KAH - The subject of the extremely
narrow point of view of most Americans as opposed to the majority of
other peoples in the world came up in a conversation the other day. The
people having the conversation were, as it happens, mostly American.
of them commented that Americans had been "programmed" to their point of
mass media propaganda for a very long time and that it was
simply a very normal part of American life and basically, always had
"Whoever denies it is either ignorant or
has an agenda."
That may be so.
It may be true that the
"pied pipers" of denial have an agenda. But what, then, does one say or
do about the ignorance of the vast majority of Americans? Why and how is
it that the trap of Fascism is closing on them before their very eyes
and no matter how many voices - the number is increasing every day - are
raised to point out this danger, they simply do not seem to get it?
The conversation continued with a comment from another individual
suggesting that one must take into account how effective the "official
culture" actually is in the US. It isn't just a question of ignorance,
but a question of the long-term thoroughness of the propagandizing that
began in the early days of the last century.
It was proposed that this propaganda is so
complete that not only are most people in the US ignorant of what is
taking place on the US political scene, and in the world as a direct
result of US policy, they are ignorant of the fact that they are
ignorant. They have been inculcated with the view that their view is the
only "right" one" and, consequently, they really "don't know any
"What do you do if you don't know that
you don't know something?"
Well, the thing is, at some point in time,
no matter how thorough the programming has been, most people will
eventually end up coming across some bit or piece of information that
isn't going to quite "jibe" with the "official culture;" it isn't going
to "fit" in with their view of reality, with what they have been taught,
and it is usually just a little bit uncomfortable when this happens. Or
it ought to be.
My question is, why is complete denial, even aggressive behavior in some
instances, the reaction of some when the objective facts of reality are
pointed out to them, while there are others who react with an increased
sense of curiosity, an increased desire for additional information?
Why do some shun knowledge and others crave it?
Why do some resist the programming, and others welcome it?
It is as though with some people - those who most avidly embrace the "we
are right" view - have minds that are closed from the very get-go, and
they are entirely incapable of opening them, even just a crack. There is
no curiosity in them. There are no questions in their minds. There are
no "what ifs?" or "maybes".
It seems to me that the propaganda of the Official Culture then, while
quite effective, may not be the sole reason why so many Americans are
apathetic when it comes to what their government is doing, both in the
US and abroad. It seems as though there may be some distinct differences
in human beings at a very basic level that needs to be considered here.
In my opinion, (KAH), all of us who were raised in the US have been
duped via this Official Culture mind control imposed through the
educational system and the mass media. But there are some of us who seem
to have the ability to question, to wonder, to open our minds to other
possibilities - even if they seem far-fetched.
And invariably, this opening of the mind to
other views has been enriching and rewarding on many levels, not the
least of which is a humanitarian view of all peoples and cultures.
Is being able to open your mind and ask
questions just a matter of "courage?"
Is a closed mind simply evidence of
being a coward? Is resistance to the "official culture" a
consequence of a fundamental "rebellious nature" and are those who
"go along with the crowd" better "team players," even if the team is
on the moral low-road?
Is the difference one that exists
between people who are willing to face the "terror of the situation"
and those who simply cannot live in the state of tension produced by
having to make moral decisions themselves?
Or, is there something deeper here?
If so, what is it?
And whatever it is, why is it so
"active" in the present day and time?
What is the "fog" that surrounds America
and the minds of its people?
In the past, I have encountered many people
who I considered to be open-minded, but ultimately discovered that they
are not so when they absolutely refuse to even admit the possibility of
what is so obvious to so many intelligent and compassionate people.
For example, the
obvious psychopathy of Bush and
other world leaders, certainly reveals to us that the "terror of the
situation" is manifesting on quite a grander scale than any of us might
have dreamed possible a few years ago. There it is. Clues and signs
everywhere. It's as plain as the nose on your face. But most Americans
would rather cut off that nose with the result that they spite the face.
It is terrifying enough when one realizes that the Bush Reich and other
elite groups around the globe are wreaking havoc on the planet without
regard for life in any form, apart from their own, but when we also have
to face the fact that there are so many people out there, that - even
when faced with the certain facts of this global tinder-box - either
cannot see it or WILL not see it, well, that makes this situation just a
little bit more terrifying.
Again, we return to the problem: what is WRONG with Americans?
We already know that the "Land of the Free" is gone, but what about the
"Home of the Brave?" It never takes courage to support a bully - but it
takes a LOT of courage to stand up against one. Has America lost that
courage that gave them the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the most
mighty military power in the world of the time - England - to declare
their independence from bullies and to stand for what was right? What
happened to "Give me liberty or give me death?"
Because surely America has chosen death in
giving up their liberty!
When I was growing up in the West, my brothers and I were subjected to
very intense "racist attitudes" from our step-parents. We lived in a
small farming-ranching community where that sort of belief system is
generally passed on from one generation to the next and nobody ever
really questions it.
However, at a very early age, I instinctively rebelled against this view
of the world. It seems that I had a sort of natural, intrinsic love,
respect and a fascination for other cultures and peoples. Of course, it
drove my step-parents CRAZY. There was a lot of tension between us
because of this.
My love for and curiosity about other cultures led me to travel
extensively as I grew up. I was curious; I wanted to explore; I wanted
to KNOW. When I eventually married outside my own culture, well, I had
crossed the line and all contact with my family had to be terminated.
The price they were willing to pay for their racist beliefs was high -
in my opinion - more so for them than for me, though certainly this
rejection was painful.
My point is, I resisted this racist program intensely. It was all around
me, in the town, the schools, the church we attended. But I wanted no
part of it. It seems that it went against my very nature. But for
others, it seemed very "natural" to "fall for" this cultural programming
- to be "comfortable" within a milieu that excluded nearly everyone else
as human beings.
Again it seems as though there may be two
different types of people and two different ways to deal with the
question of one's own ignorance.
Some individuals, when faced with certain facts about their own
ignorance, deny vehemently that they ARE ignorant and resort to
platitudes and clichés even including that old saw about the difference
between "book learning" and "common sense." Others, when confronted with
their own ignorance, immediately set about rectifying it no matter how
painful it might be.
When I first moved abroad at the age of 21, I quickly realized that I
was, like most Americans, abysmally ignorant with regard to politics. I
discovered - to my great dismay - that in my host country, most of the
average people around me - shopkeepers, hairdressers, taxi-drivers -
knew more about what was going on in the USA and the rest of the world
than I did; a LOT more!
I had no IDEA of the things that were going
on that were common knowledge to other peoples in the world. And here,
it wasn't simply a matter of having a different opinion than others.
It was a matter of an almost complete lack
of INFORMATION within the very country that promotes democracy as the
rule of an "informed citizenry."
I realized with striking clarity
exactly how ignorant I was at that point, and I admitted it to myself.
Further, I was embarrassed for myself and other Americans who were seen
(rightly so) as equally ignorant and "in the dark" politically and
culturally speaking. BUT, due to this embarrassment and realization of
the extraordinary extent of my ignorance, I determined to do something
But there are so many Americans who - when faced with similar
situations, faced with their own ignorance - deny it aggressively. And
generally, the "last word" for them is:
"Oh, he/she doesn't know what the hell
they are talking about! They're 'foreigners'."
And that's the key: "foreigners."
"Foreigners" can't possibly know anything because they aren't American.
And Americans, by default of having the most bombs on the planet, always
"know" what's up. Or, at the very least, their leaders do and we just
don't have to think about such things. That's what we elect our leaders
for, isn't it? So they will handle all that boring and tedious political
stuff and leave us alone to watch "Survivor" and the Super Bowl and wash
our new SUV so that the Joneses can be green with envy!
And they leave it at that. It's the preferred way to handle all such
questions. Forget the entire issue of an "informed citizenry" and any
possible outrage that citizens of the US are not only NOT informed, they
are being deliberately DIS-informed!
They don't even realize that "Survivor" is programming them to the very
attitudes that are being displayed by their leaders - normalizing it, so
to say - and at the present moment these attitude are being manifested
in their own lives in a direct and terrifying way.
For many in the US,
their future is that there won't be any more Super Bowls, and the SUV
certainly doesn't get enough gas mileage to get them far enough away
from the terror that will confront them when they are "voted off the
island" in the global game of "Survivor."
Why does this condition exist?
Why are so many people so susceptible to
the "official culture" and the mass media propaganda?
Why are so many
people willing slaves to it?
And why do some others - once the questions
have been raised - begin to seek the knowledge that reveals the man
behind the curtain?
Perhaps it is more than simply a matter of very clever and intense
Perhaps it is also a matter of the nature of
LKJ (Laura Knight-Jadczyk) - In recent times, I have considered many ideas in an attempt
to answer this question. The members of the Quantum Future School have
been engaged in studying psychopathy and pseudo-psychopathy for about
two years now. This has certainly prepared most of us to be able to see
the man behind the curtain, or, in this case, behind the "mask of
But it still doesn't answer the question as
to why psychopathic behavior seems to be so widespread in the US. (That
is not to say that it doesn't exist everywhere - that's a given.)
Linda Mealey of the Department of Psychology at the College of
St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, has recently proposed certain
ideas in her paper: The Sociobiology of Sociopathy: An Integrated
Evolutionary Model. These ideas address the increase in psychopathy
in American culture by suggesting that in a competitive society -
capitalism, for example - psychopathy is adaptive and likely to
I have thus far argued that some
individuals seem to have a genotype that disposes them to [psychopathy].
[Psychopathy describes] frequency-dependent, genetically based,
individual differences in employment of life strategies.
[Psychopaths] always appear in every culture, no matter what the
socio-cultural conditions. [...]
Competition increases the use of antisocial and Machiavellian
strategies and can counteract pro-social behavior…
Some cultures encourage competitiveness more than others and these
differences in social values vary both temporally and
cross-culturally. [...] Across both dimensions, high levels of
competitiveness are associated with high crime rates and
High population density, an indirect form of competition, is also
associated with reduced pro-social behavior and increased
anti-social behavior. [...]
[Mealey, op. cit.]
The conclusion is that the American way of
life has optimized the survival of psychopaths with the consequence that
it is an adaptive "life strategy" that is extremely successful in
American society, and thus has increased in the population in strictly
genetic terms. 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
(Many experts differentiate between primary and secondary sociopaths.
The first is a sociopath because they have the "genes" and the second is
more or less "created" by their environment of victimization. Other
experts refer to these two categories as "psychopaths" for the genetic
variety and "sociopaths" for the reactive variety. We prefer this latter
Of course, because they are not
intellectually handicapped, these individuals [psychopaths] will
progress normally in terms of cognitive development and will acquire
a theory of mind. Their theories, however, will be formulated purely
in instrumental terms [what can claiming this or that GET for me?],
without access to the empathic understanding that most of us rely on
so much of the time.
They may become excellent predictors of others' behavior,
unhandicapped by the "intrusiveness" of emotion, acting, as do
professional gamblers, solely on nomothetic laws and actuarial data
rather than on hunches and feelings.
In determining how to "play" in the social encounters of everyday
life, they will use a pure cost-benefit approach based on immediate
personal outcomes, with no "accounting" for the emotional reactions
of the others with whom they are dealing.
Without any real love to "commit" them to cooperation, without any
anxiety to prevent fear of "defection," without guilt to inspire
repentance, they are free to continually play for the short-term
At the same time, because changes in gene frequencies in the
population would not be able to keep pace with the fast-changing
parameters of social interactions, an additional fluctuating
proportion of sociopathy should result because, in a society of [psychopathy],
the environmental circumstances make an antisocial strategy of life
more profitable than a pro-social one.
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.
Now, do not be fooled by the word "psychopath."
Many individuals equate this term with mass
murderers or "foaming at the mouth" madmen. By any name, this dangerous
personality disorder presents three unsettling realities: Its prevalence
seems to be increasing, it is far more common than previously thought,
and there is no cure.
What makes the psychopath so frightening and dangerous is that he or she
wears a completely convincing "Mask of Sanity". This may at first make
such a person utterly persuasive and compellingly healthy, according to
psychiatrist Harvey Cleckley. Dr. Cleckey was first to describe
the key symptoms of the disorder.
Psychopaths can be very sociable, even though they are antisocial behind
their "mask" in the sense that their "emotions" are completely fake.
They are masters at manipulating others for their personal gain.
Their charm, in fact, is legendary.
"As a therapist, you run across this all
of the time, where a man is mysteriously controlled by a sociopath,"
explains psychologist Melvin Sinder, co-author of Smart
Men Bad Choices.
Psychopaths are experts at using people.
They can ask anything of anyone without embarrassment and because of
their outgoing seducing friendliness, their use of "poor innocent me! I
am such a GOOD person and I have been treated so BADLY!" the victim
invariably gets sucked into giving the psychopath what they ask for - no
matter how outrageous.
Psychopaths are masters at faking emotions in order to manipulate
others. One psychologist reported that if you actually catch them in the
act of committing a crime, or telling a lie, "they will immediately
justify their actions by self pity and blaming another, by creating a
heart-rending scene of faked emotional feelings." These fake emotions
are only for effect, as the careful observer will note.
The Psychopath considers getting their way
or getting out of trouble using faked emotions as a victory over another
Psychopaths are incapable of feeling concern or remorse for the
consequences of their actions. They can calmly rationalize their
insensitive and bizarre behavior all the while attributing malice to
everyone but themselves. When caught in a lie, they will manipulate
others or stories to their own advantage without any fear of being found
out - even if it is obvious to everyone around them that they WILL be
Psychopaths cannot feel fear for themselves, much less empathy for
others. Most normal people, when they are about to do something
dangerous, illegal, or immoral, feel a rush of worry, nervousness, or
fear. Guilt may overwhelm them and prevent them from even committing the
The psychopath feels little or nothing.
As a result, the threat of punishment, even painful punishment is a
laughing matter for the psychopath. They can repeat the same destructive
acts without skipping a heartbeat, as well as seek thrills and dangers
without regard for possible risks. This is called "hypoarousal." That
is, very little - if anything - really arouses them; they are more
machine-like than human-like.
The psychopath seems to be full of something akin to deep greed. They
manifest this inner state in many ways. One of the most common ways is
to steal something of value to their victim (valuables), or to
hurt/slander the victim or something or someone the victim loves. In the
psychopath's mind, this is justified because the victim crossed him, did
not give him what he wanted, or rejected him (or her).
Psychopaths lie for the sake of lying. They can convey the deepest hear-
felt message without meaning a word of it. They can also tell the most
outrageous stories simply in order to be at the center of attention and
to get what they want.
An example is told by a researcher in psychopathy: Melissa was a girl
that was very attractive and very outgoing. She met with an attorney
regarding getting a divorce from her husband and convinced the attorney
that her husband was ruining her life.
The attorney felt sorry for her as she carried on about the abuse she
had suffered. She was so convincing, that the attorney wanted to help
her personally. With her seductive charisma, he became hopelessly
infatuated and began to date Melissa. At a certain point, the attorney
refused to take illegal and immoral actions against her estranged
husband that Melissa requested.
At this point, she filed sexual harassment charges against the attorney
to try to force him to do what she wanted. She didn't realize that, by
doing this, she had exposed herself for what she was and there was no
possibility that the attorney was going to bow to her blackmail
pressures. After much pain and heart break all around, Melissa dropped
the law suit and moved to another state. The attorney commented that he
had never been so emotionally overwhelmed in his entire life.
Indeed, using their "emotional performances," these individuals can be
truly overwhelming. Their charisma can be so inspiring - their emotion
so deep and sincere-seeming - that people just want to be around them,
want to help them, want to give all and support such a noble, suffering
being. What is generally not seen by the victim is that they are feeding
an endless internal hunger for control, excitement and ego-recognition.
The psychopath is obsessed with control even if they give the impression
of being helpless. Their pretense to emotional sensitivity is really
part of their control function: The higher the level of belief in the
psychopath that can be induced in their victim through their dramas, the
more "control" the psychopath believes they have. And in fact, this is
They DO have control when others believe
their lies. Sadly, the degree of belief, the degree of "submission" to
this control via false representation, generally produces so much pain
when the truth is glimpsed that the victim would prefer to continue in
the lie than face the fact that they have been duped. The psychopath
counts on this. It is part of their "actuarial calculations."
It gives them a feeling of power.
It is all too easy to fall under the spell of the charismatic
psychopath. There are many who do the psychopath's bidding without
realizing that they have been subtly and cleverly controlled. They can
even be manipulated to perform criminal acts, or acts of sabotage
against another - innocent - person on behalf of the psychopath. Very
often, when this is realized by the victim, that they have caused
suffering in innocent people at the behest of a liar, again they prefer
to deny this than to face up to the truth of their own perfidy and
Psychopathic behavior seems to be on the rise because of the very nature
of American capitalistic society. The great hustlers, charmers, and
self-promoters in the sales fields are perfect examples of where the
psychopath can thrive. The entertainment industry, the sports industry,
the corporate world in a Capitalistic system, are all areas where
psychopaths naturally rise to the top.
Some observers believe that there is a
psychological continuum between psychopaths (who tend to be
professionally unsuccessful) and narcissistic entrepreneurs (who are
successful), because these two groups share the highly developed skill
of manipulating others for their own gain. It is now being thought that
they are actually the "same" but that the "unsuccessful" psychopath is
merely flawed in their calculating abilities.
They are unable to recalculate based on new
actuarial data. Successful Narcissists might seem to be perfectly able
to add to their actuarial database and "recalculate" and shift course
and develop new subroutines based on ongoing input.
In general, the successful psychopath "computes" how much they can get
away with in a cost-benefit ratio of the alternatives. Among the factors
that they consider as most important are money, power, and gratification
of negative desires. They are not motivated by such social reinforcement
as praise or future benefits. Studies have been done that show locking
up a psychopath has absolutely no effect on them in terms of modifying
their life strategies. In fact, in is shown to make them worse.
Effectively, when locked up, psychopaths just simply learn how to be
Since the psychopath bases their activities designed to get what they
want on their particular "theory of mind," it is instructive to have a
look at this issue. Having a "theory of mind" allows an individual to
impute mental states (thoughts, perceptions, and feelings) not only to
oneself, but also to other individuals.
It is, in effect, a tool that helps us
predict the behavior of others. The most successful individuals are
those who most accurately predict what another person will do given a
certain set of circumstances. In the present day, we have Game Theory
which is being used to model many social problems including psychopathy.
When two individuals interact with each other, each must decide what to
do without knowledge of what the other is doing. Imagine that the two
players are the government and the public. In the following model, each
of the players faces only a binary choice: to behave ethically either in
making laws or in obeying them.
The assumption is that both players are informed about everything except
the level of ethical behavior of the other. They know what it means to
act ethically, and they know the consequences of being exposed as
There are three elements to the game.
the strategies available to either
the payoff each player receives for
each possible combination of strategies
In a legal regime, one party is obliged to
compensate the other for damages under certain conditions but not under
others. We are going to imagine a regime wherein the government is never
liable for losses suffered by the public because of its unethical
behavior - instead, the public has to pay for the damages inflicted by
the government due to unethical behavior.
The way the payoffs are represented is generally in terms of money. That
is, how much investment does each player have to make in ethical
behavior and how much payoff does each player receive for his
In this model, behaving ethically, according to standards of social
values that are considered the "norm," costs each player $10.00. When
law detrimental to the public is passed, it costs the public $100.00. We
take it as a given that such laws will be passed unless both players
Next, we assume that the likelihood of a detrimental law being passed in
the event that both the public and the government are behaving ethically
is a one-in-ten chance.
In a legal regime in which the government is never held responsible for
its unethical behavior, and if neither the government nor the public
behave ethically, the government enjoys a payoff of $0. and the public
is out $100 when a law detrimental to the public is passed.
If both "invest" in ethical behavior, the government has a payoff of
minus $10. (the cost of behaving ethically) and the public is out minus
$20. which is the $10. invested in being ethical PLUS the $10. of the
one-in-ten chance of a $100. loss incurred if a detrimental law is
If the government behaves ethically and the public does not, resulting
in the passing of a law detrimental to the populace, the government is
out the $10. invested in being ethical and the public is out $100.
If the government does not behave ethically, and the public does, the
government has a payoff of $0. and the public is out $110 which is the
"cost of being ethical" added to the losses suffered when the government
passes detrimental laws.
Modeled in a Game Theory Bi-matrix,
it looks like this, with the two numbers representing the "payoff" to
the people - the left number in each pair - and government - the right
number in each pair.
In short, in this game, the government always does better by not being
ethical and we can predict the government's choice of strategy because
there is a single strategy - no ethics - that is better for the
government no matter what choice the public makes. This is a "strictly
dominant strategy," or a strategy that is the best choice for the player
no matter what choices are made by the other player.
What is even worse is the fact that the public is PENALIZED for behaving
ethically. Since we know that the government, in the above regime, will
never behave ethically because it is the dominant strategy, we find that
ethical behavior on the part of the public actually costs MORE than
In short, psychopathic behavior is actually a POSITIVE ADAPTATION in
such a regime.
The public, as you see, cannot even minimize their losses by behaving
ethically. It costs them $110. to be ethical, and only $100. to not be
Now, just substitute "psychopath" in the place of the government and
non-psychopath in the place of the public, and you begin to understand
why the psychopath will always be a psychopath.
If the "payoff" is
emotional pain of being hurt, or shame for being exposed, in the world
of the psychopath, that consequence simply does not exist just as in the
legal regime created above, the government is never responsible for
The psychopath lives in a world in which it
is like a government that is never held responsible for behavior that is
detrimental to others. It's that simple. And the form game above will
tell you why psychopaths in the population, as well as in government,
are able to induce the public to accept laws that are detrimental.
It simply isn't worth it to be ethical. If
you go along with the psychopath, you lose. If you resist the
psychopath, you lose even more.
The [psychopath] is unfamiliar with the
primary facts or data of what might be called personal values and is
altogether incapable of understanding such matters. It is impossible
for him to take even a slight interest in the tragedy or joy or the
striving of humanity as presented in serious literature or art. He
is also indifferent to all these matters in life itself. Beauty and
ugliness, except in a very superficial sense, goodness, evil, love,
horror, and humor have no actual meaning, no power to move him.
He is, furthermore, lacking in the
ability to see that others are moved. It is as though he were
color-blind, despite his sharp intelligence, to this aspect of human
existence. It cannot be explained to him because there is nothing in
his orbit of awareness that can bridge the gap with comparison. He
can repeat the words and say glibly that he understands, and there
is no way for him to realize that he does not understand.
[Cleckley, H.M. (1941). The mask of
sanity: An attempt to reinterpret the so-called psychopathic
personality. St. Louis: The C. V. Mosby Company]
It also means that such a person is free to
choose to do things that are potentially self-destructive without giving
a single indication to another "player" that his or her choice is based
entirely on a delusion. Very often, they "win" because of the sheer
boldness of their actions which is unrestricted by conscience which is a
construct of emotions.
It's like a poker player who has absolutely nothing in his hand, but
because he is so intent on winning, and is so unmoved by the possibility
of losing because lying produces absolutely no internal, emotional
reaction of fear of being discovered or the potential shame or disaster
inherent in such an event, is able to bluff so convincingly that the
other players - any of whom might have a winning hand, fold and walk
away because they are convinced by the psychopath's confidence that he
must have the winning hand of all time.
Only he doesn't.
And this means that the psychopath's strength is also his Achilles heel.
Once he has been spotted, identified, understood, he no longer has the
power to bluff. Once knowledge enters the game, the psychopath is
exposed, and has no more ability to "con" the other players. The sad
part is: he also has no ability to learn from this experience anything
other than how to make his bluff better and more convincing next time.
The psychopath never gets mad because he is caught in a lie; he is only
concerned with "damage control" in terms of his ability to continue to
Societies can be considered as "players" in the psychopath's game model.
The past behavior of a society will be used by the psychopath to predict
the future behavior of that society. Like an individual player, a
society will have a certain probability of detecting deception and a
more or less accurate memory of who has cheated on them in the past, as
well as a developed or not developed proclivity to retaliate against a
liar and cheater.
Since the psychopath is using an actuarial
approach to assess the costs and benefits of different behaviors (just
how much can he get away with), it is the actual past behavior of the
society which will go into his calculations rather than any risk
assessments based on any "fears or anxieties" of being caught and
punished that empathic people would feel in anticipation of doing
Thus, in order to reduce psychopathic behavior in society and in
government, a society MUST establish and enforce a reputation for high
rates of detection of deception and identification of liars, and a
willingness to retaliate. In other words, it must establish a successful
strategy of deterrence.
Since the psychopath is particularly unable to make decisions based on
future consequences, and is able only to focus attention on immediate
gratification - short term goals - it is possible that such individuals
can be dealt with by establishing a history of dealing out swift social
retaliation. That is, identifying and punishing liars and cheaters must
be both immediate and predictable that it will be immediate.
And here we come to the issue: concerning the real-world, human social
interactions on a large scale, reducing psychopathy in our leaders
depends upon expanding society's collective memory of individual
players' past behavior.
Any reasonable scan of the news will reveal that lies and cheating are
not "covered up" as thoroughly as American apologists would like to
Even the less well-informed Americans have some idea that there was
certainly something fishy about the investigation into the assassination
of JFK. In recent years, the man in charge of the Warren Commission,
Gerald Ford, also a former president, admitted to "cheating" on the
Then, there was Watergate followed by the Iran-Contra affair, not to
mention "Monica-gate." And here we are just hitting some highlights
familiar to all Americans.
What consequences did the cheaters of society suffer?
None to speak of. In fact, in nearly every case, they were rewarded
handsomely with those things of value to the psychopath: money and
material goods. If anyone thinks they were shamed by public exposure,
But what is of CRUCIAL interest here is the fact that the American
people have simply NOT responded to the revelations of lies in
government with any outrage that could be considered more than token. At
the present time, there isn't even "token outrage."
Don't you find that odd?
But we have already noted the reason:
the American way of life has
optimized the survival of psychopathy and 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. As
a consequence, a very large number of Americans are effective
sociopaths. (Here we use "sociopath" as a designation of those
individuals who are not genetic psychopaths.)
And so, we have
George Bush and the Third Reich
calculating how much they can get away with by looking at the history of
the reactions of the American People to cheating.
There aren't any because the system is adaptive to psychopathy. In other
words, Americans support Bush and his agenda because most of them are
But that is not because they are ALL born that way. It is because
psychopathy is almost required to survive in Competitive, Capitalistic
As a society gets larger and more competitive, individuals become more
anonymous and more Machiavellian. Social stratification and segregation
leads to feelings of inferiority, pessimism and depression among the
have-nots, and this promotes the use of "cheating strategies" in life
which then makes the environment more adaptive for psychopathy in
Psychopathic behavior among non-genetic psychopaths could be viewed as a
functional method of obtaining desirable resources, increasing an
individual's status in a local group, and even a means of providing
stimulation that socially and financially successful people find in
acceptable physical and intellectual challenges. In other words, the
psychopath is a bored and frustrated sensation-seeker who "does not have
the intellectual capacity to amuse and occupy himself" internally.
Such individuals may begin their lives in
the lower socio-economic levels, but they often rise to the top.
In America, a great many households are affected by the fact that work,
divorce, or both, have removed one or both parents from interaction with
their children for much of the day. This is a consequence of
When the parents are absent, or even when one is present but not in
possession of sufficient knowledge or information, children are left to
the mercies of their peers, a culture shaped by the media. Armed with
joysticks and TV remotes, children are guided from South Park and
Springer to Mortal Kombat on Nintendo.
Normal kids become
desensitized to violence. More-susceptible kids - children with a
genetic inheritance of psychopathy - are pushed toward a dangerous
mental precipice. Meanwhile, the government is regularly passing laws,
on the demand of parents and the psychological community, designed to
avoid imposing consequences on junior's violent behavior.
As for media violence, few researchers continue to try to dispute that
bloodshed on TV and in the movies has an effect on the kids who witness
it. Added to the mix now are video games structured around models of
hunting and killing. Engaged by graphics, children learn to associate
spurts of "blood" with the primal gratification of scoring a "win."
Again, economics controls the reality.
While everyone will readily admit that there is probably too much
violence on television and that the ads are probably pure balderdash,
very few people have a real conception of the precise nature and extent
of the hypnotic influence of the media. Still fewer have any idea of the
purposes behind this inducement.
Wallace and Wallechinsky write
in The People's Almanac:
"After World War II, television
flourished... Psychologists and sociologists were brought in to
study human nature in relation to selling; in other words, to figure
out how to manipulate people without their feeling manipulated. Dr.
Ernest Dichter, President of the Institute for Motivational
Research made a statement in 1941... 'the successful ad agency
manipulates human motivations and desires and develops a need for
goods with which the public has at one time been unfamiliar --
perhaps even undesirous of purchasing.
"Discussing the influence of television, Daniel Boorstin
'Here at last is a supermarket of
surrogate experience. Successful programming offers
entertainment -- under the guise of instruction; instruction --
under the guise of entertainment; political persuasion -- with
the appeal of advertising; and advertising -- with the appeal of
"Programmed television serves not only
to spread acquiescence and conformity, but it represents a
deliberate industry approach."
[quoted by Wallace, Wallechinsky]
Aside from the fact that television has been
conjectured to be extremely detrimental to children and that it is now
thought that most of the deteriorating aspects of society can be
attributed to the decaying values portrayed on television, there is a
deeper and more insidious effect upon the human psyche. As quoted, it is
a planned and deliberate manipulation to spread acquiescence and
conformity and to hypnotize the masses to submit to the authority of the
masters of economics through their false prophet, the television.
Allen Funt, host of a popular show, Candid Camera, was
once asked what was the most disturbing thing he had learned about
people in his years of dealing with them through the media.
His response was chilling in its
"The worst thing, and I see it over and
over, is how easily people can be led by any kind of authority
figure, or even the most minimal kinds of authority. A well dressed
man walks up the down escalator and most people will turn around and
try desperately to go up also... We put up a sign on the road,
'Delaware Closed Today'. Motorists didn't even question it. Instead
they asked: 'Is Jersey open?'"
[quoted by Wallace, Wallechinsky]
A picture is forming of a deliberately
contrived society of televised conformity, literate and creative
inadequacy, and social unrest and decadence. It is apparent that the
media is in charge of propagating these conditions, and the media is
controlled by what?
Capitalistic, competitive Economics.
It would seem that the motivation masters would, in the interests of
their industrial clients, plan programming to bring about beneficial
societal conditions - which they could, in fact, do. It is apparent that
the final authority on televised programming is in the hands of the
advertisers, backed by the industries whose products are being sold.
With all the psychological input to which they have access, it would
seem that they utilize programming to correct societal conditions which
cost them money.
Over 25 billion dollars a year is spent to
teach workers to read and write, after graduating from the combined
effects of a public school system and the television. It is accepted
that the burgeoning crime rate, which also costs these industrial giants
vast sums of money, is mostly attributable to the frustrations and
dissatisfactions engendered by the false view of reality presented over
Why don't they use their financial resources to back the motivation
masters to figure out how to present programming which could effect
Can it be that the conditions of society, including the programmed
response to "minimal signs of authority" are planned? Would anyone care
to suggest that the figures and studies relating to the detrimental
influence of programming is not available to them and that they don't
realize that it is costing them money? If that is the case, then they
are too stupid to be arbiters of our values and we should disregard them
entirely in any event. If it is not the case, then we must assume that
there is an object to this manipulation.
There is much evidence to support the idea that this purpose, or the
object of this manipulation, is to create psychological and social
disunity - social psychopathy - sufficient to permit the instituting of
a totalitarian government at the behest of the people. It is further
theorized that the "wealthy elite" seek to control the entire world from
behind the scenes and it is to this end that they mastermind and fund
the various actions which appear to the masses as political and
Franklin D. Roosevelt said:
"Nothing in politics ever happens by
accident; if it happens, you can bet it was planned!"
And he was in a position to know.
There is much evidence to support the notion that wars are fomented and
fought to redistribute these balances of financial power behind the
scenes and that, though our fathers, brother, grandfathers, uncles,
cousins and sons die in these actions, they are merely games of
"International Relations" played by those whose money and position give
them absolute power to shape our reality to some nefarious end.
The psychic stresses of our world are right in the home. There they can
easily act on any kid who believes that "the world has wronged me" - a
sentiment spoken from the reality of existence - a reality created by
economic pressures instituted via Game Theory.
Is there a solution?
The obvious solution would be a world in which, at the very least, the
psychopath - in government or in society - would be forced to be
responsible for unethical behavior. But game-theory modeling
demonstrates that selfishness is always the most profitable strategy
possible for replicating units.
Could it ever be an evolutionarily stable strategy for people to be
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 outcompete genes
which promote competitiveness.
"Nice guys" get eaten or outbred.
Happy people who are unaware get eaten or
outbred. 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 free will
in the abstract sense, for the sake of others, including our
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, then it can be only be dealt with by refusing to allow the self
to be dominated by it on an individual, personal basis. Preserving free
will for the self in the practical sense, ultimately preserves free will
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
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.
It seems certain from the evidence that a positive transformation of
human nature isn't going to come about through a great spiritual
awakening, socio-economic reforms, or a spontaneous desire among the
peoples of the world to be nice to each other.
But it's quite possible that, in the long
run, the psychopathic program of suffering will lose out because misery
is not a stable strategy.
In a state of increasing misery, victims will
seek to escape it; and this seeking will ultimately lead them to inquire
into the true state of their misery, and that may lead to a society of
intelligent people who will have the collective capacity to do so.