A Science on The Nature of Evil adjusted for Political Purposes
Andrew M. Lobaczewski
with commentary and additional quoted material
by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
This article is a two-parter. I should notify the reader that the really good stuff is in the second part, so don’t skip it! Pathocracy is a disease of great social movements followed by entire societies, nations, and empires. In the course of human history, it has affected social, political, and religious movements as well as the accompanying ideologies… and turned them into caricatures of themselves…. This occurred as a result of the … participation of pathological agents in a pathodynamically similar process. That explains why all the pathocracies of the world are, and have been, so similar in their essential properties.
…Identifying these phenomena through history and properly qualifying them according to their true nature and contents – not according to the ideology in question, which succumbed to the process of caricaturization – is a job for historians. […]
The actions of [pathocracy] affect an entire society, starting with the leaders and infiltrating every town, business, and institution. The pathological social structure gradually covers the entire country creating a “new class” within that nation.
This privileged class [of pathocrats] feels permanently threatened by the “others”, i.e. by the majority of normal people. Neither do the pathocrats entertain any illusions about their personal fate should there be a return to the system of normal man. [Andrew M. Lobaczewski Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes]
The word “psychopath” generally evokes images of the barely restrained – yet surprisingly urbane – Dr. Hannibal Lecter of “Silence of the Lambs” fame. I will admit that this was the image that came to my mind whenever I heard the word. But I was wrong, and I was to learn this lesson quite painfully by direct experience.
The exact details are chronicled elsewhere; what is important is that this experience was probably one of the most painful and instructive episodes of my life and it enabled me to overcome a block in my awareness of the world around me and those who inhabit it.
Regarding blocks to awareness, I need to state for the record that I have spent 30 years studying psychology, history, culture, religion, myth and the so-called paranormal. I also have worked for many years with hypnotherapy – which gave me a very good mechanical knowledge of how the mind/brain of the human being operates at very deep levels.
But even so, I was still operating with certain beliefs firmly in place that were shattered by my research into psychopathy. I realized that there was a certain set of ideas that I held about human beings that were sacrosanct. I even wrote about this once in the following way:
…my work has shown me that the vast majority of people want to do good, to experience good things, think good thoughts, and make decisions with good results. And they try with all their might to do so! With the majority of people having this internal desire, why the Hell isn’t it happening?
I was naïve, I admit. There were many things I did not know that I have learned since I penned those words. But even at that time I was aware of how our own minds can be used to deceive us.
Now, what beliefs did I hold that made me a victim of a psychopath? The first and most obvious one is that I truly believed that deep inside, all people are basically “good” and that they “want to do good, to experience good things, think good thoughts, and make decisions with good results.
And they try with all their might to do so…”
As it happens, this is not true as I – and everyone involved in our working group – learned to our sorrow, as they say. But we also learned to our edification. In order to come to some understanding of exactly what kind of human being could do the things that were done to me (and others close to me), and why they might be motivated – even driven – to behave this way, we began to research the psychology literature for clues because we needed to understand for our own peace of mind.
If there is a psychological theory that can explain vicious and harmful behavior, it helps very much for the victim of such acts to have this information so that they do not have to spend all their time feeling hurt or angry. And certainly, if there is a psychological theory that helps a person to find what kind of words or deeds can bridge the chasm between people, to heal misunderstandings, that is also a worthy goal. It was from such a perspective that we began our extensive work on the subjects of narcissism which then led to the study of psychopathy.
Of course, we didn’t start out with such a “diagnosis” or label for what we were witnessing. We started out with observations and searched the literature for clues, for profiles, for anything that would help us to understand the inner world of a human being – actually a group of human beings – who seemed to be utterly depraved and unlike anything we had ever encountered before.
Imagine – if you can – not having a conscience, none at all, no feelings of guilt or remorse no matter what you do, no limiting sense of concern for the well-being of strangers, friends, or even family members. Imagine no struggles with shame, not a single one in your whole life, no matter what kind of selfish, lazy, harmful, or immoral action you had taken.
And pretend that the concept of responsibility is unknown to you, except as a burden others seem to accept without question, like gullible fools.
Now add to this strange fantasy the ability to conceal from other people that your psychological makeup is radically different from theirs. Since everyone simply assumes that conscience is universal among human beings, hiding the fact that you are conscience-free is nearly effortless.
You are not held back from any of your desires by guilt or shame, and you are never confronted by others for your cold-bloodedness. The ice water in your veins is so bizarre, so completely outside of their personal experience, that they seldom even guess at your condition.
In other words, you are completely free of internal restraints, and your unhampered liberty to do just as you please, with no pangs of conscience, is conveniently invisible to the world.
You can do anything at all, and still your strange advantage over the majority of people, who are kept in line by their consciences will most likely remain undiscovered.
How will you live your life?
What will you do with your huge and secret advantage, and with the corresponding handicap of other people (conscience)?
The answer will depend largely on just what your desires happen to be, because people are not all the same.
Even the profoundly unscrupulous are not all the same. Some people – whether they have a conscience or not – favor the ease of inertia, while others are filled with dreams and wild ambitions. Some human beings are brilliant and talented, some are dull-witted, and most, conscience or not, are somewhere in between. There are violent people and nonviolent ones, individuals who are motivated by blood lust and those who have no such appetites. […]
Provided you are not forcibly stopped, you can do anything at all.
If you are born at the right time, with some access to family fortune, and you have a special talent for whipping up other people’s hatred and sense of deprivation, you can arrange to kill large numbers of unsuspecting people. With enough money, you can accomplish this from far away, and you can sit back safely and watch in satisfaction. […]
Crazy and frightening – and real, in about 4 percent of the population….
The prevalence rate for anorexic eating disorders is estimated a 3.43 percent, deemed to be nearly epidemic, and yet this figure is a fraction lower than the rate for antisocial personality. The high-profile disorders classed as schizophrenia occur in only about 1 percent of [the population] – a mere quarter of the rate of antisocial personality – and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that the rate of colon cancer in the United States, considered “alarmingly high,” is about 40 per 100,000 – one hundred times lower than the rate of antisocial personality.
The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound effect on the rest of us who must live on this planet, too, even those of us who have not been clinically traumatized.
The individuals who constitute this 4 percent drain our relationships, our bank accounts, our accomplishments, our self-esteem, our very peace on earth.
Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy – murderers, serial killers, mass murderers – people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system.
We are not commonly aware of, nor do we usually identify, the larger number of nonviolent sociopaths among us, people who often are not blatant lawbreakers, and against whom our formal legal system provides little defense.
Most of us would not imagine any correspondence between conceiving an ethnic genocide and, say, guiltlessly lying to one’s boss about a coworker. But the psychological correspondence is not only there; it is chilling. Simple and profound, the link is the absence of the inner mechanism that beats up on us, emotionally speaking, when we make a choice we view as immoral, unethical, neglectful, or selfish.
Most of us feel mildly guilty if we eat the last piece of cake in the kitchen, let alone what we would feel if we intentionally and methodically set about to hurt another person.
Those who have no conscience at all are a group unto themselves, whether they be homicidal tyrants or merely ruthless social snipers.
The presence or absence of conscience is a deep human division, arguably more significant than intelligence, race, or even gender.
What differentiates a sociopath who lives off the labors of others from one who occasionally robs convenience stores, or from one who is a contemporary robber baron – or what makes the difference betwen an ordinary bully and a sociopathic murderer – is nothing more than social status, drive, intellect, blood lust, or simple opportunity.
What distinguishes all of these people from the rest of us is an utterly empty hole in the psyche, where there should be the most evolved of all humanizing functions. [Martha StoutThe Sociopath Next Door] (highly recommended)
We did not have the advantage of Dr. Stout’s book at the beginning of our research project. We did, of course, have Hare and Cleckley and Guggenbuhl-Craig and others.
There are still more that have appeared in the past couple of years in response to the questions being formulated by many psychologists and psychiatrists about the state of our world and the possibility that there is some essential difference between such individuals as George W. Bush and many so-called Neocons, and the rest of us.
Dr. Stout’s book has one of the longest explanations as to why none of her examples resemble any actual persons that I have ever read. And then, in a very early chapter, she describes a “composite” case where the subject spent his childhood blowing up frogs with fire-crackers. It is widely known that George W. Bush did this, so one naturally wonders…
In any event, even without Dr. Stout’s work, at the time we were studying the matter, we realized that what we were learning was very important to everyone because as the data was assembled, we saw that the clues, the profiles, revealed that the issues we were facing were faced by everyone at one time or another, to one extent or another.
We also began to realize that the profiles that emerged also describe rather accurately many individuals who seek positions of power in fields of authority, most particularly politics and commerce. That’s really not so surprising an idea, but it honestly hadn’t occurred to us until we saw the patterns and recognized them in the behaviors of numerous historical figures, and lately including George W. Bush and members of his administration.
Current day statistics tell us that there are more psychologically sick people than healthy ones. If you take a sampling of individuals in any given field, you are likely to find that a significant number of them display pathological symptoms to one extent or another. Politics is no exception, and by its very nature, would tend to attract more of the pathological “dominator types” than other fields.
That is only logical, and we began to realize that it was not only logical, it was horrifyingly accurate; horrifying because pathology among people in power can have disastrous effects on all of the people under the control of such pathological individuals.
And so, we decided to write about this subject and publish it on the Internet. As the material went up, letters from our readers began to come in thanking us for putting a name to what was happening to them in their personal lives as well as helping them to understand what was happening in a world that seems to have gone completely mad.
We began to think that it was an epidemic and in a certain sense, we were right; just not in the way we thought. If an individual with a highly contagious illness works in a job that puts them in contact with the public, an epidemic is the result. In the same way, if an individual in a position of political power is a psychopath, he or she can create an epidemic of psychopathology in people who are not, essentially, psychopathic.
Our ideas along this line were soon to receive confirmation from an unexpected source. I received an email from a Polish psychologist who wrote as follows:
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have got your Special Research Project on psychopathy by my computer. You are doing a most important and valuable work for the future of nations.[…]
I am a very aged clinical psychologist. Forty years ago I took part in a secret investigation of the real nature and psychopathology of the macro-social phenomenon called “Communism”. The other researchers were the scientists of the previous generation who are now passed away.
The profound study of the nature psychopathy, which played the essential and inspirational part in this macro-social psychopathologic phenomenon, and distinguishing it from other mental anomalies, appeared to be the necessary preparation for understanding the entire nature of the phenomenon.
The large part of the work, you are doing now, was done in those times. …
I am able to provide you with a most valuable scientific document, useful for your purposes. It is my book “POLITICAL PONEROLOGY – A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes”. You may also find copy of this book in the Library of Congress and in some university and public libraries in the USA.
Be so kind and contact me so that I may mail a copy to you.
Very truly yours!
Andrew M. £obaczewski
I promptly wrote a reply. A couple of weeks later the manuscript arrived in the mail. As I read, I realized that what I was holding in my hand was essentially a chronicle of a descent into hell, transformation, and triumphant return to the world with knowledge of that hell that was priceless for the rest of us, particularly in this day and time when it seems evident that a similar hell is enveloping the planet.
The risks that were taken by the group of scientists that did the research on which this book is based are beyond the comprehension of most of us. Many of them were young, just starting in their careers when the Nazis began to stride in their hundred league jackboots across Europe.
These researchers lived through that, and then when the Nazis were driven out and replaced by the Communists under the heel of Stalin, they faced years of oppression the likes of which those of us today who are choosing to take a stand against the Bush Reich cannot even imagine.
And so, since they were there, and they lived through it and brought back information to the rest of us, it may well save our lives to have a map to guide us in the falling darkness. It is in this context that I would like to bring up how Dr. Lobczewski discusses the value of the close and clinical study of evil in his book before we actually turn to the subject of Ponerology:
This new science is incalculably rich in casuist detail… It contains knowledge and a description of the phenomenon in the categories of the natural world-view, correspondingly modified in accordance with the need to understand [many] matters…
The development of this familiarity with the phenomenon is accompanied by development of communicative language, by means of which society can stay informed and issue warnings of danger. A third language thus appears alongside the ideological doubletalk … in part, it borrows names used by the official ideology in their transformed modified meanings.
In part, this language operates with words borrowed from still more lively circulating jokes. In spite of its strangeness, this language becomes a useful means of communication and plays a part in regenerating societal links. …
However, in spite of efforts on the part of literati and journalists, this language remains only communicative inside; it becomes hermetic outside the scope of the phenomenon, incomprehensible to people lacking the appropriate personal experience. […]
This new science, expressed in language derived from a deviant reality, is something foreign to people who wish to understand this macro-social phenomenon but think in the categories of the countries of normal man. Attempts to understand this language produce a certain feeling of helplessness which gives rise to the tendency of creating ones own doctrines, built from concepts of one’s own world and a certain amount of appropriately co-opted pathocratic propaganda material.
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