Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is the world run by Psychopaths?

Charming, materialistic, aggressive, self-centred, Machiavellian, thrill-seeking alpha males with little respect for rules who eat stress for breakfast – sound like a banker you know? If so, think again: it is a summary of the traits of psychopaths. Financial Times

There is a class of individuals who have been around forever and who are found in every race, culture, society and walk of life. Everybody has met these people, been deceived and manipulated by them, and forced to live with or repair the damage they have wrought. These often charming—but always deadly—individuals have a clinical name: psychopaths. Their hallmark is a stunning lack of conscience; their game is self-gratification at the other person's expense. Many spend time in prison, but many do not. All take far more than they give. Robert Hare (the acknowledged authority on psychopathy)
David Seaton's News Links
There is a quite plausible theory that the world is run by psychopaths: empathy-deficient, glib, manipulative, reckless swine... with apologies to our brother pig, who gives so much and gets so little in return.

I am very skeptical of pop psychology and psychobabble in general and totally against putting a creature as complex as the human one into neat little boxes, however, the autistic and unrepentant behavior of the lords of finance in provoking so much pain on so many millions; the reckless, Harpo-Marxian rutting of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Rupert Murdoch's looting the telephones of the dead, has me wondering if there might be some truth in the idea that our destiny has been delivered unto the hands of the clinically insane.

The best, the most sensitive, video I have found on the subject features Frank Ochberg MD  one of the founding fathers of modern psychotraumatology who has helped to define and research Post-traumatic stress disorder. Doctor Ochberg's interest in psychopaths is directed toward helping their victims, which as far as the News Corporation, politicians or the financial sector is concerned, includes most of us.

Perhaps the deregulated environment of the post-Cold War world is to blame for all of this. For example, basketball is a recent invention and the NBA as a huge business, very, very recent. Before basketball, if you had a son who was 7ft tall, he was simply a freak: you had to buy him a special bed and try to find huge shoes for his enormous feet.... Now, you are thinking that he is going to play for the Lakers and guarantee your old age.... Maybe the same thing has happened to psychopaths... maybe deregulation has created an "NBA" for psychopaths. Maybe this explains the strangeness of the period we live in. DS


Anonymous said...

yes it is....

Anonymous said...

This is (most often) one of the big advantages of a monarchy in which the monarch actually rules; he (or she) doesn't have to be at least a near-sociopath to win a rat race to the top, and if he or she's really rotten he or she can often be prevailed upon to resign.

A pox on Nicolas II, Wilhelm II and the others who ruined it for us.

The Europhile said...

Funny. Although most bankers/high finance guys aren't all that charming, just arrogant. They have major disdain for those than don't understand economics, which is most of us.

They know they rule the world, 'specially now.

The bit about the 'freak' is priceless David. Brav. o.

But let's not paint the hackers and geeks with the same brush. One could argue and Rick Falkvinge does brilliantly (he's given up his entire savings and regular life to devote himself to the cause) that the most important fight is between the suits(bankers, politicians) and hackers (geeks, Julian Assange).

It's about how copyright has killed creativity (kinda like a banker just sitting there, doing nothing and watching the money grow) if you create something, you should have the right for 5-7 yrs, then you should be inspired to create some more stuff.

It's about copyright and privacy. I don't fear the hackers at all, they're not going to take my money, but I do fear the bankers and politicians because they are complicit in doing just that...

Funny article, thanks.

Anonymous said...

OF COURSE! Who else is "around"? All we have are NUTS in this world! Just look at it! You think any of these IDIOTS actually KNOW what they're DOING???
They're going to get us all KILLED! But who cares? FUKUSHIMA beat them to it. Sorry old chaps. A little slow they were this time. And the MEDIA, such as it is, ISN'T totally off base referencing "most of us" as such either. The old saying that CRAP flows down hill. Yessirree Bob!

"And not only this, but my little brother Emile and..... 16 tailors .... " - Frank Zappa "Billy The Mountain" circa 70s

"And the all time winner, has got him by the balls! He's crawling down the corridor. On his hands and knees. Old Charlie stole the handle, and the train it won't stop going, no way to slow down!" (Jethro Tull "AQUALUNG" circa 70s)

"You're the slave of the phony leaders! Breathe the air we have blown you!" --The Who "Quadraphenia" also 70s.

THEY KNEW full well back then. It hasn't "changed" ...eh?

Jim Dator said...

Harold Lasswell, one of the giants in the early days of the creation of "political science" made all this plain long ago (ie., it is not a new phenomenon), in his book, Psychopathology and Politics, published in 1930 and frequently revised and republished.

Anonymous said...

So the question then is not whether psychopaths are in control now or then, but why do the victims let it continue when the numbers are in the victims favor and the evidence is so strong against the psychopaths? A planet full of non-courageous and stupid victims. Please let this be my last trip through this phucking insane asylum called Earth!



Expat said...

Hi David,

I've been reading your blog for a while now. I too am an expat from the midwest, now in Spain (BCN). Have you seen "The Corporation"?

Basically, as a corporation is a legal entity, what kind of person is it? A psychopath.

Between this doc and Inside Job, I challenge anyone not to be outraged. However, people continue to vote against their own interests and put these same hacks in office unaware of the collusion between all at the highest levels.

Paula said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. I am convinced that Murdoch, Bush and Blair are psychopaths. Once you look for the signs they are all there. These are the Bilderbergers people, responsible for all our woes with their secret meetings planning wars, curbing freedom of speech, curbing the right to peaceful protest, pepper spraying 84 year old ladies exercising their democratic rights but above all using their giant global ponzi financial system to enslave us all. We are anonymous and we are legion.