One of the foremost values of the fine arts is their immunity from the influence of sociopaths. Whether it be in the plastic arts, music, dance, drama or writing; whether as an interpreter, appreciator or creator; whether or not that person is a sociopath is irrelevant. Other skills are necessary and personal turpitude doesn’t count.
To the contrary, sociopaths have specialized at infiltrating, corrupting, inverting by decree and eventually taking over politics, religion, education, justice, science, industry, mores and almost (?) every other human institution. Unlike them, the fine arts are impervious to the toxic influence of sociopaths. The absolute truth of esthetics trumps the give-or-take lies, routine hypocrisy and corruption taken for granted of human ethics.
That is why the least creative among sociopaths (like those in Congress) are so hostile to the fine arts, and why Learners must support the fine arts with all their might.
My thanks to the late Lloyd Rigler.
About three percent of men and one percent of women are sociopaths. One percent of humanity consists of psychopaths. They number approximately 300 million, thus are as numerous as the sixth largest nation on Earth. For comparison purposes and no other, there are 40 million blind people on Earth. Say you noticed a blind person on the sidewalk on the fifteenth of the month and the one before that on the first. During that same time interval, approximately two psychopaths and six sociopaths crossed your path.
Depending on the classifications of therapists, those suffering from psychopathy, sociopathy, antisocial personality disorder and malignant narcissism are pretty much interchangeable. Don’t bother butting me your buts, you witch doctors. Psychopaths tend to be lone wolves who are often lethal and delusional, whereas sociopaths are seemingly sane people who tend to join a subculture that promotes their vicious selfishness, like organized crime, criminal justice, politics, corporate and government bureaucracies or the military.
One fourth, more or less, of corporate bosses are psychopaths, and who knows what percentage of politicians and the military? How many preachers are more intent on their meticulous textual fundamentalism than the more natural – and from their point of view, satanic – dictates of personal conscience? Religious dogma is supremely important to them because they have no internal moral compass to steer their lives by.
Almost a quarter of those in prison are psychopathic to some degree and guilty of almost every violent crime punished. A clique of psycho/sociopathic cops, court officers, legislators and their cronies have made themselves responsible for locking up most other convicts for victimless or one-time crimes. Or, in extremis, murdering them.
Is there a parallel between the finding that 96% of the universe is made up of “dark matter and energy” whereas only four percent is visible; and 96% of mankind is conscience-driven, whereas four percent is not? Is there an ecological need for a 4% margin of predators and a 96% remainder of prey, to maintain the vigor of a species?
Various Ages or Youga may have differed in the percentage of psycho- and sociopaths present. Our era, the Iron Age or Kali Youga (Age of Evil), supports as many of them as possible without destroying civilization completely, merely now and then for a millennium or so until the next renaissance. The Bronze Age, two-thirds as many; the Silver, one-third; and the Golden, almost none.
Why this shift in proportion over time? Sociopaths tend to love ‘em and leave ‘em, abandoning a long line of bastards and orphans who often become sociopaths in turn, since they’ve been left to their sad fate and are genetically predisposed. Plus psychopaths love to tyrannize, torture and murder as many of the conscience-driven as possible, preferably with patriotic and civic-minded “help” from the conscience-driven themselves.
So our predicament would be that of a classroom overburdened with troubled students; whereas those living during a Golden Age could have gone about their business in peace and harmony, but would not have needed to let those who crave evil fulfill their Karma.
Some societies in Asia retain only one percent of sociopaths, supposedly because of their collectivism and their tendency, as far as the Japanese are concerned, to “hammer down the nail that sticks out.” I would prefer to attribute it to the preponderance of seafood in their diet with its protein and micronutrients, also to rice of lower digestive acidification, especially among growing children. Bad child nutrition makes mass sociopathy more likely.
They can tell right from wrong, but suffer no pangs of remorse when they commit the latter. They have no conscience, no shame and no love for anyone but themselves and perhaps immediate blood relatives. They do not know those feelings and look down on those duty-bound by them. The truth is a matter of convenience for them, to be biased to their advantage. Especially the truth about themselves. For example, they are never wrong. Ever.
They can act conscientiously, but must be coached to do so under mandatory and continuous supervision. In one of his “Culture” science fiction novels, Ian M. Banks foretold that they would be shadowed full time by artificial intelligence “slap missiles” set to thwart their misdeeds.
Type 1 sociopaths cannot control their pathology; they are unmistakable. The Type 2s learn to postpone the most blatant of their misdeeds; they only proceed when they know that no effective resistance will be raised against them. Today, it is they who run this entire planet, in the dumb name of weapon mentality—that’s the reason lying and brutality have become our common lot.
Many of their victims find their devil-may-care attitude attractive at first. Charming and debonair when so inclined, they turn vicious and manipulative as soon and for as long as they can get away with it. They can “read” like a book the body language and facial expressions of the conscience-driven, fake emotions, seek pity and affection they don’t feel for others, and seduce their victims just prior to exploiting, insulting and injuring them. They use people and discard them, the way you would use a Kleenex and throw it away.
They commit sins without guilt, sins we would find inconceivable to carry out and very painful to recall afterwards. They get away with many evils because those around them cannot imagine such complex, aggressive and risky behavior for rewards as trivial as relief of boredom, idle greed, one-upmanship and simple jealousy of those with superior talents.
Since their mind does not preoccupy itself with the infinite subconscious calculations of moral conscience and love ‒ somewhat like those needed to remain upright on a bicycle, but a lot more rapid, dense and complicated ‒ they are burdened with a permanent sense of boredom that can only be relieved by a series of risky behaviors and elaborate abuse (torture, humiliation and betrayal) of their conscientious inferiors.
They usually wind up in old age sick, broke and shunned by everyone including their family. Many are ruined or slain by a protector of one of their victims or by numerous avengers. Very few die in bed surrounded by loved ones. They are pitiable, if quite dangerous, moral amputees.
The craft of government consists in keeping most psycho/sociopaths in check for as long as possible (that is, moderately well off in exchange for wreaking as little havoc as possible). The tragedy of government is that sooner or later, they will take over the highest peaks of government as well as several rungs beneath, and ruin everyone’s life for no good reason.
Recall that their principle motive is the relief of their crushing boredom by reveling in the chaos they spread.
From a peace mentality point of view, good government is calm, fair, generous and permissive. You may do pretty much as you please and not be disturbed by the government except under special circumstances and with elaborate restraints.
Psychopaths thrive upward from below under such minimal constraints, and gradually take over all the sources of wealth and political power. They recruit other sociopaths as subordinates into dysfunctional or openly criminal organizations. Once they have taken over most positions of responsibility, they eject the conscience-driven from all the rest of them. Their self-serving abuse rots out the rest of society, unavoidably and unarguably, no matter how awful the outcome of their takeover.
After a while, the cumulative resentment of a conscience-driven majority explodes in militant revolt. There follows a bloodbath at the hands of elite psychopaths and their sociopath mercenaries in charge of police suppression. At that point, the conscientious discover the military advantage of a chain of command of psychopaths, adopt it and fatally compromise the lofty ideals that drew them to revolt.
After a psychopath-directed seesaw of revolution and counter-revolution (this chaos, their idea of paradise, allowing them the greatest scope for evil), the slate is wiped clean. Most of the psychopathic leaders are exterminated, and so many more casualties accrue among the conscience-driven that their survivors, exhausted and disgusted, take up the temporary reigns of government. They reward surviving psycho/sociopaths at minimal expense to do the least amount of damage; they re-institute more justice and benevolence – and so on. Expect nothing more but these recurring weapon revolutions; expect them to be a lot more insidious, complex, prolonged and malignant than the simple, tidy procedure described above.
If your conscience motivates you to pursue the good and lessen evil ‒ no matter what race, ethnicity, country, religion, ideology or organization you embrace or reject ‒ half of your few, most awful enemies will belong to your side and half of your many friends, to the other. The only non-delusional segregation? That between those with a conscience and those without.
It is irrelevant which “side” one “belongs” to, except to justify the bloody-mindedness of that side’s psychopaths who would otherwise be constrained. Thus, war, jihad and crusade fester on, each one a monster hunt for perfectly normal people on the “opposite” side, justified by clever, psychopathic propaganda.
Heed my warning. Pick your friends and distinguish your enemies with care.
There are dependable psychological tests to identify them. During CAT scans, their mind reacts to emotional problems the way most people’s would to an algebra problem. The same brain volumes light up in both cases. When observing torture films of unspeakable horror, nothing much lights up in their brain, while those of conscientious people set off cellular fireworks.
They rarely yawn when other people do so, since they have no fellow feeling.
A record as schoolyard bullies and animal tormentors gives them away during their naïve youth, as does that of shameless pity seekers when caught as adults for serial misdeeds. Let me repeat: they cannot be and are never wrong. It is always someone else’s fault, your fault or their victims’ who deserve their abuse. Their routine speech, absolving themselves and scapegoating others, echoes that of weapon government propaganda throughout the ages.
There is no cure for their disease, nothing chemical or psychoanalytic (perhaps someday genetic surgery?). They do not want to be cured. They consider themselves superior, and the conscience-driven, their social inferiors and legitimate targets. After advanced group therapy sessions targeting their affliction, they emerged with better techniques to simulate emotions they never felt, thus duping their future victims with greater ease.
Track them down, identify them and exclude them from high and low positions of authority. A 1-800 telephone number should be dedicated to their victims, so they can drop a dime on any sociopath who torments them. Investigators would then bring the suspect in for testing, the results of which would confirm or deny the necessity of confining them from positions of responsibility and authority.
Above all, never allow sociopaths to take over this hunt. If given the slightest chance, they will surpass every evil of the Inquisition (another historical Paradise for sociopaths), hunting down innocent victims and laughing in their face as they torture them and ruin their lives.
Moreover, they should be stroked and cozened once identified, and generously subsidized throughout their lifetime. This would neutralize a great chunk of the merely lazy and parasitical ones, otherwise inoffensive, at lesser cost than present day laissez-faire.
The rest should be provided with constructive outlets for their titanic boredom (demining, commando work, high risk surgery and outer space exploration, for example) and otherwise peacefully neutralized. They are better qualified for technical tasks that require emotional distancing from the people they interact with, like delicate surgery and violent law enforcement. Under strict supervision, they should be encouraged along these lines.
The last thing to wish for: that they become fearful for their life and liberty. No other army would be more lethal, no insurrection more destructive, no terrorist group more alarming than that of psycho/sociopaths mobilized as one because they have been ostracized by rest of us. Otherwise, they are anarchistic individualists and their organizations tend to be dysfunctional because terribly competitive―see civilian Nazi leadership.
Their primary social utility is at war when they find it easy to commit frightful atrocities, then move on to the next. Unimpeded by moral conscience, they are more technically competent at organized killing and more imaginative in carrying it out. They suffer no pangs of conscience from the grim chore of killing the enemy, not even from the pileup of casualties on their own side in order to get that job done.
Sociopaths commit the first atrocities in war and then drift off to the next, anonymous, invisible and unpunished. Meanwhile, conscientious people in uniform (or peaceful villagers left behind) hold the ground and get punished in retaliation. If those sociopaths are officious enough, normal people will obey their insane orders and commit crimes unthinkable under other circumstances. Sociologists have confirmed these outcomes during experiments simulating interactions between fake convicts/prison guards and torture victims/administrators.
This is how dirty war spreads on both sides.
Dread them like Satan. They and those idiots under their charge are responsible for most of the large-scale evils on Earth. In their absence, utopia might be just within our reach, without the need for so many laws, for so much paperwork and constraint.
Of course, rich and powerful psychopaths have made a special effort to bad-mouth utopia in every media they could seize hold of. They’ve insulted idealists and pacifists so methodically, they’ve turned them into pariahs and made their passion taboo. They’ve produced a whole literary culture that exempts them from responsibility for most crime and attributes it to conscientious people who stray; even though they commit almost every crime, especially those large-scale, and the strays almost none—all this with our amiable consent. For thousands of years, we have repeated their vicious lies over and over to each other like brainwashed idiots.
Martha Stout, The Sociopath Next Door: the Ruthless versus the Rest of Us, Broadway Books, USA, 2005.
Robert D. Hare, Without Conscience: the Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, The Guildford Press, New York, 1999.
It remains to be seen if another minority exists of super-conscientious, super-empathic people: the psychosane and the sociosane. For Buddha, Abraham, Gandhi and quite a few more men and women, the suffering of others is more painful to them than their own. They would rather suffer and die, if necessary, than see their fellows harmed. From them alone, unacknowledged and undefined by mainstream culture, we should draw the leadership of PeaceWorld.
Up to Learners to identify, sort and recruit them by means of a cooperative procedure totally contrary to current competitive testing dictated by sociopaths.