A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes
Andrew M. Lobaczewski
with commentary and additional quoted material
by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Continuing with Lobaczewski’s book:
As a youth, I read a book about a naturalist wandering through the Amazon-basin wilderness. At some moment a small animal fell from a tree onto the nape of his neck, clawing his skin painfully and sucking his blood. The biologist cautiously removed it – without anger, since that was its form of feeding – and proceeded to study it carefully. This story stubbornly stuck in my mind during those very difficult times when a vampire fell onto our necks, sucking the blood of an unhappy nation.
The attitude of a naturalist – who attempts to track the nature of macro-social phenomena in spite of all adversity – insured a certain intellectual distance and better psychological hygiene, also slightly increasing the feeling of safety and furnishing a premonition that this very method may help find a certain creative solution.
This required controlling the natural, moralizing reflexes of revulsion and other painful emotions this phenomenon provokes in any normal person when it deprives him of his joy of life and personal safety, ruining his own future and that of his nation. Scientific curiosity becomes a loyal ally during such times.
May the reader please imagine a very large hall in some old Gothic university building. Many of us gathered there early in our studies in order to listen to the lectures of outstanding philosophers. We were herded back there the year before graduation in order to listen to the indoctrination lectures which recently have been introduced.
Someone nobody knew appeared behind the lectern and informed us that he would now be the professor. His speech was fluent, but there was nothing scientific about it: he failed to distinguish between scientific and everyday concepts and treated borderline imaginings as though it were wisdom that could not be doubted. For ninety minutes each week, he flooded us with naïve, presumptuous paralogistics and a pathological view of human reality. We were treated with contempt and poorly controlled hatred. Since fun poking could entail dreadful consequences, we had to listen attentively and with the utmost gravity.
The grapevine soon discovered this person’s origins. He had come from a Cracow suburb and attended high school, although no one knew if he graduated. Anyway, this was the first time he had crossed university portals – as a professor, at that! […]
After such mind-torture, it took a long time for someone to break the silence. We studied ourselves, since we felt something strange had taken over our minds and something valuable was leaking away irretrievably.
The world of psychological reality and moral values seemed suspended like in a chilly fog. Our human feeling and student solidarity lost their meaning, as did patriotism and our old established criteria. So we asked each other: “Are you going through this too?” Each of us experienced this worry about his own personality and future in his own way. Some of us answered the questions with silence. The depth of these experiences turned out to be different for each individual.
We thus wondered how to protect ourselves from the results of this “indoctrination.” Teresa D. made the first suggestion: Let’s spend a weekend in the mountains. It worked. Pleasant company, a bit of joking, then exhaustion followed by deep sleep in a shelter, and our human personalities returned, albeit with a certain remnant.
Time also proved to create a kind of psychological immunity, although not with everyone. Analysing the psychopathic characteristics of the “professor’s” personality proved another excellent way of protecting one’s own psychological hygiene.
You can just imagine our worry, disappointment, and surprise when some colleagues we knew well suddenly began to change their world-view; their thought-patterns furthermore reminded us of the “professor’s” chatter. Their feelings, which had just recently been friendly, became noticeably cooler, although not yet hostile.
Benevolent or critical student arguments bounced right off of them. They gave the impression of possessing some secret knowledge; we were only their former colleagues, still believing what those professors of old had taught us. We had to be careful of what we said to them.
Our former colleagues soon joined the Party. Who were they? What social groups did they come from? What kind of students and people were they? How and why did they change so much in less than a year? Why did neither I nor a majority of my fellow students succumb to this phenomenon and process?
Many such questions fluttered through our heads then. Those times, questions, and attitudes gave rise to the idea that this phenomenon could be objectively understood, an idea whose greater meaning crystallized with time. Many of us participated in the initial observations and reflections, but most crumbled away in the face of material or academic problems. Only a few remained; so the author of this book may be the last of the Mohicans.
It was relatively easy to determine the environments and origin of the people who succumbed to this process, which I then called “transpersonification”. They came from all social groups, including aristocratic and fervently religious families, and caused a break in our student solidarity in the order of some 6 %. The remaining majority suffered varying degrees of personality disintegration which gave rise to individual efforts in searching for the values necessary to find ourselves again; the results were varied and sometimes creative.
Even then, we had no doubts as to the pathological nature of this “transpersonification” process, which ran similar but not identical in all cases. The duration of the results of this phenomenon also varied. Some of these people later became zealots. Others later took advantage of various circumstances to withdraw and reestablish their lost links to the society of normal people. They were replaced. The only constant value of the new social system was the magic number of 6 %.
We tried to evaluate the talent level of those colleagues who had succumbed to this personality-transformation process, and reached the conclusion that on average, it was slightly lower than the average of the student population. Their lesser resistance obviously resided in other bio-psychological features which were most probably qualitatively heterogeneous.
I had to study subjects bordering on psychology and psychopathology in order to answer the questions arising from our observations; scientific neglect in these areas proved an obstacle difficult to overcome. At the same time, someone guided by special knowledge apparently vacated the libraries of anything we could have found on the topic.
Is it any wonder why, nowadays, any group seeking to provide this very knowledge to others would be labeled a “cult?”
Analysing these occurrences now in hindsight, we could say that the “professor” was dangling bait over our heads, based on psychopaths’ specific psychological knowledge. He knew in advance that he would fish out amenable individuals, but the limited numbers disappointed him. The transpersonification process generally took hold whenever an individual’s instinctive substratum was marked by pallor or some deficits.
To a lesser extent, it also worked among people who manifested other deficiencies, also the state provoked within them was partially impermanent, being largely the result of psychopathological induction.
This knowledge about the existence of susceptible individuals and how to work on them will continue being a tool for world conquest as long as it remains the secret of such “professors.” When it becomes skillfully popularized science, it will help nations develop immunity. But none of us knew this at the time.
Nevertheless, we must admit that in demonstrating the properties of pathocracy in such a way as to force us into in-depth experience, the professor helped us understand the nature of the phenomenon in a larger scope than many a true scientific researcher participating in this work in one way or another. […]
The natural psychological, societal, and moral world-view is a product of man’s developmental process within a society, under the constant influence of his innate traits. No person can develop without being influenced by other people and their personalities, or by the values imbued by his civilization and his moral and religious traditions. That is why his world-view can be neither universal nor true.
It is thus significant that the main values of this human world-view of nature indicate basic similarities in spite of great spans of time, race, and civilization. It is thus suggested that the “human world view” derives from the nature of our species and the natural experience of human societies which have achieved a certain necessary level of civilization.
Refinements based on literary values or philosophical and moral reflections do indicate some differences, but generally speaking, they tend to bring together the natural conceptual language of various civilizations and eras.
People with a “humanistic” education may have the impression that they have achieved wisdom, but here we approach a problem; we must ask the following question: Even if the natural world-view has been refined, does it mirror reality with sufficient reliability? Or does it only mirror our species’ perception? To what extent can we depend upon it as a basis for decision making in the individual, societal, and political spheres of life?
Experience teaches us, first of all, that this natural world-view has permanent and characteristic tendencies toward deformation dictated by our instinctive and emotional features. Secondly, our work exposes us to many phenomena that cannot be understood and described by natural language alone.
Considering the most important reality deforming tendency, we notice that those emotional features which are a natural component of the human personality are never completely appropriate to the reality being experienced. This results both from our instinct and from our conditioning of upbringing.
This is why the best traditions of philosophical and religious thought have counseled subduing the emotions in order to achieve a more accurate view of reality.
Another problem is the fact that our natural world-view is generally characterized by a tendency to endow our opinions with moral judgments, often so negative as to represent outrage. This appeals to tendencies which are deeply rooted in human nature and social customs.
We often meet with sensible people endowed with a well-developed natural world-view as regards psychological, societal, and moral aspects, frequently refined via literary influences, religious deliberations, and philosophical reflections. Such persons have a pronounced tendency to overrate the values of their world-view. They do not take into account the fact that their system can be also erroneous since it is insufficiently objective.
Let us call such an attitude the egotism of the natural world-view. To date, it has been the least pernicious type of egotism, being merely an overestimation of that method of comprehension containing the eternal values of human experience.
Today, however, the world is being jeopardized by a phenomenon that cannot be understood and described by means of such a natural conceptual language; this kind of egotism thus becomes a dangerous factor stifling the possibility of some counteractive measures.
Developing and popularizing the objective psychological world-view could thus significantly expand the scope of dealing with evil via sensible action and pinpointed countermeasures.
Ever since ancient times, philosophers and religious thinkers representing various attitudes in different cultures have been searching for the truth as regards moral values, attempting to find criteria for what is right, what constitutes good advice. They described the virtues of human character and suggested these be acquired.
They created a heritage … which contains centuries of experience and reflections. In spite of the obvious differences among attitudes, the similarity or complementarity of the conclusions reached by famous ancients are striking, even though they worked in widely divergent times and places. After all, whatever is valuable is conditioned and caused by the laws of nature acting upon the personalities of both individual human beings and collective societies.
It is equally thought-provoking, however, to see how relatively little has been said about the opposite side of the coin; the nature, causes, and genesis of evil. These matters are usually cloaked behind the above generalized conclusions with a certain amount of secrecy. Such a state of affairs can be partially ascribed to the social conditions and historical circumstances under which these thinkers worked.
Their modus operandi may have been dictated at least in part by personal fate, inherited traditions, or even prudishness. After all, justice and virtue are the opposites of force and perversity, the same applies to truthfulness vs. lies, similarly like health is the opposite of an illness.
The character and genesis of evil thus remained hidden in discreet shadows, leaving it to playwrights to deal with the subject in their highly expressive language, but that did not reach the primeval source of the phenomena. A certain cognitive space thus remains uninvestigated, a thicket of moral questions which resists understanding and philosophical generalizations. […]
From time immemorial, man has dreamed of a life in which his efforts to accumulate benefits can be punctuated by rest during which time he enjoys those benefits. He learned how to domesticate animals in order to accumulate more benefits, and when that no longer met his needs, he learned to enslave other human beings simply because he was more powerful and could do it.
Dreams of a happy life of “more accumulated benefits” to be enjoyed, and more leisure time in which to enjoy them, thus gave rise to force over others, a force which depraves the mind of its user. That is why man’s dreams of happiness have not come true throughout history: the hedonistic view of “happiness” contains the seeds of misery. Hedonism, the pursuit of the accumulation of benefits for the sole purpose of self-enjoyment, feeds the eternal cycle where good times lead to bad times.
During good times, people lose sight of the need for thinking, introspection, knowledge of others, and an understanding of life. When things are “good,” people ask themselves whether it is worth it to ponder human nature and flaws in the personality (one’s own, or that of another).
In good times, entire generations can grow up with no understanding of the creative meaning of suffering since they have never experienced it themselves. When all the joys of life are there for the taking, mental effort to understand science and the laws of nature – to acquire knowledge that may not be directly related to accumulating stuff – seems like pointless labor. Being “healthy minded,” and positive – a good sport with never a discouraging word – is seen as a good thing, and anyone who predicts dire consequences as the result of such insouciance is labeled a wet-blanket or a killjoy.
Perception of the truth about reality, especially a real understanding of human nature in all it’s ranges and permutations, ceases to be a virtue to be acquired. Thoughtful doubters are “meddlers” who can’t leave well enough alone. “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.” This attitude leads to an impoverishment of psychological knowledge including the capacity to differentiate the properties of human nature and personality, and the ability to mold healthy minds creatively.
The cult of power thus supplants the mental and moral values so essential for maintaining peace by peaceful means. A nation’s enrichment or involution as regards its psychological world-view could be considered an indicator of whether its future be good or bad.
During good times, the search for the meaning of life, the truth of our reality, becomes uncomfortable because it reveals inconvenient factors. Unconscious elimination of data which are, or appear to be, inexpedient, begins to be habitual, a custom accepted by entire societies.
The result is that any thought processes based on such truncated information cannot bring correct conclusions. This then leads to substitution of convenient lies to the self to replace uncomfortable truths thereby approaching the boundaries of phenomena which should be viewed as psychopathological.
The facts are that “good times” for one group of people have been historically rooted in some injustice to other groups of people. In such a society, where all the hidden truths lurk below the surface like an iceberg, disaster is just around the corner.
It is clear that America has experienced a long period of “good times” for most of its existence, (no matter how many people they had to oppress or kill to do so), but particularly so during the 50 years preceding September 11, 2001.
During that 50 years, several generations of children were born, and the ones that were born at the beginning of that time, who have never known “bad times,” are now at an age where they want to “enjoy” the benefits they have accumulated. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen; 9/11 has changed everything so profoundly that it looks like there will be no enjoyment by anyone for a very, very long time.
How could this happen?
The answer is that a few generation’s worth of “good times” results in the above described societal deficits regarding psychological skills and moral criticism. Long periods of preoccupation with the self and “accumulating benefits” for the self, diminish the ability to accurately read the environment and other people. But the situation is more serious than just a generalized weakness of a society that could be “toughened up” with a little “hard times”.
The psychological features of each such crisis are unique to the culture and the time, but one common denominator that exists at the beginning of all such “bad times” is an exacerbation of society’s hysterical condition. The emotionalism dominating in individual, collective, and political life, combined with the subconscious selection and substitution of data in reasoning, lead to individual and national egotism.
The mania for taking offense at the drop of a hat provokes constant retaliation, taking advantage of hyperirritability and hypocriticality on the part of others. It is this feature, this hystericization of society, that enables pathological plotters, snake charmers, and other primitive deviants to act as essential factors in the processes of the origination of evil on a macro-social scale.
Who, exactly, are the “pathological plotters,” and what can motivate such individuals during times that are generally understood by others as “good?” If times are “good,” why does anyone want to plot and generate evil?
Well, certainly, the current US administration has come up with an answer: “They hate us because of our freedoms.” This is a prime example of “selection and substitution of data in reasoning” which is willingly and gladly accepted as an explanation by the public because of their deficits of psychological skills and moral criticism.
Lobaczewski: Present-day philosophers developing meta-ethics are trying to press forward in their understanding, and as they slip and slide along the elastic space leading to an analysis of the language of ethics, they contribute toward eliminating some imperfections and habits of natural conceptual language. Penetrating this ever-mysterious nucleus, however, is highly tempting to a scientist.[…]
If physicians behaved like ethicists and failed to study diseases because they were only interested in studying questions of health, there would be no such thing as modern medicine. […] Physicians were correct in their emphasis on studying disease above all in order to discover the causes and biological properties of illnesses, and then to understand the pathodynamics of their courses. A comprehension of the nature of a disease, and the course it runs, after all, enables the proper curative means to be elaborated and employed.[…]
The question thus arises: could some analogous modus operandi not be used to study the causes and genesis of other kinds of evil scourging human individuals, families, societies? Experience has taught the author that evil is similar to disease in nature, although possibly more complex and elusive to our understanding. […]
Parallel to the traditional approach, problems commonly perceived to be moral may also be treated on the basis of data provided by biology, medicine, and psychology, as the factors of this kind are simultaneously present in the question as a whole. Experience teaches us that a comprehension of the essence and genesis of evil generally make use of data from these areas. […]
Philosophical thought may have engendered all the scientific disciplines, but the latter did not mature until they became independent, based on detailed data and a relationship to other disciplines supplying such data.
Encouraged by the often “coincidental” discovery of these naturalistic aspects of evil, the author initiated the methodology of medicine; a clinical psychologist and medical co-worker by profession, he had such tendencies anyway. As is the case with physicians and disease, he took the risks of close contact with evil and suffered the consequences. His purpose was to ascertain the possibilities of understanding the nature of evil, its etiological factors and to track its pathodynamics.[…]
A new discipline thus arose: Ponerology. The process of the genesis of evil was called, correspondingly, “ponerogenesis.” […] Considerable moral, intellectual, and practical advantages can be gleaned from an understanding of the genesis of Evil thanks to the objectivity required to study it dispassionately. The human heritage of ethics is not destroyed by taking such an approach: it is actually strengthened because the scientific method can be utilized to confirm the basic values of moral teachings.
Understanding the nature of macro-social pathology helps us to find a healthy attitude and thus protects our minds from being controlled or poisoned by the diseased contents and influence of their propaganda.
We can only conquer this huge, contagious social cancer if we comprehend its essence and its etiological causes.
Such an understanding of the nature of the phenomena leads to the logical conclusion that the measures for healing and reordering the world today should be completely different from the ones heretofore used for solving international conflicts. It is also true that, merely having the knowledge and awareness of the phenomena of the genesis of macro-social Evil can begin healing individual humans and help their minds regain harmony. […]
Lobaczewski discusses the fact that “bad times,” seem to have a historical “purpose.” It seems that suffering during times of crisis lead to mental activity aimed at solving or ending the suffering. The bitterness of loss invariably leads to a regeneration of values and empathy.
Lobaczewski: When bad times arrive and people are overwhelmed by an excess of evil, they must gather all their physical and mental strength to fight for existence and protect human reason. The search for some way out of difficulties and dangers rekindles long-buried powers or discretion.
Such people have the initial tendency to rely on force in order to counteract the threat; they may, for instance, become “trigger happy” or dependent upon armies. Slowly and laboriously, however, they discover the advantages conferred by mental effort; improved understanding of psychological situations in particular, better differentiation of human characters and personalities, and finally, comprehension of one’s adversaries.
During such times, virtues which former generations relegated to literary motifs regain their real and useful substance and become prized for their value. A wise person capable of furnishing sound advice is highly respected.
It seems that there have been many such “bad times” in the course of human history, and it was during such times that the great systems of ethics were developed. Unfortunately, during “good times,” nobody wants to hear about it. They want to “enjoy” things, to have pleasure and pleasant experiences, and so any literature that relates to such times is lost, forgotten, suppressed, or otherwise ignored. This leads to further debasing of the intellectual currency and opens the gap for bad times to come once again.
If a collection were to be made of all the books that describe the horrors of wars, the cruelties of revolutions, and the bloody deeds of political leaders and systems, most people would avoid such a library. In such a library, ancient works would be found alongside books by contemporary historians and reporters.
The documentary evidence on German extermination and concentration camps, complete with dry statistical data, describing the well-organized “labor” of the destruction of human life, would be seen to use a properly calm language, and would provide the basis for acknowledging the nature of Evil.
The autobiography of Rudolf Hess, the commander of camps in Osweicim (Auschwitz) and Brzezinka, (Birkenau) is a classic example of how an intelligent psychopath thinks and feels.
Our library of death would include works on philosophy discussing the social and moral aspects of the genesis of Evil, while using history to partially justify the blood-drenched “solutions”.
The library would show to the alert reader a sort of evolution from primitive attitudes, that it is alright to enslave and murder vanquished peoples, to the present day moralizing which declares that such behavior is barbaric and worthy of condemnation.
However, such a library would be missing one crucial tome: there would not be a single work offering a sufficient explanation of the causes and processes whereby such historical dramas originate, of how and why human beings periodically degenerate into bloodthirsty madness.
The old questions would remain unanswered: what made this happen? Does everyone carry the seeds of crime within, or only some of us? No matter how faithful to the events, nor how psychologically accurate the books that are available may be, they cannot answer those questions nor can they fully explain the origin of Evil.
Thus, humanity is at a great disadvantage because without a fully scientific explanation of the origins of Evil, there is no possibility of the development of sufficiently effective principles for counteracting Evil.
The best literary description of a disease cannot produce an understanding of its essential etiology, and can thus furnish no principles for treatment. In the same way, descriptions of historical tragedies are incapable of elaborating effective measures for counteracting the genesis, existence, or spread of Evil.
In using natural language to discuss psychological, social and moral concepts, we find that we can only produce an approximation, which leads to a nagging suspicion of helplessness.
Our ordinary system of concepts are not invested with the necessary factual content – scientific observations about Evil – which would permit comprehension of the quality of the many factors (particularly the psychological ones) which are active before and during the birth of inhumanly cruel times.
Nevertheless, the authors of some of the books that we would find in our Library of Evil took great care to infuse their words with the proper precision as though they were hoping that someone, at some time, would use their records to explain what they, themselves, could not explain even in the best literary language.
Most human beings are horrified by such literature. Hedonistic societies have the strong tendency to encourage escape into ignorance or naive doctrines. Some people even feel contempt for the suffering of others.
It is true that, in tracking the behavioral mechanisms of the genesis of Evil, one must keep both abhorrence and fear under control, submit to a passion for science, and develop the calm outlook needed in natural history.
This book aims to take the reader by the hand into a world beyond the concepts and imaginings he has trusted and used since childhood. This is necessary due to the problems our world presently faces, things we can no longer ignore, or ignore only at the peril of all humanity.
We must realize that we cannot possibly distinguish the path to nuclear catastrophe from the path to creative dedication unless we step beyond the subjective world of well-known concepts, and we must also realize that this subjective world was chosen for us by powerful forces against which our nostalgia for homey, human ideas about warmth and safety is no match.
Moral evil and psychobiological evil are interlinked via so many causal relationships and mutual influences that they can only be separated by means of abstraction. However, the ability to distinguish them qualitatively protects us from moralizing interpretations that so easily can poison the human mind in an insidious way.
Macro-social phenomena of Evil, which constitute the most important object of this book, appear to be subjected to the same laws of nature operating within human beings on individual or small-group levels. The role of persons with various psychological defects and anomalies of a clinically low level appear to be a perennial characteristic of such phenomena.
In the macro-social phenomenon where Evil runs rampant, “Pathocracy,” a certain hereditary anomaly isolated as “essential psychopathy” is catalytically and causatively essential for the genesis and survival of such a State.[…]
This last remark is the key to “grand conspiracies” that many are convinced cannot exist. Dr. Lobaczewski discusses the kinds of individuals that form a “Pathocracy,” or “psychopathic government,” and further, he elaborates details about psychopaths based on his studies and the studies of those with whom he was associated, that have never been openly discussed as far as I can tell after reading many thousands of pages of material on the subject generated in the West. Dr. Lobaczewski, on the other hand, undertook his studies “in the belly of the beast,” so to say, with live “specimens”. The value of such a study cannot be overstated.
Lobaczewski: Pathological processes have historically had a profound influence upon human society at large due to the fact that many individuals with deformed characters have played outstanding roles in the formation of social constructs. It is helpful to have some background on this. Dr. Lobaczewski writes:
Brain tissue is very limited in its regenerative ability. If it is damaged and the change subsequently heals, a process of rehabilitation takes place thanks to which the neighboring healthy tissue takes over the function of the damaged portion. This substitution is never quite perfect thus some deficits as regards skill and proper psychological processes can be detected, even in cases of very small damage, by using the appropriate tests. […]
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