SC: If we find more and more manipulators and perverse people at all levels, is it because our society favours narcissists and individualists?
Henry: Isn't that what we see with the values of the neoliberals? The entire idea of capitalism is a narcissistic idea. In the United States, which is the model that is held up to the rest of the world, we are told "anyone can become president". It is the myth of individual success. "Look out for Number 1." "If only you work hard enough, you, too, can become rich and successful." "Failure is your own fault."
Faced with this mythology, with this ideology, psychopaths are better prepared to succeed than people of conscience because they have no ethical or moral sensitivities that will put a brake on their actions. They are quite willing to step on anyone necessary to get to the top: backstabbing, lying, spreading stories about their rivals, are fine, with never a moment lost in remorse.
The pushing of neoliberalism on the rest of the world is also a way to ponerize greater portions of the globe. It is a pathological ideology hiding behind an economic pseudo-science.
SC: Are we making a mistake when we imagine that the suffering created by Israel in Palestine and the US in Afghanistan and Iraq would end the day that Bush or Olmert, or any individual, leave power? That the causes are systemic and are even impervious to changes of political party and government?
Henry: Yes. Look at the United States. The two parties are mirror images of each other. To preserve the image of democracy, both are needed, both serve the same masters. But there are no leaders in the US who are standing up and speaking about the genocide of the Palestinians. The deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are passed over in silence. There is no room for conscience in the US government, in either party, and the control of the press, not to mention other means such as blackmail and threats, ensure that those who might speak up, don't.
Israel is a state founded upon a great lie: that some supreme being declared a small group of people to be "his chosen people" and gave them a bit of real estate in the Middle East thousands of years ago. The great lie of Israel and Judaism is also the foundational lie of Christianity and Islam, the two other monotheistic religions. So we have a great part of the world living since thousands of years with belief systems that are patently preposterous - if the teachings are taken literally and not seen as distorted expressions of some greater, underlying spiritual truth.
How is changing any individual player in this system going to change a dynamic that has been unfolding over thousands of years? The pathocratic structure described by Łobaczewski applies not only to governments, but also to other groups and organizations: anywhere that power accrues. So religious organizations and liberation movements can become ponerized, and what, at its origin, may well have been a tool of liberation becomes a tool of enslavement.
If, as Łobaczewski suggests, the essential psychopaths recognize each other and are able to work together to achieve common aims for their "para-specific species", as opposed to our interests, then we even have a mechanism for explaining a control structure that extends back in time, back into the mists when the first psychopaths set up the first pathocracy. All of a sudden, theories which until now have been belittled as "conspiracy theories" can be looked at in a new light, with a new means of explaining how they could exist. This, I think, is a very important area for further research.
Another question that can be asked is the following: what is the effect on the personality of believing a lie? Is there a pathology that has as its basis accepting a fundamental lie as the cornerstone of a belief system? There have been studies done on "belief" and the character of true believers. But what if the original error is not so much belief as belief in a lie? Is any belief a belief in a lie because our knowledge is imperfect, and once we become fixed on "believing" no matter what, does our personality become distorted?
But to come back to your question, Israel appears to have a special place in the world today. It can ignore international law and not worry it will be called to account. It can unleash brutal attacks on the Palestinians and yet it is always portrayed as the victim - a typical psychopathic tactic. Attacks against Jews across the globe are catalogued and denounced while the same acts committed against Arabs and Moslems are acceptable - another psychopathic trait. We have speculated in other books we have published, such as 911: The Ultimate Truth, that the psychopaths at the top of the pyramid have chosen to use the Jews for a special role in unleashing a great culling of the human population. The idea that there is a great Jewish conspiracy is the cover story put out by the psychopathic pathocrats to cover their own plans. There is a conspiracy, but it isn't Jewish; it is pathological.
SC: Can things only get worse because macrosocial Evil is the same Evil that has been affecting humanity since of the dawn of time? An evil somehow inherent in human nature before which we are impotent?
Henry: The evil is not inherent in human nature - at least not in normal humans who have been educated properly. This issue is one of the most important points made by Łobaczewski in his analysis of the pathocratic system. This systemic evil comes from a small group of people who have no conscience, either because they were born that way, that is, they are genetic psychopaths, or because, due to injuries when young or due to upbringing, their conscience died or withered away.
For example, Łobaczewski thinks that Stalin was a characteropath. That is, he was not born a psychopath, but the pathological traits developed due to injuries when he was young. His type of pathology can be identified. So in fact Łobaczewski's research is liberating because it frees us from the idea that these horrible acts of evil are part of normal "human nature". These individuals are like disease pathogens in a body - like a cancer on society, or like leprosy. Certainly, a body can be eaten up and destroyed by the disease, but it is the disease doing it, not the body itself.
We won't really know what human nature is until the pathocratic influence is removed and a truly human society, that is, one led by and with values in accordance with our highest nature, our conscience, is able to be founded.
SC: We have seen the ease with which a George Bush or a Tony Blair are able to lie. They don't even bat an eye, lying without any shame. Do you think liars like Bush and Blair, who present the traits of the narcissist and the manipulator, are born perverse/pathological?
Henry: We are not psychologists, and we are not going to give any diagnosis of individuals. We note, however, that there have been stories that Bush used to blow up frogs with firecrackers when he was a kid. He is also completely irresponsible. Nothing is ever his fault. Blair has the smooth charm that is remarked upon so frequently by psychologists researching the question of psychopathy. They are, as far as I am concerned, pathological figures. But what is important is the system, the pathocratic system. Individuals perform different roles in the system according to type.
Are these traits intrinsic to the individual and can they be corrected?
Henry: Correction depends on many variables.. Before we can think about correcting these abnormalities, we need to find ways of protecting ourselves from their influence. That means first admitting that such people exist and are found in positions of power, and second, learning to recognize the signs of their manipulations and the pathological traits of our own thinking in order to free ourselves from their influence.
Laura: As Henry says, there are many variables. When speaking of psychopaths, specifically, the general consensus today is that they are not only incurable, they are un-treatable.
The first problem is that if you want to treat a problem, you have to have a patient. The word patient comes from Latin, and means "to suffer." A patient, by definition, is someone who is suffering and seeks treatment.
Psychopaths do not experience distress and do not think that anything is wrong with them, they do not suffer stress or neuroses, and do not seek out treatment voluntarily. They do not consider their attitudes and behavior to be at all wrong, and do not benefit from the many treatment programs that have been set up to help them "develop empathy" and interpersonal skills. The psychopath recognizes no flaw in his psyche, no need for change. They will, however, participate in treatment programs in prisons in order to gain their release.
When the recidivism rate of psychopaths and other offenders who had been in treatment was examined, it was found that the rate of general recidivism was equally high in the treated and untreated group, 87% and 90% respectively, however the rate of violent recidivism was significantly higher in the treated group than the untreated group; 77% and 55% respectively. In contrast, the treated non-psychopaths had significantly lower rates of general and violent recidivism; 44% and 22% respectively, than did untreated psychopaths, 58% and 39%. So it seems that treatment programs work for non-psychopaths, but actually make true psychopaths worse.
A Canadian journalist reporting on this study wrote: "After their release, it was found that those who had scored highest in terms of 'good treatment behaviour' and who had the highest "empathy" scores were the ones who were more likely to reoffend after release."
That's the psychopath for you: they can fake anything to get what they want.
The question is: how can therapy make someone worse? Robert Hare's conjecture is that group therapy and insight-oriented therapy actually help psychopaths to develop better ways of manipulating, deceiving and using people but do nothing to help them understand themselves.
Freud argued psychopaths are untreatable in psychotherapy precisely because having a conscience is a prerequisite for being able to use psychotherapy. It is the conscience, and the related capacity for concern for others, that drives the serious scrutiny of one's motives, which underlie one's behaviour. Yet psychopaths lack conscience and concern by definition.
SC: How can one tell if one is not himself a psychopath? That we haven't been influenced ourselves by the effects of their perversion/pathology while they occupy positions of power in an administration where we find ourselves - in a trade union, a political party or elsewhere?
Laura: As to the first part of your question, let me just say that it's not an unusual question - for a normal human - but by now you probably have figured out that if a person thinks they might have something "wrong" with them, they aren't a psychopath! Remember: The psychopath simply cannot conceive of anything being wrong with him or herself.
Henry: It is very possible - in fact, terrifyingly common - to become ponerized, as Łobaczewski puts it, that is, to become infected with this evil. It happens when you begin to accept pathological thinking as normal. We used the example of Madeleine Albright above. Look at professional sport, for another example. It is now accepted as normal that intimidation on the field is a legitimate part of a sport like football. We saw during the World Cup last year that Materazzi provoked Zidane ruthlessly during the final match. People think nothing of it. They accept it is part of the game today. However, such verbal violence has nothing to do with the game of football. It is only a part of the game because the world of professional sport, and by example, the world of sport as a whole, has become ponerized. What is pathological has become accepted as normal.
And as soon as one area is accepted, that infection spreads. When we begin to accept pathological forms of thought as our own, as normal, our ability to think degenerates.
SC: When you say there are about 6% of these perverse/pathological in the human population, how did you arrive at this number?
Henry: Łobaczewski's 6% comes from his analysis and that of the other members of the group with whom he was working. But that was for Poland. It is possible that the numbers differ from country to country depending upon their particular histories. If we look at North America or Australia, areas colonized to some extent by people either being forced to leave their homes, criminals, or adventurers, we can ask whether or not the prospect of conquering continents might not have appealed to certain types more than others. Does the history of the American west for example, and the genocide of the indigenous peoples, not point to a higher incidence of psychopathy? Perhaps the level in the United States is higher today because of it.
Laura: A recent study of a university population suggested that perhaps 5% or more of this sample might be deemed psychopathic. This was a careful study designed to ferret out psychopaths that are not criminal but are, instead, successful individuals within the community. This study also demonstrated that psychopathy does occur in the community and at what might be a higher than expected rate; and psychopathy appears to have little overlap with personality disorders aside from Antisocial Personality Disorder. Obviously, work needs to be done in order to understand what factors differentiate the law abiding (although not moral-abiding) psychopath from the law-breaking psychopath. This highlights one of the major problems of the research to date which has focused primarily on forensic samples.
SC: Does it include men and women in general?
Laura: Although the vast majority of psychopaths are male, there are female psychopaths. The ratio is more than 1/10 males versus approximately 1/100 females according to one estimate.
SC: How did you establish that it was more frequent among men? This means that in the general population, almost one person in ten has tendencies, more or less strong - to create a climate of conflict?
Laura: This has been established as an average from various studies. As the study cited above, a university population (psychology students, by the way, which ought to give us pause!) gives a figure of 5% or more, we might think that it was the sample - people involved in studying psychology, an easy way to power over others - that gave such high numbers. On the other hand, this study may have netted individuals with psychopathic behaviors who were not necessarily true psychopaths. Of course, the figure could be higher in one place than another, higher in one profession than another, and so on. The one thing that needs to be kept in mind is that psychopaths, because of their nature, rise to the top in whatever milieu they find themselves. So do not imagine that they are down there, in the gutters of society, and that you will not encounter them or be affected by them.
SC: This percentage seems very low. Does it cover only the perverse who have a dominant position and who sow discord and disorder wherever they go?
Henry: It may seem low because in a ponerized society, many people become infected with the disease. They see what others are doing, and not being strong enough themselves to follow their own moral code, if that code differs from that of their neighbours, they follow the herd. These people are the support base for the status quo. They may not be psychopaths themselves, but they support and defend it.
Another aspect to maintaining the support base is the use of fear, from overt threats of imprisonment and torture to the kind of fear from being marked as different, as "opposing the president" and the like.
Laura: Also keep in mind the 12% of individuals who are susceptible to the influence and thinking style of the psychopaths. In the end, you have a total of 18% or more of any given population that seeks to subdue and control the rest. If you then consider that remainder, the 82%, and keep in mind the bell curve, at least 80% of the remainder will follow whoever is in charge. And since psychopaths have no limitations on what they can or will do to get to the top, the ones in charge are generally pathological. It is not power that corrupts, it is that corrupt individuals seek power.
SC: Conflict seems to be a form of food for this type of perverse/pathological personality. Because it permits them to project their aggression, their violence on others and avoid to put themselves into question?
Henry: You might say that, having no emotions of their own, they feed off of their power to stir up the emotions of others. They get a kick out of the power it gives them. It makes them feel superior to be "above" such emotional displays.
SC: Łobaczewski's analysis of lying is very powerful. When he demonstrates that the liar is always right, he is very convincing. There is in this a new matrices for understanding how psychopaths function. He explains very well this mechanism of the lie. The lie is their way of functioning and winning. I would like to know more about this mechanism of the lie and its effects. How does it work? Are these liars in all fields?
Henry: Lying is a very successful strategy because very few people think that there are hardcore liars in society who lie as a matter of course.
Think of a divorce or some other case before a judge and jury. Most of us will go into the proceedings with the idea that the truth is somewhere in the middle. The two opposing sides in a case will tell their stories, each embellishing their story a bit, each putting themselves in the best light, and the judge or jury will assume the truth is somewhere in the middle.
But what happens when one of the people is a liar and the other is a person telling the truth? The liar is at an advantage because the judge or jury will still expect that the truth is somewhere in the middle. So someone who is the victim of a liar and manipulator cannot come out ahead. Telling the truth cannot get that person 100% of the justice he or she deserves, while lying will always get the perpetrator something.
Daily life is like that trial. We are always going to give others the benefit of the doubt, if you are a moral person. The liar and manipulator will never do that and will use the good will of the person of conscience against him.
Lying is therefore always a winning strategy. That, in itself, can be an indicator that we are living in a pathological system!
Laura: When you consider the infantile internal structure of the psychopath, it's easier to understand the lying aspect. The psychopath doesn't lie in the way a normal person lies. Psychopathic lying is not mere deception, it is "creating reality" so that it conforms to the psychopath's wants.
Let me try to explain. The psychopathic reality exists by fiat: they declare things to be so and expect others to accept them. To them, these declarations represent what reality should be, or at least what they think others should accept as reality. "If I say it is so, why shouldn't people believe me?" Just as intelligence is merely an instrument used by the psychopath to fulfill his whims, "facts" are instruments to be used and abused in the same pursuit.
Psychopaths demonstrate an extremely distorted understanding of what we call facts. Normal humans really have difficulty conceiving of this because to us, facts are a basic part of our lives. We live by them, base our assessments and decisions on them. We establish facts, and then test things and establish more facts. When we debate, we start with facts and show how we derive our conclusions from those facts. When we perform such operations, we place value on those "facts" being true.
Psychopaths do not do that. Being devoid of real emotional depth, they have no attachment to the idea of "truth". But, because people project their own internal structure onto the psychopath, most do not understand this. Normal humans try to convince themselves that there is some other reason for this bizarre mental condition. When psychopaths do not deal with facts, we think they must have a good reason for believing what they say, whether through some misunderstood fact or perhaps even delusional thinking. It's hard to comprehend that they lie with such ease. When it becomes clear that the psychopath is lying, we conclude that they must be playing a game with us.
However, just as Cleckley wondered if psychopaths believe their pseudo-emotions are "real", it is difficult to know if they truly believe their pseudo-facts. The present declaration may contradict what they said a moment ago, but this means nothing to them. They make no attempt to deal with the contradiction because, for them, there is no contradiction. Remember, the psychopath cannot process abstractions such as space and time, and what they said a moment ago, under one set of influences, is now past, and therefore no longer exists. It is no longer relevant to the reality he wants to create in the minds of those around him.
In response to the idea that psychopaths actually come to believe there own lies, one can rightly point out: "There was a time when everyone, as far as we know, believed the sun revolved around the earth. That didn't make it so." But, if you ask a psychopath: "Are you saying at that time the sun did, in fact, revolve around the earth - and it was only in obedience to a change in what people believed that the earth came to revolve around the sun?" you will be ignored or accused of twisting the "facts." A normal human would naturally think that the psychopath's refusal to answer the question, their shift to attacking you for misrepresenting the facts and them, is a tacit admission that what they are saying is wrong. But you would be wrong about that. They go right on making declarations and pronouncements about what they are insisting is reality in the face of evidence to the contrary.
The psychopath is so completely self-centered that he thinks others should believe him simply because he says so. Even if he is aware that he is lying at first, his need to be right coupled with his inability to accept any self-critical ideas will convince him that he IS right, after all. He IS telling the truth. How dare these people question his good name! After all, he's the smartest guy he knows, so how could he be wrong?
The popular "you create your own reality" idea of the New Age is one example of how psychopathic thinking has permeated our society. The principle is: "If enough people believe something to be true, then what they believe is what reality IS." Part of psychopaths' special knowledge of normal humans is their observation that humans form beliefs based on what they view as facts. A psychopath becomes an expert at creating "facts" that cause normal people to form beliefs that benefit the psychopath.
Ron Suskind, former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, wrote:
"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend - but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.
"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"
They aren't really lying - they're creating "new realities." Nothing of what we call reality is real to them. When a normal human being talks about a chair, the reference is to a chair that sits there on its own legs. It's there whether anyone sees it or not, whether anyone mentions it or not, whether anyone "declares" it to be there or not. It has its own sovereign existence. But that is not so for the true psychopath. The psychopath with his/her infantile internal structure cannot comprehend that anything else exists on its own separate from them. It is only their acknowledgement that makes it real, and they only acknowledge what is significant to them in terms of what they want, what will make them feel good.
When a normal human demands that the declarations of the psychopath should be evaluated, the psychopath will declare that the one making such a demand has no integrity which really means that their position - the psychopath's declaration - is not being supported!
From the psychopathic point of view, the world is like a holodeck. They "declare" things into being. Everything is a hologram. They program the holograms. They interact with them in any way they choose. They have them under total control. When they decide to cancel a hologram, it vanishes.
A hologram is not supposed to think for itself. A hologram is not supposed to measure, evaluate, appraise, etc. Most importantly, a hologram is not supposed to critique its master.
When this does happen, they first chastise it to bring it back into line. If that doesn't work, they "vanish" it. And if they must kill it to do so, that's what happens.
Experience has shown no matter what we say, no matter what we point out, no matter how much evidence is given, it has no meaning for psychopaths. They have one goal: to fool us into classifying them as normal humans so they can continue to deceive us, control us and use us for their own power and glory because that is what makes them feel good.
SC: There is therefore a constant interaction; the perverse/pathological cannot dominate alone and need allies. Therefore he must form clans and unite them, offering advantages to those who serve his interests? Advantages that then tie them to them, keep them in their pockets? In other words, if the system is perverse, then everyone becomes perverse and all is lost?!
Henry: Yes, and no. There are inherent weaknesses in the pathocratic system. What it takes is time. Łobaczewski describes the dynamic in the Eastern countries under communism. The pathocrats are incapable of anything genuinely creative. They depend upon people of conscience for their creativity. Now, a society without creativity will eventually perish. When the major positions of power in that society, in government, in industry, in business are filled by pathocrats, the downward cycle begins.
At the same time, normal people begin to see the society for what it is and devise survival strategies. They begin to recognize that their leaders are not like them.
Unfortunately, as one society comes to its senses, there is another ideology masking another set - or even the same set - of deviants ready to take its place. When communism fell in the Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries, the capitalist pathocrats were ready and waiting to take the spoils, and even some of the communist pathocrats were able to find a comfortable new home in the "new" capitalist democracies.
The question is, has such a process already started in the US, which we would suggest is the centre of gravity for the pathocracy today. Given that the pathocrats seem driven by an agenda to reduce the population of the world by millions if not billions of people by war or other means, we have to ask if we will have time for this cycle to play out. We are not very optimistic.
But even if a particular expression of the pathocracy falls, the system itself remains in place, rearing its head elsewhere, in the new "centre".
SC: The example that goes in this direction is Iraq. Bush wanted war at any price. Bush lies and he wins. He finds allies of the same stripe as himself, like Blair and Berlusconi. The people who denounce their crimes and fight them lose. It seems to be a perfect example of what he is describing in his book. It is hard to believe sometimes how it is that there are so few people capable of seeing what is going on and able to denounce the consequences. Is it impossible to say no to these monsters?
Henry: How do you say "no" when the media is completely controlled by other pathocrats? You can take to the streets, as millions of people did before the invasion of Iraq, but that doesn't matter because the pathocratic political leaders really don't care what people think. They could care less if there are thousands or millions of people protesting their policies - they have the military and scary weapons at their disposal. The media, then, distorted the message of those who dissented and painted them as traitors. They are still painted as traitors four years on and after it has become plain as day that the war was wrong and that Bush and company lied on every point.
Yet the United States is still in Iraq and it is politically impossible to demand more than that future troop reduction should be "discussed".
So one issue is how many people, in such a controlled environment, see reality, and the second is in such a reality, how do people who do see the lies react and respond to bring about change?
The majority of people have had their consciences crushed, have accepted so many compromises, that they are incapable of thinking or feeling things correctly. They believe that there are countless numbers of Islamic fundamentalists ready to bomb their homes and schools, no matter how absurd that idea really is, and in spite of the fact that the majority of such bombings are false flag operations. The well established fact that intelligence agencies carry out bombings and then blame their opponents - it is impossible to argue that this type of thing is not regular practice - becomes less believable to people in the United States, the UK, and elsewhere, than the fairy tale that there are hundreds of Islamic fundamentalists ready to blow themselves up in the name of Allah!
Think back to what Łobaczewski writes about the befuddled thinking that occurs when someone is in the presence of a psychopath. Via the media, that befuddlement spreads beyond immediate personal contact and becomes a plague on society as a whole. Society itself becomes diseased.
And for those who are struggling to find their mental health, who see the lies, the force they are facing is so overwhelming that they may easily give up. The job appears too great.
Laura: Is it impossible to say "no" to these monsters? No. Difficult? Yes.
Those individuals who think that change can be effected via legal or political processes fail to understand that both the law and politics, by and large, are created and controlled by pathological types, and are set up for their benefit, not the benefit of the ordinary human being. So it is that law and politics are insufficient avenues for counteracting a pathological society that has been created by the efforts and influence of deviants.
Another important thing to remember in regards to seeking solutions via legal or political means is that the cunning of the pathological deviant is far superior to that of normal human beings. Most people are familiar with the idea of the exceptional cunning of the madman, but psychopathy, in its several varieties, has an additional element: the Mask of Sanity.
Recently we saw Cindy Sheehan wake up to the fact that the Democratic Party is just another ideology behind which psychopathy operates. She decamped and has now, as I understand it, decided that the 911 Truth Movement is the right place to be. I'm sorry to have to inform her that psychopaths are vectoring that show also. You didn't really think they would commit crimes like 911 and not cover their backsides by instigating and controlling a "truth movement," did you?
Again and again I receive letters from political action groups asking for money and support. I've given money and support and also written endless letters and emails telling them that their "political actions" aren't going to amount to a hill of beans if they do not factor psychopathy into the equation. They were all so sure that getting the Democrats back in control was going to change everything, and the fact is, nothing has changed. All that money and effort wasted. And now people are realizing it even though we have been saying it all along.
So, I'll say it again - and keep saying it - until the knowledge and awareness of pathological human beings is given the attention it deserves and becomes part of the general knowledge of all human beings, there is no way that things can be changed in any way that is effective and long-lasting. That is the first order of business and if half the people agitating for Truth or stopping the war or Bush or whatever would focus their efforts, time and money on exposing psychopathy, we might get somewhere.
In the end, again, the real problem is that the knowledge of psychopathy and how psychopaths rule the world has been effectively hidden and people do not have the adequate, nuanced knowledge they need to really make a change from the bottom up. Again and again, throughout history it has been "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
When you are dealing with psychopaths, you are dealing with the criminal mind and when such minds are in positions of absolute power - as they are today - there is nothing to restrain them - and nothing will restrain them, you can take that to the bank.
Bush (or, more precisely, his handlers) have almost absolute control of all the branches of government. You can notice this if you observe carefully that no matter what illegal thing Bush does, no one will really take him to task. All of the "scandals" that have come up, any one of which would have taken down any other administration, are just farces played out for the public, to distract them, to make them think that the democracy is still working.
There are only two things that can bring a psychopath under submission: 1) a bigger psychopath; 2) the non-violent, absolute refusal of all others to submit to their controls no matter the consequences. If every single normal person in the U.S. (and elsewhere) simply sat down and refused to lift a hand to further one single aim of the psychopathic agenda, en masse, if people refused to pay taxes, if soldiers refused to fight, if government workers and corporate drones refused to go to work, if doctors refused to treat psychopathic elites and their families, the whole system would grind to a screeching halt.
But that can only happen if the masses of people KNOW about psychopathy in all its horrible details. Only if they know that they are dealing with creatures that really aren't human can they have the understanding of what they must do. And only when they get miserable enough that the misery that the psychopath will inflict on them in the beginning of their resistance pales in comparison, will they have the will to do this. That, or the understanding of the world the psychopaths are creating for their children in which case love for the future of humanity will motivate them to resist.
SC: Did Chirac, after saying no for Iraq, make major concessions to Bush for fear of becoming the straw man? Do the perverse need straw men?
Henry: Imagine that you are a politician with a conscience facing a world dominated by people who are willing to use every trick in the book to retain power: blackmail, intimidation, threats. To what extent was the scandal in France over Chirac's finances while he was mayor of Paris used to bring him into line? We can only speculate.
We know that Bush was illegally spying on US citizens. Was he doing this to collect data that could be used to blackmail and intimidate opposition politicians or journalists who were asking too many questions? I think it would be naïve not to consider this possibility.
Laura: I sometimes joke that nowadays, you can probably figure out who the good guys are by who gets the worst press! But it really isn't that simple. We can't forget that the real war is between the Controlling Psychopathic Elite and Normal Humans. Do the perverse need straw men? Sure, it's part of the show that they all put on for the rest of us. Just as it is one of their tricks to create false flag attacks to direct hatred against those they wish to destroy, so is it entirely within their style of operation to play "good cop vs bad cop." That's Machiavelli 101.
SC: The dynamic you describe is also apparent in the use of the media. Journalists who uphold the tenets of the Tel Aviv-Washington Axis have complete freedom for supporting these wars. Are they, too, part of the monsters? Should we put these liars in the media among the 6%? How is it that the public doesn't see that they are impostors?
Henry: Once the system is in place, those who are morally weak will rally to defend it in exchange for personal privileges. Their self-interest makes them open to contagion. Therefore it is not necessary for every individual to be one of the many types listed by Łobaczewski. There are thousands of morally corrupt and weak individuals willing to do the bidding of those in power if it means fame and fortune or even just a decent living and being left alone.
Which is not to say that the media is free of psychopaths, characteropaths, or the other types delineated by Łobaczewski.
SC: To protect ourselves from evil, then, it seems that each of us must ask ourselves if we are in the presence of one of these twisted people who lie and are only out for their personal interest. But people can't believe that these perverse/pathological are people who feed on evil, who feed on conflicts. Your book describes this expertly: conflicts are their food; they love this conflict, they need this conflict to exist. A normal person cannot imagine that in society there are a certain number of people who cannot do other than feed on evil. Do you think that normal people sense that something is not right but they can't quite understand they are victims and that they suffer because of the lies and manipulations of the perverse/pathological?
Henry: Yes. But it takes someone with a strong character to stand for what he or she knows is right in the face of widespread social opposition. We also have the tendency to give others the benefit of the doubt because we project our own ways of thinking and behaving on them. If we are not aware that there are people who are either genetically incapable of empathy and feeling for another, or whose conscience has been crushed and destroyed because of their life experience, (and they cannot be fixed), and if we do not know how they function and manipulate, we will remain victims.
As someone who has been part of organizations and associations working for social change, you have probably seen the same dynamic play out. The good and sincere work of many can be destroyed by the actions of one person. That doesn't give good odds in bringing some sort of justice to the planet! Only when those who are psychologically normal come to understand that we have a natural predator, a group of people who view us as 'a para-specific variety', will they be open to learning about this human-like race.
Laura: If there is any work that is deserving of full time efforts and devotion for the sake of helping humanity in this present dark time, it is the study of psychopathy and propagation of that information as far and wide as possible. For anyone who wants to really do something, let's get the knowledge of social pathogens out to the people, let's learn how to identify them first, and then we can decide how to proceed from there.
SC: Normal people, those who have a conscience, work to find a compromise between the two. Would you say that being kindly towards them is a mistake because the perverse/pathological have no conscience whatsoever, are without scruples, and are not shy about taking positions of power, even if they are incompetent?
Henry: We talked about this earlier when we described society as a trial, with everyone looking for the truth somewhere in the middle. As long as there is some idea of compromise, the people of conscience will always lose. These psychological deviants have to be removed from any position of power over people of conscience, period. People must be made aware that such individuals exist and must learn how to spot them and their manipulations. The hard part is that one must also struggle against those tendencies to mercy and kindness in oneself in order not to become prey.
SC: Normal people need to retain the awareness that not all people are fundamentally good and don't necessarily take decisions that are good for society. The perverse/pathological don't care at all about morality, for them, only their personal objectives count. They can lie without feeling the least bit implicated in what they say. Taking the case of Bush for example. He can say anything at all and is not at all ashamed about lying. The perverse/pathological have no scruples about lying, about destroying a country, an entire people, as long as it serves their interests?
Henry: The idea that "all men are created equal" and we are all fundamentally good is drummed into us from the time we are born. We are taught that God made us in his image, and that we all have the divine spark within us.
But science is showing us that this religious fairy tale is not true. Mankind has a natural predator, the psychopath, and this predator is invisible because there are no easily discernible markings that set him apart.
Moreover, throughout history we have been divided into groups on the basis of physical, cultural, religious, or whatever other easily recognizable distinctions psychopaths can point out to us, while our real enemy has remained masked.
We have even come across books about psychopathy that attempt to present the case that we are all psychopaths! So we see that there is a move towards damage control. Łobaczewski discusses the use of psychology and psychiatry as a tool of the pathocracy under communism. Well, we see the same thing today in the United States. There are deviants who become psychologists or psychiatrists and who try to rewrite psychology from the viewpoint of the pathological!
SC: Is one of the weak points of our society the tolerance with which we view these monsters? This permits them to create more conflicts and kill more innocents.
Henry: Is it tolerance or ignorance? People are not aware that there exist a category of people, people we sometimes call 'almost human', who look like us, who work with us, who are found in every race, every culture, speaking every language, but who are lacking conscience - and if there is anything that really separates humans from animals, I would suggest it is that: conscience.
We are tolerant of others, in spite of the most horrible crimes, because we project our own inner states on them, assuming that when they go through the motions of expressing remorse, they are remorseful. But for these deviants, there is no remorse, there is only play-acting, a bit of theatre designed to fool us into thinking they are 'like us'.
SC: The only thing to do, then, is to continue to speak the truth. And to tell ourselves that even if those who lie always win against the truth, that in the long run, when more and more people are saying the same thing, little by little this truth may be able to get people to think?
Henry: The truth is the only thing worth working towards. What separates us from the psychopath is our conscience, and our conscience must become the voice of truth. True conscience - if we listen to it - raises us above the example of animal behaviour set by the pathocrats. Think of the horrors at Abu Ghraib. Had the conscience of those soldiers not been sleeping (assuming they had them), they would have refused to carry out those atrocities. If the voice of conscience could be heard by the billions of people who have one, there would be no more war. Other means would be found to resolve differences. If we listened to our conscience, there would be no hunger because we would feel the pain and suffering of those dying without food and we would be unable to not do something about it. And we need to think in our own lives of the ways we kill our own conscience and begin to make painful choices to listen to it before it goes out forever.
If we could really understand the difference between someone with conscience and someone without, we could see how our world has been infected with this pathology throughout its history. With this knowledge, and an application of this knowledge in full conscience of what we are doing, a new world could truly be born.
SC: In conclusion, there are manipulators everywhere. They form a part of society that is structured according to this model, a structure that permits them to behave according to this perverse psychological functioning anywhere they intervene. They are twisted people, held by no moral code, ready to do anything to defend their interests. They are more and more numerous. They are not necessarily linked to any specific ideology. And at the moment when we begin to suspect that someone is part of this percentage of twisted people, do we need to take a different attitude?
Henry: Yes. We need to learn how to say no to the manipulations. That means we need to learn the ways we are manipulated and refuse to do the dance.
Laura: On the whole, a capacity to cheat, to compete and to lie has proven to be a stupendously successful adaptation. Thus the idea that selection pressure could ever cause saintliness to spread in a society looks implausible in practice. It doesn't seem feasible to out-compete genes which promote competitiveness. "Nice guys" get eaten or out-bred. Happy people who are unaware get eaten or out-bred. Happiness and niceness today is vanishingly rare, and the misery and suffering of those who are able to truly feel, who are empathic toward other human beings, who have a conscience, is all too common. And the psychopathic manipulations are designed to make psychopaths of us all.
Nevertheless, a predisposition to, conscience, ethics, can prevail if and when it is also able to implement the deepest level of altruism: making the object of its empathy the higher ideal of enhancing freedom and altruism in the abstract sense, for the sake of others, including our descendants.
In short, our "self-interest" ought to be vested in collectively ensuring that all others are happy and well-disposed too; and in ensuring that children we bring into the world have the option of being constitutionally happy and benevolent toward one another.
This means that if psychopathy threatens the well-being of the group future - which it is doing - then it can be only be dealt with by widespread refusal to allow the self to be dominated by it on an individual, personal basis. Preserving freedom for the self in the practical sense, ultimately preserves freedom for others. Protection of our own rights AS the rights of others, underwrites the free will position and potential for happiness of all. If mutant psychopaths pose a potential danger, then true empathy, true ethics, true conscience, dictates using prophylactic therapy against psychopaths.
And so it is that identifying the psychopath, ceasing our interaction with them, cutting them off from our society, making ourselves unavailable to them as "food" or objects to be conned and used, is the single most effective strategy that we can play.
1. On one side of the controversy, there is the traditional description of psychopathy derived from the old European tradition discussed by Łobaczewski, combined with the North American Tradition of Hervey Cleckley, Robert Hare and others. This is in general agreement with the experiences of practicing psychiatrists, psychologists, criminal justice personnel, experimental psychopathologists, and even members of the lay public who have had personal encounters with psychopathy.
On the other side of the issue, is what is called a "neo-Kraepelinian" (named after Emil Kraepelin) movement in psychodiagnosis which is closely associated with research coming out of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. This latter view is most closely aligned with the diagnostic criteria of the U.S. psychiatric manual known as the DSM-III, DSM-III-R, and DSM-IV. The fundamental approach of this school is that assessment of a psychopath rests almost entirely on publicly observable or known behaviors which flies directly in the face of what is actually known about psychopaths: their ability to mask their true nature. The argument is that a clinician is incapable of reliably assessing interpersonal or affective characteristics. Another assumption is that early onset delinquency is a cardinal symptom of ASPD. This tends to put heavy emphasis on delinquent and antisocial behavior, i.e., publicly observable behaviors that may have no bearing on the internal make-up of the individual.
Anyway, the DSM-III decided that psychopaths belong in the classification "Anti-social Personality Disorder."
The criteria of the DSM-III for ASPD was decided by a committee of the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-III Task Force and was revised only slightly by another committee for the DSM_III-R. The DSM-IV criteria were also decided by committee, with little regard for empirical research. These criteria are less behaviorally focused and thus, somewhat resemble the criteria for other DSM-IV personality disorders.
Because of the problems with the DSM-III and DSM-III-R diagnosis of ASPD, the American Psychiatric Association carried out a muti-site trial to gather data in preparation for DSM-IV. The field trial was designed to determine if personality traits could be included in the criteria for ASPD (which relies only on publicly viewable behavior), without reducing reliability. The intention of those clinicians who lobbied for this was to bring ASPD back into line with clinical tradition and to end the confusion between ASPD and Psychopathy.
The results of the field trials demonstrated that most of the personality traits that reflect the symptoms of psychopathy were as reliable as the behavior specific DSM-III-R items, thus invalidating the original premise for excluding personality from the diagnosis of ASPD/psychopathy. More than that, that Hare's PCL-R actually measures the latent trait of psychopathy across its entire range! Similar analyses of the field trial data show that the ASPD criteria was less discriminating of the psychopathy trait, particularly at high levels of the trait! In other words, the ASPD criteria set up by the DSM-III-R was designed - intentionally or not - to exclude the most psychopathic psychopaths!
Despite the fact that, after this study, there was an empirical basis for increasing the content-related criteria of ASPD in DSM-IV, this did not happen ; the criteria adopted for DSM-IV were not even evaluated in the field trial.
The DSM-IV text description of ASPD (which it says is "also known as psychopathy") contains references to traditional features of psychopathy but is incongruent with the formal diagnostic criteria in many ways.
One of the consequences of the ambiguity inherent in DSM-IV ASPD/ psychopathy criteria is that it leaves the door open for court cases wherein one clinician can say that the defendant meets the DSM-IV definition of ASPD, and another clinician can say he does not, and both can be right! The first clinician can use the formal diagnostic criteria exclusively while the second clinician can say "yes, the defendant may meet the formal criteria, but he or she does not have the personality traits described in the "Associated Features" section of the DSM-IV text". In other words, a good psychopath with a good lawyer can commit any crime and get away with it. This failure of the DSM-IV to differentiate between psychopathy and ASPD can (and undoubtedly will) have very serious consequences for society.