths, a massive overhaul of gender stereotyping and target training for police and the law courts, social services and child care is long overdue. The authors recommend several changes that must take place if professionals – investigators or examiners – are to meet the challenge of psychopathy:

  • Self awareness of one’s own gender bias
  • Management of cognitive dissonance in the face of incongruous evidence: “female as care taker and female as abuser, female as peace maker and female as perpetrator.”
  • During evaluation, confidence borne from a strong data set ready to test for different gender myths regardless of the individual being evaluated.
  • Awareness that the examinee “has much to gain and little to lose by manipulating.
  • The evaluation of the deception but also the quality of the deception i.e. “How did the examinee respond when the deception was exposed?”
  • Awareness that the examinee may be wearing a “mask of sanity” thus he must be ready to examine his emotions for countertransference “…such as the feeling of disappointment that the individual is not what she first seemed.”
  • A willingness to excuse oneself from the case if these criteria cannot be met.  [4]

Finally, the authors conclude that: “Violence, especially murder, is a human issue and not a gender-specific phenomenon.” a conclusion that must extend across all societal domains when evaluating anti-social personality disorders such as psychopathy and narcissism whether in relationships, business, organisations or social movements.

The above examples are admittedly from criminal psychopaths. Garden variety psychopaths happily go about their business deep inside society assisting in the sometimes subtle and slow ponerogenesis of normal human behaviour.  Therefore, since we already have a problem that is highly advanced in Western societies in particular, then it does not necessarily mean employing specific models to be absorbed into already ponerised arms of the Establishment. It may be a bit late for current Western societies to incorporate large-scale change without systematic radical upheavals. What it does mean is offering the opportunity for all of us to be super-aware of the depth and nature of psychopathy so that we may give inoculate ourselves and our love ones from its destructive effects. Only then will we begin to loosen the grip of  the global predators in our midst.

 


Notes

[1] Nation of broken families: One in three children lives with a single-parent or with step mum or dad’ The Daily Mail, By Steve Doughty, 25 June 2010.
[2] ‘Norgrove Report fails children by not giving fathers access rights, says Centre for Social Justice’ Press Release, November 3, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) http://www.centreforsocialjustice.co.uk
[3] ‘Dads should NOT be given right to equal access to children, says review’ The Daily Mirror, November 3, 2011.
[4] Fathers 4 Justice http://www.fathers4justice.co.uk
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Channel 4 News, F4J Respond to Norgrove Report, November 2011 | ‘Family justice review criticises ‘shocking delays’’ BBC News, November 3, 2011.
[8] ‘Norgrove review fails to grasp the nettle for grandparents’ By Dr Ros Altmann , Saga http://www.saga.co.uk  4 November 2011.
[9] Ibid.
[10] ‘Do Divorced Dads Get a Raw Deal?’ By Tom Matlack, Mens’ Health, March 12th, 2011.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Ibid.
[13] 1988 Census ‘Child Support and Alimony: 1989 Series P-60, No. 173 p. 6-7. and U.S. General Accounting Office Report’ GAO/HRD-92-39FS January, 1992.
[14] U.S. Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005, released August 2007 | Ibid.
[15] http://www.Divorce360.com, Child Support Poll Results, conducted by GFK Roper Public Affairs and Media, 2007 | Ibid.
[16]] op. cit. Perri & Lichtenwald (p.63)
[17] Ibid. (p.64)
[18] Ibid.
[19] Ibid.
[20  Ibid.

Rape of a Nation: The Invasion of Iraq

By M.K. Styllinski

“A couple of days ago I went out on a foot patrol in Sadr City with a young a soldier and noticed the tattoo on his arm, featuring a rosary and the words ‘Forgive Me.’  I asked him what the story behind it was.  He said, ‘After my first tour in Iraq, I went back home to the states and all my friends called me a murderer and killer.  I guess I started thinking a lot about all the things I had done over here…you know.'”

ZORIAH, photojournalist


It’s never a bad thing to remember how we came to this point; how we let a minority of evil men and women turn our world inside out, with the once fine nation of America serving as the central nexus of pathological extremes.

In 2001, due to the hypocrisy of its own actions, the United States lost its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Commission after a vote by the UN Economic and Social Council. The US has long since taken on the mantle of accuser while ignoring the mounting violations of human rights abuses in its own back yard, firmly believing that its record is beyond reproach. The reality is somewhat different.

The US has only 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of its prisoners at almost two million. Excessive force, torture and sexual misconduct is an increasing problem. This is a clear reflection not only of a society in decline but the governing structure upon which it is based. [1] A discriminatory or excessively violent death penalty and unlawful judicial practices; police brutality and disputed police killings; the implementation of draconian laws and a systematic dismantling of the constitution is common place. The invasion of Iraq provides an instructive insight into the underbelly of the US bodypolitic.

images© infrakshun

Between 2002 and 2004 the slaughter of civilian Iraqis reached initial estimates of 300, 000 to over 655,000 of total civilians murdered by US forces, most of whom were children. [2] According to the prestigious British polling group, Opinion Research Business (ORB) over one million Iraqis have met violent deaths as a result of the 2003 war, these numbers indicating: “that the invasion and occupation of Iraq rivals the mass killings of the last century—the human toll exceeds the 800,000 to 900,000 believed killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994, and is approaching the number (1.7 million) who died in Cambodia’s infamous ‘Killing Fields’ during the Khmer Rouge era of the 1970s.” [3]

The figures remained contentious, especially to now retired Lieutenant General Tommy Franks, one time head of US Central Command, who once barked in response to a question about civilian casualties: “We don’t do body counts.” [4] This appears to be the dominating consensus within US government circles. The absence of civilian death toll records suggests a preference for silence on this issue that can only benefit an invader. A lesson learnt from Vietnam and numerous other invasions inflicted on vulnerable nations?

What makes the carnage in Iraq even more ironic is the standard tactic of using “humanitarian intervention” as a pretext for colonial invasion which inevitably exacts a massive humanitarian toll. There is also no doubt that there US soldiers who have fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan who were unaware that they were merely being used as pawns on a chessboard. Perhaps they really believed they were protecting America’s idea of democracy. In the end, many of the military ended up helping their brothers in arms to survive the tours of duty – nothing more. There were and are acts of heroism in this context and where many began to question why it was they were in Iraq at all. If the jingoism and warfare did not attract a high quota of psychopaths within the US military then it certainly created psychopathic tendencies in many young soldiers, not just due to the horror of war that favours the erosion of conscience but the importation of a ponerised American culture that so willingly believed the sales pitch delivered by the Neo-Conservative hawks.

The symptoms of psychopathy infecting so much of the US military at that time brought to us the torture and sexual abuse of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib jails. This led to the incarceration of a “renegade gang” of abusers who were clearly and weakly following orders from high. Unfortunately, this was no exception. It was systematic and carefully mandated.

Amongst the 1,800 pictures taken by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib, there were also examples of female torture and rape. While these were seen by Congress they were not released to the public. What is worse, the women prisoners – if and when they were released – suffered the spectre of “honour killings” by some Iraqi families where sexual dishonour is viewed as a fate worse than death, the latter often being chosen for the wife or daughter.

Bandits and criminals were dominating the public spaces in Baghdad since the “end” of the war. In mid-July 2003, there were over 25 rapes and kidnappings of women in the city from the end of May to the end of June 2003. This was in marked contrast to the average of one a month before the war.  Since then, there have been over 400 women in Baghdad alone who have suffered rape, kidnapping and the growing victimization of being sold and trafficked overseas. [5] As of 2012, the kidnapping, rape and murder of children in Iraq’s second largest city Basra – an otherwise relatively peaceful city – has become so bad that parents are leaving having lost faith in the security forces to protect their children. [6]

The Real Statue of “Liberty”

On the right, Staff Sgt. Ivan “Chip” Frederick clips  his fingernails while Satar Jabar, imprisoned for carjacking, is wired up for electrocution at Abu Ghraib prison,November 4, 2003.

To cap it all, children, are still subject to abuse while being detained in U.S. prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with the Pentagon lowering the cut-off for incarceration to 16 instead of 18.  A June 2005 article in The New York Times reported that the International Committee of the Red Cross registered: “‘…107 detainees under 18 during visits to six prisons controlled by coalition troops. Some detainees were as young as 8. Since that time, Human Rights Watch reports that the number has risen.” The article furthered reported: “… Juvenile detainees in American facilities like Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Base have been subject to the same mistreatment as adults.

The International Red Cross, Amnesty International and the Pentagon itself have gathered substantial testimony of torture of children, bolstered by accounts from soldiers who witnessed or participated in the abuse. A memo addressed to Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld shortly after the 2001 invasion reported ‘800-900 Pakistani boys 13-15 years of age in custody.’” [7]

The atrocities which took place at the Abu Ghraib prison are still seen by many as a momentary aberration rather than a standard procedure used by CIA and the MOSSAD. Indeed, many believe that such photos were leaked precisely because it served as a warning at a deep, unconscious level that anyone daring to cross the might of American Empire would have this in store for them. As such, it could represent a branch of psychological operations designed to place fear in the enemy whether civilian or soldier, government or media.

The iconic hooded figure of prisoner Satar Jabar with wires attached to his person and described by many Iraqis as the “Statue of Liberty” was done so for good reason. So too, the alleged acts against children surfacing in July 2004 had a disturbingly authentic ring of truth. For a military that uses napalm, microwave weaponry and black ops against civilians defending themselves against an invasion force, with the commensurate targeting of journalists which continues to this day,  it comes as no real surprise that children are at serious risk in one of the most dangerous places on earth. (In 2015, the legacy of American imperialism is the transference of Al-Qaeda proxy terrorism to another Frankenstein creation of ISIS/ISIL by Western intelligence agencies in order to rout President Al-Bashir Assad of Syria. Iraq is now dominated by Islamic State militants and their reign of terror.

abugharibinfrakshun notes 2011

The investigative journalist Seymour Hersh was largely responsible for bringing to light the atrocities of the US military and their total disregard for the Geneva Convention protocols. Most of us saw the photos and the actions of some rather disturbed people. Of course, these lines of inquiry led nowhere and those in the photos carried the can for the higher-ups once again. But more was to come. Hersh, speaking at an ACLU event in the same year said the US government had videotapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq:

‘Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib … The women were passing messages out saying ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.’

As Republican Senator, Lindsay Graham remarked: “The American public needs to understand, we’re talking about rape and murder here. We’re not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience. We’re talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges.” It seems that Hersh’s allegations were borne out by the Taguba Report which gave detailed witness statements and interviews in over 6.000 pages which dwarfed the 50 page excerpts in the media. Excerpt from statement provided by Kasim Mehaddi Hilas, Detainee #151108, on January 18 2004:

‘I saw [name deleted] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15 – 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name deleted] who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid’s ass. I couldn’t see the face of the kid because his face wasn’t in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures. [name deleted], I think he is [deleted] because of his accent, and he was not skinny or short, and he acted like a homosexual (gay). And that was in cell #23 as best as I remember.’

Another testimony alleging abuse of minors from a statement provided by Thaar Salman Dawod, Detainee #150427, on January 17, 2004:

‘I saw lots of people getting naked for a few days getting punished in the first days of Ramadan. They came with two boys naked and they were cuffed together face to face and Grainer was beating them and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures from top and bottom and there was three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners. The prisoners, two of them, were young. I don’t know their names.’

One report from the UN Office of humanitarian Affairs’ Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) shows prison abuse is just another indicator of a wider form of exploitation.  With official government figures putting youth employment at almost 50 percent with poverty continuing to spiral, this undoubtedly helps to feed the rising commercial sex trade. Many children are forced into prostitution by criminal gangs through threats and violence and intimidation. New prostitution rings of every variety have sprung up all over Iraq since the fall of Saddam. Girls below the age of 16 are a prize commodity for the gangs with up to 70 percent of girls being sold and around 30 percent of boys. Street children are most at risk from sexual abuse and have no protection. A spokeswoman for Women for Peace, a local NGO devoted to women’s issues, reports: “‘We have at least one case of a girl raped per week and one boy every two weeks,’…’The most worrying thing is that they’re afraid their fathers will kill them because of a perceived loss of honour.’” [8]  As well as girls, gay adolescents are threatened both from the sex trade and later from their families.

Former high-ranking Baathists from Saddam’s regime have been rumoured to be behind some of the criminal gangs abducting, raping and selling young girls in Iraq. The Mukhabarat (secret police) often rounded up Kurdish women in the 1980s and sold them to clubs in Egypt. This is all the more believable when the Mukhabarat’s old identification actually said “Profession: rape.” The Major Crimes Directorate of the Iraqi Police has recently been set up under the supervision of U.S. Army Military Police. Yet there is no framework or persons responsible for dealing with cases of rape or sexual violence.

No one really knows how many young women have been kidnapped and sold since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The U.S. State Department’s June 2005 trafficking report says the extent of the problem in Iraq is ‘difficult to appropriately gauge’ but cites an unknown number of Iraqi women and girls being sent to Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Persian Gulf countries for sexual exploitation. The US military will not be the one to address the crimes, judging by its current record it is one of the primary reasons why such crimes continue.

In late September 2005, the following story surfaced. The U.S. military claimed it was investigating reports that soldiers based in Iraq were posting photographs of dead Iraqis, including explicit shots of severed body parts and internal organs on a Florida-based, amateur porn website. American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan took photographs of dead bodies, many of which were in states of decomposition and horribly mutilated and send them to Chris Wilson, owner of the site. On receiving these images Wilson allows soldiers free access to his site. In other words, the US military were using dead Iraqis to buy porn.

According to one article: “Some of the graphic website images are accompanied by openly racist comments from the soldiers who posted them. “What every Iraqi should look like,” is the commentary next to a picture of a corpse whose brains and entrails are spilling out. In another image, six men wearing US Marine uniforms are smiling for the camera as they point to a burned body at their feet. The caption: ‘Cooked Iraqi.’” Elsewhere, site visitors are invited to guess which body part is being depicted.” As the site is registered in the Netherlands the US legal system had no jurisdiction.

What is more disturbing is that there is a demand for such images. As a litmus test for the severe ponerisation of a society, this would have to be a “code red” indicator.

In 2008, CNN revealed that four in 10 women at a veterans’ hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military, alongside a government study concluding that figures could be much higher. [9] By 2012, a new documentary film entitled Invisible War reiterated the findings in a more comprehensive investigation, exposing the inaction and apathy by authorities regarding what appears to be an epidemic of rape in the Army.

Director Kirby Dick interviewed victims from the Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Army and Air Force veterans who were assaulted by fellow officers, supervisors or recruits, all of whom recount their experiences in shocking detail. What we discover is that these are not isolated incidents but a long-standing “tradition” of violence and rape accepted as part of military milieu. The victims who chose to take part in the film had all suffered greatly from their attacks and had their lives virtually destroyed. This was in part, due to the indifference and prejudice meted out by the US military authorities and the denial of justice these women so desperately deserved. All the women felt they had no choice but to leave the military.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune:

“One Marine, Ariana Klay, was raped by a fellow officer in the elite Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. A Navy officer, Trina McDonald, was drugged and raped repeatedly by fellow officers on a remote base in Alaska. Coast Guard recruit Kori Cioca was raped and then assaulted — smacked so hard in the face that it dislocated her jaw, causing her permanent damage and pain for which the Veterans Administration declines to provide medical coverage. […] Almost none of the alleged perpetrators were brought up on charges or punished in any way.” [10]

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The Invisible War

Whether the act of rape takes place in a state of “blind” panic, of conquest, or sadist aggression, they all express this essential exploitation towards the weak; the rapist often turning himself in knots to avoid culpability or to claim diminished responsibility – the exact dynamic we see in the geo-political world today, where sex is still used as a weapon of control.

Psychologist Dr. A. Nicholas Groth, Director of the Sex Offender Program for the State of Connecticut’s Department of Corrections, separates rape into three distinct types: anger, power and sadistic rape. In the case of anger, the rape is a discharge of intense resentment which may include revenge and the subsequent degrading treatment towards the victim:

The anger rapist’s relationships to important persons in his life are frequently fraught with conflict, irritation and aggravation. The anger, resentment, hostility and frustration engendered in this relationships is often displaced onto other individuals, and, therefore the victim may be a complete stranger to the offender, someone who has been unfortunate enough to be in his presence at the point at which his controls begin to fail and his rage erupts. Although she has done nothing to warrant it she becomes the target of his revenge – not revenge in a calculated planned fashion but, instead, the recipient of an impulsive action precipitated by a situation she has no part in. [11]

Here we can see the decline of America and the impulsive projection from much of the American electorate to blame Muslims and Islamists for an essentially fake democracy. We can also transpose the psychopathology of the Bush Administration and the Iraq invasion which used the promotion of a Jihad against America as the means to garner global support. Hot on the heels of 9/11 this conveniently led to the bogus “War on Terror” designed to maximize geostrategy and financial leverage. The “calculation” has its place in sadistic and power rape. Conquest is the primary drive, which includes the capture and control of the victim while compensating for a deep inadequacy. To do this, physical force and threats play the dominant role though manipulation towards the peak moment of domination may be used:

Physical aggression is used to overpower and subdue the victim and its use is directed towards achieving sexual submission. The intent of the offender is to usually achieve sexual intercourse with his victim as evidence of conquest, and to accomplish this, he resorts to whatever force he finds necessary to overcome his victim’s resistance and to render her helpless. Very often the victim is kidnapped all held captive in some fashion and she may be subjected to repeated assaults over an extended period of time.

Such offenders entertain obsessional thoughts and masturbatory fantasies about sexual conquest and rape. The characteristic scenario is one in which the victim initially resists the sexual advances of her assailant; he overpowers her and achieves sexual penetration; in spite of herself, the victim cannot resist her assailant’s sexual prowess and becomes sexually aroused and receptive to his embrace. […] In reality, the offender tends to find little sexual satisfaction in the rape. The assault is disappointing, for it never lives up to his fantasy. [12]

The compulsive nature of the power rapist means that nothing can fill the emotional void other than the acts of violence, the only measure of a primal excitement that is very quickly dissipated and thus “He may commit a whole series of rapes over a relatively short period of time.” [13] This may also increase aggression as the satisfaction wanes, thus building to more extremes which are both opportunistic and premeditated.

The above can be transposed once again, towards the dynamics of the US role in Iraq. The former attacks a weaker smaller country as a suitable victim with which it can satisfy an ideological and material hunger. (“‘As one rapist said: I always looked for a victim that was smaller than me’”) This hunger or drive to feel power has consumed anything resembling emotional reciprocity or the capacity to feel empathy for another. The actions are the drives of the addict seeking a fix, a quest based on a wholly subjective appraisal of reality and relationships and an inability to acquire the attributes of conscience.

The September 11th attacks were an opportunistic event or a well-organised conspiracy to ensure a constant supply of victims – a state of perpetual war. [14] This is the prelude and excuse for legitimized rape of conscience on a grand scale. Others who dissent and are “different” also become targets of the power rapist as they remind them of what they lack and what they covet. The power rapist needs to believe the victim enjoyed it. Just as the US military, much of the American public needs to believe they are bringing democracy to Iraq instead of the obvious rape of a nation.[15]

There is the rare form of rape expressed through sadism, where sex and aggression become fused and expressed violently. This violence is then laced with a false eroticism, where suffering and pain becomes sexually gratifying for the perpetrator:

The offender may subject his victims to curious actions….such as clipping her hair, washing or cleansing her body, or forcing her to dress in some specific fashion or behave in some specified way. Such indignities are accompanied by explicitly abusive acts, such as biting, burning the victim with cigarettes and flagellation. Sexual areas of the vicitm’s body (her breast genitals and buttocks) become a focus of injury or abuse. In some cases, the rape may not involve the offender’s sexual organs. Instead he may use some type of instrument or foreign object, such as a stick or a bottle, with which to penetrate his victim sexually. […]

Usually, he captures his victim and then works himself into a frenzy as he assaults her. The rape experience for the sexual sadist is one of intense and mounting excitement. Excitement is associated with the inflicting of pain upon his victim. Such abuse is usually a combination of the physical and the psychological. Hatred and control are eroticized, so that he finds satisfaction in abusing, degrading, humiliating and, in some cases, destroying his captive. [16] 

Forensic psychologist Dr. Reid J. Meloy wrote that “Sadistic control is also an element of perversion and pathognomonic of psychopathic disturbance.” [17] There have been a number of studies that suggest that sadism is a strong component of psychopathy or is actually the same disorder, a variance stemming only from personality and socio-environmental preferences. [18] Sadists conform to the same trajectory of psychopathic needs and desires and also seek social openings where they can exert maximum control over others in exactly the same fashion as psychopaths. In other words, sadism could be viewed as another form of psychopathy alongside pathological narcissism, borderline and anti-social. [19]

The American oligarchy is busy doing what it does best: a power rape of humanity as an initiation to full blown pathocracy.


 “One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror. ”

― George W. Bush


Dissenting voices who were against the lies, manipulations and propaganda circus by America and its allies knew exactly what the future would be. I was working in Madrid at the time and decided to join the tens of thousands of ordinary people who were protesting against the war in the strongest possible terms. We also knew that governments would likely ignore the will of people. This is what happens when those devoid of conscience inhabit our systems of government. The only way such protests can be effective is if they are underscored with knowledge of the psychopath in our institutions and backed up by civil action that paralyses the banking and corporate sector.

At the beginning of 2003, numerous accounts of abuse and torture of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq began to surface. Photographs of degradation and torture of a purposely sadistic nature were discovered. The acts were committed by personnel of the 372nd Military Police Company, with directives from CIA officers, and private contractors involved in the occupation. Far from being an accident or lapse in command procedures this was a systematic and conscious use of torture with the blessing of Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defence. [20]

Far from introducing democracy they used gullible soldiers and willing psychopaths to invade a country and install US puppets to direct affairs that would profit military-corporate complex in the future. It is an outpost of updated colonialism intent on dominating the resources in the Middle East. While Saddam Hussein’s regime was certainly an example of extreme repression, members of the society in general were treated better with greater civil rights and a higher standard of living, than under the present US dominated government. Their culture and history and artifacts of an illustrious past was also intact. Not so after the invasion. With Iraq social services plummeting, healthcare system in deep crisis; torture and human rights abuses far worse than under Saddam; child malnutrition more than doubling and the economy wilting under a constant war-zone, it is little wonder that Iraqis are now 58 times more likely to die. [21]

The Bush-Cheney administration liked to trumpet the fact that it was the leading exemplar of a bonafide democracy. Yet what are we to make of statements like this from Bush in 1999: “One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief. If I have a chance to invade….if I had that much capital, I’m not going to waste it. I’m going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I’m going to have a successful presidency.” A “successful presidency” for George Bush and his cronies was to murder, maim and kill thousands of defenceless women and children like all good psychopaths do when they indeed, have “the chance.” Which explains Dr. Hare’s own conclusion that psychopathic individuals’ favourite occupation is to target “The weak and the vulnerable — whom they mock, rather than pity…” [22]

And Iraq’s continuing chaos is the pure personification of social and cultural rape.

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Photo taken on Jan. 15, 2014 shows the blast site in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. At least 24 people were killed and 55 others wounded in violent attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, most of them in and around the capital city of Baghdad, police said. (Xinhua/Dena Assad)

Lest we think this is strictly a Bush/Obama problem, the military are warming to their leaders’ ways with continuing sexual abuse at service academies, in units stationed abroad in Kuwait, Afghanistan Bahrain, and at military installations. Detainee abuse allegations have also included sexual assaults. As tools of the Pathocracy their pathogenic impulses cannot be confined to one outpost. If it occurs in one, it will occur in the majority. [23]

UK author and journalist Richard Webster wrote on the etymology of hatred and the underlying misogyny of those who loathe everything, including women and their bodies. He believes “sexual obscenities and war-mongering are intimately related” defining the same expression of insecurity, ignorance and aggressive projection. He then quoted the following email received from a journalist who criticised US Foreign Policy in the Middle East and immediately after September 11th: “how many dogs had to fuck your mom for you to happen?’… ‘I just don’t understand why you have a job in the free world,” said another. “You should slither on back into your sand-encrusted cunthole you ungrateful fuck.’” One can see the words of this individual are acting like indiscriminate bullets, spraying all with his invective. The target can be anyone, just as long as the expression is fulfilled.

Webster believes this kind of hatred is not a “hatred of peace, or hatred of the left, or hatred of Muslims, or even hatred of Guardian journalists. It is hatred of the body – and of the sexual bodies of women in particular, something which belies the schizophrenic nature of religious authoritarian personalities which make up so much of the social landscape of the United States and its military.

It is not only angry American readers of the Guardian who sometimes imagine war as a form of intimate violence directed against a hated human body. At the outset of the 1991 Gulf War the late General Norman Schwarzkopf said: ‘I want every Iraqi soldier bleeding from every orifice.’” [24] More accurately, this would suggest severely damaged individuals who are reflecting their own self-loathing on the one hand and on the other, damaged individuals giving vent to their cravings to abuse and defile the body and human sensibilities. Or, those for whom the use of biological metaphor simply reveals their primary focus: the God of the material world.

Individuals harbouring such tendencies seem to rise to the surface whatever the authoritative system, be it regional council, military division or department. Even a whole nation can convince itself through paramoralistic assertions that another nation is not suffering from their blatant acts of aggression, and even that such a nation wants it to happen; to have a form of exquisite, inquisitorial conversion. All those who gravitate towards the front line of inquisitors have an array of suitable weapons to do “God’s will,” and naturally occupy the positions in the army and government that best service their brand of pathology.

When we think of the genocide committed by troops in Iraq is it so different, this “service”? How can we reconcile the fact that there is an element of pure sadistic psychopathy in the micro and macro-social phenomena of hate that we are witnessing, and which justifies the sexual exploitation and destruction of innocent lives for money and power? Granted, not all are sadists, but if psychopaths are not present the shortfall of soldiers are damaged at best, and made sociopathic at worst. That is the nature of 21 century warfare.

Ponder this confession from a serial sadistic rapist of children and transfer the description to the civilians in Iraq or the plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation:

If a child was screaming, I would tell myself – you know – the child’s not really hurting because I know that in reality I was hurting the child. But the only way I could continue the act was to tell myself I wasn’t hurting the child…I found the more I told myself that the more I believed it. And then I found it the child tried to pull away, or screamed, hollered, cried, then all my lying to myself would enhance it and made it more arousing to me. […] After a while I could actually take it and turn it around. Because the child was screaming that he wanted more – actually because they liked it. The child was screaming because he wanted me to continue. [25]

With the exception of Israel, nowhere can we see this kind of pathology more clearly than in the United States of America, the self-proclaimed exemplar of democratic and humanitarian ideals forged in the Statue of Liberty for all to see. Unfortunately, psychopathy nests itself in seemingly elevated ideals until the truth of the situation becomes more and more difficult to mask. It is then that the full force of ponerogenesis becomes known and expresses itself via various forms of fascism most often via the liberal back door.

Creating law enforcement agencies which use sexual humiliation as a way to control society is now a reality. In 2012, the US Supreme Court decided that that anyone can be strip-searched upon arrest for any offense, however minor, at any time. Add to this the NDAA which lets anyone be arrested forever at any time; the “trespass bill” HR 347 which gives you a 10-year sentence for protesting anywhere near someone with secret service protection and the Obama administration’s decision to activate an assassination team to murder American citizens if they are suspected of being a terrorist. These rulings alone indicate an inverted totalitarian government masquerading as a democracy. As journalist, author and activist Naomi Wolf states regarding invasive x-ray scanning at US airports: “Believe me: you don’t want the state having the power to strip your clothes off. Yet that is exactly what’s happening. History shows that the use of forced nudity by a state that is descending into fascism is powerfully effective in controlling and subduing populations.” [26] So, what are the symptoms of this fascistic infection? In her recent book The End of America, She has pin-pointed the 10 key signposts of a country’s descent into fascist control:

1) Invoke an External and Internal Threat
2) Establish Secret Prisons
3) Develop a Paramilitary Force
4) Surveil Ordinary Citizens
5) Infiltrate Citizen’s Groups
6) Arbitrarily detain and release Citizens
7) Target Key Individuals
8) Restrict the Press
9) Cast Criticism as “Espionage” and Dissent as “Treason”
10) Subvert the Rule of Law

All the above examples are occurring in the United States and are serious enough to eclipse the positive actions on the part of groups and individuals attempting to address these iniquities. However, it is the recognition of the depth of pathology that now exists and how it functions within our own lives that will determine the future. The greater awareness of the root courses of endemic lies and manipulation can ultimately create conditions favourable for resisting state-sanctioned behaviour.

cheney-bush2

It is said that victims of rape need to understand exactly why the rape happened in order to facilitate healing. Gaining knowledge about the attack to reduces the shock of the inevitable reaction of “why me”?  Similarly, as we are all, in one sense, “victims” of a collective “mind rape” we too must address the causes that we have grown up with in order to fully appreciate the implications of our thoughts and actions which may not be our own. Otherwise, we will forever remain prey for the pathocratic rapist that lives in the shadows of our ignorance. We must understand that the nature of evil is just as much a reality as the possibility of love and goodness. Author and child advocate, Andrew Vachss discusses this very point:

“Evil is a choice.  What distinguishes evil is that it is a decision. It’s not in any way involuntary conduct. What Americans do, and this is completely understandable, is they confuse “sick” and “sickening.”  So if something is sufficiently repulsive to them, the response is, “That’s sick!”  So if you’re trying a case, and the accused has sexually assaulted twenty-five little boys, tortured them, taken photographs of them, sold the photographs  —the more gross, the more grotesque, the more bizarre, the more  reprehensible the conduct, the more likely the jury is to conclude that only a sick person would do that. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

I know people don’t like the word “evil,” because, to them, it has a religious context. And also it’s overused. But you have to distinguish from “sick,” because a sick person doesn’t plot and doesn’t plan and doesn’t profit. Plot, plan, profit. If you see those words, you’re not dealing with somebody who’s sick. You’re dealing with somebody who’s evil. And that distinction has habitually been lost on Americans, because the media has muddled it so much. [27] [Emphasis mine]

The psychopath does know the difference between right and wrong. He chooses “wrong” because it is his nature to embody the opposite of those with conscience. And the plotting, planning and profiting from the most extraordinary suffering is routinely rationalized as somehow essential to the survival of democracy, when in fact, what we consider to be an inevitable trade-off to secure all our freedoms is simply another ruse in the well-oiled machine of pathocratic rule. We must un-muddle our ideas about good and evil, and unravel the knots we have created regarding their influence.

Now that we have the patterns of pathology firmly in our minds we can turn to some of the specific causes and their recurrent effects within contemporary society in Europe and America.

 


Notes

[1] ‘The US has only 5% of the world’s population, but almost 25% of it is in prison’ The Economist, May 19 2012. | http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/03/currency
[2] Though originally reported by The Lancet almost two years ago, the figure of 100,000 is obviously out-of-date. This estimate was before many of the crimes committed by US troops, the Iraqi so-called Army and the Government militias. The number could easily be at least 200,000. According to the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) humanitarian news agency reported on April 26 that “More than 90 women become widows each day due to continuing violence countrywide, according to government officials and non-governmental organizations devoted to women’s issues.” The Ministry of Women’s Affairs says that there are at least 300,000 widows in Baghdad alone. There may also be as much as eight million throughout the country. | ‘2,660 Iraqi Civilians Killed in Sept.’ By Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Lee Keath Associated Press, October 11, 2006.  “…a controversial new study contends that nearly 655,000 Iraqis have died in the three-year-old conflict in Iraq — more than 10 times higher than other independent estimates of the toll.”
[3] ‘Over One Million Iraqi Deaths Caused by US Occupation’ – ‘Projected Censored top 25 media stories of 2009.’
[4] ‘Counting the civilian cost in Iraq’ BBC News, June 6, 2005.
[5] ‘Iraqi Women Kidnapped, Raped,’ Agence France Presse, August 24, 2003.
[6] ‘Child rapes, killings terrify parents in Iraq’ USA Today, November 9, 2012.
[7] ‘Arrested Development’ By Arlie Hochschild, The New York Times, June 29, 2005.
[8] ‘Street children face hunger and abuse,’ (IRIN) 26 December, 2006.
[9] ‘Sexual Assault In Military Jaw Dropping’ CNN.com July 31, 2008.
[10] ‘’Invisible War’ exposes widespread rape in U.S. military’ Chicago Tribune, January 22, 2012. | See also the 2012 film at http://www.invisiblewarmovie.com/
[11] p.16; Men Who Rape – The Psychology of the Offender by A. Nicholas Groth with H. Jean Birnbaum. Published by Basic Books, 1979. | ISBN 0-7382-0624-5.
[12] op.cit. Groth (pp.26-27).
[13] Ibid.
[14] ‘In Iraq: The Neo-Con Perpetual War Policy’ by Carl Osgood, October 1, 2004 issue of Executive Intelligence Review: [The Perpetual War policy] “…was elaborated in the now-infamous ‘Clean Break’ document in 1996… authored by former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and a team of fellow neo-cons, [who] called for: 1) the destruction of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority,…2) inducing the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq; 3) launching war against Syria after Saddam is overthrown; 4) parlaying the overthrow of the regimes in Syria and Iraq into the ‘democratization’ of the entire Muslim world,…blaming them for every act of Palestinian terrorism, including the attacks from Hamas; including further military actions against Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even Egypt.”
[15] A Harris Poll® #57, July 21, 2006: “Seventy-two percent believe that the Iraqis are better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein.” In reality, they are worse off in almost every aspect of the occupation see: ‘Blix: Iraq Worse Off Now Than With Saddam’ Associated Press, April 6, 2004; ‘U.N.: Iraq kids suffer from malnutrition’ – “Almost twice as many Iraqi children are suffering from malnutrition since the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein” USA Today, March 30, 2005; ‘Iraq death toll “soared post-war”’ BBC News, 29 October, 2004.
[16] op. cit. Groth (pp.44-45)
[17] p.338; The Psychopathic Mind: Origins, Dynamics, and Treatment by Reid J. Meloy. Published by Jason Aronson, Inc.; 1 edition, 1988. | ISBN-10: 0876683111.
[18] Holt SE, Meloy JR, Strack S: Sadism and psychopathy in violent and sexually violent offenders. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 27:23–32, 1999.
[19] Murphy C, Vess J: Subtypes of psychopathy: proposed differences between narcissistic, borderline, sadistic, and antisocial psychopaths. Psychiatry Q 74:11–29, 2003.
[20] ‘How a secret Pentagon program came to Abu Ghraib’ by Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker, May 24, 2004. “…the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.”
[21] ‘Iraq economy falls below pre-war levels’ By Guy Dinmore, February 16, 2006. “The Bush administration on Thursday conceded that key sectors of the Iraqi economy had fallen below pre-war levels because of the insurgency, but insisted it was making enough progress on the political and security fronts to press ahead with reductions in US forces.” | See also: Iraq death toll ‘soared post-war’ BBC News, 29 October 2004.
[22] op. cit. Hare (p.44) | See also: ‘Bush’s Iraq WMDs joke backfires’ BBC News, March 26, 2004: “US President George W Bush has sparked a political row by making a joke about the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. At a black-tie dinner for journalists, Mr Bush narrated a slide show poking fun at himself and other members of his administration.One pictured Mr Bush looking under a piece of furniture in the Oval Office, at which the president remarked: “Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be here somewhere.”After another one, showing him scouring the corner of a room, Mr Bush said: “No, no weapons over there,” he said. And as a third picture, this time showing him leaning over, appeared on the screen the president was heard to say: “Maybe under here?”
[23] ‘Military Sexual Assault Reports Up 40 Pct’ By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press, March 17, 2006.
[24] ‘Of love, war and obscenity: a perspective on the fall of Baghdad’ by Richard Webster, The Guardian, April 12, 2003.
[25] op. cit. Salter (p.109-110)
[26] ‘How the US uses sexual humiliation as a political tool to control the masses’ By Naomi Wolf, The Guardian, April 5, 2012.
[27]  ‘The World As They See It: Andrew Vachss’ by Ken Kesegich, Case Magazine, Autumn, 2004.

The Female Psychopath I

 By M.K. Styllinski

“After my involvement with the psychopath I got the strange feeling that he really didn’t have a gender. When I learned that psychopaths have no identity – they only create one as needed – it started to make perfect sense. If they have no identity it only seems logical that they have no identity either doesn’t it?”

– A.B. Admin, psychopaths and love.com


Many people might think that the existence of female psychopaths is negligible, if they exist at all. Television, plays, movies and pulp fiction have all portrayed the female psychopath alongside her male counterpart drawn from myths, folklore and fables since time immemorial. The femme fatale and scheming devil-woman have all gone through the mill of the artist’s imagination feeding off the potent archetype of the feminine vampire.

Admittedly, the influence of male prejudice and patriarchal residues still echo through literature and cultural mores of the day, but taking into account such bias, we seem averse to the idea that female psychopathy could be a significant reality. A serious lack of data and knowledge regarding the dynamics of the female psychopath has stemmed from our preconceived ideas about gender roles largely sourced from ideas of Mother Nature and nurturing; that women are passive, weak and non-violent. A male can be evaluated and found to be psychopathic, whereas a female can take advantage of these cultural stereotypes, often playing on the dominance of male bias in law enforcement and related institutions thereby escaping true diagnosis, usually in favour of histrionic or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (NPD) [1]

Marlene DietrichHollywood Femme Fatale Marlene Dietrich

Since the female psychopath has both a mask of sanity and the imbedded cultural bias  she has a double advantage which allows her to escape detection. Robert Hare asks us not to be deceived as the: “… variety and severity of criminal acts performed by these women, as well as their capacity for cold-blooded violence, are similar to those committed by their male counterparts.” [2]

The pathological narcissist, the Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) and the female psychopath all conform to the archetype of the feminine vampire. Of course, this energy sucker is neither male nor female in reality but the methods of energy extraction are different for each. The female vampire goes for the pity hook of a damsel in distress while the male stimulates the “mother instinct” in the guise of the “little boy lost” playing on the passivity, sensitivity and vulnerability so enamoured of gender stereotypes. This has particular relevance in that so many ordinary people exhibit these traits to a greater or lesser degree and as a general symptom of a society saturated in narcissistic values.

Jungian psychologist Barbara Hort described the feminine vampire archetype as “… the Spider – the incarnation of the Terrible Mother as a devouring weaver of fate and bringer of inevitable death.” No mincing of words there. If pathological narcissism is just one variant of psychopathy then this describes the “dance” that is created between vampire and victim: a fly becomes more and more trapped as it struggles, the spider closing in to extract the nourishment she craves for her continued existence. The image of the Great Spider on her web becomes “…symbolically synonymous with another ancient image of the negative Feminine, one that is found at the center of many web-like labyrinths. The image is that of the Gorgon Medusa…” [3]

Medusa

Medusa by Arnold Böcklin, circa 1878 (wikpedia)

Hort elaborates on this ancient process:

It may seem incomprehensible that a powerful person could be victimized by a psychic vampire who seems to be completely disempowered. Yet there are few lures more potent for a powerful champion than rescuing a grateful waif in distress. How exciting it is to save someone from the jaws of tragedy, particularly if the recipient is adoring and appreciative! You, the noble champion, journey alone down the desolate nighttime road, when there appears by the wayside a sweet little mist who is weeping in loneliness and alluring despair. Ah, you think, here is a perfect chance for me to put my sword to its proper use! Here is someone to save! And how charmingly pathetic she is! Perhaps there will be some love for me at the end of the heroic rescue! […]

… our gullibility is no mystery. When we embark on the path of the Champion, when we don the armor of empowerment, we expect our vampires also to be draped in the cloak of power. We never suspect that a vampire might veil itself in the guise of weakness and vulnerability. What’s more, when the Champion Archetype is active in our psyche, we strive to serve those less fortunate than ourselves, so when we come upon the sweet mist by the side of the road, is it any wonder that we bleed on its behalf? What a cruel ruse this is, for in fact the mist is a vampire who will feed on us by exploiting the very nobility of which our Championhood is based. […]

“In the beginning, the man was happy to rescue the pathetic damsel, who, coincidentally, had just one or two more little traumas that she hoped he would be kind enough to rectify. Thus began a long series of heoric rescues, each one of which was appreciated by the woman only long enough to resuscitate her hero before she needed his next valorous deed. [4]

Though common to any sexual preference, the primary emotional hook in the ensnarement of the male is pity, coupled with sexual seduction. Nigerian writer Ben Okri’s debut novel: Astonishing the Gods paints a vivid picture of a spiritual quest and the meeting of a strange woman, a siren or a long lost lover: “She lay down beside him and her lust spread a curious darkness over the bed. He seemed to be afloat in her desire. He seemed to levitate in her passion. He surrendered his senses to her power. Gently, she made him lie down. Then she whispered these words into his ear: ‘I am the mystery that will unlock your life.’” [5]

Ulysses_and_the_Sirens_by_H.J._Draper

Odysseus and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper, c. 1909 (wikipedia)

It is the sense of hidden depths and mystery that the feminine vampire cultivates in order to draw men into her web, taking great lengths to disguise the emptiness within. The more pernicious the disorder the more external energy is needed to fill the void which is why engaging with the vampire can leave you stripped of your soul:

“… the creature that best embodies the inner nature of the feminine vampire is the needle-fanged, cold-blooded, venom- spewing serpent. …The Medusan vampire slithers up in silent hunger behind her unwary prey, freezing her target with her stare (pitifulness and wiles of the damsel in distress), and then sinks her fangs into the petrified victim, spitting out the venom of her embittered rage, and then leaves the lifeless body behind as she gathers her sinuous coils of deceptive lethargy and sniffs the air for the scent of hot blood, waiting for the next victim who will prolong her life… The Medusan vampire relies on snakelike subtlety to capture her prey.

“The true hero MUST be able to sense the Medusan viper who lurks under the veil of imploring vulnerability… note the term ‘sense’ rather than ‘see.’ The myth tells us that it is extremely dangerous to look directly on the truth of this entity, for the vision will immobilize and destroy us.” [6]

And no doubt many men have been turned to stone by looking directly into the heart of the female narcissist and psychopath. When socio-cultural norms actually reinforce the illusion that such pathology has the air of seductive mystery and enticing sensuality then this can only the increase the number of victims. With the underlying basis of vampirism informing societies’ foundations to an increasing degree, how does the female psychopath take advantage of such an unequal playing field – even between the male of her psychopathic species?

1ef3f2b04e8a3ad7a14d493fa79b1ee2Freud’s psychoanalysis will occasionally pop up throughout this series as one of the causes of our large-scale problems rather than its antidote. In terms of female psychopathy he has a peculiar part to play in its genesis. Freud’s views increased the perception that aggression was mostly male and instinctual where women provided a calming effect on men’s unbridled sexual drives and the rage that lay just beneath the surface of even the mildest of choir boys. [7]

Women who allowed their anger to fly free were considered to harbour too much masculine energy, which perpetuated the belief that aggressiveness in women was abnormal. Buttressed by the simplistic views of Darwin’s theories of evolution as well as the flowering of eugenics in America and England, this contributed to the patriarchal structure of the twentieth century and to the present mess of gender roles. This also allowed the diagnosis of psychopathy to stay hidden, while at the same time shaping the “normal” society of men and women. It is little wonder that such myths about the “passivity” of women persists where expressions of radical feminism only serve to increase the promotion of extreme and unrealistic aims, the latter of which we will presently explore.

Women have traditionally been seen capable of only reactive, non-pre-mediated violence which is counter to all the studies so far on a range of anti-social personality disorders. Dr. Robert Hare shows that there are many cases of female psychopaths doing all the same things of which male psychopaths are capable though the processes and strategies involved may differ. A tiger may wait patiently in a tree before it pounces on the gazelle, or a lion may stalk its prey in the tall grass over many kilometres. Different species, yet both predators and part of the same genus, utilising different strategies that lead to the same result: Lunch. Or to put it another way, the only difference in female psychopaths is that “…they may be less prone than males to use overt, direct physical aggression to attain their needs.” [8]

doris-day2_1976055c

The innocent, girl-next-door and the pity-me, victimised, submissive female persona are among the arsenal of psychological ploys employed by the female psychopath.

Criminal trial attorney Frank S. Perri, JD, MBA, CPA; and clinical psychologist Terrance G. Lichtenwald, PhD are also convinced that the study of the female psychopath has been greatly lacking thanks to gender stereo-typing and the subsequent lack of awareness in law enforcement, the justice system and forensic science. They consider female psychopathy to have only really taken off in the last fifteen years therefore knowledge as to whether differences in female and male psychopathy: “…reflect actual gender-based differences or are the result of potential biases in sampling, diagnostic criteria, and/or assessment instruments” is difficult to ascertain at this stage.” [9]

Perri and Lichtenwald state that there are two kinds of female psychopaths. The first is characterised by “… interpersonal deception, sensation seeking, proneness to boredom, and a lack of empathy. The second category shows “… early behavioral problems, promiscuous sexual behavior, and adult, nonviolent antisocial behaviour.” Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) (inappropriate sexual seductiveness and exaggerated or shallow emotions) has the strongest relationship to psychopathy in female samples whereas Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is more likely to be found in male psychopaths than female psychopaths:

Female psychopaths were comparable to psychopathic males in terms of irresponsible lifestyles …. Female psychopaths typically have higher unemployment rates, relationship instability, and dependency on social assistance programs, while male psychopaths tend to have higher rates of unlawful behavior and violent crimes …Analysis of adolescent populations found gender differences in psychopathy related to violence. Specifically, nonviolent antisocial behavior appeared to be key to understanding psychopathy in females, whereas violent antisocial behavior was more important in males …Sexual conduct has emerged in several studies differentiating between male and female psychopathy; specifically, female psychopaths appear to engage in more promiscuous sexual behaviour than males … These findings are likely due to gender specific socialization in which assumption of strong, dominant roles is expected and accepted more so for men than it is for women. [10] [Emphasis mine]

Certain distinct preferences in the male and female psychopath and the methods they use to achieve their aims have become apparent. The use of “impression management” seems to be much more of a concern for the female psychopath which means portraying themselves in the best possible light is paramount.  It is here that the gender myths might play a vital role in adding an extra camouflage to the diagnosis of female psychopathy in both the caring professions and in custody cases. Proto-typical findings on male psychopaths as overt aggression, cruelty to animals and bullying and threats were nothing like as common for female psychopaths. Covert tactics and more subtle approaches seem to be favoured by psychopathic females such as complex strategies of emotional manipulation, flirtation and sexual seduction to achieve similar results. [11]

Female serialists kill for money, excitement, and power. They gravitate towards occupations that conform to the traditional female roles, occupations like nursing and babysitting, but also the non-conventional such as stripping and prostitution. They are generally older than their male counterparts and play on being the last person one would think to be responsible for the most heinous crimes, hence, the targeting of small children and the elderly who serve as suitably vulnerable and defenceless victims. Poisoning or suffocation is the preferred means of murder with a meticulous attention to leaving the crime scene free of material evidence.

Conversely, male psychopaths are more likely to kill for sexual gratification and power over others and favour more overt means such as bludgeoning, stabbing and strangling. They are less than careful in the aftermath of their murders. [12]

Yet of the 20,000 or more murders every year in the United States alone there are no exact figures of how many of those were committed by serial killers. Dr. Schurman-Kauflin, an expert on serial killers and founder of the Violent Crimes Institute explains that this is due to the difficulty in determining “…the number of killer who are active at any one time…” and because “…there is no clear definition of the term. There are almost as many definitions of serial killers as there are researchers.”

hi-homolka-852

Karla Leanne Homolka after sentencing. Source: Canada Live

Homolka was a convicted Canadian serial killer who helped her husband Paul Bernado rape and murder at least three women. More specifically: the 1991 and 1992 rape-murders of two Ontario teenage girls, Leslie Mahaffy and Kristen French, as well as the rape and death of her sister Tammy. However, she cut a deal with prosecutors and served just 12 years in prison for manslaughter after a plea-bargain.  Today, she lives in Guadeloupe with her three children. One wonders how much Perri and Lichtenwald’s conclusions could be applied to this case and many others.


What is more disturbing is that while it is still generally accepted that the number of murders by women is small, there are no reliable national or international data sets to analyse how common (or not) the incidence of female serial killers. Murders perpetrated by women and female serial killing are also on the increase the fact of which has been ignored by the media and encouraged by gender myths in the public: “…Of a total of about 400 serial killers identified between 1800 and 1995 in the United States, nearly 16 percent—a total of about 62 killers—collectively killed between 400 and 600 victims … More than a third of the female serial killers made their appearance since 1970, and the numbers keep increasing …” [13]

Perri and Lichtenwald believe the above figures are conservative due to the prevalence of female serialists carrying out their kills:

… at home or at work in the capacity of caretakers such as nurses, babysitters, etc. where a child’s mysterious death could be explained away as a medical anomaly or to old age. Attacks occur in accepted social and professional relationships, while the means to kill are often surreptitious like poison, drug overdose, or sudden suffocation; the murder in essence becomes hidden because of the belief that someone who established a bonding relationship with the child would not kill (such as a nurturing nurse, mother, caretaker, etc.) Many female serialists tend to use poison and trap their victims on territory that is familiar to them and is shared with the victim … Female serial killers tend to have longer killing careers than men, presumably because their crimes are more carefully planned, methodical, precise and “hidden” on the whole … As for other serial crimes committed by women, some aid their boyfriends and husbands in abducting, torturing, and killing women; such was the kind of assistance Karla Homolka gave her husband, Paul Bernardo, when they killed Karla’s sister and two other school girls. [14]

The absence of emotion tends to help psychopathic women in the law courts despite the high degree of instrumental homicide as oppose to reactive homicide they perpetrate. One of the myths of the feminine mind is that women react to events and thus commit crimes of passion, desperation or survival under accumulated trauma or other forms of duress. The idea is that they have been provoked or driven to carry out certain crimes that were the result of a temporary loss of sanity or the onset of psychosis rather than any premeditated or “instrumental” planning. The latter would suggest someone in control of the mental faculties which is not the province of the mentally ill. Yet, this is precisely the hallmark of the psychopath. “The absence of emotion actually assists them in planning the kill and not killing reactively because a time requirement to predation is not necessarily present.” [15] The authors list several examples of psychopathic caregivers’ crimes, female predators who “…located [in their] well-spring of power in maternity.” [16]

Award-winning journalist Patricia Pearson argues that generally women are more than capable of matching men’s propensity for violence. It is because of our denial of women’s innate capacity for aggression that she thinks “…women got away with their crimes for years..” and “…because so few of us are willing to acknowledge that women are as capable of cool and calculating brutality as men are, again relying on the myth that females are incapable of such monstrosities.” [17]

In the words of American serial killer Carol M. Bundy, a former nurse and a divorced mother of two: “Remember, I look innocent. Impression is worth as much as facts.”

This is where impression management in family courts is so useful to the pathological narcissist and female psychopath.[18]

 


Notes

[1] Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., and Paul Babiak, Ph.D. Published by Harper Collins, 1st edition, 2007 | ISBN-10: 0061147893. p.40.
[2] op. cit.Hare (p.102)
[3] p.136; Unholy Hungers: Encountering the Psychic Vampire in Ourselves & Others by Barbara E. Hort, Published by Shambahla first edition. 1996 | ISBN-10: 1570621810.
[4] Ibid. (p.132)
[5] Astonishing the Gods By Ben Okri. Published by Phoenix Paperbacks, 1999 | ISBN-10: 0753808641.
[6] op. cit. Hort (p.146)
[7] Behind the mask: destruction and creativity in women’s aggression By Dana Crowely-Jack, Published by Harvard University Press, 2001 | ISBN-10: 0674005376.
[8] The Last Frontier: Myths & The Female Psychopathic Killer by Frank S. Perri and Terrance G. Lichtenwald, The Forensic Examiner, Summer 2010.
[9] Ibid. (p.58)
[10] Ibid
[11] Ibid.
[12] p. 10-11; The New Predator: Profiles Of Female Serial Killers by Deborah Schurman-Kauflin. Published by Algora Publishing, 2000 | ISBN-10: 1892941589.
[13] op.cit;  Perri & Lichtenwald; (p.63)
[14] Ibid.
[15] Ibid. (p.60)
[16] p.96; When she was bad: how and why women get away with murder by Patricia Pearson. Published by Penguin Books, 1998 | ISBN 0140243887.
[17] op. cit. Perri & Lichtenwald (p.61)
[18] Ibid (Perri & Lichtenwald (p.63)

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.”