John Lennon, it turns out, was right. We live in a pathocracy. The gospel, according to John Lennon, goes like this: “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.” John was onto something important.
Sceptical? Most people are disbelieving, when this proposition is first put to them. They can’t or don’t want to believe it. Unfortunately, none of that changes the truth of the matter. In fact, the psychopaths in charge, the pathocrats, rely on our denial to operate as they wish. “Do what thou wilt” is their value system, after the deranged teachings of the deceased Aleister Crowley. Could there be a more succinct statement of psychopathy? Yet, this is a creed to which many of them subscribe.
How can you tell if you are living in a pathocracy – a society run predominantly by a small cabal of psychopaths and sociopaths, subjugating normal people? Below is a list of telltale signs that you might be (taken from http://pathocracy.wordpress.com/definition/ ):
- Suppression of individualism and creativity.
- Impoverishment of artistic values.
- Impoverishment of moral values; a social structure based on self-interest and one-upmanship, rather than altruism.
- Fanatical ideology; often a corrupted form of a valid viable ‘Trojan’ ideology which is perverted into a pathological form, bearing little resemblance to the substance of the original.
- Intolerance and suspicion of anyone who is different, or who disagrees with the state.
- Centralized control.
- Widespread corruption.
- Secret activities within government, but surveillance of the general population. (In contrast, a healthy society would have transparent government processes, and respect for privacy of the individual citizen).
- Paranoid and reactionary government.
- Excessive, arbitrary, unfair and inflexible legislation; the power of decision making is reduced/removed from the citizens’ everyday lives.
- An attitude of hypocrisy and contempt demonstrated by the actions of the ruling class, towards the ideals they claim to follow, and towards the citizens they claim to represent.
- Controlled media, dominated by propaganda.
- Extreme inequality between the richest and poorest.
- Endemic use of corrupted psychological reasoning such as paramoralisms, conversive thinking and doubletalk.
- Rule by force and/or fear of force.
- People are considered as a ‘resource’ to be exploited (hence the term “human resources”), rather than as individuals with intrinsic human worth.
- Spiritual life is restricted to inflexible and doctrinaire schemes. Anyone attempting to go beyond these boundaries is considered a heretic or insane, and therefore dangerous.
- Arbitrary divisions in the population (class, ethnicity, creed) are inflamed into conflict with one another.
- Suppression of free speech – public debate, demonstration, protest.
- Violation of basic human rights, for example: restriction or denial of basic life necessities such as food, water, shelter; detainment without charge; torture and abuse; slave labour.
Do you recognise this country? Maybe you live in it. If you’re an artist, it might go some way to explaining why so many artists are starving, for one thing.
If you don’t recognise this dystopian country (and it’s not just one country, incidentally), you’re either asleep, in active denial or perhaps you’re one of the psychopaths.
We live in a society predominantly run by psychopaths. This blog post is not the first to notice this at all. There is a growing body of literature on the matter. Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgGyvxqYSbE
Psychopaths rise to positions of power and influence, because you can win any game you’re prepared to cheat at. They see the rest of us as prey, to be used and discarded as they see fit. In fact, they often enjoy seeing others suffer. Research shows that primary psychopaths are born not made. Having been born with an inability to understand or feel emotions, upbringing can greatly influence what kinds of ill deeds the psychopath will ultimately engage in, however.
There are secondary psychopaths too, who adopt the ways of the psychopath as a survival tactic. It can be difficult to tell if you are dealing with a primary psychopath, who can’t be changed, or a secondary one, who might be changeable, but not easily.
I’ve written before about the human tendency to mimic the pathocrats: https://tropicaltheartist.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/blundering-toward-mass-psychopathy/ and https://tropicaltheartist.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/the-corruption-of-ordinary-people/
You find psychopaths everywhere, in positions of power, because they crave power. They crave it for its own sake. People that put short term profits or personal gain ahead of human mental and physical well being are everywhere and that’s very easy to observe for yourself. It’s far harder to ascribe the observations to the presence of individuals unable to feel emotions or to those mimicking that behaviour, in order to protect themselves from harm.
Average, decent, non-psychopathic people struggle to believe they’re frequently amongst psychopaths. The reason is that it takes courage to acknowledge and face down evil. There is less mental effort and emotional turmoil involved in simply denying it. This provides the psychopaths the cover they need to continue to prey upon the gentler and more trusting people in society.
On the other hand, if one keeps up with current events, even in the strictly controlled mainstream media, there is a growing sense in which the pathocracy no longer concerns itself with maintaining the fictions that gave them the cover stories, masks, benefit of the doubt, consent and goodwill they needed to maintain themselves in their positions of power and influence. They have become careless and are out in the open. They’re also out of control. The NSA, for example, spies on us all at scale but defies us, with an attitude of, “just what are you going to do about it?” They know our impotence in the face of their totalitarian control. The pathocrats don’t try to hide as much as they used to, because they think they have won and that their seemingly invincible positions are unassailable. They might be wrong about that.
You might wonder why an evolutionary adaptation, such as the inability to sense emotions, would have survived over millennia. Clearly it confers some kind of competitive advantage, rather than being an unmitigated handicap, or it would have disappeared from the population, given enough time. It may, in fact, be in the process of disappearing. When the world consisted of individuals trying to succeed against other individuals, on a planet much bigger than both of them, the ability to be ruthless, violent and to lie and cheat might have (and did) allow individuals with this trait to preferentially survive and breed. That said, they’re still a minority. However, now that pathocrats have the ready means to threaten the survival of all life on the planet, it has become a maladaptive trait. Given their ability to cause extinction, it’s no longer a trait that the majority of people, who do not share their inability to feel, can tolerate.
Psychopaths and pathocrats have become a danger to us all and to themselves. They will, impulsively and on a whim, kill us all. In doing so, through nuclear annihilation or environmental destruction or both, they won’t care about doing it. They are unable to care.
The potential for this has been amply demonstrated by the dropping of the first nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, which caused widespread death and suffering, particularly among innocents and also left a barren, contaminated site that cannot be safely inhabited for centuries to come.
First the pathocrats will kill all the non-psychopaths (perhaps even in the name of population control, to save the planet) and then when only psychopaths remain, they will kill each other, until there is only one man standing (psychopaths are predominantly male). A world consisting only of psychopaths becomes an endless dog-eat-dog war zone and a fight to the death. Having destroyed all other life, this remaining psychopath will also, inevitably, perish. There can be no other outcome.
Something becomes abundantly obvious, when you think this through. We’ve reached an evolutionary inflexion point. We can’t let the pathocrats run amok any more. There is too much at stake. Whenever a minority of organisms threatens the continued existence of a majority of them, nature and evolution usually step in to treat the one less likely to sustain life as a disease to be eradicated. Yes, the disease sometimes wins in the short term, but preservation of the continuance of life is the predominant arrow of evolution, over the long run. Death cults or death cultures usually lose, in the end. What can be done by ordinary people today, though, to stem the threat of annihilation at the hands of the pathocrats?
Firstly, don’t imagine that they can be fixed. No amount of love, understanding, sympathy or empathy will change them. They were, in the case of the primary psychopath, born that way. As immoral as abandoning anybody to their fate feels, especially because their condition probably wasn’t their choice, we’re dealing with a group of people that will use your kindness and compassion against you, in this case. It helps if those with a predilection for being unable to sense or feel emotions are not sent away to boarding school, bullied, assaulted as children or otherwise traumatised, but there’s not much you can do if they have been. To a non-psychopath, it’s painful to give up on anybody, but the cause is a lost one. Rationality and survival require that you recognise that psychopaths are stuck with being that way.
The next impulse might be to identify them, round them all up and somehow eliminate them. You’d have to be a psychopath to favour that solution. It’s a hopeless idea anyway. The true psychopaths would easily subvert such a plan and turn it around to their own advantage, so that those with a conscience would be rounded up and hung, for example. Don’t even go there.
We appear to be stuck with the bastards. Primary psychopaths will despise your sympathy, so that isn’t going to do anything purposeful. You’ll just put yourself in harm’s way and get heartbreak for your trouble. Secondary psychopaths, who act in the manner of psychopaths, may give up their ways, if they feel it safe to do so. Although arguably more contemptible and cowardly for their choices, they might be people that can be rehabilitated, once the primary psychopaths are no longer pathocrats (i.e. in power) and the secondary psychopaths don’t need to act like bastards to be spared the harm meted out by primary psychopaths.
If we are stuck with psychopaths, how can we protect ourselves against their excesses and the danger they pose to existence?
One tactic is that you can expose them as psychopaths. They hate that, because it limits their scope for action, but as previously noted, the pathocrats are becoming less concerned about who knows what they are and what they plan. They imagine they are immune from any sort of retribution or limitation of their actions. It’s also dangerous to corner a psychopath and leave them with no escape or options.
That said, most psychopaths rely on hiding in plain sight as their stealth tactic, so that they can prey on people. They want to appear as reasonable, even benevolent sorts of fellows, so that they can continue to be nothing of the sort in reality. If you call out their psychopathy, you blow their cover and they can’t use it anymore as a cloak to abuse others.
A good way to identify a psychopath is to see if they display empathy when empathy is required. Their attitude to grief, death and mourning is often revealing. A visceral, disdain for peace, love and compassion, except for the most superficial and showy versions of these, is also usually a good marker. Ask them about hippies. If they class them as dirty, speak of them in derogatory terms or regards them as rat bags, the dehumanisation of these people and a disdain for their opinions is already evident.
In addition, psychopaths usually have no ability to genuinely respond to the emotional impact and content of music, except by faking it unconvincingly. Many of them eschew music completely. It’s just a meaningless, confusing noise to them. For the non-psychopath, a person unmoved by music is a good marker.
You often hear psychopaths framing their world view in terms of conflict and adversarial relationships. They like to talk about “the enemy” and “it’s a jungle out there”. They frequently use phrases like “man up”, or “suck it up”. None of these, on their own, are diagnostic signs, but they are clues.
Once you accept that we are predominantly lead by pathocrats, in politics and in the corporate world, you can begin to minimise their power by being carefully selective about which rules you obey, whose authority you uphold, which challenges and defiances are safest to make and how to undermine their networks of support and power.
Once you spot a psychopath, you can organise your life so that they are not a part of it. If you have a psychopathic boss, quit immediately. If your partner is a psychopath, do whatever it takes to distance yourself from them, before they can do lasting harm. If your political leaders are pathocrats, organise to defuse their influence on your life.
As a species, we need to begin to recognise and shun these people. They’ve lasted this long, in evolutionary terms, because they keep breeding and psychopaths are mostly men, so women have a special role to play in identifying psychopaths and not breeding with them. Women that try to change or save a psychopath, or who are so severely lacking in self esteem that they become co-dependent on a psychopathic spouse pose a risk to all of us, it’s sad to say.
That is not to condone eugenics, though. Eugenics is another one of those psychopathic solutions, open to subversion and which is so inhuman that it corrupts the non-psychopathic so comprehensively, they might as well have not bothered to adopt the idea in the first place. If they’re bred out at all, it will be because they become recognised as deeply unattractive, narcissistic, dangerous partners, instead of how they’re mistakenly seen now – as heroic, thrusting, entrepreneurial, successful, self-made men. You have to define success in a very perverted way to maintain that point of view. It isn’t any measure of success to finish up the winner in a competition which results in the destruction of all life. Standing astride a smouldering ruin of a planet is not a win, no matter how sharp your suit or how fancy your sports car.
The one fortunate thing about becoming aware of the psychopaths among us and who rule over us as pathocrats is that they are very predictable. Once you accept that they are in it for themselves, at all times, you can easily second guess their moves and motives. This makes it much easier to neutralise their cunning plans to put one over on the rest of us and to limit the scope of their harmful actions.
It has to be recognised, however, that it’s exceedingly exhausting to live under pathocrats and to live and work among psychopaths. The situation is exacerbated by mobs which adopt the pathologies of the leader. This applies to corporate cultures, political affiliations, military or security forces and any other group that permits people to abrogate their responsibility and culpability for acts carried out in the name of the group’s stated vision and mission.
If you try to become a secondary psychopath, as a survival strategy, you will discover that it causes you great internal conflict. Going against your conscience, just to fit in to the company culture or other societal or group expectations, ultimately burns you out. You get ground down both by having to deal with the non-stop skulduggery of pathocrats and pseudo psychopaths at all times, or else by having to conform to their twisted value system to prevent becoming their prey. Both harm your psyche. Whereas the pathocrats or their supporting psychopaths can carry out inhumane acts without feeling the pain of doing so, if you are only acting the psychopath to maintain the favour of pathocrats, you will suffer personal agonies, each time you carry out one of their sadistic and harmful orders. The abuse of your own feelings and conscience carries a heavy long term cost to your health (not to mention the health of others around you).
Artists have a special role to play in rolling back the bounds of the pathocratic state or organisation. Artists can continue to be creative and individualistic. It turns out that the brightest and most intelligent are rarely psychopaths (why this should be so is not fully proven or understood), so if you are an artist with particular intellectual gifts, use those gifts to enrich the culture as much as you can. The artists that engineer things can build technologies that prevent the pathocrats from spying on us all, for example. You don’t have to design their weapons systems just because they’re willing to pay you. You can use your creativity to do something more positive. Above all, you don’t have to take the pathocrats’ money. Other sources of human wealth are possible, even if the entire supply of currency is in the control of pathocrats. Above all, you can nurture life in all of its diverse forms and exhibit passion.
Don’t accept the characterisation of an artist as being emotionally volatile, hence out of control and therefore suspect and irrational. The point is that psychopaths are wholly unable to express genuinely felt passions and emotions and that’s why they feel so uncomfortable around such displays. See through the propaganda put out by generations of pathocrats and understand that demonstrating your real and genuine emotions, unashamedly, is one of the best ways to identify and isolate those that lack the ability to do so.
Most importantly, we can stop aping the pathocrats. You don’t want to get rich – not if it means losing your humanity and becoming as destructive and damaging as those that do get rich, through their inability to feel and to empathise. If you aren’t wired that way, why uphold that aberration as the highest good? Why try to achieve, by painfully crushing and suppressing your emotions, what pathocrats achieve easily, through simply not having any?
Perhaps ironically, both psychopaths and non-psychopaths favour hierarchy and authority, because it provides the illusion of safety for both groups (though for entirely different reasons). However, there are strong arguments to suggest that such hierarchical regimes really only favour the psychopaths, at the expense of the non-psychopaths, whose safety is imperilled by the actions of the ruling pathocrats. In fact, anarchy (in the sense of there being no authoritarian hierarchy in charge, governing the people) is the far safer option for non-psychopaths. If there is no power structure, then pathocrats cannot easily obtain power. That’s not an intuitive result, but true, nevertheless.
Awareness of the pathocrats, psychopaths, wannabe psychopaths and the pathocracies that they construct is our only viable defence. Being awake to their affliction and consequent behaviour is all we have. If we just leave them to it, they will lead us to catastrophe.
Artists have a special contribution to make. They can do the following:
- Relentlessly perform acts of supreme individualism and creativity.
- Enrich the artistic values of the society they live in or the corporate culture they work in.
- Speak freely, with courage.
- Create an alternative, uncontrolled media to the one the pathocrats control.
- Stop working for the pathocracy’s controlled media.
- Be emotional, emotionally affective and passionate.
- Make a lot of passionate, emotionally charged music.
The presence of people wholly unable to sense or feel emotion has become a pressing problem for humanity and all life, because of the amplification of harm available to these individuals (via nuclear weapons, the ability to impose severe hardships by force or rule of law and through the insouciant destruction of the environment). We must, as a species, discover a method of living with, but neutralising the effect of the psychopaths among us. It won’t be easy.
Some useful links:
Note: I have used the British spelling of “inflexion” in this article.