violence

Crowd Control III: Mixed Messages (2)

“The witch-hunt narrative is a really popular story that goes like this: Lots of people were falsely convicted of child sexual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s. And they were all victims of a witch-hunt. It just doesn’t happen to line up with the facts when you actually look at the cases themselves in detail. But it’s a really popular narrative — I think it’s absolutely fair to say that’s the conventional wisdom. It’s what most people now think is the uncontested truth, and those cases had no basis in fact. And what 15 years of painstaking trial court research (says) is that that’s not a very fair description of those cases, and in fact many of those cases had substantial evidence of abuse. The witch-hunt narrative is that these were all gross injustices to the defendant. In fact, what it looks like in retrospect is the injustices were much more often to children.”

– Ross E. Cheit, The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children


The already seriously flawed European Justice system was brought into sharp relief with the case of Myriam Delay (now Badaoui) in France, where although abuse did take place, an extended ring of paedophilia was said to have been absent. “The trial had shattered the lives of 18 people accused in the case, with one committing suicide and others losing custody of their children, while sending France into a paroxysm of soul-searching.” [1]

The Outreau abuse trial started in 2000 and lasted until December of 2005 where over 66 adults were accused of raping, sexually abusing and prostituting 45 children between January 1999 and February 2002. By July 2005 videotaped testimony of the children provided “horrific details of abuse” which took place on a poverty stricken council estate “in a chronically deprived community.” [2]

One of the country’s biggest criminal trials, and the largest paedophile trial held in France, the Deputy public prosecutor Herve Lollic told the AFP news agency: “We are certain of not having identified all the victims and it is probable that we have not identified all the aggressors,” which doesn’t inspire the greatest confidence that justice would be done.  Charges were brought against an intra-familial paedophile ring in a poor area of a town in Western France. ‘These were people in difficulty, excluded from normal society, who found each other. And for them, everything was sexualised,’ said one local news journalist.  Another expert at the trial mentioned that ‘these were people who were unable to manage their sexual impulses. And nobody told them these things shouldn’t be done …’ [3]

Many of the accused were said to have been innocent of the crimes, with just four of the 17 men and women originally charged found guilty. What was deemed as evidence was later said to be no more than the imaginings of Myriam Delay  and the wild inventions of other children. As well as crucial evidence that was never heard in court which would have exonerated many of the accused, most of the 13 suspects who continued to plead their innocence were placed in detention in 2001. In the beginning of 2006 President Jacque Chirac called the case of the Outreau 13 “… an unprecedented judicial disaster…” [4]

France has been repeatedly criticised by the European Court of Human Rights and campaign groups for its pre-trial detention that can last up to five years. Many lost their jobs and saw their children taken into care. The case has revealed serious flaws in France’s judicial system, which should never have allowed most of the cases to come to court. This can only benefit those who commit the crimes and serves to feed the idea that much of the organised paedophilia and sexual abuse are children’s fantasies.  It underlines just how difficult it is to obtain prosecutions of high level networks if isolated groupings within society are loaded with incompetence and purposeful obstructions. It remains worrying however, that Miriam Delay on 10th day of her trial, suddenly admitted to fabricating much of the story concerning tales of gang rapes and a child prostitution ring based in her home. After a trial that shattered lives of 18 people accused in case, with one committing suicide and others losing custody of their children it begs the question was it all lies? The answer is no. There were cases of abuse. Delay’s retraction appeared to prove that no “commercial” bartering of “services” was organised.

outreau “The innocent and politicians first!”

After so many cases of abuse coming to light in the last 20 years it could be argued that social workers were trying to cultivate due caution coupled with suitable vigilance. 21 of the 23 families in the case had been monitored by French social workers after the first report in 1999, but the investigation only began in earnest in 2002 which seems more than a little apathetic in light of the severity of the abuse.

The Deputy public prosecutor said “… I fear that these things do not just happen in Angers…” With such painfully slow realisations forming at this late stage it is no wonder that intra-familial abuse and other forms of exploitation continue to rise in society. Where cases of intra-generational abuse occur, how does one penetrate the wall of secrecy set up as a natural course by the victims and perpetrators alike? When these walls are finally broken down, the methods adopted often lead to fatal flaws that see the wrong persons accused and caught up in the ensuing and very slippery shadows, which then causes suspicion and accusations to all, regardless of tangible evidence.

From the UK to the US and things are no better. Children are suffering unnecessarily as victims only to become further victims of court ineptitude and cultural and personal bias resulting in families being broken up and effectively destroyed. Meanwhile, the real abusers continue to get away quite literally, with murder.

From a series of life history interviews conducted by Sara Scott Ph.D from the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University Liverpool, UK, the stories from one particular family detail a history of “violence, cruelty and sexual abuse.” One interviewee responded to a question about her uncle and abuse:

… once I was at boarding school he used to have to pick up us up from the airport and stay overnight and going back to school and things like that; he used to abuse then a fair bit…. My uncle in many ways was like my dad. He’d come across as a very nice bloke, good laugh and a joke. They managed to do what my parents had done, build up and image of everything’s fine, nothing’s wrong… ‘We’re the perfect family.’  My uncle has a daughter and four grandchildren – at least one I know that’s been abused.  I’m almost certain he’s abused his own daughter, he abused my sister, he abused my dad… very much into abusing people.

He abused you dad when he was young?

Yeah, from what I can gather from what my sister’s told me from when he was fairly young until his teens. Quite badly abused my dad, because of the 18 years [between them]. [5]

Scott goes onto emphasize the “ordinary” and “routine” nature of such abuse which existed in these families. Abuse began when the children were infants where it was so much part of their formative years that it became normalized:

[Kate]: Yeah, I can remember what I call normal abuse … which basically didn’t have any cult meaning, it was just my father. That was pretty much a regular occurrence as much as eating my meals actually. I can’t really distinguish particularly … It would happen at home or used to take me for walks in the park … anywhere really … I don’t think it really bothered him at all. […]

[Sinead:] As soon as I saw my mum each day I would get bath. And my mum used to pay particular attention to my private parts. She would wash me quite roughly and insert her fingers inside me. Sometimes my dad would help and he would help, and he would do the same thing. That must of gone on since I was born really. I do remember my dad would quite often insert things inside me, his hand was a favourite. It got to be normal, I just used to relax, it didn’t hurt so much. It was so ordinary, I didn’t think: ‘O, my God, what are they doing?’ That went on till I went to school. [6]

It seems to be true with many cases of intra-familial abuse that emotional cruelty and degradation also featured to a greater or lesser degree. In the case of the above middle class English family such instances included: “….pissing on me when I was in bath and putting my head down the toilet and putting faeces in my mouth. Nice, you know, nice things like that … I hate him.” [7]  Far from being merely a product of a dysfunctional family, incest is carried out most often by parents committing rape upon their own child which tends to cut through the psychoanalysis double-speak of “parents loving too much” [8] or the “failure of family obligations.”

***

If we look to the internet there are ample opportunities for those to find others who are attempting to make incest acceptable along with paedophilia. As with most forms of deviancy of the kind that includes bestiality, sadomasochism and fetishes of all types the internet provides a homogenous and anonymous entry into all manner of fantasy that is attempting to slip from pathology to normalcy.

There are even chat-rooms and websites that are de facto support groups for people engaged in incest. Ideas that advocate a better understanding of consensual sex between “kin”, blur the line yet again between the complexities of father-daughter relationships for example, where perhaps the only way to find a proper relationship is to give in to the adult’s manipulations, sex being the only way to gain “love” and attention. However, our concern here is for the child for whom the idea of consent, when confronted by the father or mother in such cases is a cruel abstraction devoid of any meaning. It can only be a form of parental rape at this stage and must be prosecuted as such.

In the UK, the old offence of incest was replaced with a more modern law that prohibits sexual relations between children under 18 and their blood relations, adoptive parents and siblings, step-parents, foster carers and those in a position of responsibility in the family. The “position of responsibility” covers people such as a friend of the child’s mother, a relative by marriage, such as an uncle, or another adult that lives in the same household. Whereas in New York, US, the penalty for those who molest an unrelated child differs greatly for those who molest children to whom they are related.

One may ask, which is worse: a stranger who rapes a child or the child’s own father committing the crime?

20051128© infrakshunghg

Not so, overseas. Sex with a child under the age of 11 is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. If, however, the sexually abused child is closely related to the perpetrator, state law ensures significantly more lenient treatment, to the extent that the prosecutor may choose to charge the same acts as incest. The problem being this is not listed as a sex offence, but as an “offense affecting the marital relationship,” It is therefore a Class E felony, whereby even a convicted offender may be granted probation. [9]

Can you imagine how useful a political tool this has become for the high-flying family man with a supercharged career and a penchant for abusing his children as he climbs the ladder to the top? Find the right lawyer, pay the money and rely on incest loopholes to finish the job. Such inconsistencies are not so surprising when we look at some of the definitions of sexual practices in law. In the State of North Carolina orgies are defined as “7 people in a closed room with their feet off of the ground.” Necrophilia (sex with corpses) was not illegal in Iowa until the late 1980s. It is surely little wonder that child abuse and the courts are in such chaos.  Similar eccentric laws exist in many Southern States.  Regardless of the precise statistics of each category there is a high probability that the prevalence of familial abuse and sexual abuse in general is not decreasing, though more overt and unplanned violent crime may well be on the decrease.

If we return to the US, in 1970 the results of one study recorded 86,324 persons arrested for sexual offences. In 1986, 168,579 persons were arrested for sexual offences which are almost double the number. The United States Department of Justice recorded in 1981 and 1989 respectively, that from 1970 to 1979 the rate of increase for sexual offences, other than forcible rape and prostitution was 5 percent. From 1979 to 1988 the rate of increase for these offences was 44.5 percent. [10] Therefore, we can make the tentative observation that the single largest group in our prison population may be those convicted of sexual offences, second only to drug offences. This maybe as much to do with sex-paranoia as puritanical authoritarianism where both are doing battle and squeezing any semblance of objectivity.

It is also worth noting that the high rate of physical and sexual abuse (including rape and violence within the family) will induce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children in particular, especially where genital pain is involved. This becomes understandable when we realise that an estimated 61 percent of violent sex offenders in State prisons have a prior conviction history and a further estimate of 1 in 4 imprisoned rape and sexual assault offenders with dominant past histories of violent crime, with 1 in 7 having been previously convicted of a violent sex crime. [11]

With child abusers who have been known to re-offend as late as 20 years following release into the community, this is not a problem that will disappear with sporadic under-funded, community-based supervision and management. This is a problem that goes very deep indeed into all aspects of social systems: economics, politics, and education.


“Society does not believe that women really do sexually abuse children … There’s almost a perception that boys should be happy or grateful, or certainly not experiencing sexual contact with females as abusive.” – Dr Joe Sullivan  [12]


As mentioned previously in discussions of The Female Psychopath female sexual abuse is another taboo the recognition of which still lags behind of male abuse both in reporting and investigations. Women in society are seen as the carers, nurturers and protectors. To accept that some women also abuse, whether sexually or physically is unconsciously resisted which has led to a paucity of research and data, though this is slowly changing. As always, this too creates tensions between child advocates, agencies and feminist groups who fear that it will feed into the already difficult plight of women in society generally, not least the arena of abuse.

There is one theory that suggests that women frequently abuse children physically rather than sexually. This is the most readily available individual, or individuals to whom the abuser can claim to exert control and retain that power normally denied to them, especially within a fragmented and disintegrating home environment where pathologies tend to manifest. [12]  Examples of female sexual abuse fall into distinct categories including: teachers who are involved with adolescent and/or pre-pubescent boys or consider themselves “in love” and/or want to teach them about sex; [13] women who are coerced into offending and who are initially abuse dependent i.e. allows another male to initiate the action but can end up abusing on their own; [14] and abusers who have been sexually abused themselves from a very young age and go on to inflict the same abuse towards their own children. This may not be necessarily aggressive, threatening abuse, rather “a cry for emotional intimacy.” [15]

Pathological narcissism and psychopathy may also play its part where cases are just too extreme to be classed as anything else. The case where a mother feared she would “lose her boyfriend while she recuperated from surgery arranged for her 15-year-old daughter to have sex with him,” is but one example. [16]

Though the above suggests there are important differences between male and female abuse, this type of offending, despite the cultural stereotyping of young boys “enjoying it and wanting it” can be just as detrimental, creating concerns regarding masculinity, deep-seated anger, betrayal, helplessness, negative attitudes towards relationships with the opposite sex and continuing occurrences of self-blame and guilt. In other words, female sexual abuse, like male abuse, has long term psychological effects that can ruin lives.

Social service and mental health professionals are unused to the idea that females can and do abuse children making the detection and of such crimes even more difficult. This means that children remain vulnerable to continuing and undetected abuse of this kind. There are estimates that 5 percent of girls and up to 20 percent of boys that have been abused are perpetrated by women, though the small amount of data available is less than definitive. [17]

With inter-generational physical and sexual abuse being unreported yet prevalent, anti-sexuality set against sexualisation form dominant forms of “edutainment” with a vacuum of appropriate role models and a widening of the gap between the rich and poor. However, with power comes impunity and while society at large battles with its demons, locked into a cycle of self-abuse, we begin to get an idea that all is not well with the authorities and established institutions in the Western world that purport to guide, instruct and look after its populace. Children are not only becoming victims within the family but are also manifesting narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies which have been inflicted upon them.

There can be no greater barometer than by looking at the plight of children under globalisation. There is thus something very wrong indeed in our institutions and social systems if the very core of the family is exhibiting symptoms of emotional decay and psychological disorders to the extent that parents, siblings resort to the abuse, torture and murder. This is further exacerbated by a climate of fear placing pressure on parents who are made to feel hypersensitive and over protective of their own children. Like certain representatives of the climate change industry, the child abuse industry often has some fat pay cheques to offer their employees.

The traditional roles of the father, mother and the family unit in general are deteriorating in the UK and the US.  Similarly, children are desperately in need of enduring role models that nurture and nourish their growth rather than creating unnecessary tensions which are pulling the child’s psyche apart. To say that children globally are receiving mixed messages would be an enormous understatement.

The spectre of the lone paedophile / child molester is given endless mileage and moral panics are whipped up to protect the organised networks of abuse. These are sometimes mirrored in the family and communities at large. The ability to tackle these issues remains diffused at best, due to the active or passive acquiescence of law enforcement and authorities already tied to what is institutional abuse in secret. This situation can only worsen if the core reasons for its presence continue to be brushed under the proverbial carpet. And these reasons are to be found in our present systems which define the very societies themselves. The Rule of Law only goes so far in protecting the innocent, but ensures immunity to those with money, prestige and power on a scale that is unacceptable for so-called democratic nations. Perhaps it has always been so, but the structures upon which our present laws were founded seemed to have all but crumbled away when the courts and custody battles are placed under the microscope.

 


Notes

[1] ‘French paedophile ring case turns into judicial fiasco’ The Guardian, December 2, 2005.
[2] Ibid.
[3] ‘Outrage over innocent 13 jailed in sex abuse scandal’ The Times, January 20, 2006.
[4]  ‘Child abuse gang horrifies France’ By Sarah Shenker, BBC News, July 27, 2005.
[5] p.66; The Politics and Experience of Ritual Abuse: Beyond Disbelief By Sara Scott, 2001, published by Open University Press. | ISBN 0-335-20419-8.
[6] op. cit. Scott (p.67)
[7] Ibid.
[8] Systemic treatment of incest: A therapeutic handbook.T.S Trepper and M. J Barrett, New York: Brunner/Mazel. (1989).
[9] The Incest Loophole’ By Andrew Vachss, The New York Times Op-Ed, November 20, 2005.
[10] U. S. Department of Justice (1981). Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics-1981. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, D. C. /U. S. Department of Justice (1989). Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics-1989. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, D. C.
[11] US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, February 1997.
[12] ‘Female paedophiles more prevalent than conviction rates suggest, leading forensic psychologist says’ By David Lewis
28 Apr 2015. ABC News Australia.
[13] ‘Unspeakable Acts’, Trouble and Strife 2 I(Summer), I3 p. I5 by L. Kelly. 1991.
[14] Bridget Mary Nolan, a former Australian teacher was convicted in December 2005 of having sexual intercourse with an underage student at her school. She was sentenced on March 1, 2006 to two years and four months but which led to a suspended sentence after Nolan entered a $1,000, three-year good behaviour bond. The sentencing judge justified his decision not to hand down a jail sentence due to her showing “genuine remorse.” The Australian, January 2006, p. 5./ The Australian. 2 March 2006, p. 3.
[15] A woman told investigators that she was “…coaxed into raping her 6-year-old son when her husband threatened to leave will spend the next 16 years in prison….The woman’s 30-year-old husband was sentenced …to two concurrent life.” published in The Akron Beacon-Journal, October 5, 2002.
[16] ‘Breaking the last taboo: child sexual abuse by female perpetrators’ By Renee Koonin, Australian Social Work journal, Volume 30, No 2. May 1995.
[17]  ‘Police: Teen given to older man for sex.’ Associated Press, August 10, 2006.
[18] A paper: Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research, ‘Women as Perpetrators,’ by D. Finkelhor, and D. Russell New York: Free Press. (1984).

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Crowd Control II: Mixed Messages (1)

“In all the interviews I have done, I cannot remember one offender who did not admit privately to more victims than those for whom he had been caught. On the contrary, most offenders had been charged with and/or convicted of from one to three victims. In the interviews I have done, they have admitted to roughly 10 to 1,250 victims. What was truly frightening was that all the offenders had been reported before by children, and the reports had been ignored.”

― Anna C. Salter, Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders


If you’ve been following the trajectory of these posts you’ll have hopefully understood that we are dealing with a highly complex set of influences which make up the overall picture of child abuse, sex crime and our current expressions of sexuality.  None of these issues lend themselves to simplistic solutions. Aside from the activities which go on within institutions, the high profile but rare cases of violent sexual abuse and sometimes murder which have been committed in the lower income levels of society play a part in giving undue credence to such crimes, making them appear much more common than they are. [1]  

That doesn’t mean to say that such crimes are not a very big part of the European and American Establishment. They most certainly are. But many of these crimes often have pathways leading directly to government, banking, the church and other institutions whose initial ideological and political constructs have become something entirely different. They now offer sanctuary and protection to child rapists and other psychopaths by virtue of a Hive Mind tradition that has fused with conscienceless individuals.  They are able to stimulate the market for abuse at both the macro-social and micro social level while simultaneously hiding behind their political, religious or corporate mask. This has ultimately meant that these networks of child abusers are buffered and protected by the societal chaos encouraged through public “lone” paedophile trials, celebrity pederasts and intra-familial abuse cases, the latter of which often act as suppliers to the Elite.

Sensationalising the issue increases the “fear factor” and a parental paranoia that is leading to restrictions on natural child development. The erosion of childhood has led to “a drastic decline in children’s outdoor activity and unsupervised play…” [2] This is due to technology and the so-called litigation and “claims culture” which has produced so much alienation and social fragmentation in America and Europe. We are now living in a world where parents and adults alike are becoming increasingly wary of even talking to children that are not their own or tending to a minor injury in the school-ground lest they be accused of inappropriate “touching.” [3] The well promoted obsession with lone child molesters is out of all proportion to the cases reported.  All of which benefits the Establishment where the most serious child rapists reside.

lone-predator

© infraskhun

So, while we know that child abuse is serious problem let’s also take a look at the other side of the coin, and how an abuse paranoia is currently manifesting in the UK.  To this into perspective for a moment, last year over 100 children in the UK alone were killed on the roads, more than 6,000 were injured and 1,000 seriously, leaving them disfigured or disabled for life. How many children in the UK have been killed by the lone child molester in a comparable time scale? Seven.[4]  Over 40,000 children ran away from home while the British government still insists that the traditional “family values” should be maintained without providing the support that families need. Britain also has one of the worst records of child poverty in Europe. Among 100,000 and 200,000 people under eighteen, experience homelessness each year.

A UK Home Office report from 1999 became yet another research study to be added to the growing body of respected research confirming the real risk comes from sexual abuse not from isolated child molesters but from relatives, family friends and siblings. The research also found that: “… only one in five men jailed for molesting children was likely to be caught re-offending, compared with reconviction figures of 50 percent for non-sexual offenders within two years of the original crime.” [5]

While the lone child molester and “stranger danger” meme gets enormous coverage in the press, the less sensationalist trend is the incidence of abuse that occurs within the family unit suggesting a hidden pathology afters years of ponerisation. Economic deprivation, the rise in narcissism and the materialism from which it is sourced is a large factor in the presence of abuse within the family. This serves as another reminder that sexual crime can always provide an infinite variety of scapegoats while ignoring the core reasons for why these offences take place. We might equally say that recognised offenders were expert in covering up their crime coupled with the fact that the age of the victim invariably ensures that the molestation is not reported adding difficulties in provision of definitive data.

According to Mary Marsh director for the National Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC): “Over the last 30 years, hundreds of children have been beaten, starved, burned, suffocated, poisoned, shaken, strangled or stabbed to death by their parents” [6] She believed the child abuse killings were a “national disgrace,” her belief drawn from the statistics which suggest that more children die in the home than in the street. Yet still, the lone child molester threat continues to pervade popular culture holding parental sensibilities to ransom with 63 percent of parents believing most child murders occur outside the home. [7]  Meanwhile, massive advertising from child charities  targeting children in the family to report on signs of abuse to the organisation, further fuelling the idea of the family as a den of corruption, already under severe socio-econommic pressures. It’s a rock and a hard place.

While the NSPCC’s had some dubious methods for raising awareness of this problem, the collected data and conclusions found were pertinent. One NSPCC poll found that 70 percent of parents were “more concerned for their children’s safety after the deaths of Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.” [8] Cases such as these allow newspapers to milk the fears of all parents who in turn campaign for legislation that adds to the overreaction for a predator that is statistically already within the home and more importantly, as an indirect result of individuals  found in the top echelons of our social systems and thus shaping it toward a singular psychological worldview. Perception management ensures that this is a “natural” consequence of people’s nature and the evolution of modern culture. Yet so far it seems, neglect, physical violence (and in some statistics rape) represent an overall increase far above sexual abuse. More than three children are said to die each day in America as a result of child abuse or neglect. [9]

2013-07-12 20.26.14

© infrakshun

While statistics need to be viewed with a suitably sceptical but open mind, sufficient studies over several decades have confirmed that there is a much higher incidence of physical abuse as opposed to sexual abuse, closely followed by neglect which is seven times more prevalent than the former. Indeed, it seems the younger the child the greater the risk of murder (infanticide) for those aged under five. The US fairs no better. The number of homicides of children under age 5 has increased over the past two decades, albeit with a modest decline in the last few years, according to government figures. The number of infanticides of children age 1 and younger is also increasing since the 1990s. Infant sexual abuse (nepiophilia) is also a rising problem within the family. The effects of sexual abuse on those of pre-verbal age are relatively unknown.

Nevertheless, research offers evidence that the foetus can be highly sensitive to external stimuli of a positive or negative nature so we can also surmise that the infant will be equally sensitised to the intent and physical effects of sexual abuse. A toddler’s brain has twice as many connections among its 100 billion neurons as the brain of a fully matured adult. [10] It is a crucial process of development within an intricate and complex system, housing neural circuits of learning that is highly almost exclusively dependent on external stimuli. The parents and the environment can directly affect whether or not the child inherits damaged circuits and the surfacing pathologies, however slight, or creative ones that lay down a healthy foundation for the future. Evidence from a recent report fro Reuters in December 2011 has even shown that: “Children exposed to family violence show the same pattern of activity in their brains as soldiers exposed to combat”.

When infants and children are exposed to unhealthy social encounters which include stress and anxiety, the brains do not wire themselves properly in the “emotional centres,” which leads to negative cognitive reactions which then become “hard-wired.” If we then take the trauma associated with infant abuse, we can imagine the damage inflicted on the neurology of a developing baby and the future generational line.

A leading expert in the field of sexual abuse of the infant child, Dr. Bruce Perry at the Baylor College of Medicine, believes the development of the cerebral cortex can be reduced by as much as 20 percent from the effects of abuse resulting in many brain structures remaining under-developed.  Instead of dense neural clusters as by-products of creative learning, there are effectively “holes” sourced from trauma, stress and anxiety. [11]

Perry indicates that the human brain has a variety of ways by which it can store or “recall” experience right across the board of motor, vestibular, emotional, social and cognitive applications. The body locks in these memories that, according to Perry, are non-cognitive and pre-verbal: “It is the experiences of early childhood that create the foundational organisation of neural systems that will be used for a lifetime.” [12] Of these neural patterns, instead of laying down stable and proper functional platforms for further learning, the imprinting shock of abuse lays down trauma and anxiety related to psychosexual development during the general mapping process. This then leads to a greater propensity for widespread damage in the biological life of an emerging infant with personality development prone to severe disruption.

With the long term effects of child abuse covering a wide range of fears, anxieties, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behaviour, poor self-esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships, we can tentatively conclude that the effects may be a form of emotional fall-out which not only has a very long legacy but offers a primary resource for the manipulation of the mass mind. When emotion, fear and trauma dominates, the mass mind is wide open to propaganda and perception management.

american-beauty

Promotional poster for “American Beauty” (1999) about the darker psycho-sexual and social tensions behind American suburbia which ultimately lead to redemption.

The 1999 multiple Oscar-winning film American Beauty portrayed middle-class suburban America as undergoing a reaction to the narcissism, sexual subversion and overall inversion of the American Dream. Themes explored included gender, maternal and paternal love, sexuality, beauty, materialism, alienation, self-liberation and redemption. Literary critic and author Wayne C. Booth described the film’s “elusive centre” and the talented mix of creative energy of all those involved that made the film so successful. Similarly, when art manages to make connections with the subconscious and speaks to underlying themes simmering below the surface there will inevitably some form of resonance.

The film explores the underlying connector as a materialist, consumer led “beauty” that has removed all possibilities for sense of the sacred and sanctity in American life. Beneath the struggle to adjust to impinging economic realities intolerance, fear and mental illness are descending upon middle America.  As such, beauty is still present in the unlikeliest of places from simple teenage eroticism to a plastic bag floating in the air currents of an urban alleyway. It shows how existential emptiness and the loss of meaning govern much of American and European daily life. These are the pathways by which sexual extremes and pathological deviancy may enter under cover of suburbia created from the norm of Establishment and institutional perceptions of reality.

Much of the youth in America and Europe are drowning in a sea of superficiality. There is an absence of proper role models and any form of integral education which is adding to the inevitable rise in gang-related crime. The pathological tendencies which have been allowed to gain a foothold in young social groupings are thus becoming gradually more fertile for subset-pathologies to be expressed. Indeed, it seems that the trend for children to be abused by their own age groups than by adults is also on the rise.

One comprehensive report analysed data between 1976 and 1994 and estimated more than 37,000 children had been murdered. [13] In fact, during the same period, 1 in 5 child murders were committed by a family member and 1 in 5 child victims were known to be killed by another child. Children under 18 accounted for 11 percent of all murder victims in the US in 1994. Nearly half of these 2,660 child victims were between 15 and 17. In most murders of a young child, a family member killed the child, while in most murders of an older child, age 15 to 17, the perpetrator was an acquaintance to the victim or was unknown to law enforcement authorities. Keeping to the same statistical research we also find that in family murder of a child 10 percent of victims was age 15 – 17, while in murders by strangers 67 percent of victims were in this age category.

Since the mid-1980’s the increases in the number and the rate of murder among 15-17 year-olds, particularly among black youth in this age range, outpaced changes in murder in all other age groups. [14]  Since 1980, there has been a 15 percent annual average increase in the number of prisoners sentenced for violent sexual assault (other than rape) which is “faster [increase] than any other category of violent crime and faster than all other categories except drug trafficking.” [15 The majority of these prisoners are young men.

In another survey conducted by the US Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) the steady growth of child abuse over the last ten years was confirmed with the total number of reports across the US increasing by 45 percent since 1987 and the rate of child abuse fatalities similarly increasing by 39 percent since 1985.[16 Based on data from all three years, the survey found 82 percent of children were under the age of five while 42 percent were under the age of one at the time of their death. (See Crowd Control)

suburbanfamilyPhysical violence against children is more prevalent than sexual abuse yet they often they go together. Since the 1970s, the phenomenon of child abuse has been increasing and so too the limits of the extremes that surface. Regarding the instances of filicide (the killing of one’s own children) “Head trauma, strangulation and drowning were the most frequent methods of filicide (the killing of a person’s own child). Fathers tended to use more active methods, such as striking, squeezing or stabbing; mothers more often drowned, suffocated or gassed their victims.

In a study of child abuse in New York City the incidence of child abuse increased 1026 percent between 1964 and 1974 which ranged from neglect, physical violence, sexual molestation and assault to incest and emotional terrorism. [17] The US Department of Health, Education and Welfare stated: “An epidemic of child abuse is occurring in this country.” [18] Though fluctuating parallel to the number of cases investigated which has dipped of late, similar to the high incidence of missing persons, the increase was in part attributed to a growing awareness from the public and the willingness to report child abuse. Yet the number of total child maltreatment cases that were investigated by state agencies remained constant from 1986 to 1993 for example, but the percentage of cases investigated declined dramatically, suggesting a steady rise. Indeed, the instances of child abuse and neglect almost doubled in those seven years alone totalling more than 2.8 million children.[19]

Overwhelming statistical data analyses from the US Department of Health and Services (DHHS) Administration for Children and Families Division, confirm that since 2000 – 2007 a steady but fluctuating rise in the incidence of multiple forms of maltreatment overwhelmingly came from biological parents at 79.9 percent. [20]  Back in the UK, 1 in 14 children have been violently assaulted by their parents, and we’re not talking about a tap on the bottom here. Incidences of being kicked, punched, choked, burnt or threatened with a knife have been listed as the common attacks within the home. Broken bones, bruising, bites, burns and head injuries were some of the results, some of which were carried out by mothers at 52 percent and with fathers at 45 percent. It is almost a given that fathers are assumed to have been responsible for carrying out the vast majority of domestic abuse cases involving children yet many surveys and studies both in the UK and the US seem to prove that this is another myth. Most sexual abuse is carried out by step-fathers and siblings for example,[21]  with poverty and low income families most likely to harbour the abuse. [22]

One of the most common forms of sexual abuse is that of incest (or intra-familial abuse) remaining one of the most under-reported and least discussed crimes. This is due in part, to the lack of accurate statistics and information borne from the fear and secrecy inherent in such a crime not least the difficulty in gathering such highly sensitive information. Social and familial pressure maintains a strong taboo that is almost impenetrable. The coercion by the abuser and the feelings of guilt and shame further cement the wall of silence.

Research indicates that 46 percent of children who are raped are victims of family members. Incest is traditionally defined as “sexual intercourse between persons too closely related to marry (as between a parent and a child)” yet here too the definition has been expanded to include sexual abuse by anyone who has “authority or power over the child.” [23] The perpetrators of incest may include immediate or extended family members, babysitters, school teachers, scout masters, and priests.

The study of a nationally representative sample of state prisoners serving time for violent crime in 1991 revealed that 20 percent of their crimes were committed against children, and three out of four prisoners who victimized a child reported the crime took place in their own home or in the victim’s home. [24]  While intra-familial abuse often seems to cross over into ritual abuse there are cases that are inter-generational and “poly-incestuous” cases involving parents, grand-parents, aunts and uncles. Sometimes this can extend to over three or four generations or more.[25] Deprived neighbourhoods with poor unemployment and a history of economic hardships also featured in a variety of studies. The “infection” naturally draws in “friends of the family” further increasing the perpetuation of abuse and the likelihood of psychopaths participating, further increasing the severity of the effects.


Notes

[1] There is evidence that child abductions are on the rise in England and Wales: From The Independent, May 2006, ‘Indypedia’: 1985 – 102, 1990 – 208, 1995 – 355. This also includes family kidnappings and not necessarily those by strangers. 2000/01 – 546  2005/06 – 1,028.
[2] ‘Play on’ By Jenny Cunningham, January 3, 2002, spiked-online.com
[3] ‘Protection risks doing more harm than good.’ By Sandra Dick, January 18, 2005, The Scotsman.
[4] Research and Development Statistics (RDS) Home Office UK, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/
[5] ‘Home Office Report says: Most child sex attacks committed by relatives, family friends.’ Agence France Presse, 1999. BBC News, 13 October, 2002.
[6] ‘NSPCC steps up campaign on child abuse killings’ 14 October 2002, nspcc.co.uk/ The “fear-mongering” methods by which organizations like NSPCC alert the public to these dangers is also under scrutiny by some commentators, something we will look at in following posts.
[7] Child murder rate ‘a national disgrace’ BBC News, October 13, 2002.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) 1996 Annual Fifty State Survey: […] 25 states provided the following breakdown for reported cases: 62per cent involved neglect, 25per cent physical abuse, 7 per cent sexual abuse, 3per cent emotional maltreatment and 4per cent other. For substantiated cases, 31 states gave the following breakdowns: 60per cent neglect, 23 per cent physical, 9per cent sexual, 4per cent emotional maltreatment and 5per cent other.
[10] ‘The Long Term Neurological and Developmental Effects of Sexual Abuse on Infant Children’ Mike Earl-Taylor and Lindsay Thomas, March 2003 (quoted from science in Africa.co.za )
[11] Trauma, Violence, and Abuse: A Review Journal. January 2000, by Bruce Perry Vol. 1, Number 1. Sage Publications, Inc.
[12] Ibid.
[13] US Department of Justice · Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Statistics, Crime and Victims Statistics 1998.
[14] Statistical data from Yesican.org/
[15] US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, February 1997.
[16] Nation Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse (NCPCA) 2000 Annual Fifty State Survey.
[17] Quoted from ‘Child Abuse in America: Slaughter of the Innocents’ By James W. Prescott, Ph.D.From Hustler, October 1977
[18] Ibid.
[19] Survey shows Dramatic Increase in Child Abuse and Neglect 1986-1993 Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1996, Michael Kharfen, US Depart. Of Health and Services, http://www.acf.dhhs.gov.
[20] Chapter 4, Perpetrator sex Child Abuse stastics, Child Maltreatment, DHHS report 2007.
[21] ‘Revealed: The Truth about Child Sex Abuse in Britain’s Families’ by Jeremy Laurance, The Independent, November 2000.
[22] “‘One in 14’ children attacked,” BBC News, 19 November, 2000.
[23] Secret Survivors: Uncovering Incest and Its After effects in Women, by Sue E. Blume, 1990, published by  John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.
[24] The National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) ncvc.org.
[25] ‘Poly-Incestuous Families: an exploratory study’, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, By K.C. Faller, 1987.

Sex, Lies and Society II: Paedophilia

“Ex LostProphets singer, Ian Watkins: “Described in court as a “determined and committed paedophile”, Watkins, 36, admitted the attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13; conspiring to rape a child; three counts of sexual assault involving children; seven counts of making or possessing indecent images of children; and one of possessing an extreme image involving a sex act on an animal.”

– the Gig Cartel


Paedophilia – another form of psychopathy?

Paedophilia, from the Greek pais meaning ‘child’ is defined as an adult who is sexually attracted primarily to prepubescent children, or more literally, “one who loves children.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 111-R), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, defines paedophilia as: “recurrent, intense, sexual urges and sexual arousing fantasies of at least six months duration involving sexual activity with a pre-pubescent  child.” [1] Another definition that may give us an unambiguous starting point is from authors John Silverman and David Wilson who describe the paedophile as someone who perpetrates “sexual abuse outside of the family, of pre-pubertal children by a physically mature adult, which in extreme cases is a deeply ingrained, life-long, erotic preference.” [2]

Paedophiles, have a sexual orientation which finds children sexually attractive. This doesn’t automatically mean they act out their fantasies. Those that do may or may not have a history of sexual crime. We can also say that extreme acts of violence and sexual aggression committed against juveniles are likely carried out by child rapists i.e. psychopaths. An adult who actually engages in sexual activity with a child with the intent to aggressively rape and abuse the child is a child rapist. This is the kind of abuse that sees the child as an object to rape whereas paedophilia has some concept of “love” or gentleness involved, albeit highly distorted and delusional.

This is, however one defines it, still a form of serious child molestation, though perhaps with a more narcissistic flavour than purely psychopathic. Most paedophiles say they could never “harm” a child in the way a child rapist does.

Nevertheless, there are many different ways to harm a child.

We have also seen the label of paedophilia used as a slur against those who have an erotic fantasy towards, or sexual relations with an adolescent i.e. during puberty or post puberty. This is apparently another form of abuse which is named pederasty derived from the combination of pais (Greek for “boy”) with erastis (Greek for “lover”; cf. eros). This is usually a man who has sex with a boy or girl as the passive partner. Some professionals have attempted to explain pederasty as a sub-category of Ephebophilia which is used to describe those for whom sexual attraction and activity exists regardless of the sex.

Pederasty was famously idealized by the ancient Greeks and Rome as part of what could be considered a moral and educational framework, at least at that time. It could be said that the relationship was not only an excuse for adults to satisfy their needs according to this sexual preference  but was conducted within a wider philosophical belief of erotic love where the relationship commonly represented an overall teaching or “mentoring” which took place outside the family unit. It seems bisexuality was encouraged rather than an exclusive preoccupation with same sex relations.

One can’t help thinking it was merely a way of intellectually justifying a consensus for the practice of abuse by the elect… Yet, it was not only ancient Greece and Rome that favoured a varied fruit basket. According to Aristotle, the Celts had been quite keen on pederasty for some time as were the aristocracy and dynasty families of Northern Italy during the Renaissance, most notably artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo. Beauty, in all expressions was to be worshipped – and sampled so it seems – regardless of its nature. [3] (Again, one wonders if the child had any say in that “adoration” however rationalised)

Pederasty was also practiced in ancient Japanese culture as well as in Mughal India until British colonization; amongst the Aztecs and Maya prior to the Spanish conquest of Mexico and in China and Central Asia until the early 20th century. The tradition  persists to the present day in certain areas of Afghanistan, the Middle East, North Africa, and Melanesia. So, can there be a cultural pederasty that is benign? It seems to depend on history and culture, but more importantly, whether or not the individual is merely a psychopath indulging his whims. In a modern, Western culture which I believe is already straining under social pathologies inherent at its very inception, pederasty will – 9 times out of 10 – manifest as symptoms of the sociopath or psychopath since they are already “inside the box” of psychologically compromised societies.

ancientgreek1Ancient Greek pottery depicting an older mentor (erastes) with his student eromenos who was to learn about wisdom and philosophy … and a bit more besides by the looks of it.

Paedophilia encompasses high degrees of naricssism and possible genetically inherited psychopathy or psychopathic tendencies. Whilst the paedophile can and does commit abuse under all kinds of self-serving justifications there are also many examples of what we can define as affection or a form of “love.” Psychologist A. Nicolas Groth explains:

[The paedophile] appears to have a high emotional investment in the victim. He seems to regard the victim less as an object and more with a person with whom he identifies. He is interested in maintaining an on-going relationship with the child so that there is repeated sexual access to the same victim over time, and his investment seems to extend beyond the sexual activity. There much more lovemaking and foreplay, kissing and caressing etc., in such encounters. Paedophilia appears to be equally distributed across all socioeconomic, educational, and professional levels. It does not appear to diminish with time. [4]

As mentioned, the child rapist is in a different category which has nothing to do with distorted erotic “love” which for the paedophile, may often be as a result of suffering abuse themselves. Rather, the victim is threatening to the offender; an object to release hostility and rage, or sadistic pleasure.  For example, in October 1, 1993, Polly Klass, a 12-year old girl from a middle class family in Petaluma, California became the victim of what could be called a situational child molester, Richard Allen Davis. This psychopath abducted the girl from her slumber party by climbing in through the open window, brutally raping and strangling her to death. There are obviously different degrees for such crimes where violence may be absent but the victim is seen as an object to manipulate sexually all the same.

Paedophilic child molestation could be said to fall into three groups: heterosexual, homosexual and indiscriminate. There are also the respective age groups such as adolescent, the middle-aged (and/or married) and the elderly. The former definition becomes less reliable when we pose some of these questions: How young is “young” before deviancy comes into play? What about adolescents “abusing” other adolescents deemed consensual by both parties? What part does the sexual precociousness of the emerging heterosexual/homosexuality of boys and girls play in the solicitation towards the adult harbouring latent responses of erotic desire? What are the distinctions between violent and aggressive abuse, as well as the blurring of the age of consent, experimentation and clear transgressions via the older participant and enforcer? How do we distinguish between significant and consistent interference and a one off aberration due to a myriad of external factors?

This is not to infer that even minor forms of abuse cannot be damaging, but to wrench back some clarity on the issue that may protect the child and innocent parties. One is dependent on the other. We need education that is clear and unequivocal and untainted by politics and sensationalism, though admittedly, that might be a long time in coming. If we are to get a handle on people like Ian Watkins and Jimmy Savile who were both in the public eye and masters of emotional disguise, what does this say about those outside celebrity and ensconced in care homes, prisons, day care centres the military and hospitals?

What of the female paedophile?

Statistically, they appear to exist in far less numbers than men. However, due to the taboo nature of the female paedophile massive underreporting takes place, likely covering up a high incidence of abuse. By 2009 this possibility had been confirmed with an estimated  64,000 women in the UK listed as child sex offenders with 20 percent of a conservative estimate of 320,000 suspected UK paedophiles listed as women.[5]

One documentary to broach the subject of female abuse aired in the UK almost 17 years ago.“The Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers” by the BBC’s social and current affairs series Panorama explored a very taboo issue indeed. [6] The programme suggested that though female abuse may still be lower than male abuse, it was vastly underestimated in scope and frequency with up to as many as 250,000 having been abused as children by women in the UK alone. As we will see when we explore the nature of the lesser known female psychopath, it is because we have been used to seeing paedophilia as male dominated that we experience a cognitive dissonance when we are forced to contemplate the idea of female predators preying on children. We must also bear in mind that Watkins’ victims were in some cases provided by their mothers…And yet, this incredulity remains as strong as ever.

Together with a pragmatic evaluation of male and female paedophilia and psychopathy, we must  truly differentiate between the paedophile and/or pederast who “loves” his victim and the child rapist /molester who seeks to destroy the soul and body of his prey.  They are both serious abuse. The difference is, one may offer the potential for assistance in order to address and ameliorate his or her condition so that s/he can take their place in society. The other would laugh at such an idea and go on doing what is in his nature to do: prey on the vulnerable.

In my view, we have no choice but to understand the nature of these sexual deviances in the hope of providing cognitive and drug-based cures for the paedophile or pederast who places his or her own desires at the expense of the child’s. Condemnation for those paedophiles who want to be cured can only restrict the possibility of reducing such crimes. Cutting edge forms of rehabilitation and therapy must be paid for by society and afforded to those who want it. Most importantly, we need a new awareness of the crimes of the psychopath so that  preventative measures and societal protection can be organised.

Abusers like Watkins  showed “no remorse” for his crimes, using his public persona to get away with serial rape against the most vulnerable. This suggests sexual psychopathy and society needs protection against such people rather than wasting money on pointless therapy. (This realisation will become more pertinent as we explore the Establishment networks later on). Conversely, there are paedophiles who have committed crimes, served time and who are diagnosed as having the potential for combating their desires. Yet, thanks to austerity cuts and an historical underfunding they will not have the support available to assist them in battling these demons. In some cases individuals have taken their own lives rather than live with the truth that they are paedophiles.

Some would understandably say, good riddance.

Yet, if we are to tackle this pathology then practices which were having some success need to be researched and extended, not as some politically correct sop but for the sake of future generations and the promise of community stability.

The Offending Cycle

From a British perspective, authors John Silverman and David Wilson provide some important research regarding reasons why we must tackle the issue of paedophilia and the issue of “labelling.” It also places the focus on the equally irresponsible action of the tabloids in the UK and media abroad, where people are labelled as paedophiles through rumour rather than fact – often when they have been innocent of wrongdoing. This has ruined lives. The authors suggest that if we are to tackle this problem then sex offenders have to be given treatment rather than demonisation and condemnation no matter how justified we may feel it isn’t going to manage the the problem.

Discovering whether a paedophile is a damaged being  with hope for treatment or whether s/he is simply a psychopath exhibiting paedophilic preferences is the overarching challenge.

In their research, “Wolf’s Offending Cycle” is mentioned which they describe as “a measure used by forensic psychologists to plot the route which can lead to paedophile behaviour.” A poor self-image and low self-esteem leads to repeated feelings of rejection and failure. This energizes an already potent world of fantasy to which the individual escapes into whenever he can. If not sexual to begin with, then they may quickly progress towards fantasies and masturbation. For some paedophiles, child pornography acts as a short-term drug and in combination with other facets of an offender’s profile can be viewed as a rehearsal to actualize their fantasies. For paedophiles rather than sexual psychopaths, minor offences ensue, from loitering to the “grooming” of children. Guilt and shame may make an appearance but are usually overwhelmed by rationalisations, the severity of which may indicate how much narcissism is present. In some cases a spiral of self-destruction eventuates where they feel the only way out is suicide. This cycle is unstoppable by the time it enters the criminal justice system. Of those beyond the law this cycle must be fed without compromising their notoriety which is why we may find more psychopaths in power in this context than anywhere else.

It may be so that paedophilia cannot be definitely cured but the evidence suggests it can be preemptively managed in many cases.  There are individuals who struggle desperately to prevent these desires from being expressed, often at great cost. While methods of incarceration, medications and even chemical castration have proved largely unsuccessful there are progressive and beneficial programs such as cognitive behavioural therapy combined with psychopharmacological treatments. But the medical and political establishment is resistant to the idea of altering present programs on a larger scale. [7]

The lack of multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving stems from the ponerisation of our institutions that continually prevent large scale adoption of creative initiatives. With such an understandable stigma attached to paedophilia, sufferers who do want to be treated are hardly encouraged to come forward in a climate of hatred. (Psychopaths of course would never give “therapy” a second thought of course as they are doing what comes naturally). Despite the low level of recidivism in sex offenders compared to others who commit serious crimes, the effects are far greater and enmeshed in the wider symptoms of pathology currently manifesting.

The following passage describes Julia Long’s evaluations on this matter. A psychologist and experienced therapist in charge of running HMP Grendon’s Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP) in England she believes that: “… If you repeatedly ask people to identify themselves as paedophiles, then that becomes their identity. I have seen that within treatment settings.”

She continues:

When I was on the wing at Grendon there was pressure from all the other sex offenders to get everyone who had offended against a child to accept that they were paedophiles, whether that offender had offended against an eighteen-month old baby or a fifteen yearold girl. The more I thought about it over the years, the more I felt that insisting somebody accepts that as their identity, time and time again acts as a sort of risk factor. There must be lots of people outside that have fantasies about children, but who don’t offend against them. Perhaps that’s because their identity is so much more than simply being an offender. ‘I feel like offending against this girl, but I’m not going to because I’m a social worker, because I’m a father, because I’m so many other things that protect me from having to act out that fantasy.’ If all your identity is that you are a paedophile, that’s your label – that’s who you are first and foremost – then it’s almost as if you have nothing to lose. You are going to be a paedophile whether you offend or don’t offend. [8] [Emphasis mine]

The above refers to those who are usually former victims of abuse. Referencing those who are exhibiting an essential psychopathy this would not apply and would amount to a false appeasement with no remedy in sight. This also conforms to the notion of narcissism that is presently reigning as the primary effect of large scale ponerogenesis. If society is in the process of blurring or eroding traditional roles in favour of a vacuum of narcissistic and gender confused influences this may feed into stimulating latent pathologies.  Similarly, if you tell the child that he is worthless often enough through both conscious oppression and the “invincible force” of subconscious projection, he will become precisely that which the parent is ostensibly trying to “avoid.”

In truth, the parents are merely projecting all of their own accumulated abuse and /or narcissistic tendencies onto the child thereby perpetuating the cycle of emotionally “distant” or damaged persons. Children cannot be anything other than the negative embodiment of self-loathing and insecurity implanted into their own minds before any identity can be formed. This can be likened to the public’s role in projecting their fears onto groups and individuals manifesting the aberrant deviancy such as paedophilia. As the condition is pathologically narcissistic at root, this has symbolic and literal implications for society as a whole.

 Capture

The Hollywood offering on the subject of paedophilia is The Woodsman (2004) starring Kevin Bacon as a convicted child molester who must adjust to life after prison. It was lauded by critics and public alike and provides an unsentimental and thoughtful overview of the paedophile and his demons, the relationship to family, community, police and care services as well as insights into conflicting thoughts in Bacon’s character. These are the paedophiles in desperate need of help and who are left to perpetrate their crimes again due to revulsion and the consequent ostracisation. We can also see how this particular category of paedophile is used as the perfect patsy for the serial child rapists who inhabit the establishment and use such people as a cover for their activities. The latter paedophile has a condition akin to the drug addict or alcoholic all of whom need support to conquer or manage these demons, often neurologically hard-wired. To do so benefits our communities and societies, an understanding that is inimical to Official Culture.


Another former psychologist who also worked at the prison confirmed the data that in her experience much of what passed for paedophilia did not involve physical harm to children. She recalled that: “… some types of sexual offenders would be repulsed by the idea of physically harming a child. What’s driving them is the sense of wanting to be close to a child inappropriately and wrongly, and in the process of achieving this harm might be caused to the child which is terrible, but not necessarily posing a threat to the life of that child.” [9]

This is a key difference that is often lost in the hysteria of baying for blood while the true psychopathic child rapists within Establishment circles continue their abuse undeterred and with absolute impunity. The authors reiterate the substantial and consistent research that proves that paedophilia expressing itself through violence, coercion and the extreme end of offences such as torture, rape and murder is rare. As mentioned, this is the province of the psychopath and child rapist.

A report from the US Department of justice showed that only 3.3 percent of all registered sex offenders re-offend confirming that it is the smallest re-offence rate of all crimes. [10] At the same time, paedophiles can reoffend up to twenty years later. The difference between the paedophile that strives to control his need to express his exclusively sexual attraction to children, (which he defines as “love,” however narcissistic) as oppose to those with psychopathic tendencies of the child rapist, must be given the drug treatments needed to control these impulses, although the definitive curing of this condition may prove impossible without large-scale adoption of cognitive therapy and drugs.

While most predatory paedophiles’ behaviour follows an increasing trend that develops over time as a chronology of extremes, there are cases that present instructive insights into the complexity of the condition, not least the workings of the human brain. One example included a man with a brain tumour who became a paedophile overnight and obsessed with sex to such an extent that resulted in the molestation of a child. [11]  Other research indicates that endocrine system disorders may have a connection to the manifestation of paedophilia.[12]

This underscores the uncharted nature of neurology, sexuality and their connections to societal programming. Which means we have to be doubly careful with our conclusions, most especially when Establishment manipulations are involved. As opposed to wilful psychopathic child rapists who have no interest in curbing their compulsions (many of whom are to be found in government it seems) it is in all of our best interests that paedophiles, as defined above, are given all the psychological care that they need so that their crimes can be understood and prevented as any other addiction.

Paedophiles used as a collective projection for all our frustrations and dark denials can only lead to pushing these pathologies underground. That way undoubtedly lies further madness.

 


Notes

[1] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 111-R), published by the American Psychiatric Association, Vol. 3 1987.
[2] Innocence Betrayed – Paedophilia, Media and Society By Jon Silverman and David Wilson. Published by Polity Press, 2002 | ISBN 0-7456-2889-3.
[3] Politics, Aristotle II 6.6. Athen. XIII 603a., Strabo (iv. 199).
[4] op. cit. Groth (pp.153-154)
[5] ‘Up to 64,000 women in UK ‘are child-sex offenders’’ By Mark Townsend and Rajeev Syal, The Observer, October 4, 2009.
[6] The Sexual Abuse by Women of Children and Teenagers UK TV Programme, Panorama, BBC1, 10 pm Monday 6th October 1997.
[7] TV review: ‘Breaking a Female Paedophile Ring; The World’s Tallest Man: Looking for Love’ The Guardian, by John Grace, May 26, 2011.
[8] ‘The Treatment of Sexual Deviation Using a Pharmacological Approach’ Journal of Sex Research, by John McDonald, Wilson Bradford, August, 2000.
[9]    op. cit. Wilson; Bradford (p.33)
[10]  op. cit. Wilson; Bradford (p.34)
[11] ‘Brain tumour causes uncontrollable paedophilia’ By Charles Choi, 21 October 2002, newscientist.com news service:  “A brain tumour caused a 40-year-old man to become obsessed with sex and to molest children, doctors have reported. The married schoolteacher from the United States, who had no previous history of sex offences, had an egg-sized tumour in the right lobe of the orbifrontal cortex, according to a report from newscientist.com. This is the part of the brain responsible for judgement, impulse control and social behaviour.”
[12] ‘Paedophilia and hyperprolactinaemia’ P Harrison, P Strangeway, J McCann and J Catalan Department of Anatomy, St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London. The case of a man presenting with paedophilia who has found to be hyperprolactinaemic is described. There is possibly a link between paedophilia and endocrine disorders. The British Journal of Psychiatry 155: 847-848 (1989) © 1989 The Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The Psychopath: A Different Species? I

By M.K. Styllinski

52045_scorpion&frog


Attributed to Aesop’s Fables, the following best sums up what we are dealing with when it comes to the nature of the psychopath:

Once upon a time there was a scorpion that needed to cross a river. Naturally, a scorpion cannot swim so he endeavoured to find someone to take him across the river. He found a frog resting on a lily pad, approached him and asked, “Sir Frog, would you be as kind as to carry me across this river so that I might explore the other side?”

Now the frog was no fool. He knew the scorpion was the most untrustworthy of God’s creations, and among the most deadly. “If I try to carry you across the river you will sting me and I will die.”

“Not true, Sir Frog. For if I do, then I too shall drown.”

The frog considered the scorpion’s words carefully and could discern no deceit. For indeed it was true that should the scorpion attack him anywhere during his swim across the river they would both die. Trusting that the scorpion’s own sense of self-preservation would protect him, he dove into the water, swam over to the bank, and invited the scorpion to climb up onto his back.

True to his word, the scorpion held off until the very mid-point of the river. Then, the frog felt the sharp jab of the scorpion’s tail and almost immediately an unrelenting paralysis began to creep through his body. He could not work his legs, could not keep his lungs inflated, and felt his heart begin to fail.

With his last breath the frog cried out, “What have you done? You have killed us both!”

As they sank beneath the river the scorpion just had time to say, “I could not help myself. It is my nature.”


The above beautifully describes the nature of the psychopath which cannot be explained by reason or logic. S/he exists to prey on others, even at the cost of his own life. But just what is a psychopath and how has s/he managed to subvert the majority of humanity into following a psychopathic worldview?

The word “psychopath” derives from the Ancient Greek psyche, – soul, and pathos – passion and denotes individuals for whom the ability to empathise is absent and where inflicting pain and suffering on others is paramount. They are the human form of Nature’s predator though with more guile, cunning and cold-bloodied calculation than any animal mind. Some would say they are the channels by which pure evil can manifest, the concept of “soul” entirely lacking. And when you look at the actions of psychopaths through history it is hard to disagree.

However, since behavioural biologists still can’t agree what constitutes ‘behaviour,’ psychologists can’t agree on what ‘personality’ means and anthropologists cannot agree on the meaning of the word ‘culture’ or on the meaning of the word ‘meaning,’  it’s not a great surprise that psychopathy remains as elusive as the predators themselves. [1]

The concept of psychopathy is no longer an actual clinical diagnosis, but a cluster of specific, pervasive and dominating personality traits and behaviours. [2] There is no diagnostic criterion in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Psychopathy is correlated to the DSM-IV’s antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and is considered its subset, due to the severity of the behavioural traits most notably a lack of emotion, extreme callousness and remorselessness. Even though a psychopath draws many traits from ASPD, generally characterised by a disregard for societal rules, psychopathy does not necessarily lead to criminal behaviour or violence in general – a point that must be reiterated. Many of the most dangerous psychopaths are to be found in high office. Though it is likely, if you scratch the surface of the psychopath long enough, the violence and aggression would reveal itself. *

Without any conception of ethics or morals there are no limits to the psychopath’s desires, the supra-natural force of which impels him to obtain whomever and whatever he wants, at any cost. They are effectively reaction-machines. They may look human and they may perfectly mimic human attributes but their essential nature is the predator that lives to trap and feed. Violence, sexual depravity, a lust for power, perversion, bare-faced lies, and utter fearlessness are characteristic of the psychopath’s true nature. Attempting to find any flicker of human feeling in such individuals is akin to searching for the sun in the dead of night, though the psychopath’s greatest trick is to make us think the sun will rise again in his heart, and that all he needs is to be cured, reprieved, understood, pitied and given a second chance. As author Barbara Oakley noted: “Just as a child needs the neurological structure of the eye to process information from the electromagnetic fields that shimmer through the air around him, a child also needs the structure of the orbitofrontal cortex and related neurological features to have a feeling of compassion. Psychopaths, it appears, may be born pre-programmed with a tendency to grow up ‘morally blind.’” [3]

The immediate imagery that comes to mind for many people is that of Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Hannibal Lector from the movie The Silence of the Lambs. Or perhaps we recall some of the most sensational cases of psychopathic murderers that hit the headlines, notable for their inhuman acts. Ted Bundy, Kenneth Bianchi, Jeffery Dahmer, David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz, John Gacy and Richard Ramirez are just a few who have garnered considerable celebrity status for their despicable crimes. Indeed, Ramirez himself was in no doubt about the reality of psychopathy manifesting through the State when he claimed: “Serial killers do, on a small scale, what governments do on a large one. They are products of our times and these are bloodthirsty times.” (After you finish this blog/book, you will hopefully understand how true this really is).

What is far more important to remember is that these are the psychopaths that go “pop” and lose control – the “failed” psychopaths whether manufactured or encouraged.  As psychologist and leading international expert on psychopathy Robert D. Hare PhD reminds us:

Psychopathic killers … are not mad, according to accepted legal and psychiatric standards. Their acts result not from a deranged mind but from a cold, calculating rationality combined with a chilling inability to treat others as thinking, feeling human beings. Such morally incomprehensible behavior, exhibited by a seemingly normal person, leaves us feeling bewildered and helpless …. the fact is that the majority of psychopaths manage to ply their trade without murdering people. By focusing too much on the most brutal and newsworthy examples of their behavior, we run the risk of remaining blind to the larger picture: psychopaths who don’t kill but who have a personal impact on our daily lives. [4]

The rate of recidivism among criminals with psychopathic tendencies, schizophrenia and complete psychopathy is far higher than the common criminal with a personality disorder and continue to: “… recidivate at a higher rate than non-psychopaths even beyond age 40.” [5] lending further credence to the evidence that though they know the difference between right and wrong they choose “wrong” as it is their nature, while “right” are simply the normal human moral constructs that present an irritating impediment to the fulfilment of his limitless desires.

Though criminal psychopaths have been studied the most due to their higher recidivism rates and consequent jail time, the non-criminal or white-collar psychopaths who are “in control” are more common and thus more damaging to society. Psychopathic versions of lawyers, doctors, police officers, politicians, corporate CEOs, psychiatrists and members of the clergy: all use positions of power to further their own agenda while using their manipulative talents to dupe the public into believing that they can be trusted. They ensure their success by practiced deception, rising to the top of the heap so that they can further mould a company, organisation, or society according to their own barren version of reality. Their often magnetic personalities hide a propensity for ruthlessness – often unbeknownst to their colleagues or friends – quickly placing themselves in positions that offer opportunities to exercise power and the access to victims this provides, while simultaneously reducing their chances of being caught out.

Churches, law enforcement, charities, schools, politics or any post that will provide significant control within a hierarchical structure of secrecy will offer the perfect setting for a psychopath’s predations. This is why most do not reside in prison and are instead found in key positions and determining how normal people live and function. In other words, during the ascendency of a Pathocracy in particular, they become the directors and instigators of change within societies and it is a the type of change that will conform to the psychopath’s perception of the world.

When psychopaths happen to be pillars of the community which is frequently the case, it is the shock of seeing the reality behind the mask and the complete lack of accountability for their actions that eventually sends their victims over the edge into severe depression or a nervous breakdown. This nail in the coffin of the innocent is unwittingly supported by other members of the community who cannot see past the “Mask of Sanity” they so convincingly present. “But I can’t believe it, he’s such a good father to his kids!  He helped out at the parents’ day last weekend … Did you know he sent flowers to Mrs. Jones when he heard about her son’s death?”  “Maybe it’s her that’s really difficult …You never really know a person…”

Meanwhile, the psychopath lives to fight another day and happily trots off into the sunset leaving a smoking trail of destruction behind him.

Psychopaths enjoy the chase that leads to the expression of the lowest forms of negative emotion, the cultivation of scenarios, large or small – it is their reason for breathing. Like a demonic chef preparing the ingredients for the next gastronomic meal, you better be sure that you are not the main course.

“Psychopathy” or “evil”?

Many psychologists are understandably uncomfortable with using the term “evil” to describe psychopaths.Yet, despite this religious connotation one might say that if it quacks like a duck – persistently and repeatedly – it’s a duck.

Rather than extending “sympathy” to psychopaths who are only too happy to receive it, perhaps this needs to be reserved for the victims alongside a cold-bloodied examination of what makes the psychopath tick. As neuroscientist Dr. Kent Khiel discovered in his case study of one psychopath: “Talking about his crimes, it’s like asking him what he had for breakfast.” And when that individual brutally raped and murdered two seven year old girls perhaps it becomes a question of semantics whether you label such acts as “evil” or “psychopathic.” [6]

Studies from neuroscience have conclusively proven that the brain structure and neurology of psychopaths’ brains are quite different from normal human beings. There are extremely low levels of density in the para-limbic system which is the behaviour circuit of the brain housing the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, all of which are involved in the processing of emotions with special attention to empathy, self-control and guilt. There is an uncomfortable possibility that psychopath’s brains are not necessarily “damaged” but a product of a different genetic evolution, as controversial as such a possibility might be.

All the data suggests that psychopathic individuals cannot be treated unless through invasive psycho-surgery or pharmacological means which is hardly the most humanitarian means of tackling the problem. And there lies the conundrum. Though many psychologists and neuroscientists are intent on finding a treatment which allows psychopaths to live normal lives, this may be a highly dangerous attempt to alter objective reality of the situation if psychopaths are simply “hard-wired” for predatory behaviour. In much the same way other individuals employ empathy and cooperation as social skills for survival and creative adaptation the psychopath may naturally balance the equation by embodying the opposite.

Regardless of the inability to process emotions and feelings, the desire to kill and make others suffer as a means of gratification is the driving force, suggesting something more than damaged circuitry. Psychopaths not only reap long term harm but have a hand in the long-term destiny of nations by deflecting and distorting the presence of positive and constructive change at the local, national and international levels. Normal people, if given the chance do naturally seek equilibrium through cooperation and tolerance given the correct role models and circumstances. The psychopath’s goal is to highlight the differences in humanity by stimulating fear and creating divisions that keep secular hatreds alive. They encourage the lowest human instincts to remain dominant, evoking extremism that keeps the lid on our spiritual commonality, our connection to each other as part of the human family.

Criminal psychopaths are unable to play the “human” game for extended periods of time while successful psychopaths have adapted to normal human society insofar as they can maintain a pretence of normality for a percentage of their daily existence. However, this is simply a ruse to secure access to prey. What form and function that prey will take is dependent on personality preferences and the subset of pathological traits in question. And playing the role of a human with conscience is taxing work. He constantly desires the seedy side of life to satisfy his innate desires often incorporating a “hidden life,” hints of which can be seen like a glitch in the program. [7] As a result, when normal society becomes too much he takes off in search of those sectors of living that reflect the truth of his nature; a periodic swim in a lake of degradation, perversion or violence for instance, is enough to nourish his system and maintain the camouflage so that he can rejoin society and continue his “hidden” predations with renewed vigour.

A constant reiteration of the fact that we cannot in any way, apply “human” notions to their psychological make-up is essential to keep in mind. The greatest service one can offer to a psychopath is to imagine they have the capability to harbour a conscience, feelings of empathy, and genuine concern for others outside of their own rapacious desire to control, dominate and “feed.” Once you project normal human sensibilities onto the psychopath in the hope of healing or curing what is perceived as a temporary mental illness, then you are lost. Yet, due to the presence of conscience within most people, this is only usually understood after going through the fires of hell.

One of the great psychiatrists of the twentieth century was Hervey M. Cleckley whose classic Mask of Sanity contributed valuable information in the study of psychopathy remaining a bible for psychologists and psychiatrists today. In this 1941 book he defined the following characteristics of a psychopath, though this is by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Superficial charm and average intelligence.
  • Absence of delusions and other signs of irrational thinking.
  • Absence of nervousness or neurotic manifestations.
  • Unreliability.
  • Untruthfulness and insincerity.
  • Lack of remorse or shame.
  • Antisocial behaviour without apparent compunction.
  • Poor judgement and failure to learn from experience.
  • Pathological egocentricity and incapacity to love.
  • General poverty in major affective reactions.
  • Specific loss of insight.
  • Unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations.
  • Fantastic and uninviting behaviour with drink, and sometimes without.
  • Suicide threats rarely carried out.
  • Sex life impersonal, trivial, and poorly integrated. [8]

Dr. Robert Hare pared-down and updated the list with his own version which has become the generally accepted definition of psychopathy. (See below). These indications could easily be associated with the narcissist or even someone going through a breakdown or psychotic break. The difference is in degree and the behaviour which manifests as a persistent, lifelong dynamic. Though it may not be apparent that your boss or lover is a psychopath, his or her true colours will eventually reveal themselves only to you as primary target, usually to the disbelief of friends and family who have not been privy to the games.

Interpersonal

Affective

Lifestyle

Anti-Social

Grandiosity

Remorselessness

Impulsivity

Poor behavioural

controls

Superficial

charm

Shallow affect

Stimulation

seeking

Delinquency

Lying

Callousness

Irresponsible

Criminal versatility

Conning and

Manipulative

Failure to accept

Responsibility

Parasitic lifestyle

Lack of

realistic goals

Early behavioural

problems

 Robert Hare’s Psychopathy check list


When you engage with a psychopath you cannot win.

Ever.

They will never give up until you are either broken or dead. The only way to resist their predations is through strength in numbers which provides an emotional and physical shield; by totally and completely disassociating oneself from their sphere of influence and by persistently and thoroughly defending against all attacks with as much objective truth as one can muster. Strategic retreat is the only viable option when engaging with such people. Eventually the psychopath will move on to easier prey.

If you think you can pull one over such people in terms of tenacity and will power – think again. The thrill of the chase that produces all the hormones of desire, sex, hatred and fear is just as important as the final psychic death or as psychologist Martha Stout observed, it’s about satisfying the ultimate “intrapsychic need.” [9]  Indeed, Hare informs us: “Psychopaths view any social exchange as a ‘feeding opportunity,’ a contest or a test of wills in which there can be only one winner. Their motives are to manipulate and take, ruthlessly and without remorse.” [10] No amount of reasoning or appeals to morals, ethics or a residual good nature will work because you will be interacting with something that has no conception or need of such human constructs. What you get is an entropic abyss which requires interactions with normal human beings with conscience to feed its essential lack.

Even language has a different meaning which has been noticed through their inability to grasp their own words and anything approaching an objective appraisal. (Cleckley called this inability to process normal language and meaning as “Semantic aphasia.”) Since there is no depth or profundity in their inner landscape everything is two-dimensional for these emotionally-bereft individuals, which means their language displays a jumbled amalgamation of meaning drawn from an absence of feeling. Therefore, assigning feeling to linguistic associations and any creative, abstract allusions are impossible. A cardboard cut-out of the original is all the psychopath can produce.

Coupled with the magnetism and charismatic allure that psychopaths frequently manage to exude, they are able to wing it most of the time so that the subtle signs that you’re interacting with a reaction-machine is, initially at least, seldom seen. They inhabit a wholly subjective, possibly dissociative world in which reality is created anew according to their anti-social impulses.


* A sociopath refers to the individual suffering from an anti-social personality disorder that is sourced from experiences in the environment and / or family and peer group influences along with various forms of trauma and abuse which may have occurred. It is thought to be largely a condition of learned behaviour perhaps overlaid onto psychopathological tendencies. Psychopathy on the other hand, is thought to be primarily genetic in origin although these terms of are used interchangeably since the results are ultimately the same.  Another point to remember as we continue is that psychopathology refers to pathological, anti-social mental illness in general whereas psychopathy is concerned with the anti-social personality disorder of the psychopath alone.

Notes
[1] A Cognitive Theory of Cultural Meaning By Claudia Strauss, Naomi Quinn Published by Cambridge University Press, 1997: “ ‘Culture’ and ‘meaning’ are central to anthropology, but anthropologists do not agree on what they are. Claudia Strauss and Naomi Quinn propose a new theory of cultural meaning, one that gives priority to the way people’s experiences are internalized. Drawing on ‘connectionist’ or ‘neural network’ models as well as other psychological theories, they argue that cultural meanings are not fixed or limited to static groups, but neither are they constantly revised or contested. Their approach is illustrated by original research on understandings of marriage and ideas of success in the United States.
[2] Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare, Published by The Guilford Press, 1999 | ISBN-10: 1572304510.
[3] p.104; Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend By Barbara Oakley, Published by Prometheus Books, 2007.
[4] op. cit. Hare (p.4.)
[5] ‘Psychopathy (PCL-R) as a predictor of violent recidivism among criminal offenders with schizophrenia.’ By Tengström A, Grann M, Långström N, Kullgren G. Law Hum Behav. 2000 Feb; 24(1):45-58. Karolinska Institutet, Division of Forensic Psychiatry, Stockholm, Sweden. / Psychobiology of personality by Marvin Zuckerman Cambridge University Press, 1991, p. 390. ISBN 0-521-35942-2.| See also: ‘Psychopathy and violent recidivism’by Grant T. Harris, Marnie E. Rice and Catherine A. Cormier. Law and Human Behavior Volume 15, Number 6, 625-637, DOI: 10.1007/BF01065856, 1991.
[6] ‘Psychopaths: Born evil or with a diseased brain?’ By Matthew Taylor, BBC News, November 15, 2011.
[7] The Mask of Sanity by Hervey Cleckley, 1941. Fifth edition, published by William a Dolan; 1988, ISBN-10: 0962151904.
[8] Ibid.
[9] p.32; The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout. Published by Three Rivers Press, 2005 | ISBN-10: 0767915828.
[10] p.145; Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us By Robert D. Hare; 1999 |  9781572304512.

The Rape of Conscience: I, Psychopath

By M.K. Styllinski

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

– Anna C. Salter PhD.


Deaths

Perpetrator

Country

Year

32 – 70+ million

Mao Ze-Dong

China, Tibet

1958-61, 1966-69

12+ million

Adolf Hitler

Germany

1939-1945

8+million

King Leopold II of Belgium

Congo

1886-1908

6+million

Jozef Stalin

USSR

1932-1939

5+million

Hideki Tojo

Japan

1941-1944

2+million

Ismail Enver

Turkey

1915-1922

1.7million

Pol Pot

Cambodia

1975-79

1.6 million

Kim Il Sung

North Korea

1948-1994

1.5 million

Menghistu

Ethiopia

1975-1978

1 million

Yakubu Gowon

Biafra

1967-1970

900,000

Leonid Brezhnev

Afghanistan

1979-1982

800,000

Jean Kambanda

Rwanda

1994

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


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

Is that true?

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

Or is there something or someone loading the dice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Łobaczewski takes up the story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Łobaczewski continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Notes

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

Virtuality

 By M.K. Styllinski

“There is a new world order and our children are carrying it around in their pockets.”

Beeban Kidron


“There is in every child at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding.” So, said the psychologist Erik Erickson. This extraordinary neurological development used to be facilitated and encouraged by the art of storytelling which allowed archetypes and mythological motifs to be gently assimilated into the mind of the child, so that this process could begin from an emotionally nourished foundation. Television as a primary tool of the advertiser helped to replace this deeply-rooted tradition.

A study conducted by the cable television industry in February 1996 found that 57 per cent of television programmes contain “psychologically harmful” violence. The findings, the largest profiling of its kind, were taken from over 2,500 hours of television programming, carefully tracked and analysed. These research findings did not necessarily suggest that children could act more violently but that it could contribute to conditions whereby violence is seen as a normal part of life. By the age of 18, the average American child will have seen 200,000 murders on television [1] and since there is at least ten times as much crime on television and increasingly the internet as there is in the real world, this helps to create a rather skewed picture of the expectations of what life has to offer. [2]

By the time 2013 came around peer-reviewed studies were finding further negative effects of overexposure to television. A study undertaken by the University of Montreal, Canada, by Linda S. Pagani, Caroline Fitzpatrick & Tracie A. Barnett was published in Pediatric Research and the scientific journal Nature. The report entitled: ‘Early childhood television viewing and kindergarten entry readiness’ amassed data from a prospective longitudinal cohort of 991 girls and 1,006 boys and was analysed for the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development. The parent-reported data was collected from weekly hours of tele-viewing starting at about 2 and half years of age. Children were then scored “… on direct child assessments of vocabulary, mathematical knowledge, and motor skills, as well as kindergarten teacher reports of socio-emotional functioning…”

The research team’s results showed that watching television at 2.5 years: “… were associated with subsequent decreases in vocabulary and math skills, classroom engagement (which is largely determined by attention skills), victimization by classmates, and physical prowess at kindergarten.” The conclusions further suggested: “… the need for better parental awareness and compliance with existing viewing recommendations put forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).”

Childhood obesity, apathy, passivity, compliance, earlier sexual activity, attention deficit, impaired cognitive ability, hyperactivity, depression and aggression are all increasing in children. Television is could well be contributing to this global malaise. [3] It is not difficult to see why the child’s ability to actually learn is impaired. It is not the quantity of programmes that is at fault, but the quality. Given that the quality of television is tied to the market place, then it stands to reason that television will project these ways of being straight into the waiting brains of the young. Children aged 6 to 8 now respond to the image of a television as alcoholics do to images of drink. [4]

Worldskin-01

World Skin (1997), Maurice Benayoun‘s virtual reality interactive installation | (wikipedia)

Though a contributory factor, it is not the content of the programming that is doing the damage. The child’s brain is under attack from a deluge of images at the precise time that the mind/brain matrix is attempting to build neural fields that are healthy and stable, with images sourced from within rather than implanted by negative anxiety and adrenalin-drenched images from without. Quick camera switches, rapid image movement, computer generated objects, computer generated morphing and other technological stimuli are called “jolts” or “technical events” which induce the hormonal “fight or flight” response  together with the accompanying adrenal rush. [5] It is an addictive habit that forces the mind to latch onto firm ground that is forever being snatched away. This mind/body addiction means a near catatonic state; the glassy-eyed child fixed to the induction of alpha waves, ensures a hypnotizing effect that is most damaging to the neural circuits still being formed in small children. With these artificial images comes a habitually false sense of reality which becomes hardwired as author and scientist Joseph Chiltern Pearce explains:

Television feeds both the stimulus and response into the infant-child’s brain as a single-paired effect and herein lays the danger. Television floods the brain with a counterfeit of the response of the brain is supposed to learn to make to the stimuli of words or music. As a result much structural coupling between mind and environment is eliminated; few metaphoric images develop; few higher cortical areas of the brain are called into play; few, if any symbolic structures develop. [6]

Divorced from a measured and contextual response, the media plays its part in shovelling on fear and insecurity, pumping international horrors into our living rooms and already tired minds. There is always a variety of ways that consumer culture can allow you to buy back that security, however fleeting. Instinctual sex and violence ensures a “dumbed down” populace while ensuring ratings increases more of the same. In other words:

Since there is no way to stop the images, one merely gives over to them. More than this, one has to clear all channels of reception to allow them in more cleanly. Thinking only gets in the way.” […]  Every advertiser, for example, knows that before you can convince anyone of anything, you shatter their existing mental set and then restructure awareness along lines which are useful to you. You do this with a few very simple techniques like fast-moving images, jumping among attention focuses, and switching moods… [7] [Emphasis mine]

Our potential brain becomes imprisoned by the lower limbic brain and is sedated by the habitual and familiar: it is safe, comfortable, passive and devoid of the subtle nuances of creativity. Drop in doses of random violence and meaningless sex into the pliable mind of the child and a progressive normalisation of a pathological world view begins to take place. The child’s highly emotional mind ensures an easy state for conditioning. It is literally contoured towards states of acceptance. Babies and toddlers are unconsciously shocked into submission and programmed into mediocrity even before they can rationalize and conceptualise. Whether they will be able to think critically and discern truth from fiction later in life in combination with other environmental factors, is the key question.

The mass programming of movies, magazines, gaming and the integration of the internet and T.V. cannot by themselves, be considered threatening to the psychology of children and young adults. It is unlikely for example, that playing extremely violent, hyper-realistic, computer games such as Grand Theft Auto or Mortal Kombat is going to cause irreversible damage if they played occasionally. However, taken together and with the emphasis on the type of content being absorbed, one can make such a statement with assurance. At the age children begin to play video games they have not sufficiently developed the ability to distinguish between what is reality and what is not. These forms of mind stimulation make sure that, as adults, our focus lies in the realm of subjectivity rather than objectivity while all the time we believe the reverse.

The average American absorbs 34 GB of information a day, though half of it is obtained from playing video games. [8] It is little wonder that such games are coming under repeated suspicion when we read the following reviews from online gaming sites: “Hit man: Blood Money delivers the most brutal and realistic simulation of life as the world’s deadliest assassin.” In this game you must eliminate your opponents using a variety of weapons and killing techniques. One scene depicts a basement shootout where several busty, bronzed, bikini-clad maidens must be summarily blown away to progress to the next level. In the opening start-page one can see the hit man holding one of these aforementioned women by the throat with the implication that he intends to use her as a shield. You can imagine what follows.

Another game describes a futuristic battle where: “…three nations with opposing political views have erupted in an all-out war. From the cockpit of a giant metal ‘HOUND’, you must power your tower of heavy artillery through giant war zones while backing five others on your squad and dodging the firepower of six other live players via Xbox Live.” And further: “In Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter you can play as a Ghost, the best trained and equipped soldier the US Army has to offer. The year is 2013 and an insurgency has broken out in Mexico City, and it is your job to infiltrate the city and attempt to restore order.” That of course, means wiping out as many folks as you can. Or if a more gory enterprise is more to your taste: “Ninety-Nine Nights is a pure hack-and-slasher, brought to you by both Mizuguchi’s Q!” There is no limit to the number of weapons you can conjure and use nor the amount and variety of people you can kill. No irritating shades of grey here.

What about some good old fashioned propaganda? You need not look far for a double helping of “fun” in the guise of FA-18 Operation Desert Storm where, as an intrepid US pilot in the Allied Coalition, you must fly your FA-18 Hornet across enemy lines to bring down Iraqi forces for the ultimate glory that was Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Gulf war. Then there is Conflict: Desert Storm II Back to Baghdad where one on-line reviewer seemed to epitomize the dissociation involved with the reality of war versus the de-sensitization of real life:

“… there’s one thing that makes Conflict Desert Storm so engaging, and that’s the feeling you get when you’re all alone, your companions’ dead bodies scattered all around you, hiding behind a couple of clay pots to avoid the tank that’s just feet away. Finding yourself in this position just illustrates the sense of loneliness on the battle-field as you have no one to watch your back and success from this point becomes even more rewarding. The fine line is, that Conflict Desert Storm is simply better than any other war game that I’ve ever played and well worth the 10 quid that I paid for it…”

One wonders what the dead US soldiers and the millions of dead and mutilated Iraqi civilians would say to such “entertainment.” Such is the price of suffering that is reduced to teenage computer games and a “ten quid” tension ride.

Is there really such a difference between the programming of “Shock and Awe” pop video coverage courtesy of Fox T.V. and the gaming consoles in most American and European homes? If you were thinking that “Shock and Awe” sounded like a perfect computer game title then it will come as no surprise that the company’s US computer game office asked the Patent Office to let them register the words as a trademark. Sony backed down from plans to use the phrase as a title for its game about the war with Iraq due to customer and gamers distaste at such a move, especially as the patent was applied for only one day after the war started.

The studies that found violent video games had long-term, detrimental effects were given a further boost of credibility when in 2001, Japanese Professor Ryuta Kawashima, a brain imaging specialist, decided to investigate the levels of brain activity in children playing video games. He was hoping that his research would benefit the gaming world, thus possibilities for his own funding. His findings however, did not please the games manufacturers. The professor was convinced that children who play computer and video games excessively will not develop their frontal lobes and may therefore be more prone to act more violently as they grow up. [9]

As well as a clear correlation between watching violent video games and increased aggression, poor academic performance has also been repeatedly found to be a consistent result of prolonged gaming. [10]  In a world of apps and i-phones these effects are beginning to reach deeper into the young and are causing concern from a number of scientists and academics.

Maryanne Wolf, an author and cognitive neuroscientist at Tufts University in Massachusetts quoted in a September 2010 Guardian piece states: “It takes time to think deeply about information and we are becoming accustomed to moving on to the next distraction. I worry that the circuits that give us deep reading abilities will atrophy in adults and not be properly formed in the young.” The New York Time’s Nick Bilton reported on The UK Millennium Cohort Study in his March 31st article of 2013: ‘The Child, the Tablet and the Developing Mind.’ The study, which had been following 19,000 children born in 2000 and 2001 published a report in in the same year and found that children who watched more than three hours of television or DVDs a day “… had a higher chance of behavioural problems, emotional symptoms and relationship problems by the time they were 7 than children who did not. The study, of a sample of 11,000 children, found that children who played video games — often age-appropriate games — for the same amount of time did not show any signs of negative behavioral changes by the same age.”

So, it seems it is the quality and content and exposure time to these types of technology that is the issue.

Digitale-DemenzIn Europe, German neuropsychiatrist Dr. Manfred Spitzer has shown in his book Digitale Demenz (Digital Dementia – 2012) that when young children are exposed to too much computer-based activities their brain development suffers resulting in irreversible deformations. [11] Though not the first to investigate the effects of computers and software on young brains, his findings have drawn considerable criticism, not for the science it seems, but for the heresy of pointing out substantial drawbacks in the perceived perfection of a new technology that is currently re-shaping lives.

Researchers in 2005 also found a new perceptual effect they labelled “attentional rubber-necking” which appears to mimic the “jolts” and “shocks” we have from the dynamics of visual pollution. The Vanderbilt and Yale University study found that when people are exposed to erotic or violent images they often fail to fully process what they see immediately after. [12] It seems the mind’s capacity to absorb information – and perhaps crucial data – can switch off like a light bulb in a darkened room, or in the researchers words, an “emotion-induced blindness.” New research also suggests that young adult brains continue to be malleable to new thoughts and ideas (especially when fused with a highly emotional content) up until age 18 and beyond, though the areas of the brain affected tend to change.

The organizing and re-integrating of new sensory information via this technology shows such a “synthesis helps shape the kinds of emotional and behavioural responses [children] have to new experiences.” [13] It is these experiences that dictate exactly how a personality and its brain responds and perceives the outer world and whether it attains a creative or entropic response. How can an individual learn to understand himself and his psychological “wounds” if he is distracted and buffered by chemical inducing technology; where feelings, thoughts and dreams are fused with artifice?

The merging of official culture with new forms of technological addiction seems assured. Evelyn Pringle, writing for online journal Counterpunch in April 2010 revealed more information regarding the experiments in the effects of technology on children in her widely quoted report: ‘The Psychiatric Drugging of Infants and Toddlers.’ In 2010, the University of Maryland conducted an experiment named “Unplugged.” Researchers asked 200 undergraduates to stop using all internet and cell phone technology for one day and to keep a diary of how they were feeling. Many of the students reported symptoms of dependency and addiction. The University of Maryland concluded that: “Most college students are not just unwilling, but functionally unable, to be without their media links to the world.” This means that similar studies are unlikely to attract the participants needed for further evaluations.

Research quoted by Newsweek’s Tony Dokoupil in his in-depth July 2012 report: ‘Is the Web Driving Us Mad?’ is also instructive.  He introduces Professor Gary Small, the head of UCLA’s Memory and Aging Research Center, who, in 2008, proved conclusively that changes in the brain occurred even with moderate Internet use. 24 people were used in the study half of which were experienced internet users and the others very green. While the green users were normal, the veteran users’ brains were scanned and found to have “fundamental” alterations in the prefrontal cortexes. Then, each of the newbie participants were instructed to spend five hours online and then scanned again. A definite “re-wiring” of their brains had taken place.  More from Dokoupil’s research presently.

The latest technological appendages that we and especially children cannot do without are the i-phones, i-pads and tablets. The new diagnosis of i-phone addiction disorder is starting to do the rounds. Journalist Evelyn Pringle further highlights cases from Taiwan involving one:

 “… high-school boy who ended up in an asylum after his iPhone usage reached 24 hours a day. The other [case] featured a 31-year-old saleswoman who used her phone while driving. Both cases might have been laughed off if not for a 200-person Stanford study of iPhone habits released at the same time. It found that one in 10 users feels ‘fully addicted’ to his or her phone. All but 6 percent of the sample admitted some level of compulsion, while 3 percent won’t let anyone else touch their phones.”

Meanwhile, the UK Telegraph ran a report from 2013 By Victoria Ward, entitled: ‘Toddlers becoming so addicted to iPads they require therapy.’ As the title suggested toddlers are fast becoming addicted to i-pads and tablets as a result of lazy parenting and a symptom of a laissez-faire attitude to technology in general. Many medical experts are concerned that: “… parents who allow babies and toddlers to access tablet computers for several hours a day are in danger of causing ‘dangerous’ long term effects,” The report stated. It went on to describe the case of a four-year-old girl from the South East of England who is the youngest known patient being treated in the UK. Dr Richard Graham, who launched the UK’s first technology addiction programme in 2010 is seeing an increasing number of children displaying symptoms of severe addiction in relation to i-pads and internet-based technology. A 28-day “digital detox” programme is offered to desperate parents at the Capio Nightingale Hospital in London. He told the Telegraph that:  “… young technology addicts experienced the same withdrawal symptoms as alcoholics or heroin addicts, when the devices were taken away. He warned that the condition prevented young people from forming normal social relationships, leaving them drained by the constant interaction.”

But as baby-proof iPad covers and iPotties flood the market of convenience it seems this particular addiction will provide another market for healing and drug prescription.

Over in the United States Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is distributing tablets along with suitable curricula to college students. Part of the Department of Education and Common Core education initiative, it promises to lock children into a monolithic, centralised screen-based education with very little participation from parents and educators. Since children spend most of their days locked into their laptops, i-phones and computer games now they’ll be spending the rest of their waking hours staring into a computer screen studying a curriculum they already had little interest in.

Founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology EdX, a nonprofit enterprise offers online courses using automated software and artificial intelligence to grade student essays and other written answers. As the New York Time’s John Markoff, describes it in his piece: ‘Essay-Grading Software Offers Professors a Break’: “Imagine taking a college exam, and, instead of handing in a blue book and getting a grade from a professor a few weeks later, clicking the “send” button when you are done and receiving a grade back instantly, your essay scored by a software program. And then, instead of being done with that exam, imagine that the system would immediately let you rewrite the test to try to improve your grade.” The idea is to free up more time for college and University professors. That efficiency meme again…

Though many educators and academics loathe the idea and are resisting its implementation it seems inevitable that such automation in education will become the norm in a system that prides itself on technocratic principles rather than the needs of the child. ‘The Epidemic of Media Multi-tasking while learning’, by Annie Murphy Paul posted in May of 2013 to education/tech site http://www.navigator.compasslearning.com explored this very subject. It reached some disturbing conclusions, namely the erosion of student’s focus and attention through excessive multi-tasking.

Researchers from the lab of Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills followed students as they went about their onerous studying and where he and his colleagues “… counted the number of windows open on the students’ screens and noted whether the students were wearing ear-buds.”

While ticking boxes on a check-list which included: “reading a book, writing on paper, typing on the computer—and also using email, looking at Facebook, engaging in instant messaging, texting, talking on the phone, watching television, listening to music, surfing the web.” It seems that students’ “on-task behavior” began to decline at after only two minutes choosing to respond to text messages or checking Facebook. Only 65 percent of the observation period was spent doing homework. Rosen stated: “We were amazed at how frequently they multitasked, even though they knew someone was watching. It really seems that they could not go for 15 minutes without engaging their devices,” adding, “It was kind of scary, actually.”

Unlike radio, the T.V., – and by extension, the internet – by replacing storytelling and other shared activities, may have paradoxically contributed to the loss of societal communication and cohesion. Eventually, this has devalued play in all its forms, eroded parenting skills, even inducing ignorance towards the idea of parenting itself. The internet is certainly an extraordinary tool for knowledge, information and social exchange, but naturally, it has a dark side which can be forgotten in the rush to embrace it.

From Tony Dokoupil’s Newsweek article, he usefully summarises the rate of change and some of its effects:

In less than the span of a single childhood, Americans have merged with their machines, staring at a screen for at least eight hours a day, more time than we spend on any other activity including sleeping. Teens fit some seven hours of screen time into the average school day; 11, if you count time spent multitasking on several devices. When President Obama last ran for office, the iPhone had yet to be launched. Now smartphones outnumber the old models in America, and more than a third of users get online before getting out of bed.

Meanwhile, texting has become like blinking: the average person, regardless of age, sends or receives about 400 texts a month, four times the 2007 number. The average teen processes an astounding 3,700 texts a month, double the 2007 figure. And more than two thirds of these normal, everyday cyborgs, myself included, report feeling their phone vibrate when in fact nothing is happening. Researchers call it “phantom-vibration syndrome.”

Dukoupil reported on the latest peer-reviewed research and other common findings which could only be seen as a slap in the face of internet utopians. He further stated: “The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic. Our digitized minds can scan like those of drug addicts, and normal people are breaking down in sad and seemingly new ways.”

Newsweek conducted its own research reviewing findings from over a dozen countries all of which are following the same trajectory of addiction with their attendant negative effects. These include depression, reactive psychosis, anxiety, and the common rise in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The latter is linked to internet and i-phone addiction after studies reported by journalists Alan Schwartz and Sarah Cohen in a New York Times article of March 2013: ‘A.D.H.D. Seen in 11% of U.S. Children as Diagnoses Rise’ confirmed nearly one in five high school age boys and 11 percent of school-age children in general have received a medical diagnosis of ADHD. This is what the data revealed after a 53 percent rise in the condition in just a decade. Is there a link? Many believe so. Which makes a very lucrative case for Big Pharma, since all these children need to be medicalised, it seems.

It is no coincidence that also in the last decade the number of children less than a year old receiving medication has sky-rocketed in the United States. Diagnoses of bipolar disorder has also doubled over the last decade according to a Reuters report. Journalist by Evelyn Pringle writing for the previously mentioned 2010 Counterpunch article observed: “Of antipsychotic-treated children in the 2007 study sample, [from Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry] the most common diagnoses were pervasive developmental disorder or mental retardation (28.2%), ADHD (23.7%), and disruptive behavior disorder (12.9%).

In one sense, all of us who use computers are made addicts since the average person spends more than 38 hours online due to the rapidly changing nature of technology tied to the workplace. The child however, is in the front line of this neurological change.

With a diet of gratuitous violence – whether comic book or ultra-realism – the child is habituated to a glut of sensation and the neurological stunting that eventuates. Anything less than this is “boring”. A spiritual vacuum condemns our future adults to a “filthy tide” of cheap thrills and superficiality wrapped in soft quilts of technical addiction. The damaged care for the damaged and perpetuate the legacy. Notwithstanding the background link of 18 Certificate computer gaming in most of the US shooting massacres of recent times, the ubiquitous and increasing levels of extreme violence and destruction classed as entertainment on our TV and in our cinemas combined with the rise of SMART society it can only exacerbate an already violence-saturated culture. However, the key here seems to be the quality and content of the internet and video games or the type of technology we expose our children to.

In writer Eli Khamarov’s words: “Most people are awaiting Virtual Reality; I’m awaiting virtuous reality.”

 


Notes

[1] Robert E. Hales, The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry (2008) p. 1472.
[2] ‘Development of a Cognitive Process Model to Explain the Effects of Heavy Television Viewing on Social Judgment’ L. J. Shrum, Rutgers University | http://www.acrwebsite.org/search/view-conference-proceedings.aspx?Id=8172
[3] Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Vol 159, p 607, p 614, p 619, p 687) quoted from NewScientist.com news service ‘Watching TV harms kids’ academic success’ by Anna Gosline July 4, 2005.
[4] “Lure of Television is stronger than a smile” by David Lister, The Times, November 7, 2006: “Previous research into the behaviour of young children and babies has shown that they prefer to look at faces and do so instinctively in order to learn and to communicate. This was borne out by an initial experiment on 34 five-year-olds, 25 eight-year-olds and 34 adults, in which they were each shown a photograph of a face alongside either a doll’s house, a toy boat, a toy train, a tap, a teapot or a wall clock. The overwhelming majority looked at the image of a face before the competing object.In a second experiment, however, 143 children aged 5 to 8 were seated in front of a computer screen on which the image of a blank television screen was shown next to a face for less than a second. The children were told to press the spacebar as soon as they saw a bar of chocolate appear on the screen. Most of the children aged 6 to 8 pressed the spacebar fastest when the chocolate bar appeared behind the picture of the television and not the face, suggesting that they were already looking at it. Only the five-year-olds responded fastest when the chocolate was behind the face. Martin Doherty, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Stirling, who carried out the research with Dr Bindemann, said: ‘One of the interesting things is that five-year-olds still have a face bias but six-year-olds don’t.’”
[5] Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television by Jerry Mander, published by William Morrow, 1978 | ISBN: 0688082742.
[6] p.166; Evolutions End: Claiming the Potential of Our Intelligence By Joseph Chiltern Pearce Published by HarperCollins 1992, ISBN 0-06-250693-5.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Part of the Daily American Diet, 34 Gigabytes of Data’ By Nick Bilton, The New York Times, December 9, 2009.
[9] ‘Heavy Video Game Use by Kids May slow Brain Development – Game industry disputes findings of Japanese study’ – The Observer August 19, 2001.
[10] Video games ‘increase aggression’, 23 April, 2000, BBC News.
[11] Digitale Demenz: Wie wir uns und unsere Kinder um den Verstand bringen By Manfred Spitzer. (only in German at the time of writing.)
[12] ‘Researchers explore a perceptual effect called ‘attentional rubbernecking’ by Melanie Moran, August 2005 Vanderbilt University, Nashville USA.
[13] ‘Brains of Young Adults Not Fully Mature’ By Ker Than http://www.livescience.com February, 2006.