The Trick of the Psychopath's
Make Us Believe that Evil Comes from Others
by Silvia Cattori, Sott.net
www.sott.net/, Jan 31, 2008
After reading the book Political Ponerology,
A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes
by Andrzej Lobaczewski, I wished to interview the author. However,
given that he was sick, he was unable to respond to my questions
except in the shortest way, a single paragraph. Fortunately, I
was able to interview Laura Knight-Jadczyk and Henry See, editors
of the book who discussed the questions with him via telephone
and were thus able to speak on his behalf.
I think everyone should read this book
because it provides the keys necessary for understanding events
that we often can't comprehend. The book describes the origins
of "Evil", its true nature, and illustrates how it spreads
Mr. Lobaczewski spent years observing
those in power whose actions were the incarnation of evil, people
described in psychological terms as anti-social, psychopaths,
Silvia Cattori: Here is what a Swiss psychiatrist
said to me about the book Political Ponerology:
I have never read anywhere else the things Lobaczewski speaks
about. No other book has treated the subject in this way. It was
immediately useful for me in my work. The things he affirms about
perverse/pathological behaviour - in conflicts in business as
well as in the political sphere where we see more and more conflicts
and more and more people of this type - immediately helped me
to better understand, for example, the functioning of these individuals
who create conflicts in their work and who, wherever they go,
pollute the atmosphere.
Why did he choose a title that is so hermetic,
Political Ponerology, for a book that should interest not only
psychologists and psychiatrists but everyone?
Laura: First of all, let me say that a
very strong emotional bond exists between us and Dr. Lobaczewski
and we have communicated with him regarding this interview. He
is very elderly and his health has been very poor for the past
year or so and he regrets that he is not able to respond personally;
he made an attempt, but he is presently not even strong enough
to write more than the briefest answers to written questions.
Even then, after a few minutes of concentration, he is exhausted
and his focus wanders. We very much want to protect his health
and well-being, but we also wanted to satisfy the request for
responses to important issues. Andrzej pointed out to me on the
phone that he has full confidence in our understanding of the
subject. He repeated that, as he said when he wrote to us, he
was looking for someone who was going in the same direction, thinking
the same way, that he could hand his work on to - more or less
pass the torch, and of all the work had been passed to him by
others. He spent years looking for someone and it was our work
that met the criteria.
Having said that, let me try to answer
your question: Why did Lobaczewski choose that title? The first
thing is that the work was originally a series of documents, technical
and academic, originating from various sources. As Lobaczewski
explains in his introduction, very little of the work is original
to him, he is just the compiler. Academics tend to choose titles
for their papers that are phrased in academic terminology, and
scientists consider it their prerogative to make up new terms
to describe their discoveries, (such as physicists coming up with
words like quarks, muons, leptons, and so on), so in that sense,
the title is entirely understandable. The term, "ponerology"
is an obscure theological term that means the study of evil. Andrzej
knew this, and decided to reclaim and rehabilitate this word for
scientific use since, as it happens, our science really doesn't
have a word for the study of "evil," per se. We need
Henry: When Lobaczewski sent us the manuscript
for his book, we were stunned. We had been preoccupied with the
question of why, no matter how much good will there is in the
world, there is so much war, suffering and injustice. It doesn't
seem to matter what plan, ideology, religion, or philosophy great
minds come up with, nothing seems to improve our lot. And it has
been that way for thousands of years, repeating over and over
We had also been researching the question
of psychopathy for several years, and had published many articles
on the subject on our web sites. We had also transcribed an electronic
edition for research of the seminal work on psychopathy by Dr.
Hervey Cleckley, The Mask of Sanity, with the permission of the
copyright holders because it had gone out of print. It is such
an important and seminal text that we made it freely available
for download. So we had a good grounding in the question and had
some inkling that the question of psychopathy and the dire situation
we are facing on the planet were related.
Laura: Let me add that the reason we had
been researching psychopathy was, as mentioned above, because
we had encountered the phenomenon first hand. We were engaged
in working with groups of people and the phenomena that Ponerology
addresses in terms of groups and how they are corrupted by pathological
deviants insinuating themselves into a group under the guise of
normality, was very familiar to us on a small social scale. We
had observed it and dealt with it time and again, though in the
early days, we were just flying by the seat of our pants. We knew
that something strange was going on, we just did not have labels
and categories for it. We found some of those labels and categories
in texts about psychopathology, but it still did not address the
Henry: But Political Ponerology presents
the subject in a radically different way from other texts about
psychopathy, suggesting that the influence of psychopaths and
other deviants isn't just one of many influences working on society,
but, under the appropriate circumstances, can be the primary influence
that shapes the way we live, what we think, and how we judge what
is going on around us. When you understand the true nature of
that influence, that it is conscienceless, emotionless, selfish,
cold and calculating, and devoid of any moral or ethical standards,
you are horrified, but at the same time everything suddenly begins
to makes sense. Our society is ever more soulless because the
people who lead it and who set the example are soulless - they
literally have no conscience.
When you come to understand that the reins
of political and economic power are in the hands of people who
have no conscience, who have no capacity for empathy, it opens
up a completely new way of looking at what we call "evil".
Evil is no longer only a moral issue; it can now be analyzed and
Laura: With Lobaczewski, the word "Ponerology"
has been reclaimed from its religious connotations where it never
did society as a whole much good, and is the science of evil,
of understanding its origins scientifically, and how it can infect
individuals and societies like a disease.
When psychopaths are the policy makers
in government and the CEOs of big business, the way they think
and reason - their 'morality' - becomes the common culture and
'morality' of the population over which they preside. When this
happens, the mind of the population is infected in the way a pathogen
infects a physical body. The only way to protect ourselves against
this pathological thinking is to inoculate ourselves against it,
and that is done by learning as much as possible about the nature
of psychopathy and its influence on us. Essentially, this particular
'disease' thrives in an environment where its very existence is
denied, and this denial is planned and deliberate.
While the title of the book may seem hermetic,
it must be understood in the context of the great difficulty Andrej
had in getting his work published at all. The first two manuscripts
were lost, as he describes in his preface. One was burned minutes
before the arrival of the police in a raid on his home, and the
second was sent to the Vatican via an intermediary, never to be
seen again. The third version, the one published by Red Pill Press,
was written while Andrzej was living in the US during the Reagan
years. Zbigniew Brzeszinki had offered to help him find a publisher,
but after several months, it became clear that he was at best
doing nothing and at worst actively working to ensure it never
got published. So the manuscript sat in a drawer for over twenty
years. It was written for a professional audience and the title
was chosen in that context. This is also the reason that the text
itself is very dense, and the title accurately reflects that it
was not written for the layperson. It was written for professionals
and in an academic style reflecting his background.
We are currently working on a more popular
version of his ideas.
SC: Lobaczewski has studied these people
not from a political point of view, but from a psychological point
of view. He has managed to understand how it happens that mad
people, ideologues, and repressive powers, in spite of their inhumanity,
can obtain the support of large populations. Does not everyone
have a perverse/pathological basis, periods when they pass through
a perverse/pathological life?
Henry: First of all, it needs to be said
that "mad people" don't need the support of large populations,
only a powerful minority that can both "drive" the population
and control it. Look at the polls in the United States. Bush has
been hovering around 30% popularity for years - and that is the
population as a whole. But because he is backed by a very powerful
minority, the people who own the media, the arms industry and
their military supporters, the oil companies, among others, popular
discontent doesn't matter. And as long as Bush's politics don't
overtly affect the ordinary American negatively, they don't care
enough to do anything about it.
Laura: In the U.S. - and elsewhere in
the world - even the most oppressed and unfairly treated people
are easily controlled by fear, by threats to their affordable
materialism: entertainment, sports, gambling, so on. Even the
failure of schools, medical care, social safety nets, do not drive
people to really question what is going on. It is, as Aldous Huxley
wrote, a scientific dictatorship: bread and circuses. In short,
most Americans are aware of their oppression, and express this
in polls, but those in power have successfully drugged them with
a plethora of distractions - fear and pleasure - sufficient to
keep them under control.
Henry: There is the carrot and the stick.
As long as people can continue living in the illusion, they will
do so. When the illusion starts to crack, then the stick comes
Laura: People are afraid of making waves
for fear of losing what they have, of losing their peace, of having
to exert effort to resist. After all, it does take all their time
to keep the illusion going, they must slave daily to keep the
SUV from being repossessed, and they want to have time for the
football game on Saturday.
Henry: They also figure that Bush only
has a couple of years left anyway. The system will take care of
itself. Lobaczewski's book shows us why this is an extremely naïve
way of thinking. The system that is in place is a pathological
system that is at odds in a very profound way with the being or
nature of most people. People of conscience are being ruled by
people with no conscience. This fact is the primary injustice
and is the basis for the other ills of society.
Laura: For many years this system has
been covert because there were still people in high positions
with conscience, but over time, they have all been replaced or
disposed of in one way or another, and now the pathology of the
system is out in the open, but nobody cares. If you look back
over the history of the past fifty years or so, you will find
that nearly every public figure who has died tragically was one
who had conscience, concern for people, and influence enough to
make waves against the pathological types.
Henry: The second part of your question
is very important, because it is this idea that we are all somehow
perverse or pathological in some ways, that we all have a shadow
side as Jung put it, that serves as a major prop to the pathocratic
system and makes it possible for psychopaths to hide in the general
population. We have been convinced that we are all just animals
and that each of us is capable of becoming a Hitler or a Bush
or a Mengele, given the right circumstances. We buy into this
because we have all done things in our lives for which we are
ashamed, for which we feel a sense of remorse. We know those thoughts
that come to us in moments of heated emotion, thoughts we wouldn't
want anyone else to know or to hear. We sense that we do have
this shadow side, a part of ourselves of which we aren't proud.
Because we feel this sense of shame and remorse about this aspect
of ourselves, we project onto others that they have the same capacity.
This projection is where we make the fatal mistake.
There are two issues this raises. First,
there is a world of difference between someone who, in the heat
of an argument with a significant other, for example, loses control
and physically or psychologically abuses that person, and someone
who coldly, with calculation and forethought, carries out the
same thing. The acts are wrong in both cases. I am not trying
to diminish the abuse done in a moment of emotion. But that same
person, who loses control momentarily, would be unable to think
through and coldly plan out the same act. Something inside of
him or her would recoil. In the psychopath, that voice of conscience
does not exist. Psychopaths are capable of plotting out the genocide
of a people, such as the Palestinians; people of conscience are
not. One person may be killed in a heated argument. Many thousands
can die from cold calculation.
Laura: One way of understanding this is
that studies show that psychopaths not only have higher rates
of violent crime, they commit different types of violent crimes
than non-psychopaths. One study showed that two thirds of the
victims of psychopaths were male strangers while two thirds of
the victims of non-psychopaths were female family members or acquaintances
- crimes of passion. Normal people can commit acts of violence
while in states of extreme emotional arousal, but psychopaths
cold-bloodedly select their victims for revenge or retribution
or to achieve some end. That is to say that psychopathic violence
is instrumental, a means to an end, predatory.
Henry: Secondly, in a society dominated
by pathological values, if one can call them that, the existence
of a small group of conscienceless people promoting a culture
of greed and selfishness creates an environment where the pathological
becomes the norm. In a society, such as the United States today,
where the president can lie with impunity on matters of life and
death, a pathological environment is created where lying becomes
acceptable. Violence is acceptable. Greed is acceptable. It is
part and parcel of the ideology of the American Dream, that anyone
can be a success no matter who you have to hurt to do it. And,
it is in what they must do to actually succeed that the seeds
of pathology are sown. In that environment, people of conscience
who are weak and easily influenced take on the characteristics
of the pathological in order to survive and succeed. They see
that their leaders lie and cheat, and they figure that if they
want to get ahead, then they can lie and cheat as well.
Laura: I call it "Official Culture."
Linda Mealey of the Department of Psychology at the College of
St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, proposes that a competitive
society - capitalism, for example - is one where psychopathy is
adaptive and likely to increase.
Psychopathy is an adaptive life strategy
that is extremely successful in American society, and thus has
increased in the population. What is more, as a consequence of
a society that is adaptive for psychopathy, many individuals who
are NOT genetic psychopaths have similarly adapted, becoming "effective"
psychopaths, or "secondary sociopaths." In other words,
in a world of psychopaths, those who are not genetic psychopaths,
are induced to behave like psychopaths simply to survive. When
the rules are set up to make a society "adaptive" to
psychopathy, it makes psychopaths of everyone.
Henry: Were that pathological influence
removed from society by putting psychopaths into quarantine, by
educating people of conscience on the signs of pathology, of what
to look for and how to deal with manipulation, by changing the
systems created by psychopaths; if through such methods we were
able to remove this ponerogenic influence, then the other pole,
that of conscience, would be the more influential of the two,
and people would gravitate towards altruism and truth rather than
selfishness and lies.
If we were able to remove the pathological
influence, we might find that our conceptions of "human nature"
are wrong and are weighted wrongly because we accept those who
are genetically without conscience as "human". Remove
them and their acts from the data set, remove their influence
from society as a whole, and the higher qualities of human nature
capable of conscience might find room for expression in ways that
we have never dreamed possible.
SC: How can we distinguish between psychopaths
and healthy people? Can you give us the portrait of a true psychopath?
Which of their faculties have problems?
Laura: The simplest, clearest and truest
portrait of the psychopath is given in the titles of three seminal
works on the subject: Without Conscience by Robert Hare, The Mask
of Sanity by Hervey Cleckley, and Snakes in Suits by Hare and
Paul Babiak. A psychopath is exactly that: conscienceless. The
most important thing to remember is that this is hidden from view
behind a mask of normality that is often so convincing that even
experts are deceived and, as a result, they become the Snakes
in Suits that control our world. That's the short answer.
Henry: Popular culture sees psychopaths
as characters such as Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs,
that is, as serial killers. However, while a certain number of
psychopaths are criminals and have had run-ins with the law and
some are, in fact, serial killers, there are a great number of
them that never fall afoul of the law. These are the smarter ones,
and they are the ones that are the most dangerous because they
have found ways of working the system to their advantage.
There are a number of traits that we find
in psychopaths: An obvious trait is the complete lack of conscience.
They lack any sense of remorse or empathy with others. They can
be extremely charming and are experts at using talk to charm and
hypnotize their prey. They are also irresponsible. Nothing is
ever their fault; someone else or the world at large is always
to blame for all of their 'problems' or their mistakes. Martha
Stout, in her book The Sociopath Next Door, identifies what she
calls the pity ploy. Psychopaths use pity to manipulate. They
convince you to give them one more chance, and to not tell anyone
about what they have done. So another trait - and a very important
one - is their ability to control the flow of information.
They are also incapable of deep emotions.
In fact, when Hare, a Canadian psychologist who spent his career
studying psychopathy, did brain scans on psychopaths while showing
them two sets of words, one set of neutral words with no emotional
associations and a second set with emotionally charged words,
while different areas of the brain lit up in the non-psychopathic
control group, in the psychopaths, both sets were processed in
the same area of the brain, the area that deals with language.
They did not have an immediate emotional reaction.
Our whole emotional life is a mystery
to them, while at the same time providing a tremendous tool for
them to manipulate us. Think of those moments when we are strongly
affected by our emotions and how our ability to think is impaired.
Now imagine that you were able to feign such emotion, remaining
cool and calculating, while the person you were exchanging with
was really trapped in an emotional cauldron. You could use tears
or shouting to get what you wanted, while your victim was driven
to despair by the emotions they were living.
They also seem to have no real conception
of past or future, living entirely for their immediate needs and
desires. Because of the barren quality of their inner life, they
are often seeking new thrills, anything from feeling the power
of manipulating others to engaging in illegal activities simply
for the rush of adrenaline.
Another trait of the psychopath is what
Lobaczewski calls their "special psychological knowledge"
of normal people. They have studied us. They know us better than
we know ourselves. They are experts in knowing how to push our
buttons, to use our emotions against us. But beyond that, they
even seem to have some sort of hypnotic power over us. When we
begin to get caught up in the web of the psychopath, our ability
to think deteriorates, gets muddied. They seem to cast some sort
of spell over us. It is only later when we are no longer in their
presence, out of their spell, that the clarity of thought returns
and we find ourselves wondering how it was that we were unable
to respond or counter what they were doing.
Many of the books written in English on
psychopathy talk about psychopaths as a group which share a common
constellation of traits. The most widely used scale for measuring
psychopathy was developed by Dr Hare. It is the PCL-R. It lists
twenty traits that are found in the personality. If the trait
is found sometimes, then it is given a 1; if the trait is prominent
in the personality, then it is given a 2. The highest total then
is 40. People who have more than 30 on the PCL-R scale are considered
But what Lobaczewski has done is to go
further and give a taxonomy of different types of psychopaths
and other pathological types, and he shows how their deviations
work together to form a pathological system. He has brought out
some work from psychologists in Europe that were lost during the
years of communism.
Laura: Diagnosis is a contentious issue
; there is a controversy that needs to be explained in order to
understand the possibilities of detection. 
Lobaczewski discusses the fact that in
Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, the psychological sciences
were co-opted to support totalitarian regimes and that this was
done by psychopaths in power who then set about destroying any
possibility of accurate information about the condition being
widely propagated. He points out that any regime that is composed
primarily of pathological deviants cannot allow the science of
psychology to develop and flourish freely because the result would
be that the regime itself would be diagnosed as pathological thus
revealing "the man behind the curtain."
Based on first hand observations of the
phenomenon in question, Lobaczewski states that the repression
of knowledge is undertaken in the typical manner of the psychopath:
covertly and behind a "Mask of Sanity." In order to
be able to control the psychological sciences, one must know or
be able to sense what is going on and which fragments of psychopathology
are most dangerous. A pathological political regime locates those
individuals in the field who are psychopaths, (usually very mediocre
scientists), facilitates their academic studies and degrees and
the obtaining of key positions with supervisory capacity over
scientific and cultural organizations. They are then in position
to knock down more talented persons, governed both by self-interest
and that typical jealousy which characterizes a psychopath's attitude
toward normal people. They are the ones monitoring scientific
papers for their "proper ideology" and attempting to
ensure that a good specialist will be denied the scientific literature
The fact is that, over the past 50 years,
the concept of psychopathy has been narrowed sharply and now refers
to a specific personality disorder though there have been attempts
to do away with the classification entirely, switching to "Antisocial
Personality Disorder" which can embrace a wide variety of
behaviors without necessarily requiring the clinical diagnosis
of psychopathy. Robert Hare insists that it is important to understand
that psychopathy is not synonymous with criminality or violence;
not all psychopaths engage in violence and criminal behavior.
At the same time, not all violent persons or criminals are psychopaths.
According to Robert Hare et al, Cleckley,
Lobaczewski, and many other experts in psychopathy, a diagnosis
of psychopathy cannot be made on the basis of visible behavioral
symptoms to the exclusion of interpersonal and affective symptoms
because such a procedure essentially makes psychopaths of many
people who are simply injured by life or society and allows the
true psychopaths who have a well-constructed "mask of sanity"
to escape detection. Based on a growing body of literature, many
(or most) psychopaths grow up in stable, well-to-do families,
and become white collar criminals who, because of money and position,
never have their private destructive behaviors exposed to public
view and repeatedly avoid contact with the justice system.
Now, getting down to diagnosis and/or
detection specifically: There are a number of theories on the
The Etiology of Psychopathy such as Psychopathy as an adaptive
strategy, as a variant of normal personality, a brain dysfunction,
an expression of attachment or pathology in early childhood, a
learning disorder, and so on. There is very little empirical evidence
to support the idea that the true psychopath is the result of
an abused childhood, and much empirical evidence to support that
it is genetic. The neurobiological model offers us the greatest
hope of being able to detect even the most devious psychopath.
As Henry has mentioned, in a study of
reaction times to various words, emotional, neutral, pseudo words,
it was noted that the Event-Related brain Potentials (ERP) in
lexical decision tasks among non-criminals indicate that responses
to both positive and negative words are more accurate and faster
than are those to neutral words. In the brains of these subjects,
the central and parietal sites indicated early and late ERP components
in respect of emotional words. The late components of the ERP
were thought to indicate continued processing of the word.
In this same study, non-psychopathic criminals
also demonstrated sensitivity to the emotion laden words. The
psychopaths, however, failed to show any reaction time or ERP
differences between neutral and emotional words. More than that,
the morphology of their ERPs was strikingly different from that
of non-psychopaths. The late component of the ERP that was long
and large in non-psychopaths was small and brief in psychopaths.
It is thought that this reflects the fact that psychopaths make
lexical decisions and process information in a shallow way. This
is supported by recent brain-imaging studies which show that psychopathic
substance abusers have less cerebral activity during performance
of a lexical decision task than non-psychopathic substance abusers.
Hare and others have also discovered that
the ERP anomalies of psychopaths are not specific to affective
language but also include abstract language. Another curious finding
noted in two separate studies was an unusually large negative
wave that swept over the frontal areas of the brain. A tentative
interpretation of this is that it is a reflection of a profound
cognitive and affective processing anomaly.
Other recent studies lead to similar results
and conclusions: that psychopaths have great difficulty processing
verbal and nonverbal affective (emotional) material, that they
tend to confuse the emotional significance of events, and most
importantly, that these deficits show up in brain scans. Psychopaths
exhibit unusual inter-hemispheric distribution of processing resources,
have difficulty in appreciating the subtle meanings and nuances
of language such as proverbs, metaphors, and so forth, have poor
olfactory discrimination, possibly because of orbito-frontal dysfunction,
and may have what appears to be a sub-clinical form of thought
disorder characterized by a lack of cohesion and coherence in
speech. All of these cognitive and affective anomalies cannot
be explained by any of the other models of psychopathy, and they
can be detected with brain scans.
The latter issue: the thought disorder
problem, is something that we have been working on, trying to
find some general rules so that the average person can make personal
assessments after applying some covert tests during discussions
with anyone they may suspect has some reason to deceive or manipulate
But this is a loaded issue. As Lobaczewski
points out, if a psychopath considers himself normal, which is
of course significantly easier if he possesses authority, then
he would consider a normal person different and therefore abnormal.
A normal person's actions and reactions, his ideas and moral criteria,
strike psychopaths as abnormal. A normal person strikes a psychopath
as a naive, smart-alecky believer in barely comprehensible theories
about love and honor and conscience; calling him "crazy"
is not all that far away.That explains why pathological governments
always have considered dissidents as "mentally abnormal".
The legal system is not set up to deal
with this because, of course, the legal system is often a creation
of pathological individuals, or at least administered by them.
Well - thought out legislation should require scientific testing
of individuals whose claims that someone else is psychologically
abnormal are too insistent or too doubtfully founded.
On the other hand, any pathological social
or ruling system in which psychiatry is used for political reasons
presents additional problems. Any person rebelling against a governmental
system, which strikes him as foreign and immoral, can easily be
designated by the representatives of said government as "mentally
abnormal", someone who has a "personality disorder"
and who should submit to psychiatric treatment and there are plenty
of ways for them to gain control of the testing system. A scientifically
and morally degenerate psychiatrist can be found for this.
So, this is a thorny issue.
SC: What are some of the different types
identified by Lobaczewski?
Henry: As with most researchers, he makes
an initial distinction between inherited deviations and acquired
deviations, that is, those who are born with the pathology and
those who become pathological because of injuries to brain tissue
or traumas when young. Injury to brain tissue can leave scars
that then change the individual's ability to perceive and to feel.
Those sections of the brain meant to handle those functions can't
do it, so the data is rerouted to other areas that were meant
for other tasks. He calls those whose characters evolve in distorted
ways due to injuries or trauma characteropaths. He then lists
several forms of characteropathies: the paranoid characteropath
(he cites Lenin as an example); frontal characteropathy, a deviation
due to injuries in the frontal areas of the cerebral cortex (Stalin
is an example of this type), drug-induced characteropthy, caused
by the use of drugs that damage the central nervous system. Then,
there are pathogen (disease) induced characteropaths (he suggests
that Franklin D. Roosevelt may have suffered from this disorder),
as well as certain people with epilepsy (he cites Caesar and Napoleon).
The inherited disorders are: schizoidia
or schizoidal psychopathy, essential psychopathy, asthenic psychopathy,
anankastic, hysterical, and skirtoidal psychopathy, and those
whom he labels 'jackals', that is, individuals who end up as hired
guns or mercenary killers. Lobaczewski speculates that this type
is a mix of the other types. To give an idea, I'll just touch
on two types.
Schizoidal psychopathy is a deviation
that produces people who are hypersensitive and distrustful and
disregard the feelings of others. They are attracted to high-sounding
ideas, but their impoverished psychological nature severely limits
their perceptions and turns their so-called "good intentions"
into influences for evil. Their idea of human nature ends up perverting
their attempts. As Lobaczewski says the typical expression of
their attitude to humanity is expressed in what he calls the "schizoidal
declaration": "Human nature is so bad that order in
human society can only be maintained by a strong power created
by highly qualified individuals in the name of some higher idea".
How many movements, from fascism to communism on to the neoconservatism
we see today are based upon that idea! One could easily imagine
this statement coming from Leo Strauss, for example.
Essential psychopaths are the type that
is closest to the idea of psychopathy discussed by Cleckley, Hare,
Babiak, and others. Lobaczewski makes the frightening remark that
"They learn to recognize each other in a crowd as early as
childhood, and they develop an awareness of the existence of other
individuals similar to them. They also become conscious of being
different from the world of those other people surrounding them.
They view us from a certain distance, like a para-specific variety."
Think about the ramifications of this
statement: They are, to some extent, self-aware as a group even
in childhood! Recognizing their fundamental difference from the
rest of humanity, their allegiance would be to others of their
kind, that is, to other psychopaths. Lobaczewski points out that,
in any society in this world, psychopathic individuals often create
an active network of common collusion, estranged from the community
of normal people to some extent. They are aware of being different.
Their world is forever divided into "us and them"; their
world with its own laws and customs and that other "foreign
world" of normal people that they consider to be full of
presumptuous ideas and customs about truth and honor and decency
in light of which they know they are condemned morally. Their
own twisted sense of honor compels them to cheat and revile non-psychopaths
and their values. In contradiction to the ideals of normal people,
psychopaths feel breaking promises and agreements is normal behavior.
Not only do they covet possessions and power and feel they have
the right to them just because they exist and can take them, but
they gain special pleasure in usurping and taking from others;
what they can plagiarize, swindle, and extort are fruits far sweeter
than those they can earn through honest labor. They also learn
very early how their personalities can have traumatizing effects
on the personalities of non-psychopaths, and how to take advantage
of this root of terror for purposes of achieving their goals.
So now imagine how human beings who are
totally in the dark about this can be deceived and manipulated
by these individuals if they were in power in different countries,
pretending to be loyal to the local populations while at the same
time playing up obvious and easily discernable physical differences
between groups (such as race, skin colour, religion, etc). Psychologically
normal humans would be set against one another on the basis of
unimportant differences while the deviants in power, with a fundamental
difference from the rest of us, a lack of conscience, an inability
to feel for another human being, reaped the benefits and pulled
I think that pretty accurately describes
the situation we are confronted with today.
SC: Can you give us examples that will
help us understand more generally the problem?
Henry: Lobaczewski's contribution is his
analysis of the way the different types of psychopathic types
work together to form a system where people who are clinically
pathological have the positions of power and rule over people
who are psychologically normal.
Early in the book, Lobaczewski describes
his experiences in university where he first encountered the phenomenon.
He went into the library to get some books on the question of
psychopathy and found to his amazement that they had all been
removed! This fact demonstrates a self-awareness of their difference
amongst at least some of them, and in the case of Poland under
communism, of those in a position of power highly enough placed
to get books removed from the university library. Laura said reading
that passage made the hair stand up on her neck! The implications
of this fact are far-reaching in understanding our world, how
it got that way, and what we need to do to change it.
But here are some examples of psychopathic
behaviour as reported by other authors:
A mother plays a game of hide and seek with her 4 year old daughter.
She is holding a large kitchen knife in her hand. She tells the
daughter, I am going to count to one hundred, and if I find you,
then I am going to cut off your thumbs. The girl, terrified, hides
in her closet, and the mother, knowing that is likely where she
will be, lets her stay there, terrified, frightened, traumatized,
until the very end. When the mother opens the door, she bends
down over her daughter and cuts the skin under one of her thumbs.
A family has two sons. One of them commits suicide using a hunting
rifle. The next Christmas, the parents offer the very same gun
to their other son as his Christmas gift. When asked about why,
they respond, "It was a perfectly good gun."
How does such behaviour fit into a belief system that we all have
some divine spark within us or that everyone has a conscience?
Can you imagine doing such things to your own children?
Our moralizing doesn't give us any means
of treating this sickness. It must be understood for what it is.
These people cannot be 'healed'. Imagine that same individual
in a position of power and you can explain scandals like Enron.
Hare reports on psychopaths who go after the elderly. Say an elderly
person has been conned out of his or her life savings - obviously
by a psychopath. There are other psychopaths who will contact
the victim, claiming to be a lawyer who, for a fee, can get the
money back. The victim will then borrow money from a friend or
relative and lose that to the shyster lawyer.
Laura: One of the main factors to consider
in terms of how a society can be taken over by a group of pathological
deviants is that the only limitation is that of the participation
of susceptible individuals within that given society. Lobaczewski
gives an average figure for the most active deviants of approximately
6% of a given population. Of course, this figure will vary from
country to country depending on many variables. Western society
has a broad selection of susceptible individuals.
The essential psychopath is at the center
of the web. The other psychopathies and characteropathies described
by Lobaczewski and others form the first tier of the Pathological
Control System and it should be noted that they are far more numerous
than the essential psychopaths. So, this group is about 6% of
a given population. (1% essential psychopath and up to 5% other
psychopathies and characteropathies.)
The next tier of such a system is composed
of individuals who were born normal, but are either already warped
by long-term exposure to psychopathic material via familial or
social influences, or who, through psychic weakness have chosen
to meet the demands of psychopathy for their own selfish ends.
Numerically, according to Lobaczewski, this group is about 12%
of a given population under normal conditions. It is difficult,
as Lobaczewski points out, to draw a distinct boundary between
these latter types and the genetic deviants without the input
of genuine, non-psychopathic, science. At this point, the distinctions
can only be descriptive.
So it is that approximately 18% of any
given population is active in the creation and imposition of a
Pathocracy (or the attempt to create and impose same). The 6%
group constitute the Pathocratic nobility and the 12% group forms
the new bourgeoisie, whose economic situation is the most advantageous.
Once set up, the elitist psychopathic
system corrodes the entire social organism, wasting its skills
and power. Once a Pathocracy has been established, it follows
a certain course and has certain "attractive" powers.
In a Pathocracy, the socioeconomic system arises from the social
structure which is created by the system of political power, which
is a product of the particular elitist world view of pathological
deviants. Thus it is that a Pathocracy is more a macrosocial disease
process created by human pathogens, and it can come to affect
an entire nation to a degree that is equivalent to a cancer metastasizing.
And just as the process of cancer in a body follows a characteristic
pathodynamic process, so does the macrosocial disease of Pathocracy.
It is impossible to comprehend such a
pathological phenomenon using the methods of "normal"
people which do not take into account the deviant thought processes
of human pathogens. Certainly it could be said that the entire
world has been governed by a "covert pathocracy" (or
cryptopathocracy) for a very long time. Many researchers suggest
that there has always been a "secret government" that
operates even though the "out in the open" government
is not, technically, a Pathocracy. The suggestion is that psychopaths
are technically ALWAYS in the background, even in the cycles of
history that are NOT pathocracies (i.e. during "good times"
in what Lobaczewski describes as the foundation for a hysteroidal
cycle that opens the door to an overt Pathocracy).
If we use the term pathocracy for "secret
government rule", then all of history becomes a "pathocracy"
and the word loses its meaning, so it is important to note that
the term "Pathocracy" is the specific phenomenon that
comes as a result of the hedonism of good times, and that it is
characterized by 100% of essential psychopaths assuming some type
of leadership position, out in the open, as occurred in Nazi Germany
and Communist Russia and Eastern Europe. And, I should add, is
One cannot really designate the issues
that confront us today as "political", using the ordinary
names of political ideologies because, as noted above, pathological
deviants operate behind a complete mask, by deception and other
psychological tricks which they practice with great cunning. If
we think or believe that any political group that has such and
such a name is heterogeneous with regard to its true nature, we
will not be able to identify the causes and properties of the
disease. Any ideology will be used to cloak the pathological qualities
from the minds of both experts and ordinary people. So, trying
to refer to this or that as "left" or "right"
or "center" or "socialist", "democratic,"
"communist," "democrat" or "republican,"
and so on, will never help us to understand the pathological self-reproduction
and its expansionist external influences. As Lobaczewski says,
Ignota nulla curatio morbi! No movement will ever succeed that
does not factor psychopathy and ponerology into its considerations!
SC: The perverse are those who in the
face of problems they have created say, "It is the fault
of others. I have nothing to do with it."
Henry: Exactly. One example that comes
to mind is of the psychopath cited by Hare who killed his parents
and then pleaded for sympathy because he was an orphan!
Nothing is ever their fault. They are
never responsible for anything.
Laura: I'd like to explain this phenomenon
a bit more. The psychopath is an individual who divides the world
into black and white, good and evil, and this division is very
rigid. The psychopathic structure is organized around a very simple
structure: "feels good, is good / feels bad, is bad."
But, just because this structure is rigid, that doesn't mean it
is rational or stable! Things are good or bad, but what is good
or bad depends on the immediate circumstances, i.e. what the psychopath
wants at the moment.
But this is not a "defense mechanism,"
it is just simply that, for the psychopath, the locus of reality
is centered in what "feels good" with no reference to
any other human being at all except as objects that can serve
this need. You might almost say that the psychological structure
of the psychopath is equivalent to a newborn infant, and it never
develops, never grows up.
An infant has no internal self other than
being at the center of a bundle of neurological inputs and outputs
that seek pleasure and reject discomfort. Of course, with a grown
up psychopath, there are highly developed neurological circuits
that have developed in the process of learning what works to get
his needs and demands met.
Under the influence of this internal structure,
the psychopath is not able to appreciate the wants or needs of
other human beings, the subtle shades of a situation or to tolerate
ambiguity. The entire external reality is filtered through - made
to conform to - this rigid and primitive internal structure.
When the psychopath is frustrated, what
they seem to feel is that everything in the world "out there"
is against them and they are, good, long-suffering and only seeking
the ideal of love, peace, safety, beauty, warmth and comfort.
That is, when a psychopath is confronted with something displeasing
or threatening, that object (person, idea, group, whatever), is
placed in the "all bad" category because, of course,
if the psychopath does not like it, it cannot be good!
Now, here's the kicker: when the evidence
mounts that some choice or act of the psychopath created a problem
or made a situation worse, this, too, must be denied as part of
the self and projected as coming from "out there."
That is, anything that is defined as "bad"
is projected onto someone or something else because the internal
structure of the psychopath will admit to no wrong, nothing bad,
no errors. And keep in mind that this is not because they choose
to do that, it is because they cannot do otherwise. That is the
way they are made. They are like a cat that enjoys torturing a
mouse before eating it. That's just what they do.
Psychopaths are masters of Projective
Identification. That is, they project into others everything that
is bad (remembering that "bad" changes according to
what the psychopath wants), and seek in manipulative ways to induce
in that other person what is being projected, and seek to control
the other person who is perceived as manifesting those "bad"
characteristics. In this way, the psychopath gains enjoyment and
feels "in control."
Keep in mind that what the psychopath
considers to be good has nothing to do with truth, honor, decency,
consideration for others, or any other thing than what the psychopath
wants at any given moment. In this way, any violation of the rights
of others, any foul, evil deed, can be perpetrated by a psychopath
and he will still sleep like a baby (literally) at night because
he has done nothing wrong!
George Bush and the Neocons can destroy
Iraq and call it "bringing democracy" and actually feel
good about it. Israeli psychopaths can steal Palestine, murder
Palestinians, and justify it with the Bible and feel good about
it. Of course they know they are lying when they lie, but inside,
they believe that true good is what makes them feel good and safe
in this world. And they know that beings such as they are will
be morally condemned and attacked by the majority of other human
beings if they do not conceal their drive for what they want behind
a mask of some high sounding justification.
SC: Is this to suggest that the modern
pathocrats, operating in today's so-called 'information society'
are no different than the supporters of Hitler? Except that they
are more dangerous because they have more sophisticated tools
and are able to use the various means of communication in a more
Laura: That sums it up very well.
Henry: The pathocratic system, that is,
a government staffed by psychological deviants, will produce similar
effects whether it is hidden behind the mask of fascism, communism,
or capitalism. The ideology itself is unimportant. It merely serves
as a cover and a rallying point for a certain percentage of the
population who are needed as a support base. This support group
believe the slogans and are unable to see behind the mask. A certain
percentage of them will interpret the ideological slogans with
the eyes of conscience and believe that the aim is to improve
our lot. Therefore we get slogans about the brotherhood of man,
or of the exploited, empty phrases about justice and freedom,
bringing democracy to Iraq, and so on, while the reality is one
of powerlessness, division, and enslavement. As certain individuals
who support the ideology come to see the gulf between the ideals
and the actions of the leaders or Party, some will leave to be
replaced by others.
In the world today where information is
controlled by a small number of media outlets, and those media
outlets have much in common with the pathological governments,
greater numbers of people can be influenced and infected with
pathological thinking. An example of this is the famous remark
made by Madeleine Albright back in 1996 when she was asked about
the 500,000 deaths in Iraq, mostly of children, due to the embargo.
She responded that she thought 'It was worth it', that is, those
deaths were the necessary price to pay to bring down Saddam. That
is unquestionably pathological logic, and yet how many Americans
would have heard that response and thought nothing of it? Anyone
who, on hearing that statement, was not outraged has been infected
with pathological thinking, they have been ponerized. Their thinking
has become distorted by the pathological infection.
SC: Are the absence of conscience and
insensitivity to suffering what distinguishes psychopaths from
Henry: That is probably the key point
that people need to understand. For years artists, writers, philosophers,
and others have attempted to understand how it is that our world
is an endless stream of suffering. They have attempted to find
moralistic explanations. Lobaczewski spends the first part of
his book discussing the futility of this approach, suggesting
instead a scientific approach based upon an understanding of evil
as a societal disease, as the actions of pathological deviants
within a society. Without the ability to empathize with others,
these people cannot feel that suffering, any more than a cat feels
the suffering of a mouse when it toys with it prior to killing
it. Bush can order thousands of American troops into Iraq or Afghanistan
where they will be killed or permanently maimed, and where they
will kill thousands and destroy an entire country, can sanction
the torturing of prisoners, can support the actions of Israel
in the Occupied territories or Lebanon, and none of the suffering
he is causing is real to him. There is no hardware in these people
that can process these emotions. They are incapable at the physiological
levels of doing so.
Laura: They don't have the hardware to
run that program.
Henry: The only suffering the psychopath
knows is when his food is taken away from him, and I am using
food in a symbolic sense: that is, when he doesn't get what he
wants. That is the depth of their emotional life. Anything else
that we would read into them comes from our own imagination projecting
back onto them our own internal reality.
And we do it all the time because it is
very difficult to really grasp that there are people who do not
have the rich inner lives that normal people have.
Laura: Actually, when we project our own
inner structure onto the psychopath, we are behaving most psychopathically!
We are then in a "black and white" world where the nuances
of human existence are not being considered. The fact is, everyone
is not created equal in terms of intelligence, talent, physical
appearance, and so on. And just as everyone looks different, so
are they different in their psychological make-up even if there
are certain things that are shared as a species. Lobaczewski points
out that it is a universal law of nature that the higher a given
species' psychological organization, the greater the psychological
differences among individual units. Man is the most highly organized
species; hence, these variations between individuals are the greatest.
Both qualitatively and quantitatively, psychological differences
occur in all structures of the pattern of human personality.
Experience teaches us that psychological
differences among people are often the cause of problems. We can
overcome these problems only if we accept psychological differences
as a law of nature and appreciate their creative value. These
differences are a great gift to humanity, enabling human societies
to develop their complex structures and to be highly creative
at both the individual and collective level. Thanks to psychological
variety, the creative potential of any society is many times higher
than it could possibly be if our species were psychologically
The normal human personality is in constant
flux, learning, growing, changing. A lifelong evolutionary process
is the normal state of affairs. Some political and religious systems
attempt to induce excessive stability and homogeneity in our personalities,
but this is unhealthy for the individual and society from a psychological
point of view.
A society that is properly educated, psychologically,
will know about and understand differences, and will also know
about the main thing that normal humans have in common: the ability
to develop a mature conscience. In this way, differences can be
celebrated and the creative potential fully optimized.
SC: If we find more and more manipulators
and perverse people at all levels, is it because our society favours
narcissists and individualists?
Henry: Isn't that what we see with the
values of the neoliberals? The entire idea of capitalism is a
narcissistic idea. In the United States, which is the model that
is held up to the rest of the world, we are told "anyone
can become president". It is the myth of individual success.
"Look out for Number 1." "If only you work hard
enough, you, too, can become rich and successful." "Failure
is your own fault."
Faced with this mythology, with this ideology,
psychopaths are better prepared to succeed than people of conscience
because they have no ethical or moral sensitivities that will
put a brake on their actions. They are quite willing to step on
anyone necessary to get to the top: backstabbing, lying, spreading
stories about their rivals, are fine, with never a moment lost
The pushing of neoliberalism on the rest
of the world is also a way to ponerize greater portions of the
globe. It is a pathological ideology hiding behind an economic
SC: Are we making a mistake when we imagine
that the suffering created by Israel in Palestine and the US in
Afghanistan and Iraq would end the day that Bush or Olmert, or
any individual, leave power? That the causes are systemic and
are even impervious to changes of political party and government?
Henry: Yes. Look at the United States.
The two parties are mirror images of each other. To preserve the
image of democracy, both are needed, both serve the same masters.
But there are no leaders in the US who are standing up and speaking
about the genocide of the Palestinians. The deaths of hundreds
of thousands of Iraqis are passed over in silence. There is no
room for conscience in the US government, in either party, and
the control of the press, not to mention other means such as blackmail
and threats, ensure that those who might speak up, don't.
Israel is a state founded upon a great
lie: that some supreme being declared a small group of people
to be "his chosen people" and gave them a bit of real
estate in the Middle East thousands of years ago. The great lie
of Israel and Judaism is also the foundational lie of Christianity
and Islam, the two other monotheistic religions. So we have a
great part of the world living since thousands of years with belief
systems that are patently preposterous - if the teachings are
taken literally and not seen as distorted expressions of some
greater, underlying spiritual truth.
How is changing any individual player
in this system going to change a dynamic that has been unfolding
over thousands of years? The pathocratic structure described by
Lobaczewski applies not only to governments, but also to other
groups and organizations: anywhere that power accrues. So religious
organizations and liberation movements can become ponerized, and
what, at its origin, may well have been a tool of liberation becomes
a tool of enslavement.
If, as Lobaczewski suggests, the essential
psychopaths recognize each other and are able to work together
to achieve common aims for their "para-specific species",
as opposed to our interests, then we even have a mechanism for
explaining a control structure that extends back in time, back
into the mists when the first psychopaths set up the first pathocracy.
All of a sudden, theories which until now have been belittled
as "conspiracy theories" can be looked at in a new light,
with a new means of explaining how they could exist. This, I think,
is a very important area for further research.
Another question that can be asked is
the following: what is the effect on the personality of believing
a lie? Is there a pathology that has as its basis accepting a
fundamental lie as the cornerstone of a belief system? There have
been studies done on "belief" and the character of true
believers. But what if the original error is not so much belief
as belief in a lie? Is any belief a belief in a lie because our
knowledge is imperfect, and once we become fixed on "believing"
no matter what, does our personality become distorted?
But to come back to your question, Israel
appears to have a special place in the world today. It can ignore
international law and not worry it will be called to account.
It can unleash brutal attacks on the Palestinians and yet it is
always portrayed as the victim - a typical psychopathic tactic.
Attacks against Jews across the globe are catalogued and denounced
while the same acts committed against Arabs and Moslems are acceptable
- another psychopathic trait. We have speculated in other books
we have published, such as 911: The Ultimate Truth, that the psychopaths
at the top of the pyramid have chosen to use the Jews for a special
role in unleashing a great culling of the human population. The
idea that there is a great Jewish conspiracy is the cover story
put out by the psychopathic pathocrats to cover their own plans.
There is a conspiracy, but it isn't Jewish; it is pathological.
SC: Can things only get worse because
macrosocial Evil is the same Evil that has been affecting humanity
since of the dawn of time? An evil somehow inherent in human nature
before which we are impotent?
Henry: The evil is not inherent in human
nature - at least not in normal humans who have been educated
properly. This issue is one of the most important points made
by Lobaczewski in his analysis of the pathocratic system. This
systemic evil comes from a small group of people who have no conscience,
either because they were born that way, that is, they are genetic
psychopaths, or because, due to injuries when young or due to
upbringing, their conscience died or withered away.
For example, Lobaczewski thinks that Stalin
was a characteropath. That is, he was not born a psychopath, but
the pathological traits developed due to injuries when he was
young. His type of pathology can be identified. So in fact Lobaczewski's
research is liberating because it frees us from the idea that
these horrible acts of evil are part of normal "human nature".
These individuals are like disease pathogens in a body - like
a cancer on society, or like leprosy. Certainly, a body can be
eaten up and destroyed by the disease, but it is the disease doing
it, not the body itself.
We won't really know what human nature
is until the pathocratic influence is removed and a truly human
society, that is, one led by and with values in accordance with
our highest nature, our conscience, is able to be founded.
SC: We have seen the ease with which a
George Bush or a Tony Blair are able to lie. They don't even bat
an eye, lying without any shame. Do you think liars like Bush
and Blair, who present the traits of the narcissist and the manipulator,
are born perverse/pathological?
Henry: We are not psychologists, and we
are not going to give any diagnosis of individuals. We note, however,
that there have been stories that Bush used to blow up frogs with
firecrackers when he was a kid. He is also completely irresponsible.
Nothing is ever his fault. Blair has the smooth charm that is
remarked upon so frequently by psychologists researching the question
of psychopathy. They are, as far as I am concerned, pathological
figures. But what is important is the system, the pathocratic
system. Individuals perform different roles in the system according
Are these traits intrinsic to the individual
and can they be corrected?
Henry: Correction depends on many variables..
Before we can think about correcting these abnormalities, we need
to find ways of protecting ourselves from their influence. That
means first admitting that such people exist and are found in
positions of power, and second, learning to recognize the signs
of their manipulations and the pathological traits of our own
thinking in order to free ourselves from their influence.
Laura: As Henry says, there are many variables.
When speaking of psychopaths, specifically, the general consensus
today is that they are not only incurable, they are un-treatable.
The first problem is that if you want
to treat a problem, you have to have a patient. The word patient
comes from Latin, and means "to suffer." A patient,
by definition, is someone who is suffering and seeks treatment.
Psychopaths do not experience distress
and do not think that anything is wrong with them, they do not
suffer stress or neuroses, and do not seek out treatment voluntarily.
They do not consider their attitudes and behavior to be at all
wrong, and do not benefit from the many treatment programs that
have been set up to help them "develop empathy" and
interpersonal skills. The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his
psyche, no need for change. They will, however, participate in
treatment programs in prisons in order to gain their release.
When the recidivism rate of psychopaths
and other offenders who had been in treatment was examined, it
was found that the rate of general recidivism was equally high
in the treated and untreated group, 87% and 90% respectively,
however the rate of violent recidivism was significantly higher
in the treated group than the untreated group; 77% and 55% respectively.
In contrast, the treated non-psychopaths had significantly lower
rates of general and violent recidivism; 44% and 22% respectively,
than did untreated psychopaths, 58% and 39%. So it seems that
treatment programs work for non-psychopaths, but actually make
true psychopaths worse.
A Canadian journalist reporting on this
study wrote: "After their release, it was found that those
who had scored highest in terms of 'good treatment behaviour'
and who had the highest "empathy" scores were the ones
who were more likely to reoffend after release."
That's the psychopath for you: they can
fake anything to get what they want.
The question is: how can therapy make
someone worse? Robert Hare's conjecture is that group therapy
and insight-oriented therapy actually help psychopaths to develop
better ways of manipulating, deceiving and using people but do
nothing to help them understand themselves.
Freud argued psychopaths are untreatable
in psychotherapy precisely because having a conscience is a prerequisite
for being able to use psychotherapy. It is the conscience, and
the related capacity for concern for others, that drives the serious
scrutiny of one's motives, which underlie one's behaviour. Yet
psychopaths lack conscience and concern by definition.
SC: How can one tell if one is not himself
a psychopath? That we haven't been influenced ourselves by the
effects of their perversion/pathology while they occupy positions
of power in an administration where we find ourselves - in a trade
union, a political party or elsewhere?
Laura: As to the first part of your question,
let me just say that it's not an unusual question - for a normal
human - but by now you probably have figured out that if a person
thinks they might have something "wrong" with them,
they aren't a psychopath! Remember: The psychopath simply cannot
conceive of anything being wrong with him or herself.
Henry: It is very possible - in fact,
terrifyingly common - to become ponerized, as Lobaczewski puts
it, that is, to become infected with this evil. It happens when
you begin to accept pathological thinking as normal. We used the
example of Madeleine Albright above. Look at professional sport,
for another example. It is now accepted as normal that intimidation
on the field is a legitimate part of a sport like football. We
saw during the World Cup last year that Materazzi provoked Zidane
ruthlessly during the final match. People think nothing of it.
They accept it is part of the game today. However, such verbal
violence has nothing to do with the game of football. It is only
a part of the game because the world of professional sport, and
by example, the world of sport as a whole, has become ponerized.
What is pathological has become accepted as normal.
And as soon as one area is accepted, that
infection spreads. When we begin to accept pathological forms
of thought as our own, as normal, our ability to think degenerates.
SC: When you say there are about 6% of
these perverse/pathological in the human population, how did you
arrive at this number?
Henry: Lobaczewski's 6% comes from his
analysis and that of the other members of the group with whom
he was working. But that was for Poland. It is possible that the
numbers differ from country to country depending upon their particular
histories. If we look at North America or Australia, areas colonized
to some extent by people either being forced to leave their homes,
criminals, or adventurers, we can ask whether or not the prospect
of conquering continents might not have appealed to certain types
more than others. Does the history of the American west for example,
and the genocide of the indigenous peoples, not point to a higher
incidence of psychopathy? Perhaps the level in the United States
is higher today because of it.
Laura: A recent study of a university
population suggested that perhaps 5% or more of this sample might
be deemed psychopathic. This was a careful study designed to ferret
out psychopaths that are not criminal but are, instead, successful
individuals within the community. This study also demonstrated
that psychopathy does occur in the community and at what might
be a higher than expected rate; and psychopathy appears to have
little overlap with personality disorders aside from Antisocial
Personality Disorder. Obviously, work needs to be done in order
to understand what factors differentiate the law abiding (although
not moral-abiding) psychopath from the law-breaking psychopath.
This highlights one of the major problems of the research to date
which has focused primarily on forensic samples.
SC: Does it include men and women in general?
Laura: Although the vast majority of psychopaths
are male, there are female psychopaths. The ratio is more than
1/10 males versus approximately 1/100 females according to one
SC: How did you establish that it was
more frequent among men? This means that in the general population,
almost one person in ten has tendencies, more or less strong -
to create a climate of conflict?
Laura: This has been established as an
average from various studies. As the study cited above, a university
population (psychology students, by the way, which ought to give
us pause!) gives a figure of 5% or more, we might think that it
was the sample - people involved in studying psychology, an easy
way to power over others - that gave such high numbers. On the
other hand, this study may have netted individuals with psychopathic
behaviors who were not necessarily true psychopaths. Of course,
the figure could be higher in one place than another, higher in
one profession than another, and so on. The one thing that needs
to be kept in mind is that psychopaths, because of their nature,
rise to the top in whatever milieu they find themselves. So do
not imagine that they are down there, in the gutters of society,
and that you will not encounter them or be affected by them.
SC: This percentage seems very low. Does
it cover only the perverse who have a dominant position and who
sow discord and disorder wherever they go?
Henry: It may seem low because in a ponerized
society, many people become infected with the disease. They see
what others are doing, and not being strong enough themselves
to follow their own moral code, if that code differs from that
of their neighbours, they follow the herd. These people are the
support base for the status quo. They may not be psychopaths themselves,
but they support and defend it.
Another aspect to maintaining the support
base is the use of fear, from overt threats of imprisonment and
torture to the kind of fear from being marked as different, as
"opposing the president" and the like.
Laura: Also keep in mind the 12% of individuals
who are susceptible to the influence and thinking style of the
psychopaths. In the end, you have a total of 18% or more of any
given population that seeks to subdue and control the rest. If
you then consider that remainder, the 82%, and keep in mind the
bell curve, at least 80% of the remainder will follow whoever
is in charge. And since psychopaths have no limitations on what
they can or will do to get to the top, the ones in charge are
generally pathological. It is not power that corrupts, it is that
corrupt individuals seek power.
SC: Conflict seems to be a form of food
for this type of perverse/pathological personality. Because it
permits them to project their aggression, their violence on others
and avoid to put themselves into question?
Henry: You might say that, having no emotions
of their own, they feed off of their power to stir up the emotions
of others. They get a kick out of the power it gives them. It
makes them feel superior to be "above" such emotional
SC: Lobaczewski's analysis of lying is
very powerful. When he demonstrates that the liar is always right,
he is very convincing. There is in this a new matrices for understanding
how psychopaths function. He explains very well this mechanism
of the lie. The lie is their way of functioning and winning. I
would like to know more about this mechanism of the lie and its
effects. How does it work? Are these liars in all fields?
Henry: Lying is a very successful strategy
because very few people think that there are hardcore liars in
society who lie as a matter of course.
Think of a divorce or some other case
before a judge and jury. Most of us will go into the proceedings
with the idea that the truth is somewhere in the middle. The two
opposing sides in a case will tell their stories, each embellishing
their story a bit, each putting themselves in the best light,
and the judge or jury will assume the truth is somewhere in the
But what happens when one of the people
is a liar and the other is a person telling the truth? The liar
is at an advantage because the judge or jury will still expect
that the truth is somewhere in the middle. So someone who is the
victim of a liar and manipulator cannot come out ahead. Telling
the truth cannot get that person 100% of the justice he or she
deserves, while lying will always get the perpetrator something.
Daily life is like that trial. We are
always going to give others the benefit of the doubt, if you are
a moral person. The liar and manipulator will never do that and
will use the good will of the person of conscience against him.
Lying is therefore always a winning strategy.
That, in itself, can be an indicator that we are living in a pathological
Laura: When you consider the infantile
internal structure of the psychopath, it's easier to understand
the lying aspect. The psychopath doesn't lie in the way a normal
person lies. Psychopathic lying is not mere deception, it is "creating
reality" so that it conforms to the psychopath's wants.
Let me try to explain. The psychopathic
reality exists by fiat: they declare things to be so and expect
others to accept them. To them, these declarations represent what
reality should be, or at least what they think others should accept
as reality. "If I say it is so, why shouldn't people believe
me?" Just as intelligence is merely an instrument used by
the psychopath to fulfill his whims, "facts" are instruments
to be used and abused in the same pursuit.
Psychopaths demonstrate an extremely distorted
understanding of what we call facts. Normal humans really have
difficulty conceiving of this because to us, facts are a basic
part of our lives. We live by them, base our assessments and decisions
on them. We establish facts, and then test things and establish
more facts. When we debate, we start with facts and show how we
derive our conclusions from those facts. When we perform such
operations, we place value on those "facts" being true.
Psychopaths do not do that. Being devoid
of real emotional depth, they have no attachment to the idea of
"truth". But, because people project their own internal
structure onto the psychopath, most do not understand this. Normal
humans try to convince themselves that there is some other reason
for this bizarre mental condition. When psychopaths do not deal
with facts, we think they must have a good reason for believing
what they say, whether through some misunderstood fact or perhaps
even delusional thinking. It's hard to comprehend that they lie
with such ease. When it becomes clear that the psychopath is lying,
we conclude that they must be playing a game with us.
However, just as Cleckley wondered if
psychopaths believe their pseudo-emotions are "real",
it is difficult to know if they truly believe their pseudo-facts.
The present declaration may contradict what they said a moment
ago, but this means nothing to them. They make no attempt to deal
with the contradiction because, for them, there is no contradiction.
Remember, the psychopath cannot process abstractions such as space
and time, and what they said a moment ago, under one set of influences,
is now past, and therefore no longer exists. It is no longer relevant
to the reality he wants to create in the minds of those around
In response to the idea that psychopaths
actually come to believe there own lies, one can rightly point
out: "There was a time when everyone, as far as we know,
believed the sun revolved around the earth. That didn't make it
so." But, if you ask a psychopath: "Are you saying at
that time the sun did, in fact, revolve around the earth - and
it was only in obedience to a change in what people believed that
the earth came to revolve around the sun?" you will be ignored
or accused of twisting the "facts." A normal human would
naturally think that the psychopath's refusal to answer the question,
their shift to attacking you for misrepresenting the facts and
them, is a tacit admission that what they are saying is wrong.
But you would be wrong about that. They go right on making declarations
and pronouncements about what they are insisting is reality in
the face of evidence to the contrary.
The psychopath is so completely self-centered
that he thinks others should believe him simply because he says
so. Even if he is aware that he is lying at first, his need to
be right coupled with his inability to accept any self-critical
ideas will convince him that he IS right, after all. He IS telling
the truth. How dare these people question his good name! After
all, he's the smartest guy he knows, so how could he be wrong?
The popular "you create your own
reality" idea of the New Age is one example of how psychopathic
thinking has permeated our society. The principle is: "If
enough people believe something to be true, then what they believe
is what reality IS." Part of psychopaths' special knowledge
of normal humans is their observation that humans form beliefs
based on what they view as facts. A psychopath becomes an expert
at creating "facts" that cause normal people to form
beliefs that benefit the psychopath.
Ron Suskind, former Wall Street Journal
reporter and author of The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the
White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, wrote:
"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in
Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications
director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser
to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then
he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend
- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the
reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe
that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible
reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment
principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way
the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire
now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're
studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again,
creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's
how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you,
all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"
They aren't really lying - they're creating "new realities."
Nothing of what we call reality is real to them. When a normal
human being talks about a chair, the reference is to a chair that
sits there on its own legs. It's there whether anyone sees it
or not, whether anyone mentions it or not, whether anyone "declares"
it to be there or not. It has its own sovereign existence. But
that is not so for the true psychopath. The psychopath with his/her
infantile internal structure cannot comprehend that anything else
exists on its own separate from them. It is only their acknowledgement
that makes it real, and they only acknowledge what is significant
to them in terms of what they want, what will make them feel good.
When a normal human demands that the declarations
of the psychopath should be evaluated, the psychopath will declare
that the one making such a demand has no integrity which really
means that their position - the psychopath's declaration - is
not being supported!
From the psychopathic point of view, the
world is like a holodeck. They "declare" things into
being. Everything is a hologram. They program the holograms. They
interact with them in any way they choose. They have them under
total control. When they decide to cancel a hologram, it vanishes.
A hologram is not supposed to think for
itself. A hologram is not supposed to measure, evaluate, appraise,
etc. Most importantly, a hologram is not supposed to critique
When this does happen, they first chastise
it to bring it back into line. If that doesn't work, they "vanish"
it. And if they must kill it to do so, that's what happens.
Experience has shown no matter what we
say, no matter what we point out, no matter how much evidence
is given, it has no meaning for psychopaths. They have one goal:
to fool us into classifying them as normal humans so they can
continue to deceive us, control us and use us for their own power
and glory because that is what makes them feel good.
SC: There is therefore a constant interaction;
the perverse/pathological cannot dominate alone and need allies.
Therefore he must form clans and unite them, offering advantages
to those who serve his interests? Advantages that then tie them
to them, keep them in their pockets? In other words, if the system
is perverse, then everyone becomes perverse and all is lost?!
Henry: Yes, and no. There are inherent
weaknesses in the pathocratic system. What it takes is time. Lobaczewski
describes the dynamic in the Eastern countries under communism.
The pathocrats are incapable of anything genuinely creative. They
depend upon people of conscience for their creativity. Now, a
society without creativity will eventually perish. When the major
positions of power in that society, in government, in industry,
in business are filled by pathocrats, the downward cycle begins.
At the same time, normal people begin
to see the society for what it is and devise survival strategies.
They begin to recognize that their leaders are not like them.
Unfortunately, as one society comes to
its senses, there is another ideology masking another set - or
even the same set - of deviants ready to take its place. When
communism fell in the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries,
the capitalist pathocrats were ready and waiting to take the spoils,
and even some of the communist pathocrats were able to find a
comfortable new home in the "new" capitalist democracies.
The question is, has such a process already
started in the US, which we would suggest is the centre of gravity
for the pathocracy today. Given that the pathocrats seem driven
by an agenda to reduce the population of the world by millions
if not billions of people by war or other means, we have to ask
if we will have time for this cycle to play out. We are not very
But even if a particular expression of
the pathocracy falls, the system itself remains in place, rearing
its head elsewhere, in the new "centre".
SC: The example that goes in this direction
is Iraq. Bush wanted war at any price. Bush lies and he wins.
He finds allies of the same stripe as himself, like Blair and
Berlusconi. The people who denounce their crimes and fight them
lose. It seems to be a perfect example of what he is describing
in his book. It is hard to believe sometimes how it is that there
are so few people capable of seeing what is going on and able
to denounce the consequences. Is it impossible to say no to these
Henry: How do you say "no" when
the media is completely controlled by other pathocrats? You can
take to the streets, as millions of people did before the invasion
of Iraq, but that doesn't matter because the pathocratic political
leaders really don't care what people think. They could care less
if there are thousands or millions of people protesting their
policies - they have the military and scary weapons at their disposal.
The media, then, distorted the message of those who dissented
and painted them as traitors. They are still painted as traitors
four years on and after it has become plain as day that the war
was wrong and that Bush and company lied on every point.
Yet the United States is still in Iraq
and it is politically impossible to demand more than that future
troop reduction should be "discussed".
So one issue is how many people, in such
a controlled environment, see reality, and the second is in such
a reality, how do people who do see the lies react and respond
to bring about change?
The majority of people have had their
consciences crushed, have accepted so many compromises, that they
are incapable of thinking or feeling things correctly. They believe
that there are countless numbers of Islamic fundamentalists ready
to bomb their homes and schools, no matter how absurd that idea
really is, and in spite of the fact that the majority of such
bombings are false flag operations. The well established fact
that intelligence agencies carry out bombings and then blame their
opponents - it is impossible to argue that this type of thing
is not regular practice - becomes less believable to people in
the United States, the UK, and elsewhere, than the fairy tale
that there are hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists ready to blow
themselves up in the name of Allah!
Think back to what Lobaczewski writes
about the befuddled thinking that occurs when someone is in the
presence of a psychopath. Via the media, that befuddlement spreads
beyond immediate personal contact and becomes a plague on society
as a whole. Society itself becomes diseased.
And for those who are struggling to find
their mental health, who see the lies, the force they are facing
is so overwhelming that they may easily give up. The job appears
Laura: Is it impossible to say "no"
to these monsters? No. Difficult? Yes.
Those individuals who think that change
can be effected via legal or political processes fail to understand
that both the law and politics, by and large, are created and
controlled by pathological types, and are set up for their benefit,
not the benefit of the ordinary human being. So it is that law
and politics are insufficient avenues for counteracting a pathological
society that has been created by the efforts and influence of
Another important thing to remember in
regards to seeking solutions via legal or political means is that
the cunning of the pathological deviant is far superior to that
of normal human beings. Most people are familiar with the idea
of the exceptional cunning of the madman, but psychopathy, in
its several varieties, has an additional element: the Mask of
Recently we saw Cindy Sheehan wake up
to the fact that the Democratic Party is just another ideology
behind which psychopathy operates. She decamped and has now, as
I understand it, decided that the 911 Truth Movement is the right
place to be. I'm sorry to have to inform her that psychopaths
are vectoring that show also. You didn't really think they would
commit crimes like 911 and not cover their backsides by instigating
and controlling a "truth movement," did you?
Again and again I receive letters from
political action groups asking for money and support. I've given
money and support and also written endless letters and emails
telling them that their "political actions" aren't going
to amount to a hill of beans if they do not factor psychopathy
into the equation. They were all so sure that getting the Democrats
back in control was going to change everything, and the fact is,
nothing has changed. All that money and effort wasted. And now
people are realizing it even though we have been saying it all
So, I'll say it again - and keep saying
it - until the knowledge and awareness of pathological human beings
is given the attention it deserves and becomes part of the general
knowledge of all human beings, there is no way that things can
be changed in any way that is effective and long-lasting. That
is the first order of business and if half the people agitating
for Truth or stopping the war or Bush or whatever would focus
their efforts, time and money on exposing psychopathy, we might
In the end, again, the real problem is
that the knowledge of psychopathy and how psychopaths rule the
world has been effectively hidden and people do not have the adequate,
nuanced knowledge they need to really make a change from the bottom
up. Again and again, throughout history it has been "meet
the new boss, same as the old boss."
When you are dealing with psychopaths,
you are dealing with the criminal mind and when such minds are
in positions of absolute power - as they are today - there is
nothing to restrain them - and nothing will restrain them, you
can take that to the bank.
Bush (or, more precisely, his handlers)
have almost absolute control of all the branches of government.
You can notice this if you observe carefully that no matter what
illegal thing Bush does, no one will really take him to task.
All of the "scandals" that have come up, any one of
which would have taken down any other administration, are just
farces played out for the public, to distract them, to make them
think that the democracy is still working.
There are only two things that can bring
a psychopath under submission: 1) a bigger psychopath; 2) the
non-violent, absolute refusal of all others to submit to their
controls no matter the consequences. If every single normal person
in the U.S. (and elsewhere) simply sat down and refused to lift
a hand to further one single aim of the psychopathic agenda, en
masse, if people refused to pay taxes, if soldiers refused to
fight, if government workers and corporate drones refused to go
to work, if doctors refused to treat psychopathic elites and their
families, the whole system would grind to a screeching halt.
But that can only happen if the masses
of people KNOW about psychopathy in all its horrible details.
Only if they know that they are dealing with creatures that really
aren't human can they have the understanding of what they must
do. And only when they get miserable enough that the misery that
the psychopath will inflict on them in the beginning of their
resistance pales in comparison, will they have the will to do
this. That, or the understanding of the world the psychopaths
are creating for their children in which case love for the future
of humanity will motivate them to resist.
SC: Did Chirac, after saying no for Iraq,
make major concessions to Bush for fear of becoming the straw
man? Do the perverse need straw men?
Henry: Imagine that you are a politician
with a conscience facing a world dominated by people who are willing
to use every trick in the book to retain power: blackmail, intimidation,
threats. To what extent was the scandal in France over Chirac's
finances while he was mayor of Paris used to bring him into line?
We can only speculate.
We know that Bush was illegally spying
on US citizens. Was he doing this to collect data that could be
used to blackmail and intimidate opposition politicians or journalists
who were asking too many questions? I think it would be naïve
not to consider this possibility.
Laura: I sometimes joke that nowadays,
you can probably figure out who the good guys are by who gets
the worst press! But it really isn't that simple. We can't forget
that the real war is between the Controlling Psychopathic Elite
and Normal Humans. Do the perverse need straw men? Sure, it's
part of the show that they all put on for the rest of us. Just
as it is one of their tricks to create false flag attacks to direct
hatred against those they wish to destroy, so is it entirely within
their style of operation to play "good cop vs bad cop."
That's Machiavelli 101.
SC: The dynamic you describe is also apparent
in the use of the media. Journalists who uphold the tenets of
the Tel Aviv-Washington Axis have complete freedom for supporting
these wars. Are they, too, part of the monsters? Should we put
these liars in the media among the 6%? How is it that the public
doesn't see that they are impostors?
Henry: Once the system is in place, those
who are morally weak will rally to defend it in exchange for personal
privileges. Their self-interest makes them open to contagion.
Therefore it is not necessary for every individual to be one of
the many types listed by Lobaczewski. There are thousands of morally
corrupt and weak individuals willing to do the bidding of those
in power if it means fame and fortune or even just a decent living
and being left alone.
Which is not to say that the media is
free of psychopaths, characteropaths, or the other types delineated
SC: To protect ourselves from evil, then,
it seems that each of us must ask ourselves if we are in the presence
of one of these twisted people who lie and are only out for their
personal interest. But people can't believe that these perverse/pathological
are people who feed on evil, who feed on conflicts. Your book
describes this expertly: conflicts are their food; they love this
conflict, they need this conflict to exist. A normal person cannot
imagine that in society there are a certain number of people who
cannot do other than feed on evil. Do you think that normal people
sense that something is not right but they can't quite understand
they are victims and that they suffer because of the lies and
manipulations of the perverse/pathological?
Henry: Yes. But it takes someone with
a strong character to stand for what he or she knows is right
in the face of widespread social opposition. We also have the
tendency to give others the benefit of the doubt because we project
our own ways of thinking and behaving on them. If we are not aware
that there are people who are either genetically incapable of
empathy and feeling for another, or whose conscience has been
crushed and destroyed because of their life experience, (and they
cannot be fixed), and if we do not know how they function and
manipulate, we will remain victims.
As someone who has been part of organizations
and associations working for social change, you have probably
seen the same dynamic play out. The good and sincere work of many
can be destroyed by the actions of one person. That doesn't give
good odds in bringing some sort of justice to the planet! Only
when those who are psychologically normal come to understand that
we have a natural predator, a group of people who view us as 'a
para-specific variety', will they be open to learning about this
Laura: If there is any work that is deserving
of full time efforts and devotion for the sake of helping humanity
in this present dark time, it is the study of psychopathy and
propagation of that information as far and wide as possible. For
anyone who wants to really do something, let's get the knowledge
of social pathogens out to the people, let's learn how to identify
them first, and then we can decide how to proceed from there.
SC: Normal people, those who have a conscience,
work to find a compromise between the two. Would you say that
being kindly towards them is a mistake because the perverse/pathological
have no conscience whatsoever, are without scruples, and are not
shy about taking positions of power, even if they are incompetent?
Henry: We talked about this earlier when
we described society as a trial, with everyone looking for the
truth somewhere in the middle. As long as there is some idea of
compromise, the people of conscience will always lose. These psychological
deviants have to be removed from any position of power over people
of conscience, period. People must be made aware that such individuals
exist and must learn how to spot them and their manipulations.
The hard part is that one must also struggle against those tendencies
to mercy and kindness in oneself in order not to become prey.
SC: Normal people need to retain the awareness
that not all people are fundamentally good and don't necessarily
take decisions that are good for society. The perverse/pathological
don't care at all about morality, for them, only their personal
objectives count. They can lie without feeling the least bit implicated
in what they say. Taking the case of Bush for example. He can
say anything at all and is not at all ashamed about lying. The
perverse/pathological have no scruples about lying, about destroying
a country, an entire people, as long as it serves their interests?
Henry: The idea that "all men are
created equal" and we are all fundamentally good is drummed
into us from the time we are born. We are taught that God made
us in his image, and that we all have the divine spark within
But science is showing us that this religious
fairy tale is not true. Mankind has a natural predator, the psychopath,
and this predator is invisible because there are no easily discernible
markings that set him apart.
Moreover, throughout history we have been
divided into groups on the basis of physical, cultural, religious,
or whatever other easily recognizable distinctions psychopaths
can point out to us, while our real enemy has remained masked.
We have even come across books about psychopathy
that attempt to present the case that we are all psychopaths!
So we see that there is a move towards damage control. Lobaczewski
discusses the use of psychology and psychiatry as a tool of the
pathocracy under communism. Well, we see the same thing today
in the United States. There are deviants who become psychologists
or psychiatrists and who try to rewrite psychology from the viewpoint
of the pathological!
SC: Is one of the weak points of our society
the tolerance with which we view these monsters? This permits
them to create more conflicts and kill more innocents.
Henry: Is it tolerance or ignorance? People
are not aware that there exist a category of people, people we
sometimes call 'almost human', who look like us, who work with
us, who are found in every race, every culture, speaking every
language, but who are lacking conscience - and if there is anything
that really separates humans from animals, I would suggest it
is that: conscience.
We are tolerant of others, in spite of
the most horrible crimes, because we project our own inner states
on them, assuming that when they go through the motions of expressing
remorse, they are remorseful. But for these deviants, there is
no remorse, there is only play-acting, a bit of theatre designed
to fool us into thinking they are 'like us'.
SC: The only thing to do, then, is to
continue to speak the truth. And to tell ourselves that even if
those who lie always win against the truth, that in the long run,
when more and more people are saying the same thing, little by
little this truth may be able to get people to think?
Henry: The truth is the only thing worth
working towards. What separates us from the psychopath is our
conscience, and our conscience must become the voice of truth.
True conscience - if we listen to it - raises us above the example
of animal behaviour set by the pathocrats. Think of the horrors
at Abu Ghraib. Had the conscience of those soldiers not been sleeping
(assuming they had them), they would have refused to carry out
those atrocities. If the voice of conscience could be heard by
the billions of people who have one, there would be no more war.
Other means would be found to resolve differences. If we listened
to our conscience, there would be no hunger because we would feel
the pain and suffering of those dying without food and we would
be unable to not do something about it. And we need to think in
our own lives of the ways we kill our own conscience and begin
to make painful choices to listen to it before it goes out forever.
If we could really understand the difference
between someone with conscience and someone without, we could
see how our world has been infected with this pathology throughout
its history. With this knowledge, and an application of this knowledge
in full conscience of what we are doing, a new world could truly
SC: In conclusion, there are manipulators
everywhere. They form a part of society that is structured according
to this model, a structure that permits them to behave according
to this perverse psychological functioning anywhere they intervene.
They are twisted people, held by no moral code, ready to do anything
to defend their interests. They are more and more numerous. They
are not necessarily linked to any specific ideology. And at the
moment when we begin to suspect that someone is part of this percentage
of twisted people, do we need to take a different attitude?
Henry: Yes. We need to learn how to say
no to the manipulations. That means we need to learn the ways
we are manipulated and refuse to do the dance.
Laura: On the whole, a capacity to cheat,
to compete and to lie has proven to be a stupendously successful
adaptation. Thus the idea that selection pressure could ever cause
saintliness to spread in a society looks implausible in practice.
It doesn't seem feasible to out-compete genes which promote competitiveness.
"Nice guys" get eaten or out-bred. Happy people who
are unaware get eaten or out-bred. Happiness and niceness today
is vanishingly rare, and the misery and suffering of those who
are able to truly feel, who are empathic toward other human beings,
who have a conscience, is all too common. And the psychopathic
manipulations are designed to make psychopaths of us all.
Nevertheless, a predisposition to, conscience,
ethics, can prevail if and when it is also able to implement the
deepest level of altruism: making the object of its empathy the
higher ideal of enhancing freedom and altruism in the abstract
sense, for the sake of others, including our descendants.
In short, our "self-interest"
ought to be vested in collectively ensuring that all others are
happy and well-disposed too; and in ensuring that children we
bring into the world have the option of being constitutionally
happy and benevolent toward one another.
This means that if psychopathy threatens
the well-being of the group future - which it is doing - then
it can be only be dealt with by widespread refusal to allow the
self to be dominated by it on an individual, personal basis. Preserving
freedom for the self in the practical sense, ultimately preserves
freedom for others. Protection of our own rights AS the rights
of others, underwrites the free will position and potential for
happiness of all. If mutant psychopaths pose a potential danger,
then true empathy, true ethics, true conscience, dictates using
prophylactic therapy against psychopaths.
And so it is that identifying the psychopath,
ceasing our interaction with them, cutting them off from our society,
making ourselves unavailable to them as "food" or objects
to be conned and used, is the single most effective strategy that
we can play.
1. On one side of the controversy, there
is the traditional description of psychopathy derived from the
old European tradition discussed by Lobaczewski, combined with
the North American Tradition of Hervey Cleckley, Robert Hare and
others. This is in general agreement with the experiences of practicing
psychiatrists, psychologists, criminal justice personnel, experimental
psychopathologists, and even members of the lay public who have
had personal encounters with psychopathy.
On the other side of the issue, is what
is called a "neo-Kraepelinian" (named after Emil Kraepelin)
movement in psychodiagnosis which is closely associated with research
coming out of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. This
latter view is most closely aligned with the diagnostic criteria
of the U.S. psychiatric manual known as the DSM-III, DSM-III-R,
and DSM-IV. The fundamental approach of this school is that assessment
of a psychopath rests almost entirely on publicly observable or
known behaviors which flies directly in the face of what is actually
known about psychopaths: their ability to mask their true nature.
The argument is that a clinician is incapable of reliably assessing
interpersonal or affective characteristics. Another assumption
is that early onset delinquency is a cardinal symptom of ASPD.
This tends to put heavy emphasis on delinquent and antisocial
behavior, i.e., publicly observable behaviors that may have no
bearing on the internal make-up of the individual.
Anyway, the DSM-III decided that psychopaths
belong in the classification "Anti-social Personality Disorder."
The criteria of the DSM-III for ASPD was
decided by a committee of the American Psychiatric Association's
DSM-III Task Force and was revised only slightly by another committee
for the DSM_III-R. The DSM-IV criteria were also decided by committee,
with little regard for empirical research. These criteria are
less behaviorally focused and thus, somewhat resemble the criteria
for other DSM-IV personality disorders.
Because of the problems with the DSM-III
and DSM-III-R diagnosis of ASPD, the American Psychiatric Association
carried out a muti-site trial to gather data in preparation for
DSM-IV. The field trial was designed to determine if personality
traits could be included in the criteria for ASPD (which relies
only on publicly viewable behavior), without reducing reliability.
The intention of those clinicians who lobbied for this was to
bring ASPD back into line with clinical tradition and to end the
confusion between ASPD and Psychopathy.
The results of the field trials demonstrated
that most of the personality traits that reflect the symptoms
of psychopathy were as reliable as the behavior specific DSM-III-R
items, thus invalidating the original premise for excluding personality
from the diagnosis of ASPD/psychopathy. More than that, that Hare's
PCL-R actually measures the latent trait of psychopathy across
its entire range! Similar analyses of the field trial data show
that the ASPD criteria was less discriminating of the psychopathy
trait, particularly at high levels of the trait! In other words,
the ASPD criteria set up by the DSM-III-R was designed - intentionally
or not - to exclude the most psychopathic psychopaths!
Despite the fact that, after this study,
there was an empirical basis for increasing the content-related
criteria of ASPD in DSM-IV, this did not happen ; the criteria
adopted for DSM-IV were not even evaluated in the field trial.
The DSM-IV text description of ASPD (which
it says is "also known as psychopathy") contains references
to traditional features of psychopathy but is incongruent with
the formal diagnostic criteria in many ways.
One of the consequences of the ambiguity
inherent in DSM-IV ASPD/ psychopathy criteria is that it leaves
the door open for court cases wherein one clinician can say that
the defendant meets the DSM-IV definition of ASPD, and another
clinician can say he does not, and both can be right! The first
clinician can use the formal diagnostic criteria exclusively while
the second clinician can say "yes, the defendant may meet
the formal criteria, but he or she does not have the personality
traits described in the "Associated Features" section
of the DSM-IV text". In other words, a good psychopath with
a good lawyer can commit any crime and get away with it. This
failure of the DSM-IV to differentiate between psychopathy and
ASPD can (and undoubtedly will) have very serious consequences