Note: This is page devoted to all IT professionals who suffer
from psychopathic bosses. Only those who already suffered or still suffering from one of those types
can understand the level of pain as well as stakes involved in dealing with such individuals.
According to some data sociopaths represent around three to five percent of our population. Most
of them belong to so called non-violent, non-criminal type. But they are extremely socially toxic.
The term psychopaths should probably be reserved for those sociopaths who are the violent, serial
killer, ruthless predator types. The distinction line is fuzzy but still very important. We
will mostly be talking about sociopath, while not always adhering to suggested terminology.
Sorry about that.
If you are reading this page, you probably have problems with your boss or family member, or
co-worker. Now what ? Actually
the situation is bad, and you are really trapped, but it is not inescapable situation. You can and should
escape. As old saying goes "Knowledge is power" and this is the area where this saying is literally
true. Learning the ropes can help to find a way to escape, find way to defend yourself and your
dignity, and to lessen the current pain.
It is important to understand that whose managers who produce living hell are not all created equal.
But they have a common tendency to project their dissatisfaction
with their life and emotional emptiness outward and ascribe it to others. If they succeed
it is all them, but if they fail, it's your fault. Such people are organically incapable of trust, because everything they do is a facade, a lie, a Potemkin village.
The same Potemkin village as their family life, where wife and children
at best are viewed as desirable possessions.
They have utter contempt for other people, although they will use flattery, deceit and
other means to create a dependency while they are using them. And after that is done, you will
be discarded like an empty cardbox. In other words they are real sharks, endlessly seeking the prey to fill
their emotional emptiness with possessions, be they things or other people. And they are literally insatiable
in their needs, and are highly focused in their pursuit of them.
There two large group of dangerous managers who typically make the life of subordinates a living
hell. We will call them "toxic managers".
The first and the most numerous are Authoritarians. Those are quintessential "kiss up,
kick down" personalities. Among most typical traits:
1.Illogical Thinking:The lack of independent, critical thinking.
2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds:Authoritarians' ideas are poorly integrated
with one another.
3. Double Standards :When your ideas live independent lives from one another
it is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that
will justify (afterwards) what you've decided to do.
4. Hypocrisy:The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their
opponents of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest against various
books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.
5. Blindness To Themselves:self-righteousness.
6. A Profound Ethnocentrism:Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into
in-groups and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.
7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian's Last Ditch Defense:By dogmatism I mean relatively
unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..
The second less numerous but more dangerous are "well socialized psychopaths" or how they are called
sociopaths. The term psychopath (and its later 1930s term that is more applicable to corporate
environment, sociopath -- "socialized psychopath", or psychopath who did not (yet) committed any
crime) had always been a sort of catch-all, widely and loosely applied to both violent and
unstable criminals who ignore all the rules of civilized society as well as cruel corporate executives
who demean and exploit their staff using "dirty" methods to achieve their goals. Later this
condition was expanded to include certain type of managers which consistently demonstrate cult leader
qualities and who under
neoliberalism (the social system that became dominant sing early 80th) became a standard feature of most
modern corporation to the extent that we can consider modern
corporations to be a breeding grounds for psychopathic
personalities. Such "office cult leaders" like many high demand cult leaders need
only followers and try to completely enslave their victims.
Both types are power hungry and have inappropriate, intense anger or
difficulty controlling anger e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, etc."
(see Understanding Borderline Rage), which
serves as a vehicles of intimidation and can be carefully rehearsed. The key differential is the amount
of deceit in daily interactions and about personal and family history. Manipulation and deceit
are hallmarks of psychopathic personality. They live life as actors acting different roles depending
on what is profitable and what helps to achieve their goals. Much like cult leaders (which who
they have a lot in
common) socialized psychopath are masters of creating an "artificial past" inventing their personal
histories (including education, achievements, etc ) and sometimes even relatives as well as keeping
victims from escaping. See The psychopath in the corner
office for the list of traits that you need to try to match with to confirm this diagnose.
As this is not a psychiatry manual, we will use an umbrella term "toxic managers" for both
corporate socialized psychopaths and (more numerous) authoritarian managers.
That term actually allow us to avoid nitpicking about whether particular manager is real psychopath/sociopath,
or something else and concentrate of patterns of behavior many of which are surprisingly common to
For our purpose real psychological diagnosis is of secondary importance. It is methods to protect
yourself from attack of such class of
personalities that are of primary importance. In this sense the most dangerous subtype are
female sociopath, as they use their gender as bullet proof vest to deflect any counterattacks. See
some information about
Clinton as guide
In this respect, what matter for us is the fact that both authoritarians and psychopath of various
"denominations" are really dangerous predators of corporate jungles in general and IT jungles
in particular. And they blend extremely well into the current environment within government and mega
As all of them there is one important encompassing feature: predation. Most individuals in modern
societies are caught up in the perpetual struggle of striking a balance between pursuing their own interests
and respecting others' rights. When their own pursuits take precedent over others, individuals
typically feel some guilt or shame about their greed. But there is no such conflict inside sociopathic
managers. They do not need to rationalize their exploitation of other,
they simply feel they are entitled. Which makes them perfect predator of corporate jungles.
When in power, they typically use their animosity to keep others in line.
Often they create kind of cult of personality environment in which, like in Stalinist Russia, in order
to survive, employees must identify with their aggressor or become one of the leader's victims (and
please note that Joseph Stalin was a pretty charming personality in his narrow Politburo circle).
It goes without saying that presence of such individuals in the role of the manager puts a tremendous
stress on his direct reports. Psychopaths are more that rare among general population and by some estimates
represent over 1% of population and approximately 4% of managers. Authoritarians are more common and
often constitute majority of middle managers in the corporation. So both university students and
regular cubicle dwellers should better know your enemy as they might need to deal with them in their
first or next "manager-subordinate" relationship. They (especially Authoritarians) might be present
among your immediate or extended family too.
With those reservations, we would distinguish the following non-orthogonal types based on a single,
dominant behavioral stereotype (for example all psychopath are bullies, but only bullies has
this as a predominant feature). That's a crude and unscientific classification but it does has some
practical value in dealing with this type of predators because our emphasis is of classifying and describing
typical set of behaviors that those people use during "hunt" for prey. It is valuable to knew
something about what to expect if you are on the receiving end of such a behavior. We will distinguish:
Double high authoritarians. Which are not exactly psychopaths,
but demonstrate very similar cluster of behaviors and are much more numerous, almost prevalent in
Authoritarians are more numerous and and while dangerious and
toxic, they are less dangerous category in comparison with "real" phychopaths, especially micromanagers.
If you boss fits the description you need to go to the church and light the candle. While your situation
is bad and often justifiably can be called simply terrible, believe me it could be much, much worse
It is not always easy to detect authoritarian manager while not being his/her subordinates. Sometimes,
like in romantic relations, it is quote difficult until it's too late. Typically authorititarian kiss
up behavior can be polished to perfection and generally emogh equals he is often viewed as "normal"
person. Trobles start only when you report to him.
Still there are som indicatins that are usful even when you are reporting to this jerk. In the latter
case indications are useless, because you are already cooked :-(.
One of the few good indications of authoritarian personality are extreme right wing views (see
Double High Authoritarians). In any case
as soon as this guy/nice lady become your boss, "kick down" side of his/her personality will be demonstrated
to you in all glory and you will have zero problems with the detection. The only problem is that it's
too late ;-).
Also it is not necessary that authoritarian boss should be incompetent. First of all, while there
is correlation between authoritarianism and low intelligence it is just a correlation. Some authoritarians
are quite bright (for example, Bill O'Reilly -- a Fox News talking head to be more like double high
authoritarian rather then a typical psychopath).
Another important trait that can be observed by outsiders and should warn you is that
authoritarians tend to exhibit cognitive errors and symptoms of faulty reasoning.
Specifically, they are more likely to make incorrect inferences from evidence and to hold
ideas that result from compartmentalized thinking. Moreover, they are
typically unable to acknowledge their own limitations and assume responsibility for errors and blunders.
Here is a short but very useful list from
Our Church Administration is Critically Infected " Another Voice
1.Illogical Thinking:The lack of independent, critical thinking.
2. Highly Compartmentalized Minds:Authoritarians' ideas are poorly integrated
with one another.
3. Double Standards :When your ideas live independent lives from one another it
is pretty easy to use double standards in your judgments. You simply call up the idea that will
justify (afterwards) what you've decided to do.
4. Hypocrisy:The leaders of authoritarian movements sometimes accuse their opponents
of being anti-democratic and anti-free speech when the latter protest
against various books, movies, speakers, teachers and so on.
5. Blindness To Themselves:self-righteousness.
6. A Profound Ethnocentrism:Ethnocentrism means dividing the world up into in-groups
and out-groups…….in-groups are holy and good…out-groups are evil and Satanic.
7. Dogmatism: the Authoritarian's Last Ditch Defense:By dogmatism I mean relatively
unchangeable, unjustified certainty. Loyal followers obey without questions…..
I would put dogmatism higher as this is valuable test which works when this type of people
report to you or are on the same level as you and the personality they present to you is their "fake",
Potemkin village facade.
But other then that this is an excellent, simply excellent list. One missing, but important feature
is that authoritarians are generally more favorable to punishment and control
than personal freedom and diversity. When discussing political preferences, tor example, they are more
willing to suspend constitutional guarantees of liberty such as the
Bill of Rights. They
also are more likely to advocate strict, punitive sentences for criminals, and they admit that they
obtain personal satisfaction from punishing such people. See Authoritarians
Aggression in inherent in psychopath as a predator in corporate environment, and to tell that a psychopath
is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet. So this is a sure sign that the boss is psychopath,
but it does not help in classification of the set of behaviors that distinguish this particular predator
from others. But for some sociopaths this pattern of behavior serves is the most favorite tactics that
they use systematically. Those psychopaths have a distinct a tendency toward sadism and derive perverse
gratification from harming others. They do like to hurt, frighten, tyrannize. They do it for a
sense of power and control, and will often only drop subtle hints about what they are up to (this is
also typical of authoritarians).
At the same time they systematically polish their aggressive, domineering manner in such a way to
disguise any intimidation as legitimate corporate behavior and avoid coming under HR scrutiny for their
behavior. Such pathological personalities always seek out positions of power, such
as teacher, bureaucrat, manager, or police officer. You can also distinguish several subtypes:
Authoritarian bullies -- this is the most dangerous type of boss for talented people.
Like death sentence with delayed execution. They always have bouts of incontrollable anger. Some
of them can beemotionally out of control and explosive each week or even each day.
Micromanager bullies (control freaks). This type does not need explanation. Not all authoritarians
are micromanagers, but all micromanagers are bullies.
Narcissist bullies. For them your humiliation is a way to make themselves more important
and valuable. They are often "gatekeepers" that try to steal all achievements and appropriate all
ideas of subordinates.
I would like to stress it again that direct or indirect aggression is inherent in sociopath (a socialized
psychopath) and to tell that a psychopath is a bully is just to tell that the water is wet.
US National Center for Education Statistics suggests that bullying can be broken into two categories:
Direct bullying. This is a schoolyard variety...
Indirect bullying which is also known as social aggression. The latter is characterized
by forcing the victim into
social isolation. This
isolation is achieved through
a wide variety of techniques, including refusing to socialize with the victim and criticizing the
victim's communication manner or other socially-significant markers.
Indirect bullying is more subtle and more likely to be verbal, such as the silent treatment, arguing
others into submission, manipulation,
gossip, staring, and mocking. While women can be as aggressive or even more aggressive then
men they usually are more indirect. I would like to stress that gender differences in aggression
are subject to review; human society is too complex and direct projection from animal world, for example,
from great apes is of limited value. See important paper by Kaj Bjorkqvist
in Physical, Verbal, and Indirect Aggression: A review of recent research
Accordingly, one should not expect women to develop and use exactly the same strategies for attaining
their goals as men do. If strategies for aggression and conflict resolution are learned, not innate,
then women are likely to learn different methods than men. Important aspects are power and capacity,
not only physical, but also verbal, and social.
Human beings have nonphysical powers which are far beyond those of any other animal. Accordingly,
human aggression has faces and forms, inconceivable within the realm of animal aggression. Extrapolations
from animal studies are, therefore, misleading. Aggressive styles are also subject to developmental
change during the life course. As indicated, animal aggression is mostly physical. Also among young
children lacking verbal skills, aggression is predominantly physical.
Verbal skills, when they develop, are quickly utilized not only for peaceful communication, but
also for aggressive purposes. When social skills develop, even more sophisticated strategies of
aggression are made possible, with the aggressor being able to harm a target person without even
being identified: Those strategies may be referred to as indirect aggression (Lagerspetz, Bjorkqvist,
and Peltonen, 1988; Bjorkqvist, Lagerspetz, and Kaukiainen, 1992).
There are good reasons to believe that, as far as adult interpersonal
conflict is concerned, physical aggression is really the exception, not the rule. Other means are
more likely to be used.
Burbank (1987) reviews anthropological research on female aggression. She finds
females of different cultures having a large potential of aggressive
means to use in order to get even with their husbands, such as, e.g., locking them
out of the house for the night: she regards this as an act of aggression. Burbank (1987) found females
seldom to resort to physical aggression against their husbands, but they did so, occasionally. The
most common reason was that their husbands had committed adultery. Burbank found, however, that
women are much more often aggressive towards other women than towards
Here is one type from popular literature that fits the pattern:
The Fearmonger Boss. People do what a "fearsome" boss says because they're afraid of him,
which actually encourages further intimidation. He always has a threat, and he constantly follows
through with that threat in order to keep his employees acquiescent.
Often bulling behavior is combined with paranoia tendencies (paranoiac self-defense). Again this
category is fuzzy.
Paranoid managers are psychopaths for whom continual mistrust and misjudgment of environment dominates
other (often no less pathological) personality features. Wikipedia defines paranoia in the following
Paranoid personality disorder is a
psychiatric diagnosis that
denotes a personality
disorder with paranoid features.
It is characterized by an exaggerated sensitivity to rejection, resentfulness,
distrust, as well as the inclination to distort experienced events. Neutral and friendly
actions of others are often misinterpreted as being hostile or contemptuous.
Unfounded suspicions regarding the sexual loyalty of partners and loyalty in general as well
as the belief that one's rights are not being recognized is stubbornly and argumentatively insisted
Paranoid managers are suspicious, touchy,
typically humorless, quick to take offense and slow to forgive,
self-righteous (Which makes them remarkably similar to authoritarians and micromanagers). They are often
argumentative and litigious. They seldom show tenderness
and may avoid intimacy; often they seem tense and brusque.
Paranoid personalities find causal connections everywhere; for them nothing is coincidental.
They are constantly on guard and are hypersensitive to critique.
That means that they often take offense where none is intended. Often they have problems with understanding
humor. They appear cold and, in fact, often avoid becoming intimate with others. Often pride themselves
on their rationality, objectivity and fairness. Paranoid managers rarely come forward to seek help from
Often paranoia combines with "toxic incompetence" as they cannot make decision on time (analysis
paralysis), insists of creating tons of useless documentation and due to this skip important project
milestones, etc. Fear of exposure of paranoid manager is blended into a
pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness. An inability to trust, doubts about
others' loyalty, distortion and fabrication of personal histories, qualifications
and facts, misinterpretation, and bearing grudges unnecessarily are generally hallmarks
of the disorder. Pathological and instinctive aggressive counter-attack, the need to control others
is also a prominent feature. They like to collect evidence of subordinates.
Paranoid managers often can be classified as "raw bullies", as in relations with subordinates
they prefer to rely on brute force and direct intimidation.
Tendency to micromanage subordinates is often combined with paranoia and bulling in various (but
of course lesser then those classified as bullies or as paranoid) degrees. It also pretty often demonstrate
itself as a distinct condition close to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OSD).
Micromanagers are remarkably close to authoritarian personalities in patterns of behaviour and demonstrate
typical for the latter category bouts of anger (Borderline
Rage). Reverse is not true, some authoritarians avoid micromanaging. Micromanagers often have almost
pathological neatness; the latter is especially typical for women. Often their hairstyle is distinctly
Especially dangerous are paranoid incompetent micromanagers (PIMM)
the type which we will study in more detail on a separate set of pages:
Micromanagers is one of the few areas were gender stereotyping might provide some survival
benefits. Women tend to be more detail oriented, and female corporate psychopaths more often tend to
behave like micromanagers. Female PIMM can be mean, evil, vindictive and quite petty.
If a female boss is insecure about her skills and abilities she is more likely to exhibit PIMM
behavior. Female PIMM are usually more skilled in using indirect aggression, especially isolation.
Level of paranoia is elevated and often micromanagers simultaneously can be classified as paranoid
managers. Among common traits are complete absence of trust in the staff, pathological need for control,
pathologic dissatisfaction with results, and recurring "tantrums."
Many of PIMM can be also classified as bullies but again they, especially female PIMM, prefer indirect
aggression to direct. Usually, female PIMM cultivate spying on subordinates and encourage "little
birds" to rest on their shoulders and whisper all forms of gossip. This, these minions believe,
ingratiates them to their bosses.
The narcissistic bosses are characterized by "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity,
need for admiration, and lack of empathy," often evidenced
as envy, taking advantage of others, an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement, and arrogant
or haughty behavior. There is not much hope for the poor shmacs toiling for the narcissistic personality-disordered
boss who demands perfection, absolute loyalty, and 24/7 devotion to the job.
Narcissistic managers are not that different from other types and also suffer from compulsive need
for control ("control freaks"). Narcissistic behavior is dominated by compulsive desire to project highly
positive image resulting in unstable behavior with emotional outbursts caused by insecurity and
weakness rather than any real feelings of confidence or self-esteem. One interesting feature of
narcissists is that their behaviour in family environment is often more brutal and tyrannical then with
subordinates of the office. That makes they close to micromanagers.
Typically they are oversensitive to criticism and do not accept slightest criticism from below. They
often can be simultaneously classified both as bullies and micromanagers. As they need to steal all
the achievements of subordinates to built their image they are typically "gatekeepers" who try tightly
control all the communications channels with the superiors'. Can be quite paranoid and react inadequately
on any threat to their projected image.
Manipulative psychopaths are probably the smoothest of corporate psychopaths. Here we will mean a
class of corporate psychopath who excels in manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery
and seduction. All psychopaths use this to a certain extent, but for this type this is a preferred tactic.
Also they are typically talented actors and can wear their fake, "invented personality" with confidence
and aplomb typical for great actors in movies and theater.
While manipulative behaviors including, but not limited to flattery and seduction are prominent,
other features typical for corporate psychopath are usually present too. They are very similar to paranoid
managers in their behavior toward subordinates, but unlike paranoids are capable to create a real smokescreen
over their real personality by using flattery and seduction.
Unlike bullies they prefer indirect aggression to direct. They have tendency to play by the rules
only as long as it suits them and break rules as soon as this is needed for achieving thier objectives.
They are notoriously capable to exploit "grey" area in their favor. This distinguishes them from
paranoids. Like narcissists they fear becoming less valued, if their underlings get any recognition
for exemplary work. Manipulator bosses are backstabbers who'll go to frightening lengths to look good
to their superiors at the expense of denigrating subordinates.
Typically have a dual personality syndrome and behave completely differently with superiors then
with subordinates. Here is how they are described in one of Monster career self-help
The Manipulator Boss
Also known as the Machiavellian boss, this type is extremely intelligent and one of the most
dangerous. The manipulator boss is highly focused, very motivated, and always has a secret plan.
He looks at people as a means to an end. The world is
a giant pyramid and the apex is his. People he touches or runs over on the way to the top are casualties
he writes off. If you work for a manipulator, watch your back. Your best bet is to be open and honest
with him. Volunteer information. Your boss, who has long forgotten what truth is, will be left impressed
We need to distinguish between normal and abnormal incompetence. Normal or institutional incompetence
is inherent in large bureaucracies and in reflected on
Peter Principle and
Parkinson law. In this case the manager
was competent on some lower level of hierarchy but became incompetent after promotion or as often happens
in IT due to loss of technical qualification in the current position.
But there is also other, abnormal incompetence, when a person got to his position due to some "institutional
lift" (for example being close friend or relative of one of the higher level managers, or a secretary
who is a mistress of the upper manager and was promoted to some technical position in IT department).
This case is also called pathological incompetence or colloquially "empty suits".
It is usually quite toxic if such a manager is also aggressive.
Unfortunately more often then not it is correlated with extreme aggressiveness as well as other personality
problems -- most toxically incompetent managers are micromanagers or narcissists or bullies or some
combination. No substance and not much style. Just very sharp claws and elbows.
Such managers are more widespread that this is assumed in Harvard Business Scholl publications: in
a large organization competence is not the primary value. Politics, connections, and clever tactics
can compensate for incompetence. The sad truth that they are pretty typical in large organizations for
reasons completely different from The Peter
Principle. In "bootlickocracy", the most incompetents are valued for "different reasons"
and can easily propel themselves into a supervisory role.
Toxic incompetence is usually correlated with various other personality disorders and is prominent
among corporate psychopaths. Common clues include:
Inability to make decisions: An incompetent boss often waffles over decisions that should
be made instantly.
Tendency to make bad choices: Ineffectual bosses often make poorly planned, miscalculated
decisions. Miraculously, most incompetent bosses manage to save themselves at the 11th hour.
Reliance on subordinates to get work done: Incompetent bosses may not have a clue how
to get their own jobs done, yet they have the uncanny sense to rely on their teams to cover for
Ability to keep the job despite failings: You'd be shocked that this jerk kept his job.
Don't be so quick. Here is the really important revelation -- that's happens because your boss in
not incompetent in dealing with higher ups. And socially much more competent then you are. And most
probably is quite psychopathic and as such quite successful in "fogging" their glasses. A
classic example are former secretaries who sleep with their former bosses, while they provide them
cover. Thos nice girls can be first class predators, so forget about underestimating them
even if their only computer skill is touch typing and their position is a director of computer security,
network architect, or even head of Unix administration group.
Psychopathic bosses are people that are so different from normal people that they can be truly called
aliens. And those dramatic differences cannot be understood in terms of antisocial rearing or development.
They operate using different set of assumptions, and it is the latter that
makes them the natural "predators" of the corporate world, "criminals without criminal
In corporate environment psychopath is the person who fails to recognize, much less to empathize
with, the personal human dignity and rights of subordinates. That's why they are called "people without
conscience". They do not feel remorse at lying or manipulating, and
they typically lie without limit creating an elaborate edifice of their fake past. This
"addiction to lying" (and related inconsistencies in their descriptions of their past) is probably the
most telling early warning sign about psychopath. Typically they "invent" their past. They have trouble
with teamwork for the same reason. They will say one thing to one person,
and something different to someone else.
As psychopaths are addicted to lying, they frequently
contradict themselves. Typically they also enjoy harming and bullying others.
In young age they are often cruel to animals...
And it is difficult to understand how alien they are from "common people". To a certain extent they
are insane. Please note that "sanity" does not mean perfection; it merely means
sufficient engagement with the real world and society to
allow us to survive both day-by-day and in the long term – thus "sane" individuals usually tend to obey
traffic laws, learn from their mistakes and practical experience and, in the case of moral sanity, they
recognize in others their worth and their capacity for joy and suffering. Psychopaths are by definition
reckless. This actions aren't merely misguided, but often are clinically dysfunctional. That's why they
Furthermore, sanity implies an ability of introspection: capacity to critically evaluate one's experience,
to distinguish fact from fiction, and to tune behavior, to adapt to the real world. Insanity, by implication,
suggests a significant level of detachment from reality and inability to
change one behavior despite negative feedback from the environment. For example,
a psychopath not only can't recognize the human worth and the capacity for pleasure and pain in others,
he does not recognize any value of that. For him treating people like objects is "normal" and any empathy
is for suckers. In this sense he/she is living in an "unreal", artificial world. Detached for
reality world, the world were no empathy exits. It is often correlates with other psychological disorders
such as paranoia.
or absence of conscience and related lack of emotions is a deep human division, arguably as
significant as intelligence, race, and closer then many would think to gender differences.
We don't know what makes psychopath ticks and how they acquire the set of behavioral patterns they
demonstrate. So most of modern literature is limited to "traits based description". For extensive
list of traits see The psychopath in the corner office.
This "trait classification" method that prevails in the literature is very limited and in general should
be considered unscientific. As such, it overlaps with "popular urban mythology". Still even mythology
is better then nothing and we do not have any other approach that is really better.
You need to understand that those description are pretty much ad hoc. Reality is more complex
and does not fit well within this rigid scheme. Often traits are intermixed in a unique way that defy
classification. That's why you need really put an effort into studying your particular type and
documenting his/her behavior
to get some real insights into particular beast you are dealing with. One important variable partially
omitted is the level of intellect (also low IQ is reflected in
Empty Suits (Aggressive Incompetent Managers) type).
Often psychopaths have high or very high IQ.
There are probably several more important factors that were omitted. For example, gender differences
are also very important and color psychopathic behavior in a unique way. See
Methods of attacks used by psychopathic bosses vary but one common is based on performance reviews.
There are several traps there you can and should avoid. See
Surviving a Bad Performance Review
For psychopaths the office environment is a theatre of war and like in any war ends justify means.
So dirty tricks are ok as French proverb A la guerre, comme a la guerre implies.
They are typically used by psychopaths without any constrains (spreading dirty rumors is the specialty
of female sociopath and those skills are usually polished since childhood to perfection.). The
greatest variety is observable from Machiavellians Manipulators
but sophistication is typical for psychopath in general. See Machiavellians
You should remember famous saying that "War is a continuation of policy by other means"
and don't overreact.
First of all, like in real war, there is a "fog
of war" over the whole situation (i.e., you are facing incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous
information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement). Which complicate rational assessment of
the situation so delays with the reaction and keeping your cards close to your chest might in many cases
be not detrimental, but advantageous.
war tactics which were discussed, for example, in famous Clausewitz On War (available free from
clausewitz.com.) and The Art
of War is not a bad idea. Among them (cited from
the asymmetrical relationship between attack and defense
the nature of "military genius" (involving matters of personality and character, beyond intellect)
the importance of "moral forces" (more than simply "morale") as opposed to quantifiable physical
"friction" - the disparity between the ideal performance of units, organization or systems and
their actual performance in real world scenarios (Book I, Chapter VII)
There are several good books on the subject that you should definitely read. Stakes are so high that
any additional ammo worth much more then its nominal cost. See a list of suggestions in
Toxic managers: The Problem of Corporate Psychopaths.
But again, you should took information provided with a grain of salt.
Watching films that depict psychopath also provide some additional insight and this way of study
should not be overlooked. Unlike real events you can watch the film over and over again and that's
enhance the understanding of specific tricks and attack methods. See
Psychopaths in Movies.
Some behavior patterns are really easier to study via movies. This is especially true about female
sociopaths. For example there is certain logic in outbursts of anger used by psychopath. They are not
completely spontaneous, but more of a sign that you entered the territory they already staked. Or they
want something that you refuse to give. The same is true for authoritarians (authoritarian rage).
See Understanding Borderline Rage.
At the same time, being reserved is very important. One of the tactics used is to provoked
you into a burst of your own impulsive behavior as this way psychopath can play victim, while being
actually an aggressor. See Anger trap
I agree with Martina Navratilova on Serena Williams conduct
" Navratilova went so far as to write an editorial for the New York Times in which she
claimed that, in complaining post-match that Ramos would not have reacted the same way to an
argumentative male player, Williams was "missing the point" and would have been better served
conducting herself with "respect for the sport we love so dearly."
"I don't believe it's a good idea to apply a standard of 'If men can get away with it,
women should be able to, too,' " Navratilova said of Williams in her editorial. "Rather, I
think the question we have to ask ourselves is this: What is the right way to behave to honor
our sport and to respect our opponents?"
Serena Williams behaviour ruined the experience of victory for Naomi Osaka, if you get a
chance to see film of the whole debacle with the booing crowd! She looked like the most
miserable winner in ever.
Another issue is that Williams deliberately puts on a tantrum and then claims the tantrum is
normal emotional behaviour. On top of that, she tries to pass off this spoilt-brat outburst
as characteristic of how strong, feminist women behave. All done as much to deny Osaka the
joy of winning her first major championship as to attack the umpire.
And people who should know better swallow Williams' idiocy hook, line and sinker.
As commented elsewhere, all her screeching about double standards for women are utter BS. She
broke the rules while playing against another woman and not a man. The men's tennis league is
utterly irrelevant since she may as well have compared her league to men's football. She
failed by the standards of her league and not those of another. It was clear that she was
breaking the rules of her league and she was the one that escalated the conflict. It has
nothing to do with women's rights.
The PC drones are rather mentally deficient. They respond to trigger phrases and not to
concepts or principles.
Narcissists built a wall between himself and truth and decency. One way to understand them is
to look at mafia bosses
"... While the common wisdom dictates that the sociopath/sociopath type predator goes after only those who are of little or no worth, the stupid, the uneducated and perhaps the hopelessly poor/ignorant the reality is oftentimes the polar opposite. The average in-home/family man/family woman sociopath predator goes after someone who is not a predator while that someone does have a lot to offer the sociopath/sociopath type. ..."
"... The predator wants a partner or spouse that offers a great deal of value to strip-mine away ..."
"Pretty is as pretty does, and while it's true that money makes the world go round, nice is
what makes it habitable." The Victim's Guide to Surviving the Narcissist/Sociopath is a quick
guide book describing what a typical narcissist/sociopath is and what his/her typical victim
While the common wisdom dictates that the sociopath/sociopath type predator goes after
only those who are of little or no worth, the stupid, the uneducated and perhaps the hopelessly
poor/ignorant the reality is oftentimes the polar opposite. The average in-home/family
man/family woman sociopath predator goes after someone who is not a predator while that someone
does have a lot to offer the sociopath/sociopath type.
The predator wants a partner or spouse that offers a great deal of value to strip-mine
away . An uneducated moron frequently does not appeal to a sociopath predator that is
looking at more than an extremely short-term quick gain.
This book provides readers with a fast get-down-to-it look at what a narcissist/sociopath
is, what one of these predators does and it gives readers some basic nutshell advice that is
surprisingly hard to come by. A must read for victims and prospective victims alike whether not
yet captured by a narcissist/sociopath or already captured and beginning to figure out,
perhaps, that as a victim or prospective victim you may be in trouble.
This book tells all, for its brevity, starting with the warning signs to the final war plan
with all most of the ugly details included. Photos herein are taken from more than one city
"... What an absolute bully. She consistently belittles and threatens the umpires, purposefully exasperates her opponents, shows no respect for the sporting venue/court or the equipment, hypes up the crowd to boost her self-image and personal views (fully aware that she is a crowd "favorite"), and has not an ounce of humility on the court or when being interviewed. I honestly believe she only put her arm around Ms. Osaka during the award ceremony so that she would appear more caring. There was nothing genuine about it. ..."
"... The Fact Serena Williams Didn't shake the umpires hand ..."
"... I love how she claims sexism, but she attacks him the entire time. Calling him a liar and saying he attacked her, using her power against him. ..."
What an absolute bully. She consistently belittles and threatens the umpires, purposefully
exasperates her opponents, shows no respect for the sporting venue/court or the equipment,
hypes up the crowd to boost her self-image and personal views (fully aware that she is a
crowd "favorite"), and has not an ounce of humility on the court or when being interviewed. I
honestly believe she only put her arm around Ms. Osaka during the award ceremony so that she
would appear more caring. There was nothing genuine about it.
It's funny to see how she says she was not receiving coaching and demanding an apology
here... and then 10 mins later her coach accepted he was coaching her. Naomi was just better in EVERY way during this
match... This was so classless from SW
I love how she claims sexism, but she attacks him the entire time. Calling him a liar and
saying he attacked her, using her power against him.
She did get coaching, because the coach
admitted to it. And she clearly broke her racket. What a poor display. I'm more distraught
that she claimed sexism in a female game? Plus this ump has docked Nadal for the same thing?
I'd get her out of tennis, what a drama queen. She makes tennis look bad
Most disgusting display of unsportsmanlike conduct I've ever seen in any sport.
Despicable. Hopefully this is the highlight this embarrassment of a role model will be
remembered for for the rest of her life. Thank God Osaka won
Serena tried everything in the 'poor me' book. She was being outplayed, plain and simple!
Other players do this sort of crap to unsettle their opponent. It is just a shame she ruined
the match for Osaka who was extremely professional throughout. Well done to her on her first
major win. I don't have anything good to say about the crowd either....the booing was
Narcissism, destroys the ability of a person to form healthy, long term relationship. While
initially seen as chanrming, narsissists can't stop from using person to his/her advantage and
hurt the relationship, often destroying it in a long run.
"... Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin ..."
"... Another dimension of narcissism -- the desire for attention -- was not as strongly linked with leadership roles in the groups. ..."
Narcissists like to be in charge, so it stands to reason that a new study shows individuals
who are overconfident about their abilities are most likely to step in as leaders, be they
politicians or power brokers. However, their initiative doesn't mean they are the best leaders. The study also found
narcissists don't outperform others in leadership roles.
Narcissists tend to be egotistical types who exaggerate their
talents and abilities, and lack empathy for others. The researchers stress that narcissism
is not the same as high self-esteem.
"A person with high self-esteem is confident and charming, but they also have a caring
component and they want to develop intimacy with others," said lead researcher Amy Brunell, a
psychologist at Ohio State University at Newark. "Narcissists have an inflated view of their
talents and abilities and are all about themselves. They don't care as much about others."
She added, "It's not surprising that narcissists become leaders . They like
power, they are egotistical, and they are usually charming and extraverted. But the problem is,
they don't necessarily make better leaders."
The results, which will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the journal Personality and
Social Psychology Bulletin , come from three studies, two with students and the other with
In one study, 432 undergraduate students completed surveys that measured various personality
traits, including aspects of narcissism. Then, the students were put in groups of four and told
to assume they were a committee of senior officers of the student union. Their task was to
elect next year's director.
Results showed that students who scored higher on one dimension of narcissism -- the
power -- were more likely to say they wanted to lead the group. The narcissists were also
more likely to say they did lead the group discussion and more likely to be viewed as leaders
by the other group members.
Another dimension of narcissism -- the desire for attention -- was not as strongly
linked with leadership roles in the groups.
... ... ...
"Many people have observed that it takes a narcissistic person to run for president of the
United States," Brunell said. "I would be surprised if any of the candidates who have run
weren't higher than average in narcissism."
Wall Street traders could also have a high dose of narcissism, she suggested. "There have
been a lot of studies that have found narcissistic leaders tend to have volatile and risky
decision-making performance and can be ineffective and potentially destructive leaders."
Brunell does hedge though, saying that not all troubles in Washington and Wall Street can be
blamed on narcissists, and of course, you can't boil everything down to personalities.
"... The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement ..."
"... Journal of Personality ..."
"... Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living ..."
"... Ronald Pies MD is Professor of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics and Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse NY; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston; and Editor-in-Chief, Psychiatric Times. He is the author of Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living . This article was provided by PsychCentral.com . ..."
rapper Kanye West, tennis star Serena Williams, and Congressman Joe Wilson have in common,
besides lots of publicity over their recent public outbursts?
It doesn't take a psychiatrist to conclude that all three individuals placed their momentary
emotional needs over the feelings and wishes of others -- and that they failed to play by the
proverbial rules of the game. Though their intrusive behavior may be rationalized as "off the
cuff" or "from the heart," the fact remains that each of these individuals performed a
calculation over a period of seconds, minutes, or perhaps hours: they calculated that their
anger or resentment was more important than the decorum others expected of them.
Sure, we all "lose it" from time to time, and impolite outbursts have probably been with us
since our Neanderthal forebears first learned to growl. Furthermore, the impression that
manners have gotten worse and worse over the years may not be supported by historical data.
John F. Kasson, in his book, Rudeness and Civility , points out that people in
medieval times behaved far more boorishly than our modern-day, "It's all about me!" crowd.
Citing the work of sociologist Norbert Elias, Kasson writes that, compared to more recent
times, " people in the late Middle Ages expressed their emotions -- joy, rage, piety, fear,
even the pleasure of torturing and killing enemies -- with astonishing directness and
Maybe so -- but the recent tripleheader of West, Williams and Wilson made many of us wonder
if we are turning into a nation of self-absorbed boors. (A Boston Globe editorial on
9/15/09 proclaimed, "Shouting is the New Opining.") This thesis is hardly new. Thirty years
ago, Christopher Lasch put forward essentially the same argument, in his book The Culture
. But Lasch's claims were mainly impressionistic. Now, however, a number of researchers and
mental health professionals point to studies showing that, indeed, excessive self-absorption is
on the increase.
For example, in their book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of
Entitlement , Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D. provide ample evidence for
what they term "the relentless rise of narcissism in our culture." Twenge and Campbell identify
several social trends that have contributed to this problem, including what they term "the
movement toward self-esteem " that began
in the late 1960s; and the movement away from "community-oriented thinking" that began in the
1970s. But the root causes go far deeper. For example, in a chapter entitled "Raising Royalty,"
Twenge and Campbell point to " the new parenting culture that has fueled the narcissism
epidemic." In effect, the authors argue, there has been a shift away from limit-setting toward
letting the child get whatever he or she wants.
Twenge and her colleagues have empirical data to back up their claims. For example, in a
paper published in the August 2008 Journal of Personality , the authors report on 85
samples of American college students, studied between 1979 and 2006. The subjects were
evaluated using an instrument called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory
(NPI). Compared with their peers in the 1979-85 period, college students in 2006 showed a 30
percent increase in their NPI score. That's "the bad news.". If there is some good news, it
might be this: Twenge and her colleagues Sara Konrath, Joshua D. Foster, W. Keith Campbell, and
Brad J. Bushman point to a rise in several "positive traits" correlated with narcissism, such
as self-esteem, extraversion, and assertiveness. Of course, a cynic might reply that these
traits are "positive" only up to a point: When someone's idea of "assertiveness" involves
jumping up on stage and grabbing the microphone from an award-winning singer, assertiveness has
arguably crossed the line into loutishness.
Twenge and Campbell take pains to knock down the myth that all narcissists are basically
insecure folks with very low self-esteem. Their research suggests otherwise -- most narcissists
seem to have a heaping helping of self-esteem! But Twenge and Campbell focus mainly on
individuals they call the "socially savvy narcissists who have the most influence on the
culture." These high-fliers may be the sort one of my colleagues had in mind when he defined a
"somebody who, at the moment of peak sexual bliss, cries out his own name!"
These celebrity narcissists are not, for the most part, the kind of individuals I have
treated in my own psychiatric practice. My patients tended to fall into the group Twenge and
Campbell call "vulnerable narcissists." These unfortunate souls seem to cloak themselves in a
mantle of gold, while feeling that, on the inside, they are nothing but rags. They suffer, to
be sure -- but they also induce suffering in others, by acting out their
insecurities in a thousand provocative ways. And, like some of their celebrity
counterparts, these vulnerable narcissists are prone to outbursts of anger, verbal abuse, or
just plain rudeness -- usually when they feel rejected, thwarted, or frustrated. They remind
one of philosopher Eric Hoffer's observation that "rudeness is the weak man's imitation of
If we are indeed producing increasingly self-obsessed individuals in our society, what can
we do about it? There is clearly no simple prescription for what are evidently deep-seated
cultural and familial ills. There is almost certainly no "Prozac for Narcissists" anywhere on
the pharmacy shelves. As Twenge and Campbell argue, there is much in the way that we raise our
children that may need to change. In my view, it is not simply a matter of refusing to spoil or
over-indulge our children. Rather, we must also instill positive values that will help
inoculate our children against narcissism.
In my book, Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living , I
argue that the values of the ancient Stoics can help us achieve personal happiness. I believe
that these same values can help our children grow into strong, responsible, and resilient
citizens. And what are Stoic values? It's not just a matter of keeping a stiff upper lip, nor
does Stoicism hold that you should tamp down all your feelings. Rather, Stoics believed that
the good life is one characterized by virtuous beliefs and actions -- in brief, a life based on
duty, discipline, and moderation. The Stoics also believed in the importance of taking life on
its own terms–what they would have described as "living in harmony with nature."
Stoics did not whine when they were passed over for an award, nor did they throw a hissy fit
when they didn't get their way. As the Stoic philosopher, Seneca (106-43 BCE) put it, "All
ferocity is born of weakness." Perhaps most important, Stoics understood the tremendous value
of gratitude -- not only for the gifts we have received, but also for the grief we have been
spared. Maybe if more children were inculcated with these teachings, we would find our
celebrities showing more gratitude and less "attitude."
It's not easy to call out a complete narcissist. They're highly manipulative in turning
the tables and making themselves the victim leaving the righteous accuser or critic holding
the bag. It takes skill and gravitas not to fall into their trap but they should especially
not be allowed to slither behind legitimate causes to excuse their nasty behaviour and then
be glorified as a brave champion of the oppressed. Mostly it's how they twist the truth and
get away with it that's scary. They'll inflate the minutest legitimacy to make their accuser
appear like the ogre and so emerge vindicated by society. Imo that's a form of bullying.
Again, it takes skill to expose them.
Times have changed not just in tennis. Increasingly devious bad behavior is excused and I
would even say even glorified in sports and everywhere else. Look how long it took for
Americans to admit Armstrong, cancer survivor cycling hero, was cheating. There too the
ego-worship and American public's denial of the truth was nauseating. What about the American
student who probably got away with murder in Italy and was so portrayed as the victim of
European justice? Even when kissing her boyfriend while the coroner took the real victim out
in a body bag they were making excuses with her psychological state. Awh,poor thing...it
was her way of cleansing/releasing the stress of the whole tragedy! There's also the
basketball players who got away with a spree of theft and vandalism in Asia and hardly
suffered any accountability.
Devious bad behavior is tolerated everywhere now and narcissism viewed as strength when
it's only making society more and more ignorant, insensitive and intolerable. Humility and
honor have become weaknesses and the truth a necessary casualty.
I would say Americans are the worst offenders, but the trend they're setting is becoming
rampant and it's degrading society everywhere. Kids are emulating it. That's why it needs to
be called out for what it really is, depraved; wherever, whenever, so it doesn't become the
acceptable normal and the excusable new hip normal for kids.
Now we have a video tutorial how a narcissist behave when he/she is losing, a lesson how to identify a narcissistic bully.
Anyone who has not experienced first hand the wrath of a narcissistic bully should watch this as a training session. Such a
behaviour is triggered when he/she cannot manipulate people like they think they should be able to. The scenario is simple: if
somebody disagrees with them, or worse yet, attempts to call the out for a wrongdoing, they will immediately ratchet things up by:
insisting that the other person is wrong and try to influence their decision making in their favour (admin that you are
wrong~); (2) becoming outraged that the person dares to accuse them of the wrongdoing; (3) instantly "turn the tables": portray
yourself as the victim; (4) use "crocodile tears" to garner sympathy; (5) demand an apology (king of gaslighting, inducing feeling
of a guild without any reason); (6) try to intimidate and threaten the person into giving in
The truth can hurt. The truth can set you free. But you can't hide from THE SAAD TRUTH. Why
are men the majority of Ferrari owners? Why do women prefer tall men? What is evolutionary
psychology? How does one apply biology in understanding consumer behaviour? What is the current
state of intellectual diversity on university campuses? Are all religions equally
violent/peaceful? What is at the root of political correctness and the thought police? These
issues and countless others are addressed in my YouTube channel. My goal is to engage folks in
a fun and informative manner. Please subscribe and spread the word. Cheers. Rating is available
when the video has been rented. This feature is not available right now. Please try again
I found out from the Twitter mob that it is forbidden to criticize Ms. Williams because bruh
"sexism and racism."
"Narcissistic Petulance" and "Self-Entitled" is such a perfect way of describing Princess
Does anyone else see the sort of behavior that Serena exhibited in this instance as a very public example of the same sort
of ingrained entitled narcissism that seems to be part and parcel of the psychology of the SJW mindset?
H.J. Indy Nuding
The generation now coming out of Western schools is unable to distinguish good from bad. Even those words are
unacceptable. This results in impaired thinking ability. ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Justin Hénin is a close cousin of mine, you wouldn't believe the stories I heard a bout the Williams sisters...these two
are absolute scumbags who'll do anything to win.
Agree with you 100%. This was not sexism nor racism. It was a matter of conduct and violation of rules. Serena acted
poorly and stole the moment from Osaka. Shame on those who are celebrating her for her actions yesterday and shame on those
who claim victimhood on her behalf. Lastly shame on Serena
In her uncontrolled temper she broke her racket in three places, in the game and screamed herself into a state of
hysterics. However, another athlete, Jose Bautista hit the ball out of the park and while running to first base he executed
the Famous Bat Flip and he was criticized for over a year for that-he was in good spirits and it was a harmless bat flip but
received no end of criticism. Williams should have been escorted from the court and penalized for her disgraceful behaviour
and using the game for her Soapbox. She ruined the game for her opponent as well. Selfish, conceited woman.
I'm not sure why my latest SAAD TRUTH clip is solely audio. I taped it via my camera as an
audiovisual video. In any case, I won't upload it again, as the message is perhaps better
retained if you are not distracted by my outlandish good looks.
The whole ordeal was so sad for Osaka. As a child, Serena was one of her idols and she had
always looked forward to playing against her. Today was the day that dream finally came true*
after years of hard work and her (now former?) idol turned it into a total nightmare.
Williams even refused to shake her hand after the match! She disrespected the umpire. She
disrespected the audience. She disrespected the ideals of sportsmanship and above all, she
greatly disrespected Osaka. *edit: Apparently this was the second game between the two,
thanks Zeeker for pointing that out.
2 hours ago I believe that John McCain was a clinical psychopath.
Clinical psychopathy is defined by: 1) a general lack of empathy, 2) an inclination to make
rash, often violent decisions, and 3) a profound desire for attention, good or bad. McCain's
"maverick" personality with its contradictions fits right in. Psychopaths are often charming
and tend to make their perverse impulses look virtuous (I've heard him fantastically called
"the conscience of the Senate"). Whenever they appear to stand for something positive, such as
his nominal opposition to torture, it's done to attract attention rather than out of genuine
'What happens when a narcissist is being threatened with the loss of power and control?
The answer is something psychologists call "narcissistic injury."'
Sorry, but the kind of stuff in this article is as poor as anything Trump's crowd throws out
What's special about Trump's being a narcissist? That characteristic almost comes with the
territory of national American politics. Good God, Hillary Clinton? Barack Obama? Newt
Gingrich? John McCain? Narcissists all, by any meaningful definition of the word.
I'm almost inclined to think that in pounding-fist, noisy imperial America, narcissists are
the only people who can even hope to maneuver in Washington.
Although, we can move a notch up the spectrum of disorders to sociopaths, of which I have
little doubt we've had more than a few. The ability to smile and project charm while killing,
and on a large scale, surely is a recognizable trait in Washington. It absolutely characterizes
Obama and Clinton.
My own view of quoting psychologists on almost anything is that it is a game. There are
almost as many views and theories as there are practitioners. Psychology is not a science, it
is a social science, and not a particularly rigorous one.
So, what is the purpose of calling someone like Trump a name such as "narcissist" and
getting a psychologist to give an opinion about what happens when such people lose power? This
is just a game, a game of words.
I dislike Trump intensely and certainly do not defend him, but I do like to defend truth,
and the truth is that this kind of analysis is "a crock."
I believe you may be confusing ruthless ambition with psychopathy. They have similar
features, but are not the same. This argument is not on completely solid ground as there is
no complete agreement on what psychopathy is, but the consensus is that there is something
wrong with a psychopath's brain.
The ruthless can be mentally intact, they see the same world we do, they just don't care
enough about others to restrain their own ambition. This is often learned, they've been
hardened by the world, but can sometimes be just a result of excessive ambition or peer
pressure. They can be quite pro-social among their peers. They manipulate or punish for gain,
not for the kick of manipulating or punishing others.
Psychopaths don't often make it to the top (board level) of organizations, they're too
anti-social to get along with other board members. They manipulate and punish for the kick
they get out of it. Psychopaths are abundant among the self-made and at lower levels of
organizations where they are used and discarded.
"... ...Bush Jr. was able to make a White House Correspondents Dinner joke about those derned elusive WMDs – and get laughs – *one year* after the invasion of Iraq. Why would this time be any different? ..."
"... People often wonder why psychopathic sadists enjoy torturing their victims, when presumably they have enough cognitive empathy to appreciate how terrible the suffering is. ..."
"... But that is WHY the sadists enjoy their activities so much. What they do to their victims is so unendurable, yet someone is having to endure it – and that somebody is not the perpetrator. ..."
David G August 14, 2018 at 2:45 am ...Bush Jr. was able to make a White House
Correspondents Dinner joke about those derned elusive WMDs – and get laughs – *one
year* after the invasion of Iraq. Why would this time be any different?
AnthraxSleuth , August 14, 2018 at 4:07 am
"Bush Jr. was able to make a White House Correspondents Dinner joke about those derned
elusive WMDs – and get laughs" – *one year* after the invasion of Iraq. Why would
this time be any different?
Yup, got lots of laughs from his fellow members of the club that were coconspirators.
Had he tried that joke around veterans and the families of casualties of that whole
criminal adventure I doubt he would have made it out alive.
Tom Welsh , August 14, 2018 at 8:57 am
Had he tried that joke around any of the millions of victims of his criminal aggression or
their familes and friends, I am sure he would not have made it out alive.
But if you have ever managed to think yourself into the criminal mind, you will understand
that it is precisely the fact that he was NOT subject to any comeback that made the whole
thing such fun.
People often wonder why psychopathic sadists enjoy torturing their victims, when
presumably they have enough cognitive empathy to appreciate how terrible the suffering
But that is WHY the sadists enjoy their activities so much. What they do to their
victims is so unendurable, yet someone is having to endure it – and that somebody is
not the perpetrator.
AnthraxSleuth , August 15, 2018 at 4:51 am
I've never tried to think myself into the criminal mind. And, I thank you for the insight.
I have had someone try to kill me. Someone that has killed at least one person before by his
own admission. It changes you forever.
That's questionable. But what is true is that neoliberal enterprise makes it easier to sociopath to climb the ladder
"... As I approach 40, having only realized in recent years that the constant soul-ache I've lived with my whole life is not some inherent flaw in my being, but a symptom of a deeply ill society, I desperately wish I could share in the glimmer of hope at the end of this post. ..."
"... We have been commodified since before we were even born, to the point where opportunities for what Lave and Wenger would call "legitimate peripheral participation" in the kinds of work that yield real, humane, benefits to our communities are scant to nonexistent for most of us. Something has gone deeply awry in this core social function at the worst possible time in human history. ..."
"... Neoliberalism, the economic policy that is private sector "free market" driven, giving the owners of capital free, unfettered reign. Created by libertarians like Fredrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, they sold it to the nation but failed to mention that little peccadillo about how privatization of government would usher in economic fascism. ..."
"... "An extreme form of laissez-faire individualism that developed in the writings of Hayek, Friedman and Nozick they are also referred to as libertarians. They draw on the natural rights tradition of John Locke and champion's full autonomy and freedom of the individual." ..."
"... What they meant was ECONOMIC freedom. They despise social freedom (democracy) because civil, labor, health, food safety, etc., rights and environmental protections put limits on their profits. ..."
"... The "maximizing shareholder value" myth turns people into psychopaths . The entire neoliberal economic policy of the past 40 years is based on the false assumption that self-interest is the driving evolution of humanity. We're not all psychopaths, turns out. We're social beings that have mainly used cooperation to get us through these thousands of years of existence. ..."
"... "If the IMF is to shake its image as an inward-looking, out-of-touch boys club, it needs to start taking the issue seriously. The effect of the male dominance in macroeconomics can be seen in the policy direction of the organisation: female economists are more likely to be in favour of Government-backed redistribution measures than their male counterparts. ..."
"... Of course, the parochial way in which economics is perceived by the IMF, as nothing more than the application of mathematical models, is nothing new. In fact, this is how mainstream economics frequently is taught in universities all over the world. Is it any wonder that the IMF has turned out as it is?" ..."
"... "Economics students are forced to spend so much time with this complex calculus so that they can go to work on Wall St. that there's no room in the course curriculum for the history of economic thought. ..."
"... So all they know about Adam Smith is what they hear on CNN news or other mass media that are a travesty of what these people really said and if you don't read the history of economic thought, you'd think there's only one way of looking at the world and that's the way the mass media promote things and it's a propagandistic, Orwellian way. ..."
"... The whole economic vocabulary is to cover up what's really happening and to make people think that the economy is getting richer while the reality is they're getting poorer and only the top is getting richer and they can only get rich as long as the middle class and the working class don't realize the scam that's being pulled off on them." ..."
As I approach 40, having only realized in recent years that the constant soul-ache I've lived with my whole life is not
some inherent flaw in my being, but a symptom of a deeply ill society, I desperately wish I could share in the glimmer of hope
at the end of this post.
But I cannot. What drives me to despair is not the fragile, corrupt, and unsustainable social/political/economic system we're
inheriting; nor is it the poisoned and increasingly harsh planet, nor the often silent epidemic of mental and emotional anguish
that prevents so many of us from becoming our best selves. I retain great faith in the resilience and potential of the human spirit.
And contrary to the stereotypes, I think my generation and those who have come after are often more intellectually and emotionally
mature than our parents and grandparents. At the very least, we have a powerful sense of irony and highly tuned BS detectors.
What drives me to despair is so pathetically prosaic that I want to laugh and cry all at once as I type this. To put it as
simply as I know how, a core function of all functional human societies is apprenticeship, by which I mean the basic process whereby
deep knowledge and skills are transferred from the old to the young, where tensions between tradition and change are contested
and resolved, and where the fundamental human need to develop a sense of oneself as a unique and valuable part of a community
We have been commodified since before we were even born, to the point where opportunities for what Lave and Wenger would
call "legitimate peripheral participation" in the kinds of work that yield real, humane, benefits to our communities are scant
to nonexistent for most of us. Something has gone deeply awry in this core social function at the worst possible time in human
I was born with the 80s, and shortly thereafter I was deemed to be someone with unusually high potential. Had I been born a
few decades earlier, I would have been snatched up in my teens or early 20s by persons and institutions, and offered long-term
security and real opportunities to do real work in exchange for my commitment and efforts to carry on a legacy with deep roots
and meaningful history.
But I was a child of the 80s, so what was I offered? Education, education, and more education, in exchange for the promise
of, someday, a "good jawb." I was very good at this education, so I learned that the most valuable qualities a person can have
are unquestioning deference, conformity, and the ability to produce nauseatingly superficial performances on demand by which I
would be judged inferior or superior to my peers.
Eventually I got a good jawb (though somehow, someway, I was not only still quite poor, but a debt-slave too, primarily because
I refused to enter professions that struck me as either quite obviously evil -- e.g. finance -- or were good but would occupy
all of my time and energy and then some for at least a few decades -- e.g. medicine).
I dove into this jawb with much enthusiasm and ambition. My bosses and coworkers treated me like a rube for this. As I became
saddled with more and more responsibilities outside of my job description, and which rightly belonged to people making more than
triple my salary (and who frequently lacked very basic competencies in spite of their impressive looking resumes); as it slowly
dawned on me that those in my field did not want to actually help people, but to convince others (i.e. people with money) that
they were noble helpers while doing as little actual work as possible; and as I started feeling every day like the one person
who doesn't get the joke, I became frustrated and, quite professionally, began to advocate for compensation and authority commensurate
with the responsibilities I'd been given.
This was a mistake, apparently, because there is nothing more threatening to a complacent and incompetent gang of managerial
types than someone who is both capable and knows their worth. So I was stuck in a metaphorical closet and condescended to at every
opportunity. (There was one exception worth noting: the most capable person in the organization tried to take me under her wing,
but she was quite old a relic of a previous generation, and died a few months into my tenure).
Still naïve and idealistic, rinsed and repeated in a few jobs, until I learned that real financial success in a field that
didn't require me to work 80 hours a week 50-52 weeks a year required developing my ability to BS and take advantage of other
people. Some quirk of my psychology means doing those things creates an irresistible urge in me to slowly poison myself with alcohol
So I took out more debt and got more education, so I could become an educator, of course. Too late, I learned that becoming
an educator meant not only financial sacrifice, which I could bear (provided I not produce offspring, anyhow), but social condescension
and about as much autonomy as an assembly line worker in a Tesla plant, which I could not bear. Indeed, few things invite institutional
wrath in America more than attempts to grant a meaningful and empowering education to young people (i.e. one that values other
things more than compliance and conformity).
So here I am, nearing 50, broke, broken, indebted, addicted, and alienated, writing an excessively long and tardy comment to
the only place where I feel real community and comradeship, even when I only lurk. I'm good at several things, but I am not exceptional
at any one thing of real social value. I have not spent my last decade and a half cutting my teeth in the nitty gritty and learning
anything that makes me not expendable. I think many of us feel that way: expendable. Because we know we are, and those of us who
are not are often among the most amoral, shallow, self-absorbed, and sycophantic of our generation.
As I've closely followed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's remarkable rise, I keep thinking of another uniquely talented politician elected
to the HOR at age 28: Lyndon Baines Johnson. Over the next 30 years of his life, he became the most brilliantly, ruthlessly effective
politician of a generation. But how? Well, he had Sam Rayburn and Richard Russell, among others, to show him the ropes, watch
his back, and enable his rise -- taking the risk that he would (as he did) eventually stab them in the back and take their power.
How will AOC's experience compare? Whatever it is, she won't have people like Rayburn and Russell to guide her, because people
like that no longer serve as our representatives (I know, they weren't great people, and Bernie is very skilled and experienced,
and may mentor her, but his has been a career at the margins. Rayburn and Russell were among the most powerful people in the world
for much of their adult lives.)
We live in an age where our very lives are based on extraordinarily fragile and complex systems. How can we truly reform those
systems into something better without burning the house down? We don't know. Sure, many of us know in the abstract, but we, for
the most part, lack the deep institutional knowledge of what is that would be necessary to not only build something better, but
to keep the ship afloat during the transition.
In any case, no-one can truly predict the future, and humanity is nothing if not full of surprises. Yet hope, for me these
days, seems a privilege of a bygone age.
That was a wonderful post, very moving, thank you. These kind of testimonies are very important because they show the real
human cost of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is truly a death cult. Please find an alternative to alcohol. Music, art, nature, etc.
Thank you for sharing your compelling story. As someone who could be your mother, it is painful to me not only that this is
your experience, but that you are so acutely aware of it. No blinders. Hence, I guess, the need for alcohol.
You write beautifully. Hope is hard to come by sometimes.
At least you are self aware. Most people are not. As for the Ship of Status, let it sink. Find a lifeboat where you feel comfortable
and batten down for the Roaring (20)40s yet to come. Once you find something to work for, the bad habits will lose much of their
hold on you. As long as you don't slide into alcoholism, you have a chance.
Life was kinder just 40 years ago, not perfect but way more mellow than it is today. Kids were listening to Peter Frampton
and Stevie Wonder, not punk, grunge, rap and industrial music. What changed? Neoliberalism, the economic policy that is private
sector "free market" driven, giving the owners of capital free, unfettered reign. Created by libertarians like Fredrich von Hayek
and Milton Friedman, they sold it to the nation but failed to mention that little peccadillo about how privatization of government
would usher in economic fascism.
"An extreme form of laissez-faire individualism that developed in the writings of Hayek, Friedman and Nozick they are also
referred to as libertarians. They draw on the natural rights tradition of John Locke and champion's full autonomy and freedom
of the individual."
What they meant was ECONOMIC freedom. They despise social freedom (democracy) because civil, labor, health, food safety,
etc., rights and environmental protections put limits on their profits.
The "maximizing shareholder value" myth turns people into
. The entire neoliberal economic policy of the past 40 years is based on the false assumption that self-interest is the driving
evolution of humanity. We're not all psychopaths, turns out. We're social beings that have mainly used cooperation to get us through
these thousands of years of existence.
There's nothing wrong with wanting government to protect the public sector from predatory capitalists. Otherwise, society's
value system turns upside down sick people are more valued than healthy violent are more valued to fill up the prison factories
war becomes a permanent business a filthy, toxic planet is good for the oil industry a corporate governance with no respect for
rights or environmental protections is the best capitalism can offer?
Thanks, but no thanks.
The easily manipulated right are getting the full assault. "Run for your lives! The democratic socialists want to use the government
bank for everyone, not just the 1%!!
They understand how the economy really works and see through our lies!! Before you know it, everyone will be enjoying a better
quality of life! AAAAGHHH!!"
"If the IMF is to shake its image as an inward-looking, out-of-touch boys club, it needs to start taking the issue seriously.
The effect of the male dominance in macroeconomics can be seen in the policy direction of the organisation: female economists
are more likely to be in favour of Government-backed redistribution measures than their male counterparts.
Of course, the parochial way in which economics is perceived by the IMF, as nothing more than the application of mathematical
models, is nothing new. In fact, this is how mainstream economics frequently is taught in universities all over the world.
Is it any wonder that the IMF has turned out as it is?"
Michael Hudson, as usual, was right:
"Economics students are forced to spend so much time with this complex calculus so that they can go to work on Wall
St. that there's no room in the course curriculum for the history of economic thought.
So all they know about Adam Smith is what they hear on CNN news or other mass media that are a travesty of what these
people really said and if you don't read the history of economic thought, you'd think there's only one way of looking at the
world and that's the way the mass media promote things and it's a propagandistic, Orwellian way.
The whole economic vocabulary is to cover up what's really happening and to make people think that the economy is getting
richer while the reality is they're getting poorer and only the top is getting richer and they can only get rich as long as
the middle class and the working class don't realize the scam that's being pulled off on them."
Not only "An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our
ethics and our personalities", it crushes the will to resist presenting psychopathic dictate in
forms that make it difficult. Such as performance reviews waterboarding or putting individual in
the way too complex and self-contradictory Web of regulations.
"... An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities. ..."
"... Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace. This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other. ..."
"... Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently and that fails to treat employees as adults. ..."
"... Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough, all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security system. ..."
"... The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us. ..."
An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics
and our personalities.
Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and
privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If
you're reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism
favours certain personality traits and penalises others.
There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is
articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. Contact can be
superficial, but since this applies to most human interaction nowadays, this won't really be
It's important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know
a lot of people, you've got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a
major project. Later, people will find out that this was mostly hot air, but the fact that they
were initially fooled is down to another personality trait: you can lie convincingly and feel
little guilt. That's why you never take responsibility for your own behaviour.
On top of all this, you are flexible and impulsive, always on the lookout for new stimuli
and challenges. In practice, this leads to risky behaviour, but never mind, it won't be you who
has to pick up the pieces. The source of inspiration for this list? The psychopathy checklist
by Robert Hare , the best-known specialist
on psychopathy today.
This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes. Nevertheless, the financial
crisis illustrated at a macro-social level (for example, in the conflicts between eurozone
countries) what a neoliberal meritocracy does to people. Solidarity becomes an expensive luxury
and makes way for temporary alliances, the main preoccupation always being to extract more
profit from the situation than your competition. Social ties with colleagues weaken, as does
emotional commitment to the enterprise or organisation.
Bullying used to be confined to schools; now it is a common feature of the workplace.
This is a typical symptom of the impotent venting their frustration on the weak – in
psychology it's known as displaced aggression. There is a buried sense of fear, ranging from
performance anxiety to a broader social fear of the threatening other.
Constant evaluations at work cause a decline in autonomy and a growing dependence on
external, often shifting, norms. This results in what the sociologist Richard Sennett has
aptly described as the "infantilisation of the workers". Adults display childish outbursts of
temper and are jealous about trivialities ("She got a new office chair and I didn't"), tell
white lies, resort to deceit, delight in the downfall of others and cherish petty feelings of
revenge. This is the consequence of a system that prevents people from thinking independently
and that fails to treat employees as adults.
More important, though, is the serious damage to people's self-respect. Self-respect largely
depends on the recognition that we receive from the other, as thinkers from Hegel to Lacan have shown. Sennett comes
to a similar conclusion when he sees the main question for employees these days as being "Who
needs me?" For a growing group of people, the answer is: no one.
Our society constantly proclaims that anyone can make it if they just try hard enough,
all the while reinforcing privilege and putting increasing pressure on its overstretched and
exhausted citizens. An increasing number of people fail, feeling humiliated, guilty and
ashamed. We are forever told that we are freer to choose the course of our lives than ever
before, but the freedom to choose outside the success narrative is limited. Furthermore, those
who fail are deemed to be losers or scroungers, taking advantage of our social security
A neoliberal meritocracy would have us believe that success depends on individual effort and
talents, meaning responsibility lies entirely with the individual and authorities should give
people as much freedom as possible to achieve this goal. For those who believe in the fairytale
of unrestricted choice, self-government and self-management are the pre-eminent political
messages, especially if they appear to promise freedom. Along with the idea of the perfectible
individual, the freedom we perceive ourselves as having in the west is the greatest untruth of
this day and age.
The sociologist Zygmunt Bauman neatly summarised the paradox
of our era as: "Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless." We are indeed
freer than before, in the sense that we can criticise religion, take advantage of the new
laissez-faire attitude to sex and support any political movement we like. We can do all these
things because they no longer have any significance – freedom of this kind is prompted by
indifference. Yet, on the other hand, our daily lives have become a constant battle against a
bureaucracy that would make Kafka weak at the knees. There are regulations about everything,
from the salt content of bread to urban poultry-keeping.
Our presumed freedom is tied to one central condition: we must be successful – that
is, "make" something of ourselves. You don't need to look far for examples. A highly skilled
individual who puts parenting before their career comes in for criticism. A person with a good
job who turns down a promotion to invest more time in other things is seen as crazy –
unless those other things ensure success. A young woman who wants to become a primary school
teacher is told by her parents that she should start off by getting a master's degree in
economics – a primary school teacher, whatever can she be thinking of?
There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet
our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be
lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed
ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the
worst in us.
Panic attacks, anxiety attacks, nervous breakdowns, depression, suicidal thoughts alienation,
cancers, withdrawal are all symptoms of the de-humanizing aspects of a market-driven life. In
its worst forms it manifests periodically in mass shootings at strangers. So what do people
do to cope? Drugs, pain killers, shrinks, alcohol, potato chips and soda. They then develop
obesity, diabetes and heart diseases and cancers. How to save a human species terminally
intoxicated with technology and enslaved by the market while the inner spirit is running
empty may not be possible given the advanced nature of the disease.
You fail to really acknowledge that time and again we've failed to exercise constrain within
the capitalist models. The the meritorious are often inadequately rewarded - when any person
in work cannot afford to home and feed themselves and their family then a reasonable balance
has not been struck - in that sense at no time in history has capitalism functioned
To suggest that socialism is anti-human is to ignore how and why as a species we formed
societies at all, we come together precisely because there is a mutual benefit in so doing;
to help another is to help oneself - the model itself fails to operate in practice for the
same reason that capitalism does - the greed of the power holder.
You reserve your sharpest barbs for socialism, but at least within the socialist agenda
there is a commitment to the protection of the citizen, whoever they are, even the
'unmerited' as you describe them - a capitalist's paraphrase for 'those that create no
The socialist at least recognises that whilst the parent may be 'unmerited' their
dependants should be entitled to receive equality of opportunity and protection from the
'law-of-the-jungle' i.e., the greed of others.
The ability to generate wealth, simply by already having wealth and therefore being able
to thrive off the labour of others carries little merit as far as I can tell and does indeed
create the soul-crushing command-and-control empires of the capitalism that millions around
the world experience daily.
Neoliberalism is indeed a huge self-serving con and ironically the Thatcher/Regan doctrine
which set out to break the status quo and free the economy from the old elitist guard has had
exactly the opposite effect.
The bottom line is the basic human condition prizes food, shelter, sex, and then goes
directly to greed in most modern societies. It was not always that way, and is not that way
in ever fewer societies. As it is, greed makes the world go around.
In capitalistic societies greed has been fed by business and commerce; in communist
societies it has been "some pigs are more equal then others"; and in dictatorships or true
monarchies (or the Australian Liberal Party) there is the born to rule mentality where there
are rulers and serfs.
Nobody ever seems to address the paradox of the notion of an absolute free market: that
within a free market, those who can have the freedom to exploit do exploit, thereby thus
eliminating the freedom of the exploited, which thence paradoxically negates the absoluteness
of the free market. No absolute freedom truly exist in a free market.
As such, the free market is pipe dream - a con - to eliminate regulations and create
economic freedoms only where they benefit the elite. The free market does not exist, is
impossible, and therefore should cease to be held as the harbinger of a progressive socio
If we are to accept the Christian assumption that we, humans, are all self-serving and
acquisitive, then we must, therefore, negate the possibility of an absolutely "free" market,
since exploitation is a naturally occurring byproduct of weak-strong interactions.
Exploitation negates freedom, and therefore, it must be our reality, as it is in all peoples'
best interests, to accept directly democratic regulations as the keystone to any market.
It sounds very like the Marxist critique of capital. And similarly, points to real problems,
but doesn't seek evidence for why such a sick situation not only persists, but is so popular
- except by denigrating 'the masses'.
Surely what is particular about our time, about industrialisation generally, is the
fragmenting of long term social structures, and orientation around the individual alone. It
seems to me the problem of our times is redeveloping social structures which balance the
individual and the socials selves, as all not merely stable but thriving happy creative
societies, have always done.
Pretty typical that the assumption is the Marx "nailed it" and any dissenters are
I'm scared by it too, as I said, it's a sensible fear of change. The question remains. What
if Marx's analysis, just the analysis, is broadly correct? What if markets really are the
road to ruination of our planet, morality and collective welfare in roughly the way that he
It's not a trivial question, and clearly the current economic orthodoxy has failed to
explain some recent little problems we've been having, while Marx explains how these problems
are structurally embedded and only to be expected. It is intellectual cowardice to
compulsively avoid this, in my view. Better minds than ours have struggled with it.
So beware of the fallacious argument from authority - 'You are stupid while I am
axiomatically very clever, because I say so, hence I must be correct and you must shut it.'
It goes nowhere useful, though we are all prone to employing it.
But it is not 'sixth form' thinking, surely, to consider these problems as being worth
thinking about in a modern context. It is a plain fact that Stalinism didn't work as planned.
We know it, but it doesn't make the problems it was intended to solve disappear to say
If you believe human nature can be changed by enforcing your interpretation of Marx's
road to human freedom (a quasi-religious goal) you condemn millions to starvation,
slaughter, gulags, misery etc.
Please read what I actually wrote about that. I'm not remotely quasi-religious, nor do I seek
to enforce anything. My intention is only to expose a particularly damaging mythology. The
extent of my crimes is persuasion as a prelude to consensual change before necessity really
bites us all.
Markets conjure up the exact forms of misery you describe. Totalitarians of the right are
highly undesirable too. I am against totalitarians, as are you, but an admirer of Marx's
work. Do I fit into your simplistic categories? Does anyone? The freedoms we are permitted
serve the market before they serve people. Markets are a social construct, as is capital,
that we can choose to modify or squash. A child starving in a slum for lack of
competitiveness, for its inability to serve the interests of capital, is less abstract
The thing about selfishness and a brutal form of dog eat dog capitalism.
You see, it is a truth axiomatic that we human beings, as all living beings, are
fundamentally selfish. We have to be in order to survive, and excel, and advance and
It is not theory but hard biology. You breathe for yourself, eat for yourself, love for
yourself, have a family for yourself and so on. People are most affected and hurt if
something happens to something or someone who means something to them personally. This is why
concepts such as religion and nationality have worked so well, and will continue to even if
they evolve in different ways, for they tap into a person's conception of theirself. Of their
identity, of their self-definition. People tend to feel worse if something bad happens to
someone they know than to a stranger; people tend to feel less bad when something happens to
a cockroach than to a dog, simply because we relate better to dogs than to insects...So even
our compassion is selfish after a fashion.
Capitalism and Socialism are two ends of the the same human spectrum of innate and
hardwired selfishness. One stresses on the individual and the other on the larger group. It's
always going to be hard to find the right balance because when you vest excessive power in
any selfish ideology, it will begin to eat into the other type of selfishness..
The world revolves around competing selfishnesses...
By extension, moving away from a system the shuns those who 'fail' people would be
emotionally better off, and with the removal of the constant assessment and individualistic
competition, people may feel better able to relate to one another. This would imply that
healthy communities would be more likely to flourish, as people would be less likely to
ignore those on lower income or of 'lower status'.
Move to what system? What system would achieve this?
Whether you agree or not, it is pretty clear what was being said.
Of course it's clear. George and his followers dislike market based systems. It couldn't
be clearer. Even when the subject has little to do with the market, George and his followers
always blame it for everything that is wrong with this world. That's pretty much the whole
point of this article.
What's never clear is what alternative George and his followers propose that wouldn't
result in all of the same flaws that accompany market driven systems. How can they be so sure
some of those problems won't be worse? They always seem a bit sketchy, which is remarkable
given the furor with which they relentlessly critique the market. We are told of alternatives
concepts painted in the broadest of brushes, rich with abstract intangible idealism, but
lacking in any pragmatism. We are invited to consider the whole exercise simply as
academically self-indulgent navel gazing by the priviledged overeducated minority that
comprise much of the Guardian's readership. It's quite disappointing. This article correctly
details much of the discontent in the world. But this isn't a revelation. Where are the
concrete ideas that can actualy be implemented now? frontalcortexes at least makes a stab at something a bit more practicle than a 17
paragraph esoteric essay citing ancient Greek.
One of the worst thing is that the winners in the market race are showered with things which
are fundamentally valueless and far in excess of what they could consume if they weren't,
while bare necessities are withheld from the losers.
"... The workplace has been overwhelmed by a mad, Kafkaesque infrastructure of assessments, monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned, whose purpose is to reward the winners and punish the losers ..."
"... The same forces afflict those who can't find work. They must now contend, alongside the other humiliations of unemployment, with a whole new level of snooping and monitoring. All this, Verhaeghe points out, is fundamental to the neoliberal model, which everywhere insists on comparison, evaluation and quantification. We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy. ..."
I was prompted to write it by a remarkable book, just published in English, by a Belgian
professor of psychoanalysis, Paul Verhaeghe. What About Me? The Struggle for Identity
in a Market-Based Society is one of those books that, by making connections between
apparently distinct phenomena, permits sudden new insights into what is happening to us and
We are social animals, Verhaeghe argues, and our identities are shaped by the norms and
values we absorb from other people. Every society defines and shapes its own normality –
and its own abnormality – according to dominant narratives, and seeks either to make
people comply or to exclude them if they don't.
Today the dominant narrative is that of market fundamentalism, widely known in Europe as
neoliberalism. The story it tells is that the market can resolve almost all social, economic
and political problems. The less the state regulates and taxes us, the better off we will be.
Public services should be privatised, public spending should be cut, and business should be
freed from social control. In countries such as the UK and the US, this story has shaped our
norms and values for around 35 years: since Thatcher and Reagan came to power. It is rapidly
colonising the rest of the world.
Verhaeghe points out that neoliberalism draws on the ancient Greek idea that our ethics are
innate (and governed by a state of nature it calls the market) and on the Christian idea that
humankind is inherently selfish and acquisitive. Rather than seeking to suppress these
characteristics, neoliberalism celebrates them: it claims that unrestricted competition, driven
by self-interest, leads to innovation and economic growth, enhancing the welfare of all.
At the heart of this story is the notion of merit. Untrammelled competition rewards people
who have talent, work hard, and innovate. It breaks down hierarchies and creates a world of
opportunity and mobility.
The reality is rather different. Even at the beginning of the process, when markets are
first deregulated, we do not start with equal opportunities. Some people are a long way down
the track before the starting gun is fired. This is how the Russian oligarchs managed to
acquire such wealth when the Soviet Union broke up. They weren't, on the whole, the most
talented, hardworking or innovative people, but those with the fewest scruples, the most thugs,
and the best contacts – often in the KGB.
Even when outcomes are based on talent and hard work, they don't stay that way for long.
Once the first generation of liberated entrepreneurs has made its money, the initial
meritocracy is replaced by a new elite, which insulates its children from competition by
inheritance and the best education money can buy. Where market fundamentalism has been most
fiercely applied – in countries like the US and UK – social
mobility has greatly declined .
If neoliberalism was anything other than a self-serving con, whose gurus and thinktanks were
financed from the beginning by some of the world's richest people (the US multimillionaires
Coors, Olin, Scaife, Pew and others), its apostles would have demanded, as a precondition for a
society based on merit, that no one should start life with the unfair advantage of inherited
wealth or economically determined education. But they never believed in their own doctrine.
Enterprise, as a result, quickly gave way to rent.
All this is ignored, and success or failure in the market economy are ascribed solely to the
efforts of the individual. The rich are the new righteous; the poor are the new deviants, who
have failed both economically and morally and are now classified as social parasites.
The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has
delivered atomisation and loneliness.
The workplace has been overwhelmed by a mad, Kafkaesque infrastructure of assessments,
monitoring, measuring, surveillance and audits, centrally directed and rigidly planned, whose
purpose is to reward the winners and punish the losers . It destroys autonomy, enterprise,
innovation and loyalty, and breeds frustration, envy and fear. Through a magnificent paradox,
it has led to the revival of a grand old Soviet tradition known in Russian as tufta .
It means falsification of statistics to meet the diktats of unaccountable power.
The same forces afflict those who can't find work. They must now contend, alongside the
other humiliations of unemployment, with a whole new level of snooping and monitoring. All
this, Verhaeghe points out, is fundamental to the neoliberal model, which everywhere insists on
comparison, evaluation and quantification. We find ourselves technically free but powerless.
Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major
political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy
and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy.
These shifts have been accompanied, Verhaeghe writes, by a spectacular rise in certain
psychiatric conditions: self-harm, eating disorders, depression and personality disorders.
Of the personality disorders, the most common are performance anxiety and social phobia:
both of which reflect a fear of other people, who are perceived as both evaluators and
competitors – the only roles for society that market fundamentalism admits. Depression
and loneliness plague us.
The infantilising diktats of the workplace destroy our self-respect. Those who end up at the
bottom of the pile are assailed by guilt and shame. The self-attribution fallacy cuts both
ways: just as we congratulate ourselves for our success, we blame ourselves for our failure,
we have little to do with it .
So, if you don't fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled
and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the
human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.
A confidence game depends upon artificially induced confidence to elicit consent from the
conned. And the consent is almost always gained by convincing the conned they will receive an
unearned gain in exchange for their consent. In other words, the con plays off the conned
person's greed and vice.
Other more complicated cons (such as those played by the sociopath powers that be) may
introduce fear and anger into the equation. Regardless of the leverage applied, the conned
plays an integral part in the con. While we helpfully label the conned as an ego soothing
victim of a crime , the word ' victim' begs the question of what exactly is a
victim if the victim played into, and along with, the overall con.
Maybe we should say we were seduced. You know, change the name to make it more palatable. It
sounds so much better thinking we were compelled beyond our control by an irresistible force to
give our consent.
There is an implicit and (usually) unspoken agreement between those running the con and
those taken by the con which promises the conned will be rewarded for his, her or their
participation. And the word rewarded doesn't necessarily mean receiving a gain. The reward
could actually mitigate or remove an already expected or threatened loss, real or
If we were to give those last few sentences some deeper thought, the reader might begin to
understand how governments, multinational corporations and even so-called nonprofit
organizations, controlled by a few key sociopaths, manipulate our artificially inflated fears
along with our dreams (aka the carrot and the stick) to induce consent, or at least no
resistance, to their destructive (and profitable) socioeconomic policies.
Enjoyed the article. When someone expresses thoughts that I agree with so readily, I try
to find things that I would make clearer for me. It is almost like if someone thinks exactly
like me, I look for differences that declare my own individuality.
It is difficult to explain the way you think and feel about the world, and I appreciate
your efforts. My nature is to fight back against it all, arduous task as I get older. It is a
lot easier to say to yourself that you just don't care anymore.
""Life is crazy, people are strange, locked in tight but I'm out of range, I used to care,
but things have changed."
As Gloria Steinem used to say, "The truth shall set you free. But first, it will piss you
Cog, I have tried to say what you said, in other fora, and it's always met with gasps of
disbelief. I tell them "So, you're saying you just don't like his management style, because
you didn't complain about Obama's lies, war crimes, corruption, etc." usually in reply to
someone's comment that the president is stipid, crazy, and/or generally wrong... I may
bookmark this for future reference on such occasions.
Here we are in the future. Now where did I leave my rocket belt?
NOTE: Because "NATO" these days is little more than a box of spare parts out of which
Washington assembles "coalitions of the willing" , it's
easier for me to write "NATO" than "Washington plus/minus these or those minions".
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has called on Russia to explain "exactly what has gone on"
after two people were exposed to the Novichok nerve agent in Wiltshire. (
The Russian state could put this wrong right. They could tell us what happened. What they
did. And fill in some of the significant gaps that we are trying to pursue. We have said they
can come and tell us what happened. I'm waiting for the phone call from the Russian state.
The offer is there. They are the ones who could fill in all the clues to keep people safe. (
UK security minister Ben Wallace )
Leaving aside their egregious flouting of the elemental principle of English justice, note
that they're uttering this logical idiocy: Russia must have done it because it hasn't proved it
didn't . Note also, in Javid's speech, the amusing suggestion that Russia keeps changing its
story; but to fit into the official British story "novichok" must be an instantly lethal
slow acting poison which dissipates quickly but lasts for months .
This is an attempt to manipulate our perception of reality . In a previous
essay I discussed NATO's projection of its own actions onto Russia. In this piece I want to
discuss another psychological manipulation – gaslighting .
The expression comes from the movie Gaslight in which the villain
manipulates her reality to convince his wife that she is insane. Doubt the official Skripal
story and it is you – you "Russian troll" – who is imagining things. Only Russian
trolls would question Litvinenko's deathbed accusation written in perfect English handed to us
by a Berezovskiy flunky; or the shootdown of MH17; or the invasion of Ukraine; or the cyber
attack on Estonia. Only a Russian troll would observe that the fabulously expensive NATO
intelligence agencies apparently get their information from Bellingcat. Argumentum ad trollem
count the troll accusations here or admire the
clever anticipatory use of the technique there .
This is classic gaslighting – I'm telling the truth, you're the crazy one.
The Skripals were poisoned by an incredibly deadly nerve agent that left them with no
visible symptoms for hours but not so deadly that it killed them; at least not at Easter; nor
the policeman; a nerve agent that could only have been made in Russia although its recipe was
published in the
open media ; that poison having been administered on a doorknob that each had to have
touched at the exact same minute that no one else touched; a nerve agent so deadly that they
only bothered to clean up the sites 51 days later. And so on: a different story every day. But
your mind must be controlled by Putin if you smell a falsehood at any point. And, now we have
it all over again: apparently
the fiendishly clever Russian assassins smeared the doorknob and then, rather than getting out
of town ASAP, sauntered over into a park to toss the container . (Remember the fiendishly
clever Russian assassins who spread polonium everywhere?)
They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.
Russians cheat at the sports you follow, scatter nerve agents and radioactive material in
places you could be in, sneak into the voting booth with you, blow up airplanes you might be on
and tear up the " very
fabric of our democracy ." Your favourite actor tells you " we are at war with Russia ".
NATO exerts a continual pressure for unanimity. Again, the Skripal story is a good example:
London accused Russia and, "
in solidarity ", Russian diplomats were expelled all over the world. Allies took its word
for it. Now the doubts:
in Germany especially . Sanctions must be imposed on Russia because we must be in
solidarity with Kiev.
"Solidarity" on migrants . " Solidarity " is
perhaps the greatest virtue in NATOland. We will hear more pleas for solidarity as NATO dies : when mere
"solidarity" is the only reason left; there's no reason left.
I said it the last time: the USSR did lots of things in its time – influencing,
fiddling elections, fake news, gaslighting and so on. But, in those days the Communist Party
was the " leading and guiding
force " but today it's the opposition .
Things have changed in Moscow, but NATO rolls on.
Some hope, though.
While many people are still taken in by the gaslighters, there are hopeful signs. Once upon
a time Internet versions of the mass media allowed comments. Gradually, one by one, they shut
down their comments sections because of "trolls", "fake news" and offended "standards" but
really because of disagreement. Perhaps the most famous case is that of the Guardian:
an entire website , has been created by
people whose comments were rejected because they violated "community standards". I always read
the comments in the Daily Mail, especially the best rated, and on the Skripal stories, the
comments are very sceptical indeed of the official story.
For example .
This is rather encouraging: for gaslighting really to work, the gaslighter either has to be
in such a position of power that he can completely control the victim's surroundings or in such
a position of authority that the victim cannot imagine doubting what he says. Those days are
"... Still, doesn't the Universe work in such a way that *good* is constitutionally unable to successfully confront *evil*? Doesn't evil-fighting-evil and destroying a worse-evil leave a little less evil in this world? ..."
...You can't put lipstick on an American fascist pig only because he pretends detente with Russia. It's tantamount to
selling one's soul for an illusion. It's tantamount to treason if you live anywhere except in the U.S. OR Israel! And even if
you live in the U.S. you are enabling the 1% and Zionist power.
That's it. I'm tired of Trumpgod can do no wrong when everything he stands for is wrong. Get the snow out of your eyes!
Guerrero | Jul 17, 2018 7:21:47 PM | 149
For sure I am in agreement: the "Trumpgod" is a shamanistic construction of a demoralized population.
Still, doesn't the Universe work in such a way that *good* is constitutionally unable to successfully confront *evil*?
Doesn't evil-fighting-evil and destroying a worse-evil leave a little less evil in this world?
If that is how this Universe really works, and one has only force to work with, in the material realm, Donald Trump would
seem well enough suited to the role of either lesser or greater-evil; either-way, hopefully leading-to dimunition of error,
self-deception, and suffering of the children of Eve and Adam.
@149 Guerrero said: "Still, doesn't the Universe work in such a way that *good* is
constitutionally unable to successfully confront *evil*?"
Not often one sees metaphysics enter the realm of geo-political debate in this or any
political forum. But, heck, why not? The unseen forces guiding the survival instincts of the
universe (of which the Earth is a part) may indeed be at work. Trump - whatever one sees in
him - seems to be the man for the times. Paradigms are bending, cracking, the conversation is
I'll never forget the shock in the MSM, almost to the point of stupefaction, at Trump
accusing Obama during the election campaign of being the "founder of ISIS."
What was even more amazing was how weak Obama's response was. I don't think anybody
posting here would disagree that ISIS was Obama's baby - whether through adoption or
But what serious candidate for President before Trump would ever say such a thing publicly
- even if he knew it to be true? Whether by design or through blundering, boorish idiocy born
of whatever flaws and motives you want to ascribe to him, Trump is very boisterously
upsetting the political apple cart and with it the entire world order.
If it is indeed for show as the world elites close their grip on the people of the planet
- it is quite a show. But I don't think so...
"Most people are both repelled and intrigued by the images of cold-blooded,
conscienceless murderers that increasingly populate our movies, television programs, and
newspaper headlines. With their flagrant criminal violation of society's rules, serial
killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy are among the most dramatic examples of the
psychopath. Individuals with this personality disorder are fully aware of the consequences of
their actions and know the difference between right and wrong, yet they are terrifyingly
self-centered, remorseless, and unable to care about the feelings of others. Perhaps most
frightening, they often seem completely normal to unsuspecting targets -- and they do not
always ply their trade by killing. Presenting a compelling portrait of these dangerous men
and women based on 25 years of distinguished scientific research, Dr. Robert D. Hare vividly
describes a world of con artists, hustlers, rapists, and other predators who charm, lie, and
manipulate their way through life. Are psychopaths mad, or simply bad? How can they be
recognized? And how can we protect ourselves? This book provides solid information and
surprising insights for anyone seeking to understand this devastating condition."
As a teacher I once had a 4th grader who was an inveterate liar. One could never believe a
word that came out of his mouth yet the Principal, ever the Diplomat and Mistress of
Understatement, counseled against referring to the child as a Pathological Liar during parent
conferences (even though it was true, she agreed).
Instead she suggested pointing out that "Little Donald tends to draw the line between Fact
and Fantasy in a Different Place that you and I might."
"Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal -- the poor person or the rich
one? It's temping to think that the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to act fairly.
After all, if you already have enough for yourself, it's easier to think about what others may
need. But research suggests the opposite is true: as people climb the social ladder, their
compassionate feelings towards other people decline ."
• This is a review of the
literature from 2012 (
2016 ; 2017 ;
There's tons of research that demonstrates when people gain high status they lose empathy
for people of low status. In our society, having lots of capital also grants lots of status,
so calling it "capital-induced" is accurate. Being a sociopath to start with is just a
Not sure what the candy experiment was, but I believe there have been studies showing a
correlation between income/class and how likely someone was to pick up on social cues related
to empathy (face or body showing distress or need). I now want to go look this up!
I suppose I'm less skeptical about this, or have a touch of confirmation bias, because
well why wouldn't I be? Like every other human I've seen or heard from countless millionaires
and billionaires. It's almost like they surround me with their ideas, values and aethetic on
purpose! So all day long they preen, ponder, whine, pontificate and PRETEND in front of me.
The quite natural result? I know a lot more about them than they know about me. And I
wouldn't be surprised in the least if full access to the cash spigot turned off your
But luckily for them, there's an easy way to win it back.
When/If I ever encounter a peer-reviewed study showing the percentage of psychopaths in
the population of $10M+ lottery winners is significantly greater than the percentage of
psychopaths in, say, a run-of-the-mill southern baptist congregation, then I might believe
you. Short of that, I suspect that psychopathy is, to some degree, inheritable which
reinforces my assertion.
OK, book report time. I have just finished reading Bad Blood , by John Carreyrou of the Wall Street
Journal. Good read, fascinating story. It is the saga of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of
Theranos, the miraculous blood-testing company of Silicon Valley. Holmes, formerly said to be
worth $4.5 billion, ended up under criminal indictment for fraud as of 2015. I suppose many
have heard vaguely of Theranos, as I had, but the actual story is astonishing.
Holmes, 19, drops out of Stanford to start a medical-instrumentation company. She is very
smart, very driven, very self-confident, very glib, very cold-blooded, very manipulative, very
willing to take risks, very pretty, and very ruthless. Everything about her is very. If the
foregoing resembles the clinical description of a psychopath, there is a reason.
She also knows almost nothing of the sciences, and nothing at all of electronic or
mechanical engineering, or of medical instrumentation. That is, she has no qualifications in
the field. She is just very–that word again–smart and pretty and talks a swell
show. And yet ye gods and little catfishes, what she managed to do.
Her goal was to invent a medical blood-analyzer that could do a large number of tests on a
single drop of blood from a pricked finger. It was a bright idea. If it had worked, it would
have been a (very) big deal. This of course is also true of anti-gravity space shps and
perpetual motion machines. Making it work required nothing beyond difficult mechanical
engineering, electronic engineering, programming, microfluidics, and a few things that were
impossible. She knew none of these fields.
But holy smack-and-kerpow, Batman, could she talk. Soon she had investment money pouring in.
On her board she got–yes–Henry everlovin' Kissinger and James Mattis (uh-huh, that
one,) and former Secretaries of State and Defense and just about every heavy hitter except Pope
Francis. More money rained down. I mean with people like that vouching for her, Hank the Kiss
and Mad Dog Mattis, it had to be legit–right? She even managed to cozy up to the Clintons
Meanwhile the wretched blood gizmo wouldn't, didn't, and couldn't as it turned out, work. It
was a metal box with inside it a glue-gun robot arm out of Jersey–I am not inventing
this–that made grinding noises and could do only a few tests with wildly unreliable
results. You might think of it as Uncle Clunk. Just the thing you want your life to depend on.
And lives do depend on good lab results.("OK, lady, Uncle Clunk says you got brain cancer. We
have to remove your brain.") Heh. Oops.
So Holmes, who could talk the bark off a tree, faked it. To be fair, she probably thought it
would work or hoped it might and turned to chicanery only when it didn't. Anyway, many of her
deceptions were clearly fraudulent–well, clearly if you knew about them. For example,
most of her results were obtained using commercial analyzers from outfits like Siemens instead
of Uncle Clunk. Financial projections were wildly dishonest. Many employees quit over ethhical
concerns–but they were bound by sharp-fanged nondisclosure agreements they had to sign to
be hired. It was nonsense. Nothing worked. But nobody knew.
Thing was, across America there was a terrific will to believe. Her story was just too good
to pass up. People wanted a female Steve Jobs, a girl to join the boys in a startup world of
wunderkind guys like Gates and Jobs and Wozniak and Zuckerberg and all. There just weren't any
girls. Sure, a few, sort of, a little bit, like Marissa Mayer at Google, but Page and Bryn were
the real starters-up. Holmes was beautiful, smart, so very appealing and just a dynamite
entrepreneur. She had this astonishingly successful company.
Which didn't have a product.
Note that most of the dazzling university dropouts who became billionaires are in software,
not biological sciences. The few in hardware brilliantly put together readily comprehended
pieces, like CPUs and memory chips. There is a reason for this. Programming takes a lot of
brains and little knowledge. Medicine takes reasonable intelligence and lots of knowledge.
Molecular biology takes a lot of brains and a lot of knowledge. A (very) bright kid can learn
Python or C-plus-plus in a couple of months in mommy's basement and actually be a programmer.
It doesn't work with complicated multidisciplinary computerized micro-fluidized gadgets
involving robotic glue-arms. At least, it didn't work.
I wonder why nobody thought of this. When asked for evidence, she ducked, dodged, lied, said
the check was in the mail, and any day now.
The non-disclosure agreements saved her, for a while. All employees had to sign them. Her
lawyer, who was also on her board, was the scary super lawyer David Boies. If you were a
midlevel lab worker, and knew that reagents were out of date, that bad results were being
hidden, that Uncle Clunk didn't work–and said so, a savage law firm with unlimited funds
and, as events proved, not a lot of ethics, would litigate you into sleeping in alleys.
Consequently much was known, but little was said.
Meanwhile–this is crazier than Aunt Sadie, that we kept in the attic–she got
freaking Safeway and Walgreens to bite on putting Theranos booths in their stores so customers
could get quick finger-prick analyses for very little money. Both companies bought into this,
and actually built the booths at considerable expense, without insisting on seeing proof of her
claims. I wonder what she was thinking. The scam obviously was going to collapse at some point.
A better question might be what her board members and the chain-store executives were
thinking. They were bosses of huge corporations and presumably astute. How did she get away
with it? I will guess. Most of those gulled were old men, or nearly so. Note that old men,
powerful men, rich men, and famous men, are nevertheless men. Holmes was a honey, slender, very
pretty, well-groomed, appealing, smart, and maybe the daughter or girlfriend or mistress that
her prey would have liked.
Andrea Dworkin. Finally, a cure for self-abuse. Would the old guys on Elizabeth's board have
been as smitten by Andrea?
As the Wall Street Journal closed in, and Theranos got wind of it, things became
ethically interesting. Holmes of course knew that Theranos was endangering lives, and had
already established a lack of morality. Some of the board came to suspect and quietly bailed.
The employees were intimidated, though several talked to the Journal anonymously.
But superlawyer David Boies and his associate Heather King among others at the firm knew.
They tried every legal means, or maybe I mean lawyerly means, to block publication of the
story. When federal regulatory agencies issued a long, detailed investigative report making it
absolutely clear that Theranos did not even come close to legality, and was therefore
endangering lives–Boies and King tried to suppress that too. Their success was not great
as the Journal put the whole gorgeous taco online, but they tried. It is a curious fact,
but a fact, that lawyers are often accessories to crime.
"... The weakest part of this piece is that it makes all kinds of suppositions about about the true nature of mankind, that remind me of paleo diet nonsense. Humans evolved constantly so we were selected for domestication. It changed us. We are not the great apes of the savannah, but agriculturalists living in complex societies. This is our true nature and the conflict in our societies is between those who are more domesticated and those who are less domesticated. ..."
"... This text shows us a little of the biblical allegory of Pandora's box, even though we know that it is based on the sins that are present inside the box. How is a short story, so I can invent upon an invention without a known author, that in fact as we open Pandora's Box, we will not spread hatred for Earth, there is no need to spread what is already widespread, but we will find the truth. And the truth is that we are animals like those we despise. Human culture is an illusion to keep sane people. ..."
"... "Oh, well, at least Bonobo–I mean, Bonomo–didn't use the word "sheeple," so I don't have to go ballistic on him. Condescending is much too weak a word to describe this mess. Arrogant and egomaniacal fit much better." ..."
"... Despite some glaring inaccuracies and over-generalizations, overall the piece is interesting and thought-provoking. ..."
"... Freedom is in inverse proportion to security. An individual in solitary-confinement in a maximum security prison has 100% security but 0% freedom. At the opposite extreme is the "hermit" living in self-imposed exile with 100% freedom but never entirely sure of when & where his next meal is coming from and if attacked by a predator, human or animal, he is entirely on his own. Between those two extremes there is a reasonable middle-ground. ..."
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Contemporary baptized, corporatized and sanitized man rarely has the occasion to question his identity, and when he does a typical
response might be, "I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Betty, father of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and
His answers imply not only his beliefs but the many responsibilities, rules and restrictions he is subjected to. Few if any of
these were ever negotiated- they were imposed on him yet he still considers himself free.
But is free the right adjective for him, or would modern domesticated simian be more apt? He has been told what to do, believe,
think and feel since he can remember. A very clever rancher has bred billions of these creatures around the globe and created the
most profitable livestock imaginable. They work for him, fight for him, die for him, believe his wildest tales, laugh at his jokes
and rarely get out of line. When domesticated man does break one of the rules there are armies, jailers, psychiatrists and bureaucrats
prepared to kill, incarcerate, drug or hound the transgressor into submission.
One of the most fascinating aspects of domesticated man's predicament is that he never looks at the cattle, sheep and pigs who
wind up on his plate and make the very simple deduction that he is just a talking version of them, corralled and shepherded through
his entire life. How is this accomplished? Only animals that live in hierarchical groups can be dominated by man. The trick is to
fool the animal into believing that the leader of the pack or herd is the person who is domesticating them. Once this is accomplished
the animal is under full control of its homo sapien master. The domesticated man is no different, originally organized in groups
with a clear hierarchy and maximum size of 150- it was easy to replace the leader of these smaller groups with one overarching figure
such as God, King, President, CEO etc.
The methodology for creating this exceptionally loyal and obedient modern breed, homo domesticus, can be described as having seven
pillars from which an immense matrix captures the talking simians and their conscious minds and hooks them into a complex mesh from
which few ever escape. The system is so advanced that those who do untangle themselves and cut their way out of the net are immediately
branded as mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers who can't accept the 'complexity of modern life', i.e. conspiracy nuts.
Plato described this brilliantly in his Allegory of the Cave , where people only see man made shadows of objects, institutions,
Gods and ideas:
"–Behold! human beings living in an underground cave here they have been from their childhood necks chained so that they cannot
move, and can only see before them. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance the screen which marionette players have
in front of them, over which they show the puppets and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the
fire throws on the opposite wall "
It began with the word, which forever changed the ability of men to manipulate each other. Before language, every sensation was
directly felt through the senses without the filter of words. But somewhere around 50,000 years ago language began to replace reality
and the first pieces of code were put in place for the creation of the Matrix. As soon as the words began to flow the world was split,
and from that fracturing was born man's angst and slavery. The words separated us from who we really were, creating the first screen
onto which the images from Plato's cave were cast. Gurdjieff said it well, "Identifying is the chief obstacle to self-remembering.
A man who identifies with anything is unable to remember himself."
It's no accident that in Hesiod's ages of man the Golden Age knew no agriculture, which appeared in the Silver age, and by the
time we reach the Bronze age the dominant theme is toil and strife. The two key elements to the enslavement of man were clearly language
and agriculture. In the hunter gatherer society, taking out the boss was no more complicated than landing a well placed fastball
to the head. Only since the advent of farming was the possibility of creating full time enforcers and propagandists made possible,
and hence enslavement inevitable.
The search for enlightenment rarely if ever bears fruits in those temples of words, our schools and universities. Almost all traditions
point to isolation and silence as the only paths to awakening; they are the true antidotes to modern slavery. As Aristotle wrote,
"Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god."
So from the institution from which we are mercilessly bombarded with words and enslaved to time, we begin our descent through
the seven layers of the Matrix.
There are things we are born able to do like eating, laughing and crying and others we pick up without much of an effort such
as walking, speaking and fighting, but without strict institutional education there is no way that we can ever become a functioning
member of the Matrix. We must be indoctrinated, sent to Matrix boot camp, which of course is school. How else could you take a hunter
and turn him into a corporate slave, submissive to clocks, countless bosses, monotony and uniformity?
Children naturally know who they are, they have no existential angst, but schools immediately begin driving home the point of
schedules, rules, lists and grades which inevitably lead the students to the concept of who they aren't. We drill the little ones
until they learn to count money, tell time, measure progress, stand in line, keep silent and endure submission. They learn they aren't
free and they are separated from everyone else and the world itself by a myriad of divides, names and languages.
It can't be stressed enough how much education is simply inculcating people with the clock and the idea of a forced identity.
What child when she first goes to school isn't taken back to hear herself referred to by her full name?
It's not as if language itself isn't sufficiently abstract- nothing must be left without a category. Suzy can't just be Suzy-
she is a citizen of a country and a state, a member of a religion and a product of a civilization, many of which have flags, mascots,
armies, uniforms, currencies and languages. Once all the mascots, tag lines and corporate creeds are learned, then history can begin
to be taught. The great epic myths invented and conveniently woven into the archetypes which have come down through the ages cement
this matrix into the child's mind.
Even the language that she speaks without effort must be deconstructed for her. An apple will never again be just an apple- it
will become a noun, a subject, or an object. Nothing will be left untouched, all must be ripped apart and explained back to the child
We are taught almost nothing useful during the twelve or so years that we are institutionalized and conditioned for slavery- not
how to cook, farm, hunt, build, gather, laugh or play. We are only taught how to live by a clock and conform to institutionalized
behaviors that make for solid careers as slaveocrats.
In the countries that claim to be democratic the concept of a government created to serve the people is often espoused. Government,
and the laws they create and enforce are institutionalized social control for the benefit of those who have seized power. This has
always been the case and always will be. In the pre-democratic era it was much clearer to recognize who had power, but the genius
of massive democratic states are the layers upon layers of corporatocracy and special interests which so brilliantly conceal the
identify of those who really manage the massive apparatus of control.
The functions of the state are so well ensconced in dogmatic versions of history taught in schools that almost no one questions
why we need anything beyond the bare essentials of government to maintain order in the post-industrial age. The history classes never
point the finger at the governments themselves as the propagators and instigators of war, genocide, starvation and corruption. In
Hollywood's version of history, the one most people absorb, 'good' governments are always portrayed as fighting 'bad' ones. We have
yet to see a film where all the people on both sides simply disengage from their governments and ignore the calls to violence.
The state apparatus is based on law, which is a contract between the people and an organism created to administer common necessities-
an exchange of sovereignty between the people and the state. This sounds reasonable, but when one looks at the mass slaughters of
the 20th century, almost without exception, the perpetrators are the states themselves.
The loss of human freedom is the only birthright offered to the citizens of the modern nation. There is never a choice. It is
spun as a freedom and a privilege when it is in fact indentured servitude to the state apparatus and the corporatocracy that controls
Patriotism is pure abstraction, a completely artificial mechanism of social control. People are taught to value their compatriots
above and beyond those of their own ethnic background, race or religion. The organic bonds are to be shed in favor of the great corporate
state. From infancy children are indoctrinated like Pavlov's dogs to worship the paraphernalia of the state and see it as a mystical
What is a country? Using the United States as example, what actually is this entity? Is it the USPS, the FDA, or the CIA? Does
loving one's country mean one should love the IRS and the NSA? Should we feel differently about someone if they are from Vancouver
instead of Seattle? Loving a state is the same as loving a corporation, except with the corporations there is still no stigma attached
to not showing overt sentimental devotion to their brands and fortunately, at least for the moment, we are not obligated at birth
to pay them for a lifetime of services, most of which we neither need nor want.
Flags, the Hollywood version of history and presidential worship are drilled into us to maintain the illusion of the 'other' and
force the 'foreigner/terrorist/extremist' to wear the stigma of our projections. The archaic tribal energy that united small bands
and helped them to fend off wild beasts and hungry hordes has been converted into a magic wand for the masters of the matrix. Flags
are waved, and we respond like hungry Labradors jumping at a juicy prime rib swinging before our noses. Sentimental statist propaganda
is simply the mouthguard used to soften the jolt of our collective electroshock therapy.
As powerful as the patriotic sects are, there has always been a need for something higher. Religion comes from the Latin 're-ligare'
and it means to reconnect. But reconnect to what? The question before all religions is, what have we been disconnected from? The
indoctrination and alienation of becoming a card carrying slave has a cost; the level of abstraction and the disconnect from any
semblance of humanity converts people into nihilistic robots. No amount of patriotic fervor can replace having a soul. The flags
and history lessons can only give a momentary reprieve to the emptiness of the Matrix and that's why the priests are needed.
The original spiritual connection man had with the universe began to dissolve into duality with the onset of language, and by
the time cities and standing armies arrived he was in need of a reconnection, and thus we get our faith based religions. Faith in
the religious experiences of sages, or as William James put it, faith in someone else's ability to connect. Of course the liturgies
of our mainstream religions offer some solace and connection, but in general they simply provide the glue for the Matrix. A brief
perusal of the news will clearly show that their 'God' seems most comfortable amidst the killing fields.
If we focus on the Abrahamic religions, we have a god much like the state, one who needs to be loved. He is also jealous of the
other supposedly non-existent gods and is as sociopathic as the governments who adore him. He wipes out his enemies with floods and
angels of death just as the governments who pander to him annihilate us with cultural revolutions, atom bombs, television and napalm.
Their anthem is, "Love your country, it's flag, its history, and the God who created it all"- an ethos force fed to each new generation.
The sad thing about circus is that it's generally not even entertaining. The slaves are told it's time for some fun and they move
in hordes to fill stadiums, clubs, cinemas or simply to stare into their electrical devices believing that they are are being entertained
by vulgar propaganda.
As long as homo domesticus goes into the appropriate corral, jumps when she is told to and agrees wholeheartedly that she is having
fun, than she is a good slave worthy of her two days off a week and fifteen days vacation at the designated farm where she is milked
of any excess gold she might have accumulated during the year. Once she is too old to work and put to pasture, holes are strategically
placed in her vicinity so she and her husband can spend their last few dollars trying to get a small white ball into them.
On a daily basis, after the caffeinated maximum effort has been squeezed out of her, she is placed in front of a screen, given
the Matrix approved beverage (alcohol), and re-indoctrinated for several hours before starting the whole cycle over again. God forbid
anyone ever took a hallucinogen and had an original thought. We are, thankfully, protected from any substances that might actually
wake us up and are encouraged stick to the booze. The matrix loves coffee in the morning, alcohol in the evening and never an authentic
thought in between.
On a more primal level we are entranced with the contours of the perfect body and dream of 'perfect love', where our days will
be filled with soft caresses, sweet words and Hollywood drama. This is maybe the most sublime of the Matrix's snares, as Venus's
charms can be so convincing one willingly abandons all for her devious promise. Romantic love is dangled like bait, selling us down
the path of sentimentally coated lies and mindless consumerism.
Money is their most brilliant accomplishment. Billions of people spend most of their waking lives either acquiring it or spending
it without ever understanding what it actually is. In this hologram of a world, the only thing one can do without money is breath.
For almost every other human activity they want currency, from eating and drinking to clothing oneself and finding a partner. Religion
came from innate spirituality and patriotism from the tribe, but money they invented themselves- the most fantastic and effective
of all their tools of domestication.
They have convinced the slaves that money actually has some intrinsic value, since at some point in the past it actually did.
Once they were finally able to disconnect money completely from anything other than their computers, they finally took complete control,
locked the last gate and electrified all the fences. They ingeniously print it up out of the nothing and loan it with interest in
order for 18-year-olds to spend four years drinking and memorizing propaganda as they begin a financial indebtedness that will most
likely never end.
By the time the typical American is thirty the debt is mounted so high that they abandon any hope of ever being free of it and
embrace their mortgages, credit cards, student loans and car loans as gifts from a sugar daddy. What they rarely asks themselves
is why they must work to make money while banks can simply create it with a few key strokes. If they printed out notes on their HP's
and loaned them with interest to their neighbors, they would wind up in a penitentiary, but not our friends on Wall Street- they
do just that and wind up pulling the strings in the White House. The genius of the money scam is how obvious it is. When people are
told that banks create money out of nothing and are paid interest for it the good folks are left incredulous. "It can't be that simple!"
And therein lies the rub- no one wants to believe that they have been enslaved so easily .
"Culture is the effort to hold back the mystery, and replace it with a mythology."
– Terence McKenna
As Terence loved to say, "Culture is not your friend." It exists as a buffer to authentic experience. As they created larger and
larger communities, they replaced the direct spiritual experience of the shaman with priestly religion. Drum beats and sweat were
exchanged for digitized, corporatized noise. Local tales got replaced by Hollywood blockbusters, critical thinking with academic
If money is the shackles of the matrix, culture is its operating system. Filtered, centralized, incredibly manipulative, it glues
all their myths together into one massive narrative of social control from which only the bravest of souls ever try to escape. It's
relatively simple to see the manipulation when one looks at patriotism, religion or money. But when taken as a whole, our culture
seems as natural and timeless as the air we breathe, so intertwined with our self conception it is often hard to see where we individually
finish and our culture begins.
Escaping the Grip of Control
Some might ask why this all-pervasive network of control isn't talked about or discussed by our 'great minds'. Pre-Socratic scholar
Peter Kingsley explains it well:
"Everything becomes clear once we accept the fact that scholarship as a whole is not concerned with finding, or even looking
for, the truth. That's just a decorative appearance. It's simply concerned with protecting us from truths that might endanger
our security; and it does so by perpetuating our collective illusions on a much deeper level than individual scholars are aware
Whoever discovered water, it certainly wasn't a fish. To leave the 'water', or Plato's cave takes courage and the knowledge that
there is something beyond the web of control. Over 2,300 hundred years ago Plato described the process of leaving the Matrix in the
Allegory of the Cave as a slow, excruciating process akin to walking out onto a sunny beach after spending years in a basement watching
How can this awakening be explained? How do you describe the feeling of swimming in the ocean at dusk to someone who has never
even seen the sea? You can't, but what you can do is crack open a window for them and if enough windows are opened, the illusion
begins to lose its luster.
I'll take Neil Postman, Chesterton or C.S. Lewis over Bonomo any day.
His article merely takes a blowtorch to all and everything and worse showing very little understanding of the things he attacks
is cringe worthy. There's no real analysis, no consideration of the ramifications for doing away with the state, community and
faith. This is shoddy thinking at best.
And his last part "Escaping the Grip of Control" is just so much gibberish. It's not thought out at all.
The weakest part of this piece is that it makes all kinds of suppositions about about the true nature of mankind, that remind
me of paleo diet nonsense. Humans evolved constantly so we were selected for domestication. It changed us. We are not the great
apes of the savannah, but agriculturalists living in complex societies. This is our true nature and the conflict in our societies
is between those who are more domesticated and those who are less domesticated.
"I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Betty, father of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and a Lutheran."
His answers imply not only his beliefs but the many responsibilities, rules and restrictions he is subjected to. Few if
any of these were ever negotiated- they were imposed on him yet he still considers himself free.
To talk about themselves and their superiority as human beings, civilization and biology, we have an average of 50 or more reviews.
Have to discuss the illusion of the human ego, 12 comments, some of which were based on" not-so-children's arguments."
This text shows us a little of the biblical allegory of Pandora's box, even though we know that it is based on the sins
that are present inside the box. How is a short story, so I can invent upon an invention without a known author, that in fact
as we open Pandora's Box, we will not spread hatred for Earth, there is no need to spread what is already widespread, but we will
find the truth. And the truth is that we are animals like those we despise. Human culture is an illusion to keep sane people.
Oh, well, at least Bonobo–I mean, Bonomo–didn't use the word "sheeple," so I don't have to go ballistic on him. Condescending
is much too weak a word to describe this mess. Arrogant and egomaniacal fit much better.
"Oh, well, at least Bonobo–I mean, Bonomo–didn't use the word "sheeple," so I don't have to go ballistic on him. Condescending
is much too weak a word to describe this mess. Arrogant and egomaniacal fit much better."
These "sensitive" people break my heart.
I think Mr. Bonhomme has the right to say whatever you want. Perhaps, the "descriptions" also served to you, what do you think
It's sadly obvious that most of the negative replies to Mr. Bonomo's article, comes from complete tools.I can see that most, if
not all of you tools have been thoroughly educated by sitting in front of your TV's and burping and farting large amount of odorous
gases from your beer infused bodies.A friendly bit of advice, remove your collective heads from your asses and get a real life.
Despite some glaring inaccuracies and over-generalizations, overall the piece is interesting and thought-provoking.
"The system is so advanced that those who do untangle themselves and cut their way out of the net are immediately branded as
mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers who can't accept the 'complexity of modern life', i.e. conspiracy nuts."
Perhaps he means someone like a homeless person or pan-handler living on the street. Certainly few if anyone would consider
a radical thinker like Noam Chomsky "mentally ill, anti-social, or simply losers".
Mr. Bonomo, interesting take on things but ultimately I don't quite agree. Here is the subparagraph of my worldview that addresses
the whole free-versus-slave thing: Freedom is in inverse proportion to security. An individual in solitary-confinement in
a maximum security prison has 100% security but 0% freedom. At the opposite extreme is the "hermit" living in self-imposed exile
with 100% freedom but never entirely sure of when & where his next meal is coming from and if attacked by a predator, human or
animal, he is entirely on his own. Between those two extremes there is a reasonable middle-ground.
The hunter-gatherers are (or were) about as free as it is possible to be and each individual not having to live as a hermit
– but their lives were, as per Thomas Hobbs, "nasty, brutish and short." I've read that around the time of Christ the average
lifespan was 20-22. (That's probably factoring in a lot of infant-mortality).
My life is clean, comfortable, reasonably if not perfectly safe and I'm on-track to live well into my eighties. But I'm a "wage-slave"
to a job that I hate, despise and loath and frankly, at home, my wife rules the roost. If I protest too much she could divorce
me and take much of what I've worked roughly thirty-four years for so she's got me over a barrel.
Well, years later I just want to thank you for this essay. It stated more clearly than I could the truth of the world. The only
thing missing is the identity of the perpetrators, and many of us know who they are.
We don't blame the British people anymore than the world should blame the
American people. It is these political machines filled with antisocial
sociopaths and psychopaths that gravitate to government. These people have
the following tendencies
- Power Monger - Regularly break or flouts the law
- Politician - Constantly lies and deceives others
- Conquer - Is impulsive and doesn't plan ahead
- Warlike - Can be prone to fighting and aggressiveness
- Destructive - Has little regard for the safety of others
- Deadbeat - Irresponsible, can't meet financial obligations
- Repressive - Doesn't feel remorse or guilt for what is done to people
They are all, first and foremost EXPLOITATIVE, manipulative, gas
lighting, lacking EMPATHY, regret remorse or guilt, grandiose, haughty
arrogant behavior, an overwhelming sense of entitlement, power addicted,
ruthless (however every psychopath will describe this as 'determined'),
pathological liars. Most psychopaths are NOT physically violent, the
most successful ones pass in society and sit in positions of power over
a few or millions of people. Psychopaths will only put out as little
energy as it takes to exploit and manipulate a potential partner whether
romantic or business but it's a succession of cronies and hangers on
that do the work for them as psychopaths are notoriously LAZY.
Psychopaths hurt people because it gives them a sense of overwhelming
power. The more the victim REACTS, the better for the psychopath. They
are emotionally rewarded by the pain they cause.
Imagine the psychopath who has the ability to cause reactions in
millions of people.
"... If our leaders seek to conceal the truth, or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom. ..."
"... "A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not and begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America's future be fact-based -- not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are, and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges." ..."
Tillerson was the country's top diplomat until March, when he was fired by Donald Trump and
replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. NBC News reports that Tillerson called on the graduates
to maintain a "fierce defense of the truth."
"As I reflect upon the state of our American democracy, I observe a growing crisis in ethics
and integrity," Tillerson said in his speech. " If our leaders seek to conceal the truth,
or we as people become accepting of alternative realities that are no longer grounded in facts,
then we as American citizens are on a pathway to relinquishing our freedom. "
He added, "When we as people, a free people, go wobbly on the truth, even on what may seem
the most trivial of matters, we go wobbly on America."
"A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our
freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not and begin by holding
ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America's future be fact-based
-- not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a
clear-eyed view of the facts as they are, and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek
solutions to our most daunting challenges."
Tillerson Delivers Loaded Speech, Warns of 'Growing Crisis in Ethics And
STEAKIN | MAY 16, 2018 | 3:18 PM
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
delivered a pointed speech on Wednesday, warning of "a growing crisis in ethics and integrity"
in American democracy months after President Donald Trump fired
him over Twitter .
The former chief executive of ExxonMobil gave a
firey commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, on
Wednesday, warning the graduating class that leaders who "conceal the truth" also risk damaging
"If our leaders seek to conceal the truth or we as people become accepting of alternative
realities that are no longer grounded in facts, then we as American citizens are on a pathway
to relinquishing our freedom," Tillerson said.
While the former secretary of state stayed away from mentioning President Donald Trump or
any current leaders by name, many online quickly connected the dots regarding Tillerson's
"A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our
freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not," Tillerson
"If we do not as Americans confront the crisis of ethics and integrity in our society and
among our leaders in both the public and private sector -- and regrettably at times even the
nonprofit sector -- then American democracy as we know it is entering its twilight years," he
The most heinous thing a human can do
is eat another human. Fear of cannibalism along with the other two great taboos, incest and inter-family
violence, are the bedrocks of human culture. Without these taboos there is no human civilization, yet
zombie cannibals are everywhere, from the most popular TV shows in the US and Europe to the most played
PC games. Everywhere we look there is a zombie dragging his feet looking for human prey. The ubiquitous
nature of this meme of semi-human creatures that survive only by breaking the most fundamental of human
taboos is a clear indicator of a collective cultural pathology.
Humans must not only kill and eat
plants and animals to survive, we must make sure they keep coming back so they can be killed and eaten
again and again. Life needs death; we must kill to live, and eventually we all wind up as someone else's
food. This paradox lies at the core of the world's religions and mythologies and the fear/repulsion of
eating other humans is the keystone of our culture, without it we turn on ourselves and self-annihilation
ensues. The zombie meme is a modern myth pointing to a deep fear of self-destruction.
The great psychologist and mystic Carl
Jung was asked if a myth could be equated to a collective dream and he answered this way, "A myth is the
product of an unconscious process in a particular social group, at a particular time, at a particular
place. This unconscious process can naturally be equated with a dream. Hence anyone who 'mythologizes,'
that is, tells myths, is speaking out of this dream."
If a person had a recurring nightmare
that she was eating her family it would be a clear symptom of a profound psychological disturbance.
Cultures don't dream, but they do tell stories and those stories can tell us much about the state of the
Many of the themes in our popular
culture are conscious story telling devices with the definite purpose of social engineering/control, but
others seem to just emerge from the collective unconscious like the stuff of dreams. The zombie meme is
clearly of the latter variety. It's pointing to a fear that something has broken in our culture and what
awaits us is a collective psychotic break of apocalyptic proportions.
This "Number one ism" that neoloiberalism promotes is really too unhealthy. There are people who coisouly sacrifies family and other
value for the sake of achivement high status. But infection of this value of large part of the society is destructive.
Viewing people as commodity is defining feature of sociopaths. In a way we can say that neoliberalism promotes socipathy.
"... "People get so involved with playing the game of being important that they exhaust themselves and their time, and they don't do the work of actually organizing people." ..."
"... Too many people and too many entities get too comfortable fashioning themselves as leaders and viewing people as commodities... ..."
"People get so involved with playing the game of being important that they exhaust themselves and their time, and they
don't do the work of actually organizing people." -- Ella Baker
[Neoliberalism] also infiltrates our interpersonal relationships...
The ongoing questions
about how major tech corporations -- especially social media giants -- are reaching into our personal and private lives for the purpose
of extraction raises questions about where else these sorts of intrusions take place. Too many people and too many entities get
too comfortable fashioning themselves as leaders and viewing people as commodities...
... ... ...
Fame and fortune dictate far too much in our society. This happens so much that those who are famous regularly instigate public
backlash for making uninformed comments about all sorts of issues. Media outlets invite popular celebrities to comment on a wide
array of serious social issues not because they'll provide any sort of expertise, but because they are famous...
... .. ...
Fame and money do not automatically make a person insincere. The insincerity of this capitalist system, however, is certainly
upheld in part by the extravagance of fame and money. We don't have to be broke and unpopular to be genuine, but if the logic we
use to define our success resembles capitalism, we're going in a terrible circle. What separates us from the system that oppresses
Western society is flirting with a disturbing trend where people are being denied the
time-honored 'presumption of innocence'. The same undemocratic method is even being used
against nations in what is becoming a dangerous game.
Imagine the following scenario: You are a star football player at the local high school,
with a number of college teams hoping to recruit you. There is even talk of a NFL career down
the road. Then, overnight, your life takes an unexpected turn for the worse. The police show up
at your house with a warrant for your arrest; the charges: kidnapping and rape. The only
evidence is your word against the accuser's. After spending six years behind bars, the court
decides you were wrongly accused.
That is the incredible
story of Brian Banks, 26, who was released early from prison in 2012 after his accuser,
Wanetta Gibson, admitted that she had fabricated injurious claims against the young man.
Many other innocent people, however, who have been falsely accused in the West for some
crime they did not commit, are not as fortunate as Brian Banks. Just this week, for example,
Ross Bullock was released from his private "hell" – and not due to an accuser with a
guilty conscience, but by committing suicide.
"After a 'year of torment' Bullock hanged himself in the garage of the family home,
leaving a note revealing he had 'hit rock bottom' and that with his death 'I'm free from this
living hell,'" the Daily Mail
There is a temptation to explain away such tragic cases as isolated anomalies in an
otherwise sound-functioning legal system. After all, mistakes are going to happen regardless of
the safeguards. At the same time, however, there is an irresistible urge among humans to
believe those people who claim to have been victimized – even when the evidence suggests
otherwise. Perhaps this is due to the powerful emotional element that works to galvanize the
victim's story. Or it could be due to the belief that nobody would intentionally and unjustly
condemn another human being. But who can really say what is inside another person's heart?
Moreover, it can't be denied that every time we attempt to hunt down and punish another people,
tribe, sex, religion, etc. for some alleged crimes against victims, there is a real tendency
among Westerners to get carried away with moralistic zeal to the point of fanaticism.
A case in point is last year's scandal that rocked the entertainment industry as the movie
mogul Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexually assaulting numerous women over the span of a
30-year career. Eventually, over 80 females, emboldened by the courage displayed by their
peers, drove Weinstein straight out of Hollywood and into the rogue's gallery of sexual
predators. Few could deny this was a positive thing.
But then something strange began to happen that has been dubbed the 'Weinstein effect.'
Powered by the social media #MeToo movement, women from all walks of life began to publicly
accuse men for all sorts of sexual violations, some from decades ago. Certainly, many of the
claims were legitimate. However, in many cases they were not. Yet the mainstream media, which
has taken great delight in providing breathless details of every new accusation, has shown
little interest in pursuing those stories of
men who went on to suffer divorce, ruined reputations, and the loss of jobs without so much as
a fair hearing in a court of law.
As far as the mainstream media is concerned, and to be fair they don't seem that concerned,
the victim's story is the only story that matters. Indeed, it was almost as if the victim had
become judge, jury and executioner. This is, in reality, just one step from mob rule, and woe
to anyone who
questions the motives of the movement, as French star Catherine Deneuve discovered.
The (female) writer, D.C. McAllister, described the poisonous "environment of suspicion"
that has beset relations between men and women.
"While women's willingness to hold men accountable for criminal sexual behavior is to be
applauded, the scorched-earth approach we are seeing today is destructive because it
undermines trust," McAllister wrote in
"When anything from a naive touch during a photo shoot to an innocent attempt at a kiss is
compared to rape and sexual abuse, we are not healing society but infecting relationships
with the poison of distrust."
We're witnessing classic psychopathic warfare. Psychopaths play mind games. They make
outrageous accusations and force you to spend thousands of hours spinning your wheels in an
attempt to Prove A Negative.
I know because I worked for a psychopath who did it frequently, maintaining a culture of
fear even among the executive board members. One nice fellow was so affected by the stress
that he developed cancer and died. (The manipulative SOB didn't have the balls to attend the
funeral. Too bad.)
Again, this is classic psychopathy. I was singled out at one point for something special,
being accused in front of the Board of something "Too Horrible To Describe" (those exact
words), but if I apologized for "it" then there would be an opportunity to make amends.
Obviously, I had no idea, and got so rattled (I was a stupid kid) that I nearly burst into
tears. A few minutes after I left, I heard them all laughing about it. People are not human
beings to a psychopath, they're instruments to be manipulated.
I agree with you about the psychopaths. I have worked for and with several. They are
emotionless pathological liars devoid of empathy and live each day trying to focus attention
on themselves in any way possible to feed their ego. They are born with flawed genes but
usually breed the most which is why there are so many out there, you can't avoid getting near
Psychopaths enjoy the thrill of lying and sowing discord amongst anyone they can bully,
i.e. Staff in lower positions, (yes the chief burger flipper can be a psychopath to the
junior burger flippers - it's not all about CEO's). They also bully anyone smaller, weaker or
less fortunate than themselves. A lot of them do get locked up, but too many roam free.
The end of the petrodollar effectively cancels the MIC's fiat credit card. They will be
rummaging their sofas for spare change. Expect them to use whatever they can scrape together
for their own last gasp battle of the bulge.
the bulk of the article withstanding, i can't understand how someone who would put
together this article would use a sequitur such as:
Novichok (the inventor of which, by the way, lives in the US),
what fucking difference does it make where he lives? he is russian. and when he invented
the stuff he was working for the soviet union intelligence services. spots leopards. and said
inventer makes the highlighted claim from the link below. so why bring the inventer of this
stuff into the discussion. bad choice of research.
You think that someone that can reproduce this nerve agent who is now under full control
of the CIA no doubt is someone that shouldn't be mentioned? You jest!!! Oh and he knows Putin
ordered it!!! ROFLOL!!! You are full of shit up to your eyeballs!
The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior
Depends. If you have little or no prior behavior to go on, then social status can be a
good predictor as well.
The "higher" you go, the bigger the asshole*.
Trust me, I've experienced it aplenty.
Virtue cannot dwell with wealth either in a city or in a house.
-Diogenes of Sinope, quoted by Stobaeus, iv. 31c. 88
But if you will take note of the mode of proceedings of men, you will see that all those
who come to great riches and great power have obtained them either by fraud or by force;
and afterwards, to hide the ugliness of acquisition, they make it decent by applying the
false title of earnings to things they have usurped by deceit or by violence.
- Niccolo Machiavelli , HISTORY OF FLORENCE AND OF THE AFFAIRS OF ITALY, Book 3 chap
It took a long time for you to discover (in a 'commercial research') what was known for a
much longer time, the application of these principles in advertising and propaganda
'discovered' by Edward Bernays and exposed in his 'influential book' "Propaganda" 1928. One
of the techniques of propaganda is to make the recipients believe that the ideas instilled
in their heads were their own discovery.
It did not take me as long as you think. As a marketing and advertising
professional (with appropriate qualifications) I was always aware that emotional works better
than rational, but I never had an idea by how much. My most extreme supposition was 2/3 to
1/3. To end up 10:1, I never expected that.
It appears that such high proportion enables the government's/manipulators to silence the
rational fraction who oppose the dragging into a war. Without any firm evidence I do feel
that if the proportion was 2/3 to 1/3 then such manipulation, leading subjects often to mass
suicide, would not be possible.
Therefore, I posit that the human society consists of three strata:
"... This will totally self-select [environment] for psychopaths in the workplace. They are excellent at hiding their inner thoughts and moods from the outside world, only they will thrive and be able to constantly have a cheery face outwards while inwardly plotting how to kill their supervisor. ..."
"... nervos belli was right. Only psychopaths will do well here. The same sort of people that can do well in the corporate scene so, future recruitment pool for MBAs? ..."
This will totally self-select [environment] for psychopaths in the workplace. They are
excellent at hiding their inner thoughts and moods from the outside world, only they will
thrive and be able to constantly have a cheery face outwards while inwardly plotting how to
kill their supervisor.
I recognize what principle is at work here. This is the McNamara fallacy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McNamara_fallacy
). Well it didn't work for Robert McNamara during the Vietnam war and it didn't work for
Donald Rumsfeld during the Iraq occupation so I doubt that it will work here. A quote from
"The first step is to measure whatever can be easily measured. This is OK as far as it
goes. The second step is to disregard that which can't be easily measured or to give it an
arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to
presume that what can't be measured easily really isn't important. This is blindness. The
fourth step is to say that what can't be easily measured really doesn't exist. This is
nervos belli was right. Only psychopaths will do well here. The same sort of people
that can do well in the corporate scene so, future recruitment pool for MBAs?
I recently came across a project where a company wanted to build a solution using facial
recognition during interviews to enable the interviewer to detect lying (and other emotions)
in candidates' responses. All in real time. Besides the obvious ambiguities and false
positives yielded by such a system, it seemed certain to lead to a change in the way the
interviews were conducted, the types of questions, what the interviewer thinks is important,
etc. Unfortunately, companies seem forever obsessed with the risks and costs of hiring "bad
employees" while ignoring their role in providing a healthy workplace where workers can
One of the best ways to overcome the risk of hiring bad employees is to make the
inevitable hiring mistakes and learn from them. The two worst hiring decisions I ever made
were more instructive than any training sessions, possibly because HR cannot offer a class
entitled "how to tell when your candidate is a toxic pathological liar and certified nut
The second best way to overcome that risk is to get rid of the bad employees when you find
them, which is also an important part of providing a healthy work environment. And by get rid
of, I mean fire them rather than pass them off to some other hapless department in ones own
firm, which happens all too frequently.
The key idea here is that the term "bad employees" or "bad candidates" is rarely
objectively measured or measurable. Management by Objective, often done hastily without
reflection, distorts how employees should or would otherwise prioritize their activities.
Management rarely spends time developing employee skills. Overly rigid processes lead to
adaptive behavior that prevents better approaches. Hiring managers rather hire someone who
can "hit the ground running" (i.e. deep contextual experience) rather than an employee who
can learn and/or challenge with new ways of working. In my experience, "bad employee" is
usually as much a management and company failure as it is the employee's fault.
Yeah – some people are just bad. Some aren't a good fit for a particular job but, if
they're an otherwise good employee, they'll raise the issue before the problem becomes
obvious. Same with good employees who are burnt out or turned off doing something: they'll
bring it up and figure out a plan. But some are just liars, jerks, or all around creeps. They
create a poison environment for the rest plus bring down overall work quality. They gotta
The last I heard the world's leading authority on picking up lying from microexpressions
was Ekman and he was saying that the many experiments so far had practically proved this was
impossible. Some humans could (.5% or a number like that) do it but nobody could tell how and
for all practical purposes it could now be considered as a psychic power. I searched on
(Ekman lying microexpression) but could not find the piece I remember reading.
" Democracy is not under stress – it's under aggressive attack, as
unconstrained financial greed overrides public accountability ."
I request a lessatorium* on the term 'democracy', because there aren't any democracies.
Rather than redefine the term, why not use a more accurate one, like 'plutocracy', or
-- -- -- -
* It's like a moratorium, you just do less of it.
"... Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us. ..."
"... What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps. ..."
"... Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-) ..."
"... The West's current political establishments see the way forward as "staying the neoliberal course." Voters are saying "change course." ..."
" Democracy is not under stress – it's under aggressive attack, as unconstrained
financial greed overrides public accountability ."
I request a lessatorium* on the term 'democracy', because there aren't any democracies.
Rather than redefine the term, why not use a more accurate one, like 'plutocracy', or
-- -- -- -
* It's like a moratorium, you just do less of it.
I had not given much thought to "Fascist" until the term was challenged as a synonym for
"bully." So, I started reading Wikipedia's take on Fascismo. What I discovered was the
foremost, my USA education did not teach jack s -- about Fascism – and I went to
elite high school in libr'l Chicago.
Is Fascism right or left? Does it matter? What goes around comes around.
What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic
inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner –
desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into
political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps.
Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on
inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings
us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism.
Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime.
Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-)
Neoliberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the
reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which
capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that
Prominent politicians in the US and UK have spent their entire political careers
representing neoliberalism's agenda at the expense of representing the voters' issues. The
voters are tired of the conservative and [neo]liberal political establishments' focus on
neoliberal policy. This is also true in Germany as well France and Italy. The West's
current political establishments see the way forward as "staying the neoliberal course."
Voters are saying "change course." See:
Whole Foods' new inventory management system aimed at improving efficiency and cutting down on waste is taking a toll on employees,
who say the system's stringent procedures and graded "scorecards" have crushed morale and led to widespread food shortages, reports
The new system, called order-to-shelf, or OTS, "has a strict set of procedures for purchasing, displaying, and storing products
on store shelves and in back rooms. To make sure stores comply, Whole Foods relies on "scorecards" that evaluate everything from
the accuracy of signage to the proper recording of theft, or "shrink."
Some employees, who walk through stores with managers to ensure compliance, describe the system as onerous and stress-inducing
. Conversations with 27 current and recently departed Whole Foods workers, including cashiers and corporate employees -- some
of whom have been with the company for nearly two decades -- say the system is seen by many as punitive. - BI
Terrified employees report constant fear over losing their jobs over the OTS "scorecards," which anything below 89.9% can qualify
as a failing score - resulting in possible firings. Whole Foods employees around the country thought that was hilarious. One such
disaffected West Coast supervisor said "On my most recent time card, I clocked over 10 hours of overtime, sitting at a desk doing
OTS work," adding "Rather than focusing on guest service, I've had team members cleaning facial-care testers and facing the shelves,
so that everything looks perfect and untouched at all times."
Many Whole Foods employees at the corporate and store levels still don't understand how OTS works, employees said.
"OTS has confused so many smart, logical, and experienced individuals, the befuddlement is now a thing, a life all its own,"
an employee of a Chicago-area store said. "It's a collective confusion -- constantly changing, no clear answers to the questions
that never were, until now."
An employee of a North Carolina Whole Foods said: " No one really knows this business model, and those who are doing the scorecards
-- even regional leadership -- are not clear on practices and consequently are constantly providing the department leaders with
inaccurate directions. All this comes at a time when labor has been reduced to an unachievable level given the requirements of
the OTS model. "
From Amazon workers, delivery drivers and now Whole Foods workers, it sounds like the Beezer is a real tyrant to work for.
I'm surprised unions haven't been able to penetrate that organization. It is certainly big enough.
Wife is an ER MD. The physician leasing firm that employs her, which has the contract at the local hospital, recently got bought
out by a new group. Suddenly she has a new director who assigns quotas to everything, and grades every aspect of her performance.
It is quite stressful, and takes much of what little joy there was in her profession, and flushes it away. She is actively entertaining
head hunters' calls again.
Just finished a two-year project building a hospital's Information Security Program....everything heading toward performance
metrics measured against some horseshit ticketing system. Such systems only encourage throwing of horseshit over the fence, by
incapable amateurs, to the people who actually know how to think. This program was put in place by a CIO who was former Air Farce.
It now takes 5 fucking hours of bureaucratic horseshit to perform 1/2 hour of actual engineering/technical work. The next step
is to automate technical work from within the change control and IT automation systems.
Mark my words....just wait until the vulnerabilities in these change control, and Information Security Automation systems are
exploited. Wait for the flaws in the code used to automate creation of entire networks, sever farms, security policies, etc.
I don't want to be within 100 miles of anything modern when this all goes to shit.
It is all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Once you become familiar with the disorder
and all of its behavioral implications all the questions are answered.
Foremost for the NPD afflicted is the need to try to satisfy the never satisfied ego.
Every action and behavior first must address the needy ego and only after taking that into
consideration can any of the rest of the motives be evaluated...
Personality disorder is not mental illness. It's more like a disability - e.g.
psychopaths don't have a conscience, narcissists can't help but think the whole world
revolves around them.
No, intelligent people inform themselves of facts and are able to distinguish between
said facts and populist fiction.
Substitute "thinking" for "intelligent" and I'd agree with you.
It's not about intelligence. It's about whether people use their rational brain and think. If
they don't - pretty much de rigeur for Trump supporters though by no means exclusive to them
- it doesn't mean they can't. Again, stop making excuses for them. They choose not to
think, regardless of how intelligent or not they are.
Nicole spent years living with a charming man, but she always seemed to be doing something
wrong. Eventually she began to realise that it wasn't her that was the problem, it was him -
and when she met one of his previous girlfriends, Elizabeth, everything made sense. Here Nicole
tells her story, followed by Elizabeth.
Other people seem to manage it, sharing a life with someone, content and peaceful in each
other's company. But the thought of a relationship still terrifies me. Many years on, I still
well up with panic at the mention of my ex's name - that charming man who I feared and adored
in equal measure.
A charming, beautiful, successful man had made me his. He was everything I could ever dream
of. He was a high-flyer, his charisma was magnetic and I was entranced. When I was with the
charming man doors opened for us and the best tables suddenly became available. We travelled
the world for his work, staying at the best hotels and eating at the finest restaurants. He
seemed to be able to charm his way through life in any language.
But I failed him.
I ruined everything: dinners, conversations, evenings out, holidays - by mentioning an ex's
name, getting my purse out in front of his friends or wanting to carry my own passport and
money when we were overseas.
He could be furious for days. My inappropriate behaviour had shown him up, he didn't know if
he could continue being with someone like me, he could do so much better.
I also ruined birthdays and Christmases, simply by being "too stupid and cruel" to
understand what was best for him.
He wanted me to buy him expensive presents: "It's just £4,000, use your savings," he
"But those are life savings," I replied. "I can't touch them, it's impossible. I want to
make you happy but I can't afford that."
The charming man cried - I had let him down and nothing I did could make up for it.
He didn't sleep much, so neither did I. I was not allowed to "ruin his night" by going to
sleep before him. If I did, he woke me in the early hours, wanting to talk about our
relationship and what I was doing wrong. I was exhausted. I felt like I was going through life
in a blur, catching sleep whenever and wherever I could. The disabled loo at work became a
refuge for a lunchtime nap.
Why didn't I leave sooner? Well, he was charming and my family loved him. And I was at an
age where life was a blur of engagements and weddings. Well-meaning relatives would tell me
that I was next. The tick-tocking sound of my biological clock got louder as the weddings made
way for christenings.
Although there isn't one "right" way to handle CFHs, there are some ways that are likely to
make the situation worse rather than better. Here are a few tips to avoid escalation:
Avoid "you" statements ("You're not making any sense." "You are the one with the
problem." "You need to suck it up and stop complaining about everything."). Instead, use "I"
or "we" statements ("I don't understand what you're trying to say." "It seems like we have a
problem." "How can we work this out?").
Avoid emotion. Keep your voice soft and your tone even. It's hard to maintain a high
level of emotion when the person you're interacting with consistently maintains a calm,
unemotional tone (although some of the best can do it - see discussion on page 2 about UCFHs).
Avoid engagement. If the anger, drama, or whatever craziness is going on doesn't subside,
politely disengage. It's hard enough going against your instinct to not defend yourself when
the attack first starts. The longer the attack lasts (especially when you're trying your best
to diffuse it), the harder it will be to stay calm and unemotional. So if your best efforts
don't diffuse the situation, say something like, "I'm having a hard time listening to [or
what you're saying when you're [yelling, sobbing, glaring, etc.]. Maybe we can try to resolve
this later when the emotions aren't so high." Then, walk away.
The high maintenance man or woman is the layman's term for someone with a Cluster B
(antisocial, narcissistic, histrionic, or borderline) personality disorder or a subclinical
version with those traits.
Manipulation (which is implied in the term "high maintenance" ) comes in many forms: There
are whiners, bullies, the borderliners, and our main object of interest -- the sociopaths. Korin
Miller gives s ome potentially useful advice of dealing with high maintenance drama queens at
work... T hrowing a fit should get her nowhere .
You need also to understand the strengths and weaknesses or your own behavior (and analyze it
via diary) so that you can adapt your communication style when necessary. Anticipate and be
prepared. That greatly helps not to react too emotionally. Don't take anything personally.
Consider such behaviour as a you view a bad weather. Drama queen behavior is pretty stereotypical
and can be studied via sample of Netflix movies. Practice your responses.
Such people are not always low performers. More often they are high performers at the
Much depends of the "social order," that is, to what extent the society order social
relations to a benefit narrow interests of the elite and how individuals are socialized into the
ongoing social structure. Neoliberalism with its "greed is good" mantra is unhealthy society.
That's for sure. It actually discourages bonds to society which prevent anti-social or openly
delinquent behavior in humans. George Vincent, writing in the first volume of the American
Journal of Sociology, defined social control as ". . . the art of combining social
forces so as to give society at least a trend toward an ideal" (1896:490). if the ideal is "homo
homily lupus est" like it is under neoliberalism the society, or organization/firm gradually
There is a strong correlation between dysfunctional social institutions, decreased
relationships to society and the level of delinquency, especially adolescent delinquency. If
adolescence is viewed as part of a maturation process with the end goal being the integration of
the youth into adult social roles, then in a dysfunctional society likelihood that a youth will
become involved with the criminal justice system dramatically increase.
She always asks you to grab her coffee (and doesn't pay you back), and loves to
monopolize your time.
How to Deal: Next time she asks you to get something for her (coffee, lunch, whatever), just
"forget" to do it or tell her you unfortunately don't have the time. If she keeps swinging by
your desk for hour-long "chats," start telling her you really have to get back to an assignment
and add, "if we could finish this later, that would be great." Eventually, she'll get the
She's obsessed with being the center of attentionand freaks when she isn't.
How to Deal: Sure, it's annoying especially when she can't even deal when your guy's parents
ask you about how work is going but it's in your best interests to be nice to her. So throw her
a bone. The easiest way: Like her attention-seeking Facebook posts. That way, you can roll your
eyes while you do it, and she'll never know.
She's demanding of your time and has a meltdown if you can't accommodate her.
How to Deal: Sit down with her and tell her that, while you love her, you can't be available
to her 24/7, 365. Ask your mom how often she thinks is reasonable for you two to hang out or
catch up, and then work with that. Maybe all she wants is a regular "date" with you. Once you
decide on something, make her stick to it. So, if she starts harassing you about not being able
to hang out on a Monday, tell her you're busy, but you'll see her at your regular Thursday
She texts and calls you like crazy, and says you're a bad friend if you don't drop
everything when she needs you (which is pretty much every day).
How to Deal: It's time to slowly get rid of her which, we know can be tricky when she's in
your circle of friends. Whatever you do, don't respond when she gets crazy over text. If she
calls you a bad friend, tell her that her behavior is pushing you away or just ignore her
altogether. You don't need someone like that in your life.
She needs constant hand-holding (especially after work hours) and can't cope when she
doesn't get it.
How to Deal: Our advice: Start looking for a new job. She won't change the way she treats
you, and unfortunately, she's calling the shots right now. In the meantime, tell her you don't
get work email on your phone. She'll have to think twice about actually calling you at 10 p.m.
vs. firing off a demanding email.
The high maintenance man or woman is the layman's term for someone with a Cluster B
(antisocial, narcissistic, histrionic, or borderline) personality disorder or a subclinical
version with those traits.
"... The 5 second solution: "How do you intend to solve that problem?" Teach your employees to come to you with ideas and solutions for your feedback, but that your door and inbox are not open for dropping their challenges into your lap. ..."
"... The 5 second solution: React to the bigger issue at hand, to avoid being pulled into the daily tug and pull of keeping an oversized ego at bay. David Williams outlines four steps for taming an ego here . ..."
"... The 5 second solution: Teach your team to avoid "upward delegation" – that their responsibility is to handle their job, not to hand pieces of it back to the boss, or heaven forbid, to the client. ..."
"... The 5 second solution: As a leader, you do individuals locked into the "blame game" a favor by not playing into the negativity dialogue. "I'm sorry that happened. But you're here now – we appreciate and respect you – and we have work to do." ..."
"... The 5 second solution: Don't provide one. Listen freely to collaboration and ideas -- but avoid feeding someone's need to "make the rounds" at the office to mire in the anguishing complaints about their challenging tasks and accounts. ..."
"... The 5 Second solution: let the drama begin and end in HR. In the agency world, one individual became so adept at working the system, even a day off required a phone appointment with HR to "hash out a few issues." It was a wake up call for us all – for a chronically high maintenance person, even their days away from the office can produce a negative energy drain. Let HR handle the situation–but when someone becomes a near full time issue, it's a sure sign their high maintenance is an issue the company will need to address. ..."
"... The 5 Second solution: Discipline yourself to be a company that covers its own expenses, and spend only what the business can afford to pay for in cash. The environment of discipline as opposed to the perpetual anxiety for "more" can carry over to help employees learn to manage their personal expenses better as well. In any case, work to prevent employees from making the office a perpetual sounding board for their personal "woes." ..."
"... The 5 Second solution: To keep these behaviors from derailing their company culture, the best example must come from the top. A leader who avoids flaunting material status and is willing to do for the company what is expected of others does a great deal to enhance the working culture for all. ..."
"... The 5 second solution: Learn to set and maintain appropriate boundaries with these personality types. As a reminder to all in a company, great people talk about ideas -- but small people focus their talk on other people or "things". Change the subject as many times as needed until the idea of a higher level of thinking and acting can thrive. ..."
"... The 5 Second solution: Generally, in a case like this, there is direct intervention required. Remind the individual that if they can't respect the boss and someone must leave generally, it won't be the boss. Find a constructive way to address what ails you–change the trend for the better–get along–or consider a move or a change for the long term. But in the world of business, undermining the boss will hurt the perpetrator far more than the target, even if the resentment is justified. ..."
Confessions of a High Maintenance CEO is making me laugh (somewhat in humor, but also in
guilt.) Most CEOs are high maintenance. However, most every business has been riddled at one
time or another with the issues of chronically (and negatively) high maintenance people at
These situations are not the ebb and flow of creative energy, but the result of unhealthy
people producing a toxic energy drain. High maintenance people can also be overwhelming as
friends. Ironically, their tendency to lose friends contributes even further to their
inclination to latch onto "people targets" at work.
Courtesy of columnist Ayanna
Guyhto , here are the 13 unlucky signs of negative high maintenance followed by a few of
the methods you can use to reduce the drain of "people debt" on your company's energy level and
1 -They have urgent "needs." To a high maintenance personality, everything is urgent. Every
piece of email needs to be copied to someone in authority and every action needs to be passed
by the boss before they proceed.
The 5 second solution: "How do you intend to solve that problem?" Teach your employees
to come to you with ideas and solutions for your feedback, but that your door and inbox are
not open for dropping their challenges into your lap.
2 – They have a sense of entitlement. Everyone deserves to be treated with equal
respect. The high maintenance individual will expect more. When this happens, there's generally
an unhealthy level of ego at play.
The 5 second solution: React to the bigger issue at hand, to avoid being pulled into
the daily tug and pull of keeping an oversized ego at bay. David Williams outlines four steps for taming an
3 – They could be self-sufficient. But they're not. The task could be as simple as
looking up an email address, retrieving a file, or looking up a bit of needed information over
the web. But this person feels more engaged and important by making continual requests for
service from others, including the boss.
The 5 second solution: Teach your team to avoid "upward delegation" – that their
responsibility is to handle their job, not to hand pieces of it back to the boss, or heaven
forbid, to the client.
4 – They cling to stories of personal wrongs from the past. The high maintenance
individual has a difficult time moving past real or imagined wrongs of the past. The faults of
others become a script that plays over and over as justification for extra support, lower work
expectations, or greater entitlements now.
The 5 second solution: As a leader, you do individuals locked into the "blame game" a
favor by not playing into the negativity dialogue. "I'm sorry that happened. But you're here
now – we appreciate and respect you – and we have work to do."
5 – They talk. A lot. The high maintenance person thrives on attention. They have a
continual need for others to serve as their sounding boards. While discussion and brainstorming
is necessary and healthy, high maintenance people feel the need to use their co-workers as ad
hoc life advisors and coaches; however they have little desire or motivation to actually hear
and take the advice they receive. Mostly, they crave a listening ear.
The 5 second solution: Don't provide one. Listen freely to collaboration and ideas --
but avoid feeding someone's need to "make the rounds" at the office to mire in the anguishing
complaints about their challenging tasks and accounts.
6 – They are seldom satisfied. High maintenance people will see the flaws in every
situation. Even when they've been given extra care and attention, they will invariably find
something wrong with the solution or service they've received, or will feel the need to ask for
an additional "adjustment" in order to gratify their need to feel validated and served.
7 – They are high-strung. Not all high-strung people are high maintenance. But the
person with excessive needs will be persistently vocal and anxious about the things they
require. Again – it's a dependency you shouldn't encourage or feed.
8 – They live in a state of perpetual drama. If you are around a high maintenance
person for an extended period of time, you will observe frequent periods of meltdown during the
course of the day. Every small inconvenience or mistake becomes a crisis. They will learn to
work the internal HR system heavily at every turn.
The 5 Second solution: let the drama begin and end in HR. In the agency world, one
individual became so adept at working the system, even a day off required a phone appointment
with HR to "hash out a few issues." It was a wake up call for us all – for a
chronically high maintenance person, even their days away from the office can produce a
negative energy drain. Let HR handle the situation–but when someone becomes a near full
time issue, it's a sure sign their high maintenance is an issue the company will need to
9 – They handle money poorly. Regardless of the economy or circumstance, high
maintenance people are perpetually in debt. No matter their income, their living expenditures
and needs are invariably more. They expend an exceptional amount of stress and energy dealing
with past due accounts and the perpetual juggling act to use this month's income to cover last
The 5 Second solution: Discipline yourself to be a company that covers its own
expenses, and spend only what the business can afford to pay for in cash. The environment of
discipline as opposed to the perpetual anxiety for "more" can carry over to help employees
learn to manage their personal expenses better as well. In any case, work to prevent
employees from making the office a perpetual sounding board for their personal
10 – They place a high importance on material status. The entitlement aspect of high
maintenance people leads them to be keenly focused on the belongings or the status of others as
well. This trait can infect the highest people in the organization, such as the CEO who demands
that every company event include the provision of free upgrades and presidential suites at no
additional cost. Ironically, the focus on material possessions and status is actually the sign
of insecurity and of a low self-esteem.
The 5 Second solution: To keep these behaviors from derailing their company culture,
the best example must come from the top. A leader who avoids flaunting material status and is
willing to do for the company what is expected of others does a great deal to enhance the
working culture for all.
11 – They are obsessed with details–theirs and yours. They are highly focused on
the too-much-information and none-of-your-business particulars of your life and also of
The 5 second solution: Learn to set and maintain appropriate boundaries with these
personality types. As a reminder to all in a company, great people talk about ideas -- but
small people focus their talk on other people or "things". Change the subject as many times
as needed until the idea of a higher level of thinking and acting can thrive.
12 – They seem "unsettled." The high maintenance person is constantly ill at ease,
buying, altering or discarding possessions and complaining about their work or living
conditions. The details that are non-issues to others are insurmountable hurdles to them.
Happiness perpetually evades them.
13 – They resent authority are often critical of others. It is extremely difficult for
these individuals to respect authority or to see the bigger picture. Instead, they hold fast to
their opinions of the support they need and the credit they should receive in order to fulfill
their assignments. Passive aggressive behavior is paramount (undermining the boss by spreading
unrest or ill will – often veiling the bad behavior in an aura of superiority or
The 5 Second solution: Generally, in a case like this, there is direct intervention
required. Remind the individual that if they can't respect the boss and someone must leave
generally, it won't be the boss. Find a constructive way to address what ails
you–change the trend for the better–get along–or consider a move or a
change for the long term. But in the world of business, undermining the boss will hurt the
perpetrator far more than the target, even if the resentment is justified.
By now you should be detecting a pattern of traits so apparent they are even humorous.
As an employer, however, I'm not laughing -- I'm recognizing that much of the impetus lies
with the boss or employer to vet prospective employees for emotional maturity (what author Dan
Goleman refers to as "Emotional IQ") in making great hires. Alan Hall gives great advice on hiring as well, in his
Forbes article and eBook the
7 C's: How to Find and Hire Great Employees .
Responsibility lies with the company to create and reinforce a positive culture. Do you have
a working environment that allows bad behaviors to take hold and fester? Do you actively feed
and reward the positive behaviors? Do you set a good example yourself?
If your company is already infected, you should deal with the situation directly. In some
cases, you may succeed in helping these individuals to find their better nature and make a
positive change. Nothing is more rewarding than turning a negative pattern around. However, in
some cases the toxicity may be so deeply embedded that the only way to deal effectively is to
simply refuse to engage. You will need to be firm. You may even need to part ways.
Have you had this experience? I imagine the answer is "yes." I look forward to hearing your
stories and hearing about your success.
A sociopath can be very good at reading and manipulating others. Having a theory of mind is
quite distinct from having empathy, and having empathy is quite distinct from using it
pervasively to guide personal/social/political life.
The simple, publically acceptable, and eventually inexpensive and convenient solution to
90% of all these problems. Technological screening of persons in positions of power for
excessive psychopathic, deceptive, and manipulative personalities. If put on cell phones as
aps, say involving cell phone aps of retinal scanning, heart rate changes, etc., even
prospective spouses, business partners, etc could be evaluated. "The Darkness hates the Light
because the Light exposes the Darkness for it's evil deeds." So let's do some exposing!
I have been in my present position for over 25 years. Five years ago, I was assigned
a new boss, who has a reputation in my industry for harassing people in positions such as mine
until they quit. I have managed to survive, but it's clear that it's time for me to move along.
How should I answer the inevitable interview question: Why would I want to leave after so long?
I've heard that speaking badly of a boss is an interview no-no, but it really is the only reason
I'm looking to find something new. BROOKLYN
I am unemployed and interviewing for a new job. I have read that when answering interview
questions, it's best to keep everything you say about previous work experiences or managers positive.
But what if you've made one or two bad choices in the past: taking jobs because you
needed them, figuring you could make it work - then realizing the culture was a bad fit, or you
had an arrogant, narcissistic boss?
Nearly everyone has had a bad work situation or boss. I find it refreshing when I read
stories about successful people who mention that they were fired at some point, or didn't get
along with a past manager. So why is it verboten to discuss this in an interview? How can the
subject be addressed without sounding like a complainer, or a bad employee? CHICAGO
As these queries illustrate, the temptation to discuss a negative work situation can be strong
among job applicants. But in both of these situations, and in general, criticizing a current or past
employer is a risky move. You don't have to paint a fictitiously rosy picture of the past, but
dwelling on the negative can backfire. Really, you don't want to get into a detailed explanation
of why you have or might quit at all. Instead, you want to talk about why you're such a perfect fit
for the gig you're applying for.
So, for instance, a question about leaving a long-held job could be answered by suggesting that
the new position offers a chance to contribute more and learn new skills by working with a stronger
team. This principle applies in responding to curiosity about jobs that you held for only a short
It's fine to acknowledge a misstep. But spin the answer to focus on why this new situation
is such an ideal match of your abilities to the employer's needs.
The truth is, even if you're completely right about the past, a prospective employer doesn't really
want to hear about the workplace injustices you've suffered, or the failings of your previous employer.
A manager may even become concerned that you will one day add his or her name to the list of people
who treated you badly. Save your cathartic outpourings for your spouse, your therapist, or, perhaps,
the future adoring profile writer canonizing your indisputable success.
Send your workplace conundrums to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name and contact
information (even if you want it withheld for publication). The Workologist is a guy with well-intentioned
opinions, not a professional career adviser. Letters may be edited.
"... Consumerism fills the social void. But far from curing the disease of isolation, it intensifies social comparison to the point at which, having consumed all else, we start to prey upon ourselves. Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing, and to see that other people have more friends and followers than we do. ..."
"... A recent survey in England suggests that one in four women between 16 and 24 have harmed themselves, and one in eight now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety, depression, phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder affect 26% of women in this age group. This is what a public health crisis looks like. ..."
"... Opioids relieve both physical agony and the distress of separation. Perhaps this explains the link between social isolation and drug addiction. ..."
"... Children who experience emotional neglect, according to some findings, suffer worse mental health consequences than children suffering both emotional neglect and physical abuse: hideous as it is, violence involves attention and contact. Self-harm is often used as an attempt to alleviate distress: another indication that physical pain is not as bad as emotional pain. As the prison system knows only too well, one of the most effective forms of torture is solitary confinement. ..."
"... It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat. It's more surprising to discover the range of physical illnesses it causes or exacerbates. Dementia, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses, even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people. Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%. This is partly because it enhances production of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is a project that explicitly aims, and has achieved, the undermining and elimination of social networks in favour of market competition ..."
"... In practice, loosening social and legal institutions has reduced social security (in the general sense rather than simply welfare payments) and encouraged the limitation of social interaction to money based activity ..."
"... All powerful institutions have a vested interest in keeping us atomized and individualistic. The gangs at the top don't want competition. They're afraid of us. In particular, they're afraid of men organising into gangs. That's where this very paper comes in ..."
"... The alienation genie was out of the bottle with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and mass migration to cities began and we abandoned living in village communities ..."
"... Neoliberalism expressly encourages 'atomisation'- it is all about reducing human interaction to markets. And so this is just one of the reasons that neoliberalism is such a bunk philosophy. ..."
"... My stab at an answer would first question the notion that we are engaging in anything. That presupposes we are making the choices. Those who set out the options are the ones that make the choices. We are being engaged by the grotesquely privileged and the pathologically greedy in an enterprise that profits them still further. It suits the 1% very well strategically, for obvious reasons, that the 99% don't swap too many ideas with each other. ..."
"... According to Robert Putnam, as societies become more ethnically diverse they lose social capital, contributing to the type of isolation and loneliness which George describes. Doesn't sound as evil as neoliberalism I suppose. ..."
"... multiculturalism is a direct result of Neoliberalism. The market rules and people are secondary. Everything must be done for business owners, and that everything means access to cheap labor. ..."
"... I'd have thought what he really wants to say is that loneliness as a phenomenon in modern Western society arises out of an intent on the part of our political and social elites to divide us all into competing against one another, as individuals and as members of groups, all the better to keep us under control and prevent us from working together to claim our fair share of resources. ..."
"... Has it occurred to you that the collapse in societal values has allowed 'neo-liberalism' to take hold? ..."
"... No. It has been the concentrated propaganda of the "free" press. Rupert Murdoch in particular, but many other well-funded organisations working in the background over 50 years. They are winning. ..."
"... We're fixated on a magical, abstract concept called "the economy". Everything must be done to help "the economy", even if this means adults working through their weekends, neglecting their children, neglecting their elderly parents, eating at their desks, getting diabetes, breaking down from stress, and giving up on a family life. ..."
"... You can make a reasonable case that 'Neoliberalism' expects that every interaction, including between individuals, can be reduced to a financial one. ..."
"... As can be seen from many of the posts, neo-liberalism depends on, and fosters, ignorance, an inability to see things from historical and different perspectives and social and intellectual disciplines. On a sociological level how other societies are arranged throws up interesting comparisons. Scandanavian countries, which have mostly avoided neo-liberalism by and large, are happier, healthier places to live. America and eastern countries arranged around neo-liberal, market driven individualism, are unhappy places, riven with mental and physical health problems and many more social problems of violence, crime and suicide. ..."
"... The people who fosted this this system onto us, are now either very old or dead. We're living in the shadow of their revolutionary transformation of our more equitable post-war society. Hayek, Friedman, Keith Joseph, Thatcher, Greenspan and tangentially but very influentially Ayn Rand. Although a remainder (I love the wit of the term 'Remoaner') , Brexit can be better understood in the context of the death-knell of neoliberalism. ..."
"... Criticism of his hypotheses on this thread (where articualted at all) focus on the existence of solitude and loneliness prior to neo liberalism, which seems to me to be to deliberately miss his point: this was formerly a minor phenomenon, yet is now writ on an incredible scale - and it is a social phenomenon particular to those western economies whose elites have most enthusiastically embraced neo liberalism. ..."
"... We all want is to: (and feel we have the right to) wear the best clothes, have the foreign holidays, own the latest tech and eat the finest foods. At the same time our rights have increased and awareness of our responsibilities have minimized. The execution of common sense and an awareness that everything that goes wrong will always be someone else fault. ..."
"... We are not all special snowflakes, princesses or worthy of special treatment, but we act like self absorbed, entitled individuals. Whether that's entitled to benefits, the front of the queue or bumped into first because its our birthday! ..."
"... Unhealthy social interaction, yes. You can never judge what is natural to humans based on contemporary Britain. Anthropologists repeatedly find that what we think natural is merely a social construct created by the system we are subject to. ..."
"... We are becoming fearful of each other and I believe the insecurity we feel plays a part in this. ..."
"... We have become so disconnected from ourselves and focused on battling to stay afloat. Having experienced periods of severe stress due to lack of money I couldn't even begin to think about how I felt, how happy I was, what I really wanted to do with my life. I just had to pay my landlord, pay the bills and try and put some food on my table so everything else was totally neglected. ..."
"... We need a radical change of political thinking to focus on quality of life rather than obsession with the size of our economy. High levels of immigration of people who don't really integrate into their local communities has fractured our country along with the widening gap between rich and poor. Governments only see people in terms of their "economic value" - hence mothers being driven out to work, children driven into daycare and the elderly driven into care homes. Britain is becoming a soulless place - even our great British comedy is on the decline. ..."
"... Quality of life is far more important than GDP I agree but it is also far more important than inequality. ..."
"... Thatcher was only responsible for "letting it go" in Britain in 1980, but actually it was already racing ahead around the world. ..."
"... Eric Fromm made similar arguments to Monbiot about the psychological impact of modern capitalism (Fear of Freedom and The Sane Society) - although the Freudian element is a tad outdated. However, for all the faults of modern society, I'd rather be unhappy now than in say, Victorian England. Similarly, life in the West is preferable to the obvious alternatives. ..."
"... Whilst it's very important to understand how neoliberalism, the ideology that dare not speak it's name, derailed the general progress in the developed world. It's also necessary to understand that the roots this problem go much further back. Not merely to the start of the industrial revolution, but way beyond that. It actually began with the first civilizations when our societies were taken over by powerful rulers, and they essentially started to farm the people they ruled like cattle. On the one hand they declared themselves protector of their people, whilst ruthlessly exploiting them for their own political gain. I use the livestock farming analogy, because that explains what is going on. ..."
"... Neo-liberalism allows psychopaths to flourish, and it has been argued by Robert Hare that they are disproportionately represented in the highest echelons of society. So people who lack empathy and emotional attachment are probably weilding a significant amount of influence over the way our economy and society is organised. Is it any wonder that they advocate an economic model which is most conducive to their success? Things like job security, rigged markets, unions, and higher taxes on the rich simply get in their way. ..."
"... . Data suggests that inequality has widened massively over the last 30 years ( https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/infographic-income-inequality-uk ) - as has social mobility ( https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/may/22/social-mobility-data-charts ). Homelessness has risen substantially since 1979. ..."
"... As a director and CEO of an organisation employing several hundred people I became aware that 40% of the staff lived alone and that the workplace was important to them not only for work but also for interacting with their colleagues socially . ..."
"... A thoughtful article. But the rich and powerful will ignore it; their doing very well out of neo liberalism thank you. Meanwhile many of those whose lives are affected by it don't want to know - they're happy with their bigger TV screen. Which of course is what the neoliberals want, 'keep the people happy and in the dark'. An old Roman tactic - when things weren't going too well for citizens and they were grumbling the leaders just extended the 'games'. Evidently it did the trick ..."
"... Sounds like the inevitable logical outcome of a society where the predator sociopathic and their scared prey are all that is allowed. This dynamic dualistic tautology, the slavish terrorised to sleep and bullying narcissistic individual, will always join together to protect their sick worldview by pathologising anything that will threaten their hegemony of power abuse: compassion, sensitivity, moral conscience, altruism and the immediate effects of the ruthless social effacement or punishment of the same ie human suffering. ..."
"... "Alienation, in all areas, has reached unprecedented heights; the social machinery for deluding consciousnesses in the interest of the ruling class has been perfected as never before. The media are loaded with upscale advertising identifying sophistication with speciousness. Television, in constant use, obliterates the concept under the image and permanently feeds a baseless credulity for events and history. Against the will of many students, school doesn't develop the highly cultivated critical capacities that a real sovereignty of the people would require. And so on. ..."
"... There's no question - neoliberalism has been wrenching society apart. It's not as if the prime movers of this ideology were unaware of the likely outcome viz. "there is no such thing as society" (Thatcher). Actually in retrospect the whole zeitgeist from the late 70s emphasised the atomised individual separated from the whole. Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" (1976) may have been influential in creating that climate. ..."
"... I would add that the basic concepts of the Neoliberal New world order are fundamentally Evil, from the control of world population through supporting of strife starvation and war to financial inducements of persons in positions of power. Let us not forget the training of our younger members of our society who have been induced to a slavish love of technology. ..."
"... The kind of personal freedom that you say goes hand in hand with capitalism is an illusion for the majority of people. It holds up the prospect of that kind of freedom, but only a minority get access to it. ..."
"... Problems in society are not solved by having a one hour a week class on "self esteem". In fact self-esteem and self-worth comes from the things you do. ..."
"... Neoliberalism is the bastard child of globalization which in effect is Americanization. The basic premise is the individual is totally reliant on the corporate world state aided by a process of fear inducing mechanisms, pharmacology is one of the tools. No community no creativity no free thinking. Poded sealed and cling filmed a quasi existence. ..."
"... Having grown up during the Thatcher years, I entirely agree that neoliberalism has divided society by promoting individual self-optimisation at the expensive of everyone else. ..."
"... There is no such thing as a free-market society. Your society of 'self-interest' is really a state supported oligarchy. If you really want to live in a society where there is literally no state and a more or less open market try Somalia or a Latin American city run by drug lords - but even then there are hierarchies, state involvement, militias. ..."
"... Furthermore, a society in which people are encouraged to be narrowly selfish is just plain uncivilized. Since when have sociopathy and barbarism been something to aspire to? ..."
"... Why don't we explore some of the benefits?.. Following the long list of some the diseases, loneliness can inflict on individuals, there must be a surge in demand for all sort of medications; anti-depressants must be topping the list. There is a host many other anti-stress treatments available of which Big Pharma must be carving the lion's share. Examine the micro-economic impact immediately following a split or divorce. There is an instant doubling on the demand for accommodation, instant doubling on the demand for electrical and household items among many other products and services. But the icing on the cake and what is really most critical for Neoliberalism must be this: With the morale barometer hitting the bottom, people will be less likely to think of a better future, and therefore, less likely to protest. In fact, there is nothing left worth protecting. ..."
"... Your freedom has been curtailed. Your rights are evaporating in front of your eyes. And Best of all, from the authorities' perspective, there is no relationship to defend and there is no family to protect. If you have a job, you want to keep, you must prove your worthiness every day to 'a company'. ..."
What greater indictment of a system could there be than an epidemic of mental
illness? Yet plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social phobia, eating disorders,
self-harm and loneliness now strike people down all over the world. The latest,
catastrophic figures for children's mental health in England reflect a global
There are plenty of secondary reasons for this distress, but it seems to
me that the underlying cause is everywhere the same: human beings, the ultrasocial
mammals, whose brains are wired to respond to other people, are being peeled
apart. Economic and technological change play a major role, but so does ideology.
Though our wellbeing is inextricably linked to the lives of others, everywhere
we are told that we will prosper through competitive self-interest and extreme
In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school,
at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two
feet. The education system becomes more brutally competitive by the year. Employment
is a fight to the near-death with a multitude of other desperate people chasing
ever fewer jobs. The modern overseers of the poor ascribe individual blame to
economic circumstance. Endless competitions on television feed impossible aspirations
as real opportunities contract.
Consumerism fills the social void. But far from curing the disease of
isolation, it intensifies social comparison to the point at which, having consumed
all else, we start to prey upon ourselves. Social media brings us together and
drives us apart, allowing us precisely to quantify our social standing, and
to see that other people have more friends and followers than we do.
As Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett has brilliantly documented, girls and young women
routinely alter the photos they post to make themselves look smoother and slimmer.
Some phones, using their "beauty" settings, do it for you without asking; now
you can become your own thinspiration. Welcome to the post-Hobbesian dystopia:
a war of everyone against themselves.
Social media brings us together and drives us apart, allowing us precisely
to quantify our social standing
Is it any wonder, in these lonely inner worlds, in which touching has been
replaced by retouching, that young women are drowning in mental distress?
A recent survey in England suggests that one in four women between 16 and
24 have harmed themselves, and one in eight now suffer from post-traumatic stress
disorder. Anxiety, depression, phobias or obsessive compulsive disorder affect
26% of women in this age group. This is what a public health crisis looks like.
If social rupture is not treated as seriously as broken limbs, it is because
we cannot see it. But neuroscientists can. A series of fascinating papers suggest
that social pain and physical pain are processed by the same neural circuits.
This might explain why, in many languages, it is hard to describe the impact
of breaking social bonds without the words we use to denote physical pain and
injury. In both humans and other social mammals, social contact reduces physical
pain. This is why we hug our children when they hurt themselves: affection is
a powerful analgesic. Opioids relieve both physical agony and the distress
of separation. Perhaps this explains the link between social isolation and drug
Experiments summarised in the journal Physiology & Behaviour last month suggest
that, given a choice of physical pain or isolation, social mammals will choose
the former. Capuchin monkeys starved of both food and contact for 22 hours will
rejoin their companions before eating. Children who experience emotional
neglect, according to some findings, suffer worse mental health consequences
than children suffering both emotional neglect and physical abuse: hideous as
it is, violence involves attention and contact. Self-harm is often used as an
attempt to alleviate distress: another indication that physical pain is not
as bad as emotional pain. As the prison system knows only too well, one of the
most effective forms of torture is solitary confinement.
It is not hard to see what the evolutionary reasons for social pain might
be. Survival among social mammals is greatly enhanced when they are strongly
bonded with the rest of the pack. It is the isolated and marginalised animals
that are most likely to be picked off by predators, or to starve. Just as physical
pain protects us from physical injury, emotional pain protects us from social
injury. It drives us to reconnect. But many people find this almost impossible.
It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated with depression,
suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat. It's more surprising
to discover the range of physical illnesses it causes or exacerbates. Dementia,
high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses,
even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people. Loneliness has
a comparable impact on physical health to smoking 15 cigarettes a day: it appears
to raise the risk of early death by 26%. This is partly because it enhances
production of the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system.
Studies in both animals and humans suggest a reason for comfort eating: isolation
reduces impulse control, leading to obesity. As those at the bottom of the socioeconomic
ladder are the most likely to suffer from loneliness, might this provide one
of the explanations for the strong link between low economic status and obesity?
Anyone can see that something far more important than most of the issues
we fret about has gone wrong. So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming
frenzy of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces
is unbearable pain? Should this question not burn the lips of everyone in public
There are some wonderful charities doing what they can to fight this tide,
some of which I am going to be working with as part of my loneliness project.
But for every person they reach, several others are swept past.
This does not require a policy response. It requires something much bigger:
the reappraisal of an entire worldview. Of all the fantasies human beings entertain,
the idea that we can go it alone is the most absurd and perhaps the most dangerous.
We stand together or we fall apart.
Well its a bit of a stretch blaming neoliberalism for creating loneliness.
Yet it seems to be the fashion today to imagine that the world we live in
is new...only created just years ago. And all the suffering that we see
now never existed before. Plagues of anxiety, stress, depression, social
phobia, eating disorders, self-harm and loneliness never happened in
the past, because everything was bright and shiny and world was good.
Regrettably history teaches us that suffering and deprivation have dogged
mankind for centuries, if not tens of thousands of years. That's what we
do; survive, persist...endure. Blaming 'neoliberalism' is a bit of cop-out.
It's the human condition man, just deal with it.
Some of the connections here are a bit tenuous, to say the least, including
the link to political ideology. Economic liberalism is usually accompanied
with social conservatism, and vice versa. Right wing ideologues are more
likely to emphasize the values of marriage and family stability, while left
wing ones are more likely to favor extremes of personal freedom and reject
those traditional structures that used to bind us together.
You're a little confused there in your connections between policies, intentions
and outcomes. Nevertheless, Neoliberalism is a project that explicitly
aims, and has achieved, the undermining and elimination of social networks
in favour of market competition.
In practice, loosening social and legal institutions has reduced
social security (in the general sense rather than simply welfare payments)
and encouraged the limitation of social interaction to money based activity.
That holds true when you're talking about demographics/voters.
Economic and social liberalism go hand in hand in the West. No matter
who's in power, the establishment pushes both but will do one or the other
All powerful institutions have a vested interest in keeping us atomized
and individualistic. The gangs at the top don't want competition. They're
afraid of us. In particular, they're afraid of men organising into gangs.
That's where this very paper comes in.
The alienation genie was out of the bottle with the beginning of the
Industrial Revolution and mass migration to cities began and we abandoned
living in village communities. Over the ensuing approx 250 years we
abandoned geographically close relationships with extended families, especially
post WW2. Underlying economic structures both capitalist and marxist dissolved
relationships that we as communal primates evolved within. Then accelerate
this mess with (anti-) social media the last 20 years along with economic
instability and now dissolution of even the nuclear family (which couldn't
work in the first place, we never evolved to live with just two parents
looking after children) and here we have it: Mass mental illness. Solution?
None. Just form the best type of extended community both within and outside
of family, be engaged and generours with your community hope for the best.
Indeed, Industrialisation of our pre-prescribed lifestyle is a huge factor.
In particular, our food, it's low quality, it's 24 hour avaliability, it's
cardboard box ambivalence, has caused a myriad of health problems. Industrialisation
is about profit for those that own the 'production-line' & much less about
the needs of the recipient.
It's unsurprising that social isolation is strongly associated
with depression, suicide, anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception
Yes, although there is some question of which order things go in. A supportive
social network is clearly helpful, but it's hardly a simple cause and effect.
Levels of different mental health problems appear to differ widely across
societies just in Europe, and it isn't particularly the case that more capitalist
countries have greater incidence than less capitalist ones.
You could just as well blame atheism. Since the rise of neo-liberalism
and drop in church attendance track each other pretty well, and since for
all their ills churches did provide a social support group, why not blame
While attending a church is likely to alleviate loneliness, atheism doesn't
expressly encourage limiting social interactions and selfishness. And of
course, reduced church attendance isn't exactly the same as atheism.
Neoliberalism expressly encourages 'atomisation'- it is all about
reducing human interaction to markets. And so this is just one of the reasons
that neoliberalism is such a bunk philosophy.
So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy
of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces
is unbearable pain?
My stab at an answer would first question the notion that we
are engaging in anything. That presupposes we are making the
choices. Those who set out the options are the ones that make the choices.
We are being engaged by the grotesquely privileged and the pathologically
greedy in an enterprise that profits them still further. It suits the 1%
very well strategically, for obvious reasons, that the 99% don't swap too
many ideas with each other.
We as individuals are offered the 'choice' of consumption as an alternative
to the devastating ennui engendered by powerlessness. It's no choice at
all of course, because consumption merely enriches the 1% and exacerbates
our powerlessness. That was the whole point of my post.
The 'choice' to consume is never collectively exercised as you suggest.
Sadly. If it was, 'we' might be able to organise ourselves into doing something
According to Robert Putnam, as societies become more ethnically diverse
they lose social capital, contributing to the type of isolation and loneliness
which George describes. Doesn't sound as evil as neoliberalism I suppose.
Well, yes, but multiculturalism is a direct result of Neoliberalism.
The market rules and people are secondary. Everything must be done for business
owners, and that everything means access to cheap labor.
Multiculturalism isn't the only thing destroying social cohesion, too.
It was being destroyed long before the recent surges of immigrants. It was
reported many times in the 1980's in communities made up of only one culture.
In many ways, it is being used as the obvious distraction from all the other
ways Fundamentalist Free Marketers wreck live for many.
This post perhaps ranges too widely to the point of being vague and general,
and leading Monbiot to make some huge mental leaps, linking loneliness to
a range of mental and physical problems without being able to explain, for
example, the link between loneliness and obesity and all the steps in-between
without risking derailment into a side issue.
I'd have thought what he really wants to say is that loneliness as
a phenomenon in modern Western society arises out of an intent on the part
of our political and social elites to divide us all into competing against
one another, as individuals and as members of groups, all the better to
keep us under control and prevent us from working together to claim our
fair share of resources.
Are you familiar with the term 'Laughter is the best medicine'? Well, it's
true. When you laugh, your brain releases endorphins, yeah? Your stress
hormones are reduced and the oxygen supply to your blood is increased, so...
I try to laugh several times a day just because... it makes you feel
good! Let's try that, eh? Ohohoo... Hahaha... Just, just... Hahahaha...
Come on, trust me.. you'll feel.. HahaHAhaha! O-o-o-o-a-hahahahaa... Share
We're fixated on a magical, abstract concept called "the economy".
Everything must be done to help "the economy", even if this means adults
working through their weekends, neglecting their children, neglecting their
elderly parents, eating at their desks, getting diabetes, breaking down
from stress, and giving up on a family life.
Impertinent managers ban their staff from office relationships, as company
policy, because the company is more important than its staff's wellbeing.
Companies hand out "free" phones that allow managers to harrass staff
for work out of hours, on the understanding that they will be sidelined
if thy don't respond.
And the wellbeing of "the economy" is of course far more important than
whether the British people actually want to merge into a European superstate.
What they want is irrelevant.
That nasty little scumbag George Osborne was the apotheosis of this ideology,
but he was abetted by journalists who report any rise in GDP as "good" -
no matter how it was obtained - and any "recession" to be the equivalent
of a major natural disaster.
If we go on this way, the people who suffer the most will be the rich,
because it will be them swinging from the lamp-posts, or cowering in gated
communities that they dare not leave (Venezuela, South Africa). Those riots
in London five years ago were a warning. History is littered with them.
You can make a reasonable case that 'Neoliberalism' expects that every
interaction, including between individuals, can be reduced to a financial
one. If this results in loneliness then that's certainly a downside
- but the upside is that billions have been lifted out of absolute poverty
worldwide by 'Neoliberalism'.
Mr Monbiot creates a compelling argument that we should end 'Neoliberalism'
but he is very vague about what should replace it other than a 'different
worldview'. Destruction is easy, but creation is far harder.
As a retired teacher it grieves me greatly to see the way our education
service has become obsessed by testing and assessment. Sadly the results
are used not so much to help children learn and develop, but rather as a
club to beat schools and teachers with. Pressurised schools produce pressurised
children. Compare and contrast with education in Finland where young people
are not formally assessed until they are 17 years old. We now assess toddlers
in nursery schools.
SATs in Primary schools had children concentrating on obscure grammatical
terms and usage which they will never ever use again. Pointless and counter-productive.
Gradgrind values driving out the joy of learning.
And promoting anxiety and mental health problems.
It is all the things you describe, Mr Monbiot, and then some. This dystopian
hell, when anything that did work is broken and all things that have never
worked are lined up for a little tinkering around the edges until the camouflage
is good enough to kid people it is something new. It isn't just neoliberal
madness that has created this, it is selfish human nature that has made
it possible, corporate fascism that has hammered it into shape. and an army
of mercenaries who prefer the take home pay to morality. Crime has always
paid especially when governments are the crooks exercising the law.
The value of life has long been forgotten as now the only thing that
matters is how much you can be screwed for either dead or alive. And yet
the Trumps, the Clintons, the Camerons, the Johnsons, the Merkels, the Mays,
the news media, the banks, the whole crooked lot of them, all seem to believe
there is something worth fighting for in what they have created, when painfully
there is not. We need revolution and we need it to be lead by those who
still believe all humanity must be humble, sincere, selfless and most of
all morally sincere. Freedom, justice, and equality for all, because the
alternative is nothing at all.
Ive long considered neo-liberalism as the cause of many of our problems,
particularly the rise in mental health problems, alienation and loneliness.
As can be seen from many of the posts, neo-liberalism depends on, and
fosters, ignorance, an inability to see things from historical and different
perspectives and social and intellectual disciplines. On a sociological
level how other societies are arranged throws up interesting comparisons. Scandanavian countries, which have mostly avoided neo-liberalism by and
large, are happier, healthier places to live. America and eastern countries
arranged around neo-liberal, market driven individualism, are unhappy places,
riven with mental and physical health problems and many more social problems
of violence, crime and suicide.
The worst thing is that the evidence shows it doesn't work. Not one of
the privatisations in this country have worked. All have been worse than
what they've replaced, all have cost more, depleted the treasury and led
to massive homelessness, increased mental health problems with the inevitable
financial and social costs, costs which are never acknowledged by its adherents.
Put crudely, the more " I'm alright, fuck you " attitude is fostered,
the worse societies are. Empires have crashed and burned under similar attitudes.
The people who fosted this this system onto us, are now either very old
We're living in the shadow of their revolutionary transformation of our
more equitable post-war society. Hayek, Friedman, Keith Joseph, Thatcher,
Greenspan and tangentially but very influentially Ayn Rand.
Although a remainder (I love the wit of the term 'Remoaner') , Brexit can
be better understood in the context of the death-knell of neoliberalism.
I never understood how the collapse of world finance, resulted in a right
wing resurgence in the UK and the US. The Tea Party in the US made the absurd
claim that the failure of global finance was not due to markets being fallible,
but because free markets had not been enforced citing Fanny Mae and Freddie
Mac as their evidence and of Bill Clinton insisting on more poor and black
people being given mortgages.
I have a terrible sense that it will not go quietly, there will be massive
global upheavals as governments struggle deal with its collapse.
I have never really agreed with GM - but this article hits the nail on the
I think there are a number of aspects to this:
The internet. The being in constant contact, our lives mapped and
our thoughts analysed - we can comment on anything (whether informed or
total drivel) and we've been fed the lie that our opinion is is right and
that it matters) Ive removed fscebook and twitter from my phone, i have
never been happier
Rolling 24 hour news. That is obsessed with the now, and consistently
squeezes very complex issues into bite sized simple dichotomies. Obsessed
with results and critical in turn of everyone who fails to feed the machine
The increasing slicing of work into tighter and slimmer specialisms,
with no holistic view of the whole, this forces a box ticking culture. "Ive
stamped my stamp, my work is done" this leads to a lack of ownership of
the whole. PIP assessments are an almost perfect example of this - a box
ticking exercise, designed by someone who'll never have to go through it,
with no flexibility to put the answers into a holistic context.
Our education system is designed to pass exams and not prepare for
the future or the world of work - the only important aspect being the compilation
of next years league tables and the schools standings. This culture is neither
healthy no helpful, as students are schooled on exam technique in order
to squeeze out the marks - without putting the knowledge into a meaningful
and understandable narrative.
Apologies for the long post - I normally limit myself to a trite insulting
comment :) but felt more was required in this instance.
Overall, I agree with your points. Monbiot here adopts a blunderbuss approach
(competitive self-interest and extreme individualism; "brutal" education,
employment social security; consumerism, social media and vanity). Criticism
of his hypotheses on this thread (where articualted at all) focus on the
existence of solitude and loneliness prior to neo liberalism, which seems
to me to be to deliberately miss his point: this was formerly a minor phenomenon,
yet is now writ on an incredible scale - and it is a social phenomenon particular
to those western economies whose elites have most enthusiastically embraced
neo liberalism. So, when Monbiot's rhetoric rises:
"So why are we engaging in this world-eating, self-consuming frenzy
of environmental destruction and social dislocation, if all it produces
is unbearable pain?"
the answer is, of course, 'western capitalist elites'.
We stand together or we fall apart.
Hackneyed and unoriginal but still true for all that.
the answer is, of course, 'western capitalist elites'.
because of the lies that are being sold.
We all want is to: (and feel we have the right to) wear the best clothes,
have the foreign holidays, own the latest tech and eat the finest foods.
At the same time our rights have increased and awareness of our responsibilities
have minimized. The execution of common sense and an awareness that everything
that goes wrong will always be someone else fault.
We are not all special snowflakes, princesses or worthy of special treatment,
but we act like self absorbed, entitled individuals. Whether that's entitled
to benefits, the front of the queue or bumped into first because its our
I share Monbiots pain here. But rather than get a sense of perspective
- the answer is often "More public money and counseling"
George Monbiot has struck a nerve.
They are there every day in my small town local park: people, young and
old, gender and ethnically diverse, siting on benches for a couple of hours
at a time.
They have at least one thing in common.
They each sit alone, isolated in their own thoughts..
But many share another bond: they usually respond to dogs, unconditional
in their behaviour patterns towards humankind.
Trite as it may seem, this temporary thread of canine affection breaks the
taboo of strangers
passing by on the other side.
Conversations, sometimes stilted, sometimes deeper and more meaningful,
ensue as dog walkers become a brief daily healing force in a fractured world
It's not much credit in the bank of sociability.
But it helps.
Trite as it may seem from the outside, their interaction with the myriad
pooches regularly walk
Unhealthy social interaction, yes. You can never judge what is natural to
humans based on contemporary Britain. Anthropologists repeatedly find that
what we think natural is merely a social construct created by the system
we are subject to.
If you don't work hard, you will be a loser, don't look out of the window
day dreaming you lazy slacker. Get productive, Mr Burns millions need you
to work like a machine or be replaced by one.
Good article. You´re absoluately right. And the deeper casue is this: separation
from God. If we don´t fight our way back to God, individually and collectively,
things are going to get a lot worse. With God, loneliness doesn´t exist.
I encourage anyone and everyone to start talking to Him today and invite
Him into your heart and watch what starts to happen.
Religion divides not brings people together. Only when you embrace all humanity
and ignore all gods will you find true happiness. The world and the people
in it are far more inspiring when you contemplate the lack of any gods.
The fact people do amazing things without needing the promise of heaven
or the threat of hell - that is truly moving.
I see what you're saying but I read 'love' instead of God. God is too religious
which separates and divides ("I'm this religion and my god is better than
yours" etc etc). I believe that George is right in many ways in that money
is very powerful on it's impact on our behavior (stress, lack etc) and
therefore our lives. We are becoming fearful of each other and I believe
the insecurity we feel plays a part in this.
We have become so disconnected
from ourselves and focused on battling to stay afloat. Having experienced
periods of severe stress due to lack of money I couldn't even begin to think
about how I felt, how happy I was, what I really wanted to do with my life.
I just had to pay my landlord, pay the bills and try and put some food on
my table so everything else was totally neglected.
When I moved house to
move in with family and wasn't expected to pay rent, though I offered, all
that dissatisfaction and undealt with stuff came spilling out and I realised
I'd had no time for any real safe care above the very basics and that was
not a good place to be. I put myself into therapy for a while and started
to look after myself and things started to change. I hope to never go back
to that kind of position but things are precarious financially and the field
I work in isn't well paid but it makes me very happy which I realise now
is more important.
Neo-liberalism has a lot to answer for in bringing misery to our lives and
accelerating the demise of the planet but I find it not guilty on this one. The current trends as to how people perceive themselves (what you've
got rather than who you are) and the increasing isolation in our cities
started way before the neo-liberals. It is getting worse though and on balance social media is making us more
connected but less social. Share
The way that the left keeps banging on about neoliberalism is half of what
makes them such a tough sell electorally. Just about nobody knows what neoliberalism
is, and literally nobody self identifies as a neoliberal. So all this moaning
and wailing about neoliberalism comes across as a self absorbed, abstract
and irrelevant. I expect there is the germ of an idea in there, but until
the left can find away to present that idea without the baffling layer of
jargon and over-analysis, they're going to remain at a disadvantage to the
easy populism of the right.
Interesting article. We have heard so much about the size of our economy
but less about our quality of life. The UK quality of life is way below
the size of our economy i.e. economy size 6th largest in the world but quality
of life 15th. If we were the 10th largest economy but were 10th for quality
of life we would be better off than we are now in real terms.
We need a
radical change of political thinking to focus on quality of life rather
than obsession with the size of our economy. High levels of immigration
of people who don't really integrate into their local communities has fractured
our country along with the widening gap between rich and poor. Governments
only see people in terms of their "economic value" - hence mothers being
driven out to work, children driven into daycare and the elderly driven
into care homes. Britain is becoming a soulless place - even our great British
comedy is on the decline.
Generation snowflake. "I'll do myself in if you take away my tablet and
mobile phone for half an hour".
They don't want to go out and meet people anymore. Nightclubs for instance,
are closing because the younger generation 'don't see the point' of going
out to meet people they would otherwise never meet, because they can meet
people on the internet. Leave them to it and the repercussions of it.....
Socialism is dying on its feet in the UK, hence the Tory's 17 point lead
at the mo. The lefties are clinging to whatever influence they have to sway
the masses instead of the ballot box. Good riddance to them.
George Moniot's articles are better thought out, researched and written
than the vast majority of the usual clickbait opinion pieces found on the
Guardian these days. One of the last journalists, rather than liberal arts
blogger vying for attention.
Neoliberalism's rap sheet is long and dangerous but this toxic philosophy
will continue unabated because most people can't join the dots and work
out how detrimental it has proven to be for most of us.
It dangles a carrot in order to create certain economic illusions but
the simple fact is neoliberal societies become more unequal the longer they
Neoliberal economies allow people to build huge global businesses very quickly
and will continue to give the winners more but they also can guve everyone
else more too but just at a slower rate. Socialism on the other hand mires
everyone in stagnant poverty. Question is do you want to be absolutely or
relatively better off.
You have no idea. Do not confuse capitalism with neoliberalism. Neoliberalism
is a political ideology based on a mythical version of capitalism that doesn't
actually exist, but is a nice way to get the deluded to vote for something
that doesn't work in their interest at all.
And things will get worse as society falls apart due to globalisation, uberization,
lack of respect for authority, lacks of a fair tax and justice system, crime,
immorality, loss of trust of politicians and financial and corporate sectors,
uncontrolled immigration bringing with it insecurity and the risk of terrorism
and a dumbing down of society with increasing inequality. All this is in
a new book " The World at a Crossroads" which deals with the major issues
facing the planet.
There's nothing spurious or obscure about Neoliberalism. It is simply the
political ideology of the rich, which has been our uninterrupted governing
ideology since Reagan and Thatcher: Privatisation, deregulation, 'liberalisation'
of housing, labour, etc, trickledown / low-tax-on-the-rich economics, de-unionization.
You only don't see it if you don't want to see it.
I'm just thinking what is wonderful about societies that are big of social
unity. And conformity.
Those societies for example where you "belong" to your family. Where
teenage girls can be married off to elderly uncles to cement that belonging.
Or those societies where the belonging comes through religious centres.
Where the ostracism for "deviant" behaviour like being gay or for women
not submitting to their husbands can be brutal. And I'm not just talking
about muslims here.
Or those societies that are big on patriotism. Yep they are usually good
for mental health as the young men are given lessons in how to kill as many
other men as possible efficiently.
And then I have to think how our years of "neo-liberal" governments have
taken ideas of social liberalisation and enshrined them in law. It may be
coincidence but thirty years after Thatcher and Reagan we are far more tolerant
of homosexuality and willing to give it space to live, conversely we are
far less tolerant of racism and are willing to prosecute racist violence.
Feminists may still moan about equality but the position of women in society
has never been better, rape inside marriage has (finally) been outlawed,
sexual violence generally is no longer condoned except by a few, work opportunities
have been widened and the woman's role is no longer just home and family.
At least that is the case in "neo-liberal" societies, it isn't necessarily
the case in other societies.
So unless you think loneliness is some weird Stockholm Syndrome thing
where your sense of belonging comes from your acceptance of a stifling role
in a structured soiety, then I think blaming the heightened respect for
the individual that liberal societies have for loneliness is way off the
What strikes me about the cases you cite above, George, is not an over-respect
for the individual but another example of individuals being shoe-horned
into a structure. It strikes me it is not individualism but competition
that is causing the unhappiness. Competition to achieve an impossible ideal.
I fear George, that you are not approaching this with a properly open
mind dedicated to investigation. I think you have your conclusion and you
are going to bend the evidence to fit. That is wrong and I for one will
not support that. In recent weeks and months we have had the "woe, woe and
thrice woe" writings. Now we need to take a hard look at our findings. We
need to take out the biases resulting from greater awareness of mental health
and better and fuller diagnosis of mental health issues. We need to balance
the bias resulting from the fact we really only have hard data for modern
Western societies. And above all we need to scotch any bias resulting from
the political worldview of the researchers.
It sounded to me that he was telling us of farm labouring and factory fodder
stock that if we'd 'known our place' and kept to it ,all would be well because
in his ideal society there WILL be or end up having a hierarchy, its inevitable.
Wasn't all this started by someone who said, "There is no such thing as
Society"? The ultimate irony is that the ideology that championed the individual
and did so much to dismantle the industrial and social fabric of the Country
has resulted in a system which is almost totalitarian in its disregard for
its ideological consequences.
Thatcher said it in the sense that society is not abstract it is just other
people so when you say society needs to change then people need to change
as society is not some independent concept it is an aggregation of all us.
The left mis quote this all the time and either they don't get it or they
are doing on purpose.
No, Neoliberalism has been around since 1938.... Thatcher was only responsible
for "letting it go" in Britain in 1980, but actually it was already racing
ahead around the world.
Furthermore, it could easily be argued that the Beatles helped create
loneliness - what do you think all those girls were screaming for? And also
it could be argued that the Beatles were bringing in neoliberalism in the
1960s, via America thanks to Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis etc.. Share
Great article, although surely you could've extended the blame to capitalism
has a whole?
In what, then, consists the alienation of labor? First, in the fact
that labor is external to the worker, i.e., that it does not belong
to his nature, that therefore he does not realize himself in his work,
that he denies himself in it, that he does not feel at ease in it, but
rather unhappy, that he does not develop any free physical or mental
energy, but rather mortifies his flesh and ruins his spirit. The worker,
therefore, is only himself when he does not work, and in his work he
feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working, and
when he is working he does not feel at home. His labor, therefore, is
not voluntary, but forced--forced labor. It is not the gratification
of a need, but only a means to gratify needs outside itself. Its alien
nature shows itself clearly by the fact that work is shunned like the
plague as soon as no physical or other kind of coercion exists.
Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844
We have created a society with both flaws and highlights- and we have unwittingly
allowed the economic system to extend into our lives in negative ways.
On of the things being modern brings is movement- we move away from communities,
breaking friendships and losing support networks, and the support networks
are the ones that allow us to cope with issues, problems and anxiety.
Isolation among the youth is disturbing, it is also un natural, perhaps
it is social media, or fear of parents, or the fall in extra school activities
or parents simply not having a network of friends because they have had
to move for work or housing.
There is some upsides, I talk and get support from different international
communities through the social media that can also be so harmful- I chat
on xbox games, exchange information on green building forums, arts forums,
share on youtube as well as be part of online communities that hold events
in the real world.
Increasingly we seem to need to document our lives on social media to somehow
prove we 'exist'. We seem far more narcissistic these days, which tends
to create a particular type of unhappiness, or at least desire that can
never be fulfilled. Maybe that's the secret of modern consumer-based capitalism.
To be happy today, it probably helps to be shallow, or avoid things like
Twitter and Facebook!
Eric Fromm made similar arguments to Monbiot about the psychological
impact of modern capitalism (Fear of Freedom and The Sane Society) - although
the Freudian element is a tad outdated. However, for all the faults of modern
society, I'd rather be unhappy now than in say, Victorian England. Similarly,
life in the West is preferable to the obvious alternatives.
Thanks George for commenting in such a public way on the unsayable: consume,
consume, consume seems to be the order of the day in our modern world and
the points you have highlighted should be part of public policy everywhere.
I'm old enough to remember when we had more time for each other; when
mothers could be full-time housewives; when evenings existed (evenings now
seem to be spent working or getting home from work). We are undoubtedly
more materialistic, which leads to more time spent working, although our
modern problems are probably not due to increasing materialism alone.
Regarding divorce and separation, I notice people in my wider circle
who are very open to affairs. They seem to lack the self-discipline to concentrate
on problems in their marriage and to give their full-time partner a high
level of devotion. Terrible problems come up in marriages but if you are
completely and unconditionally committed to your partner and your marriage
then you can get through the majority of them.
Aggressive self interest is turning in on itself. Unfortunately the powerful
who have realised their 'Will to Power' are corrupted by their own inflated
sense of self and thus blinded. Does this all predict a global violent revolution?
However, what is most interesting is how nearly all modern politicians
who peddle neoliberal doctrine or policy, refuse to use the name, or even
to openly state what ideology they are in fact following.
I suppose it is just a complete coincidence that the policy so many governments
are now following so closely follow known neoliberal doctrine. But of course
the clever and unpleasant strategy of those like yourself is to cry conspiracy
theory if this ideology, which dare not speak its name is mentioned.
Your style is tiresome. You make no specific supported criticisms again,
and again. You just make false assertions and engage in unpleasant ad homs
and attempted character assassination. You do not address the evidence for
what George Monbiot states at all.
An excellent article. One wonders exactly what one needs to say in order
to penetrate the reptilian skulls of those who run the system.
As an addition to Mr Monbiot's points, I would like to point out that
it is not only competitive self-interest and extreme individualism that
drives loneliness. Any system that has strict hierarchies and mechanisms
of social inclusion also drives it, because such systems inhibit strongly
spontaneous social interaction, in which people simply strike up conversation.
Thailand has such a system. Despite her promoting herself as the land of
smiles, I have found the people here to be deeply segregated and unfriendly.
I have lived here for 17 years. The last time I had a satisfactory face-to-face
conversation, one that went beyond saying hello to cashiers at checkout
counters or conducting official business, was in 1999. I have survived by
convincing myself that I have dialogues with my books; as I delve more deeply
into the texts, the authors say something different to me, to which I can
then respond in my mind.
Epidemics of mental illness are crushing the minds and bodies of
millions. It's time to ask where we are heading and why
I want to quote the sub headline, because "It's time to ask where we are
heading and why", is the important bit. George's excellent and scathing
evidence based criticism of the consequences of neoliberalism is on the
nail. However, we need to ask how we got to this stage. Despite it's name
neoliberalism doesn't really seem to contain any new ideas, and in some
way it's more about Thatcher's beloved return to Victorian values. Most
of what George Monbiot highlights encapsulatec Victorian thinking, the sort
of workhouse mentality.
Whilst it's very important to understand how neoliberalism, the ideology
that dare not speak it's name, derailed the general progress in the developed
world. It's also necessary to understand that the roots this problem go
much further back. Not merely to the start of the industrial revolution,
but way beyond that. It actually began with the first civilizations when
our societies were taken over by powerful rulers, and they essentially started
to farm the people they ruled like cattle. On the one hand they declared
themselves protector of their people, whilst ruthlessly exploiting them
for their own political gain. I use the livestock farming analogy, because
that explains what is going on.
To domesticate livestock, and to make them pliable and easy to work with
the farmer must make himself appear to these herd animals as if they are
their protector, the person who cares for them, nourishes and feeds them.
They become reliant on their apparent benefactor. Except of course this
is a deceitful relationship, because the farmer is just fattening them up
to be eaten.
For the powerful to exploit the rest of people in society for their own
benefit they had to learn how to conceal what they were really doing, and
to wrap it in justifications to bamboozle the people they were exploiting
for their own benefit. They did this by altering our language and inserting
ideas in our culture which justified their rule, and the positions of the
rest of us.
Before state religions, generally what was revered was the Earth, the
natural world. It was on a personal level, and not controlled by the powerful.
So the powerful needed to remove that personal meaningfulness from people's
lives, and said the only thing which was really meaningful, was the religion,
which of course they controlled and were usually the head of. Over generations
people were indoctrinated in a completely new way of thinking, and a language
manipulated so all people could see was the supposed divine right of kings
to rule. Through this language people were detached from what was personally
meaningful to them, and could only find meaningfulness by pleasing their
rulers, and being indoctrinated in their religion.
If you control the language people use, you can control how perceive
the world, and can express themselves.
By stripping language of meaningful terms which people can express themselves,
and filling it full of dubious concepts such as god, the right of kings
completely altered how people saw the world, how they thought. This is why
over the ages, and in different forms the powerful have always attempted
to have full control of our language through at first religion and their
proclamations, and then eventually by them controlling our education system
and the media.
The idea of language being used to control how people see the world,
and how they think is of course not my idea. George Orwell's Newspeak idea
explored in "1984" is very much about this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak
This control of language is well known throughout history. Often conquerors
would abolish languages of those they conquered. In the so called New World
the colonists eventually tried to control how indigenous people thought
by forcibly sending their children to boarding school, to be stripped of
their culture, their native language, and to be inculcated in the language
and ideas of their colonists. In Britain various attempts were made to banish
the Welsh language, the native language of the Britons, before the Anglo-Saxons
and the Normans took over.
However, what Orwell did not deal with properly is the origin of language
style. To Orwell, and to critics of neoliberalism, the problems can be traced
back to the rise of what they criticised. To a sort of mythical golden age.
Except all the roots of what is being criticised can be found in the period
before the invention of these doctrines. So you have to go right back to
the beginning, to understand how it all began.
Neoliberalism would never have been possible without this long control
of our language and ideas by the powerful. It prevents us thinking outside
the box, about what the problem really is, and how it all began.
All very well but you are talking about ruthlessness of western elites,
mostly British, not all.
It was not like that everywhere. Take Poland for example, and around
New research is emerging - and I'd recommend reading of prof Frost from
St Andrew's Uni - that lower classes were actually treated with respect
by elites there, mainly land owners and aristocracy who more looked after
them and employed and cases of such ruthlessness as you describe were unknown
So that 'truth' about attitudes to lower classes is not universal!
It's spouted by many on here as the root of all evil.
I'd be interested to see how many different definitions I get in
The reason I call neoliberalism the ideology which dare not speak it's name
is that in public you will rarely hear it mentioned by it's proponents.
However, it was a very important part of Thatcherism, Blairism, and so on.
What is most definite is that these politicians and others are most definitely
following some doctrine. Their ideas about what we must do and how we must
do it are arbitrary, but they make it sound as if it's the only way to do
However, as I hint, the main problem in dealing with neoliberalism is
that none of the proponents of this doctrine admit to what ideology they
are actually following. Yet very clearly around the world leaders in many
countries are clearly singing from the same hymn sheet because the policy
they implement is so similar. Something has definitely changed. All the
attempts to roll back welfare, benefits, and public services is most definitely
new, or they wouldn't be having to reverse policy of the past if nothing
had change. But as all these politicians implementing this policy all seem
to refuse to explain what doctrine they are following, it makes it difficult
to pin down what is happening. Yet we can most definitely say that there
is a clear doctrine at work, because why else would so many political leaders
around the world be trying to implement such similar policy.
Neo-liberalism doesn't really exist except in the minds of the far
left and perhaps a few academics.
Neoliberalism is a policy model of social studies and economics that
transfers control of economic factors to the private sector from the public
sector. ... Neoliberal policies aim for a laissez-faire approach to economic
I believe the term 'Neo liberalism' was coined by those well known 'Lefties'The
Chicago School .
If you don't believe that any of the above has been happening ,it does beg
the question as to where you have been for the past decade.
The ironies of modern civilization - we have never been more 'connected'
to other people on global level and less 'connected' on personal level.
We have never had access to such a wide range of information and opinions,
but also for a long time been so divided into conflicting groups, reading
and accessing in fact only that which reinforces what we already think.
These issues have been a long time coming, just think of the appeals of
the 60's to chill out and love everyone. Globalisation and neo-liberalism
has simply made society even more broken.
The way these problems have been ignored and made worse over the last few
decades make me think that the solution will only happen after a massive
catastrophe and society has to be rebuilt. Unless we make the same mistakes
A shame really, you would think intelligence would be useful but it seems
I would argue that it creates a bubble of existence for those who pursue
a path of "success" that instead turns to isolation . The amount of people
that I have met who have moved to London because to them it represents the
main location for everything . I get to see so many walking cliches of people
trying to fit in or stand out but also fitting in just the same .
The real disconnect that software is providing us with is truly staggering
. I have spoken to people from all over the World who seem to feel more
at home being alone and playing a game with strangers . The ones who are
most happy are those who seem to be living all aloe and the ones who try
and play while a girlfriend or family are present always seemed to be the
ones most agitated by them .
We are humans relying on simplistic algorithms that reduce us ,apps like
Tinder which turns us into a misogynist at the click of a button .
Facebook which highlights our connections with the other people and assumes
that everyone you know or have met is of the same relevance .
We also have Twitter which is the equivalent of screaming at a television
when you are drunk or angry .
We have Instagram where people revel in their own isolation and send
updates of it . All those products that are instantly updated and yet we
are ageing and always feeling like we are grouped together by simple algorithms
Television has been the main destroyer of social bonds since the 1950s and
yet it is only mentioned once and in relation to the number of competitions
on it, which completely misses the point. That's when I stopped taking this
I actually blame Marx for neoliberalism. He framed society purely in terms
economic, and persuaded that ideology is valuable in as much as it is actionable.
For a dialectician he was incredibly short sighted and superficial, not
realising he was creating a narrative inimical to personal expression and
simple thoughtfulness (although he was warned). To be fair, he can't have
appreciated how profoundly he would change the way we concieve societies.
Neoliberalism is simply the dark side of Marxism and subsumes the personal
just as comprehensively as communism.
We're picked apart by quantification and live as particulars, suffering
the ubiquitous consequences of connectivity alone . . .
Unless, of course, you get out there and meet great people!
Neo-liberalism allows psychopaths to flourish, and it has been argued by
Robert Hare that they are disproportionately represented in the highest
echelons of society. So people who lack empathy and emotional attachment
are probably weilding a significant amount of influence over the way our
economy and society is organised. Is it any wonder that they advocate an
economic model which is most conducive to their success? Things like job
security, rigged markets, unions, and higher taxes on the rich simply get
in their way.
That fine illustration by Andrzej Krauze up there is exactly what I see
whenever I walk into an upscale mall or any Temple of Consumerism.
You can hear the Temple calling out: "Feel bad, atomized individuals?
Have a hole inside? Feel lonely? That's all right: buy some shit you don't
need and I guarantee you'll feel better."
And then it says: "So you bought it and you felt better for five minutes,
and now you feel bad again? Well, that's not rocket science...you should
buy MORE shit you don't need! I mean, it's not rocket science, you should
have figured this out on your own."
And then it says: "Still feel bad and you have run out of money? Well,
that's okay, just get it on credit, or take out a loan, or mortgage your
house. I mean, it's not rocket science. Really, you should have figured
this out on your own already...I thought you were a modern, go-get-'em,
independent, initiative-seizing citizen of the world?"
And then it says: "Took out too many loans, can't pay the bills and
the repossession has begun? Honestly, that's not my problem. You're just
a bad little consumer, and a bad little liberal, and everything is your
own fault. You go sit in a dark corner now where you don't bother the other
shoppers. Honestly, you're just being a burden on other consumers now. I'm
not saying you should kill yourself, but I can't say that we would mind
And that's how the worms turn at the Temples of Consumerism and Neoliberalism.
I kept my sanity by not becoming a spineless obedient middle class pleaser
of a sociopathic greedy tribe pretending neoliberalism is the future.
The result is a great clarity about the game, and an intact empathy for
The middle class treated each conscious "outsider" like a lowlife,
and now they play the helpless victims of circumstances.
I know why I renounced to my privileges.
They sleepwalk into their self created disorder.
And yes, I am very angry at those who wasted decades with their social stupidity,
those who crawled back after a start of change into their petit bourgeois
I knew that each therapist has to take a stand and that the most choose
Do not expect much sanity from them for your disorientated kids.
Get insightful yourself and share your leftover love to them.
Try honesty and having guts...that might help both of you.
Alternatively, neo-liberalism has enabled us to afford to live alone (entire
families were forced to live together for economic reasons), and technology
enables us to work remotely, with no need for interaction with other people.
This may make some people feel lonely, but for many others its utopia.
Some of the things that characterise Globalisation and Neoliberalism are
open borders and free movement. How can that contribute to isolation? That
is more likely to be fostered by Protectionism.
And there aren't fewer jobs. Employment is at record highs here and in many
other countries. There are different jobs, not fewer, and to be sure there
are some demographics that have lost out. But overall there are not fewer
jobs. That falls for the old "lump of labour" fallacy.
The corrosive state of mass television indoctrination sums it up: Apprentice,
Big Brother, Dragon's Den. By degrees, the standard keeps lowering. It is
no longer unusual for a licence funded TV programme to consist of a group
of the mentally deranged competing to be the biggest asshole in the room.
Anomie is a by-product of cultural decline as much as economics.
Our whole culture is more stressful. Jobs are more precarious; employment
rights more stacked in favor of the employer; workforces are deunionised;
leisure time is on the decrease; rents are unaffordable; a house is no longer
a realistic expectation for millions of young people. Overall, citizens
are more socially immobile and working harder for poorer real wages than
they were in the late 70's.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse has always been a feature of human societies.
However there is no evidence to suggest it was any worse in the past. Then
sexual abuse largely took place in institutional settings were at least
it could be potentially addressed. Now much of it has migrated to the great
neoliberal experiment of the internet, where child exploitation is at endemic
levels and completely beyond the control of law enforcement agencies. There
are now more women and children being sexually trafficked than there were
slaves at the height of the slave trade. Moreover, we should not forget
that Jimmy Saville was abusing prolifically right into the noughties.
My parents were both born in 1948. They say it was great. They bought
a South London house for next to nothing and never had to worry about getting
a job. When they did get a job it was one with rights, a promise of a generous
pension, a humane workplace environment, lunch breaks and an ethos of public
service. My mum says that the way women are talked about now is worse.
Sounds fine to me. That's not to say everything was great: racism was
acceptable (though surely the vile views pumped out onto social media are
as bad or worse than anything that existed then), homosexuality was illegal
and capital punishment enforced until the 1960's. However, the fact that
these things were reformed showed society was moving in the right direction.
Now we are going backwards, back to 1930's levels or inequality and a reactionary,
small-minded political culture fueled by loneliness, rage and misery.
And there is little evidence to suggest that anyone has expanded their mind
with the internet. A lot of people use it to look at porn, post racist tirades
on Facebook, send rape threats, distributes sexual images of partners with
their permission, take endless photographs of themselves and whip up support
for demagogues. In my view it would much better if people went to a library
than lurked in corporate echo chambers pumping out the like of 'why dont
theese imagrantz go back home and all those lezbo fems can fuckk off too
ha ha megalolz ;). Seriously mind expanding stuff. Share
As a director and CEO of an organisation employing several hundred people
I became aware that 40% of the staff lived alone and that the workplace
was important to them not only for work but also for interacting with their
colleagues socially . This was encouraged and the organisation achieved
an excellent record in retaining staff at a time when recruitment was difficult.
Performance levels were also extremely high . I particulalry remember with
gratitude the solidarity of staff when one of our colleagues - a haemophiliac
- contracted aids through an infected blood transfusion and died bravely
but painfully - the staff all supported him in every way possible through
his ordeal and it was a privilege for me to work with such kind and caring
To add to this discussion, we might consider the strongest need and conflict
each of us experiences as a teenager, the need to be part of a tribe vs
the the conflict inherent in recognising one's uniqueness. In a child's
life from about 7 or 8 until adolescence, friends matter the most. Then
the young person realises his or her difference from everyone else and has
to grasp what this means.
Those of us who enjoyed a reasonably healthy upbringing will get through
the peer group / individuation stage with happiness possible either way
- alone or in friendship. Our parents and teachers will have fostered a
pride in our own talents and our choice of where to socialise will be flexible
Those of us who at some stage missed that kind of warmth and acceptance
in childhood can easily stagnate. Possibly this is the most awkward of personal
developmental leaps. The person neither knows nor feels comfortable with
themselves, all that faces them is an abyss.
Where creative purpose and strength of spirit are lacking, other humans
can instinctively sense it and some recoil from it, hardly knowing what
it's about. Vulnerabilities attendant on this state include relationships
holding out some kind of ersatz rescue, including those offered by superficial
therapists, religions, and drugs, legal and illegal.
Experience taught that apart from the work we might do with someone deeply
compassionate helping us where our parents failed, the natural world
is a reliable healer. A kind of self-acceptance and individuation is
possible away from human bustle. One effect of the seasons and of being
outdoors amongst other life forms is to challenge us physically, into present
time, where our senses start to work acutely and our observational skills
get honed, becoming more vibrant than they could at any educational establishment.
This is one reason we have to look after the Earth, whether it's in a
city context or a rural one. Our mental, emotional and physical health is
known to be directly affected by it.
A thoughtful article. But the rich and powerful will ignore it; their doing
very well out of neo liberalism thank you. Meanwhile many of those whose
lives are affected by it don't want to know - they're happy with their bigger
TV screen. Which of course is what the neoliberals want, 'keep the people
happy and in the dark'. An old Roman tactic - when things weren't
going too well for citizens and they were grumbling the leaders just
extended the 'games'. Evidently it did the trick
It's importance for social cohesion -- yes inspite of the problems , can
not be overestimated .Don't let the rich drive it out , people who don't
understand ,or care what it's for .The poorer boroughs cannot afford it
.K&C have easily 1/2billion in Capital Reserves ,so yes they must continue
. Here I can assure you ,one often sees the old and lonely get a hug .If
drug gangs are hitting each other or their rich boy customers with violence
- that is a different matter . And yes of course if we don't do something
to help boys from ethnic minorities ,with education and housing -of course
it only becomes more expensive in the long run.
Boris Johnson has idiotically mouthed off about trying to mobilise people
to stand outside the Russian Embassy , as if one can mobilise youth by telling
them to tidy their bedroom .Because that's all it amounts to - because you
have to FEEL protest and dissent . Well here at Carnival - there it is ,protest
and dissent . Now listen to it . And of course it will be far easier than
getting any response from sticking your tongue out at the Putin monster --
He has his bombs , just as Kensington and Chelsea have their money.
(and anyway it's only another Boris diversion ,like building some fucking
stupid bridge ,instead of doing anything useful)
"Society" or at least organized society is the enemy of corporate power.
The idea of Neoliberal capitalism is to replace civil society with corporate
law and rule. The same was true of the less extreme forms of capitalism.
Society is the enemy of capital because it put restrictions on it and threatens
When society organizes itself and makes laws to protect society from
the harmful effects of capitalism, for example demands on testing drugs
to be sure they are safe, this is a big expense to Pfizer, there are many
examples - just now in the news banning sugary drinks. If so much as a small
group of parents forming a day care co-op decide to ban coca cola from their
group that is a loss of profit.
That is really what is going on, loneliness is a big part of human life,
everyone feels it sometimes, under Neoliberal capitalism it is simply more
exaggerated due to the out and out assault on society itself.
Well the prevailing Global Capitalist world view is still a combination
1. homocentric Cartesian Dualism i.e. seeing humans as most important and
sod all other living beings, and seeing humans as separate from all other
living beings and other humans and 2. Darwinian "survival of the fittest"
seeing everything as a competition and people as "winners and losers, weak
or strong with winners and the strong being most important". From these
2 combined views all kinds of "games" arise. The main one being the game
of "victim, rescuer, persecutor" (Transactional Analysis). The Guardian
engages in this most of the time and although I welcome the truth in this
article to some degree, surprisingly, as George is environmentally friendly,
it kinda still is talking as if humans are most important and as if those
in control (the winners) need to change their world view to save the victims.
I think the world view needs to zoom out to a perspective that recognises
that everything is interdependent and that the apparent winners and the
strong are as much victims of their limited world view as those who are
manifesting the effects of it more obviously.
Here in America, we have reached the point at which police routinely dispatch
the mentally ill, while complaining that "we don't have the time for this"
(N. Carolina). When a policeman refuses to kill a troubled citizen, he or
she can and will be fired from his job (West Virginia). This has become
not merely commonplace, but actually a part of the social function of the
work of the police -- to remove from society the burden of caring for the
mentally ill by killing them. In the state where I live, a state trooper
shot dead a mentally ill man who was not only unarmed, but sitting on the
toilet in his own home. The resulting "investigation" exculpated the trooper,
of course; in fact, young people are constantly told to look up to the police.
Sounds like the inevitable logical outcome of a society where the predator
sociopathic and their scared prey are all that is allowed.
This dynamic dualistic tautology, the slavish terrorised to sleep and bullying
narcissistic individual, will always join together to protect their sick
worldview by pathologising anything that will threaten their hegemony of
power abuse: compassion, sensitivity, moral conscience, altruism and the
immediate effects of the ruthless social effacement or punishment of the
same ie human suffering.
The impact of increasing alienation on individual mental health has been
known about and discussed for a long time.
When looking at a way forward, the following article is interesting:
"Alienation, in all areas, has reached unprecedented heights; the social
machinery for deluding consciousnesses in the interest of the ruling class
has been perfected as never before. The media are loaded with upscale advertising
identifying sophistication with speciousness. Television, in constant use,
obliterates the concept under the image and permanently feeds a baseless
credulity for events and history. Against the will of many students, school
doesn't develop the highly cultivated critical capacities that a real sovereignty
of the people would require. And so on.
The ordinary citizen thus lives
in an incredibly deceiving reality. Perhaps this explains the tremendous
and persistent gap between the burgeoning of motives to struggle, and the
paucity of actual combatants. The contrary would be a miracle. Thus the
considerable importance of what I call the struggle for representation:
at every moment, in every area, to expose the deception and bring to light,
in the simplicity of form which only real theoretical penetration makes
possible, the processes in which the false-appearances, real and imagined,
originate, and this way, to form the vigilant consciousness, placing our
image of reality back on its feet and reopening paths to action."
For the global epidemic of abusive, effacing homogenisation of human intellectual
exchange and violent hyper-sexualisation of all culture, I blame the US
Freudian PR guru Edward Bernays and his puritan forebears - alot.
Thanks for proving that Anomie is a far more sensible theory than Dialectical
Materialistic claptrap that was used back in the 80s to terrorize the millions
of serfs living under the Jack boot of Leninist Iron curtain.
There's no question - neoliberalism has been wrenching society apart.
It's not as if the prime movers of this ideology were unaware of the likely
outcome viz. "there is no such thing as society" (Thatcher). Actually in
retrospect the whole zeitgeist from the late 70s emphasised the atomised
individual separated from the whole. Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene" (1976)
may have been influential in creating that climate.
Anyway, the wheel has turned thank goodness. We are becoming wiser and
understanding that "ecology" doesn't just refer to our relationship with
the natural world but also, closer to home, our relationship with each other.
What is loneliness? I love my own company and I love walking in nature and
listening to relaxation music off you tube and reading books from the library.
That is all free. When I fancied a change of scene, I volunteered at my
local art gallery.
Mental health issues are not all down to loneliness. Indeed, other people
can be a massive stress factor, whether it is a narcissistic parent, a bullying
spouse or sibling, or an unreasonable boss at work.
I'm on the internet far too much and often feel the need to detox from
it and get back to a more natural life, away from technology. The 24/7 news
culture and selfie obsessed society is a lot to blame for social disconnect.
The current economic climate is also to blame, if housing and job security
are a problem for individuals as money worries are a huge factor of stress.
The idea of not having any goal for the future can trigger depressive thoughts.
I have to say, I've been happier since I don't have such unrealistic
expectations of what 'success is'. I rarely get that foreign holiday or
new wardrobe of clothes and my mobile phone is archaic. The pressure that
society puts on us to have all these things- and get in debt for them is
not good. The obsession with economic growth at all costs is also stupid,
as the numbers don't necessarily mean better wealth, health or happiness.
Very fine article, as usual from George, until right at the end he says:
This does not require a policy response.
But it does. It requires abandonment of neoliberalism as the means used
to run the world. People talk about the dangers of man made computers usurping
their makers but mankind has, it seems, already allowed itself to become
enslaved. This has not been achieved by physical dependence upon machines
but by intellectual enslavement to an ideology.
A very good "Opinion" by George Monbiot one of the best I have seen on this
Guardian blog page.
I would add that the basic concepts of the Neoliberal New world order are
fundamentally Evil, from the control of world population through supporting
of strife starvation and war to financial inducements of persons in positions
of power. Let us not forget the training of our younger members of our society
who have been induced to a slavish love of technology. Many other areas
of human life are also under attack from the Neoliberal, even the very air
we breathe, and the earth we stand upon.
The Amish have understood for 300 years that technology could have a negative
effect on society and decided to limit its effects. I greatly admire their
approach. Neal Stephenson's recent novel Seveneves coined the term Amistics
for the practice of assessing and limiting the impact of tech. We need a
Minister for Amistics in the government. Wired magazine did two features
on the Amish use of telephones which are quite insightful.
If we go back to 1848, we also find Marx and Engels, in the Communist
Manifesto, complaining about the way that the first free-market capitalism
(the original liberalism) was destroying communities and families by forcing
workers to move to where the factories were being built, and by forcing
women and children into (very) low paid work. 150 years later, after many
generations of this, combined with the destruction of work in the North,
the result is widespread mental illness. But a few people are really rich
now, so that's all right, eh?
Social media is ersatz community. It's like eating grass: filling, but
Young people are greatly harmed by not being able to see a clear path forward
in the world. For most people, our basic needs are a secure job, somewhere
secure and affordable to live, and a decent social environment in terms
of public services and facilities. Unfortunately, all these things are sliding
further out of reach for young people in the UK, and they know this. Many
already live with insecure housing where their family could have to move
at a month or two's notice.
Our whole economic system needs to be built around providing these basic
securities for people. Neoliberalism = insecure jobs, insecure housing and
poor public services, because these are the end result of its extreme free
I agree with this 100%. Social isolation makes us unhappy. We have a false
sense of what makes us unhappy - that success or wealth will enlighten or
liberate us. What makes us happy is social connection. Good friendships,
good relationships, being part of community that you contribute to. Go to
some of the poorest countries in the world and you may meet happy people
there, tell them about life in rich countries, and say that some people
there are unhappy. They won't believe you. We do need to change our worldview,
because misery is a real problem in many countries.
It is tempting to see the world before Thatcherism, which is what most English
writers mean when they talk about neo-liberalism, as an idyll, but it simply
The great difficulty with capitalism is that while it is in many ways
an amoral doctrine, it goes hand in hand with personal freedom. Socialism
is moral in its concern for the poorest, but then it places limits on personal
freedom and choice. That's the price people pay for the emphasis on community,
rather than the individual.
Close communities can be a bar on personal freedom and have little tolerance
for people who deviate from the norm. In doing that, they can entrench loneliness.
This happened, and to some extent is still happening, in the working
class communities which we typically describe as 'being destroyed by Thatcher'.
It's happening in close-knit Muslim communities now.
I'm not attempting to vindicate Thatcherism, I'm just saying there's
a pay-off with any model of society. George Monbiot's concerns are actually
part of a long tradition - Oliver Goldsmith's Deserted Village (1770) chimes
with his thinking, as does DH Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover.
The kind of personal freedom that you say goes hand in hand with capitalism
is an illusion for the majority of people. It holds up the prospect of that
kind of freedom, but only a minority get access to it. For most, it is necessary
to submit yourself to a form of being yoked, in terms of the daily grind
which places limits on what you can then do, as the latter depends hugely
on money. The idea that most people are "free" to buy the house they want,
private education, etc., not to mention whether they can afford the many
other things they are told will make them happy, is a very bad joke. Hunter-gatherers
have more real freedom than we do. Share
According to Wiki: 'Neoliberalism refers primarily to the 20th century resurgence
of 19th century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.
These include extensive economic liberalization policies such as privatization,
fiscal austerity, deregulation, free trade, and reductions in government
spending in order to enhance the role of the private sector in the economy.'
We grow into fear - the stress of exams and their certain meanings; the
lower wages, longer hours, and fewer rights at work; the certainty of debt
with ever greater mortgages; the terror of benefit cuts combined with rent
If we're forever afraid, we'll cling to whatever life raft presents.
It's a demeaning way to live, but it serves the Market better than having
a free, reasonably paid, secure workforce, broadly educated and properly
housed, with rights.
Insightful analysis... George quite rightly pinpoints the isolating effects of modern society
and technology and the impact on the quality of our relationships. The obvious question is how can we offset these trends and does the government
care enough to do anything about them?
It strikes me that one of the major problems is that [young] people have
been left to their own devices in terms of their consumption of messages
from Social and Mass online Media - analogous to leaving your kids in front
of a video in lieu of a parental care or a babysitter. In traditional society
- the messages provided by Society were filtered by family contact and real
peer interaction - and a clear picture of the limited value of the media
was propogated by teachers and clerics. Now young and older people alike
are left to make their own judgments and we cannot be surprised when they
extract negative messages around body image, wealth and social expectations
and social and sexual norms from these channels. It's inevitable that this
will create a boundary free landscape where insecurity, self-loathing and
ultimately mental illness will prosper.
I'm not a traditionalist in any way but there has to be a role for teachers
and parents in mediating these messages and presenting the context for analysing
what is being said in a healthy way. I think this kind of Personal Esteem
and Life Skills education should be part of the core curriculum in all schools.
Our continued focus on basic academic skills just does not prepare young
people for the real world of judgementalism, superficiality and cliques
and if anything dealing with these issues are core life skills.
We can't reverse the fact that media and modern society is changing but
we can prepare people for the impact which it can have on their lives.
A politician's answer.
X is a problem. Someone else, in your comment it will be teachers that have
to sort it out. Problems in society are not solved by having a one hour
a week class on "self esteem". In fact self-esteem and self-worth comes
from the things you do. Taking kids away from their academic/cultural studies
reduces this. This is a problem in society. What can society as a
whole do to solve it and what are YOU prepared to contribute.
Rather difficult to do when their parents are Thatchers children and buy
into the whole celebrity, you are what you own lifestyle too....and teachers
are far too busy filling out all the paperwork that shows they've met their
targets to find time to teach a person centred course on self-esteem to
a class of 30 teenagers.
I think we should just continue to be selfish and self-serving, sneering
and despising anyone less fortunate than ourselves, look up to and try to
emulate the shallow, vacuous lifestyle of the non-entity celebrity, consume
the Earth's natural resources whilst poisoning the planet and the people,
destroy any non-contributing indigenous peoples and finally set off all
our nuclear arsenals in a smug-faced global firework display to demonstrate
our high level of intelligence and humanity. Surely, that's what we all
want? Who cares? So let's just carry on with business as usual!
Neoliberalism is the bastard child of globalization which in effect is Americanization.
The basic premise is the individual is totally reliant on the corporate
world state aided by a process of fear inducing mechanisms, pharmacology
is one of the tools.
No community no creativity no free thinking. Poded sealed and cling filmed
a quasi existence.
Having grown up during the Thatcher years, I entirely agree that neoliberalism
has divided society by promoting individual self-optimisation at the expensive
of everyone else.
What's the solution? Well if neoliberalism is the root cause, we need
a systematic change, which is a problem considering there is no alternative
right now. We can however, get active in rebuilding communities and I am
encouraged by George Monbiot's work here.
My approach is to get out and join organizations working toward system
change. 350.org is a good example. Get involved.
we live in a narcissistic and ego driven world that dehumanises everyone.
we have an individual and collective crisis of the soul. it is our false
perception of ourselves that creates a disconnection from who we really
are that causes loneliness.
I agree. This article explains why it is a perfectly normal reaction to
the world we are currently living in. It goes as far as to suggest that
if you do not feel depressed at the state of our world there's something
wrong with you ;-) http://upliftconnect.com/mutiny-of-the-soul/
Surely there is a more straightforward possible explanation for increasing
incidence of "unhapiness"?
Quite simply, a century of gradually increasing general living standards
in the West have lifted the masses up Maslows higiene hierarchy of needs,
to where the masses now have largely only the unfulfilled self esteem needs
that used to be the preserve of a small, middle class minority (rather than
the unfulfilled survival, security and social needs of previous generations)
If so - this is good. This is progress. We just need to get them up another
rung to self fulfillment (the current concern of the flourishing upper middle
Error.... Who mentioned material goods? I think you have not so much "missed
the point" as "made your own one up" .
And while agreed that you could, in theory, be poor and meet all of your
needs (in fact the very point of the analysis is that money, of itself,
isn't what people "need") the reality of the structure of a western capitalist
society means that a certain level of affluence is almost certainly a prerequisite
for meeting most of those needs simply because food and shelter at the bottom
end and, say, education and training at the top end of self fulfillment
all have to be purchased. Share
Also note that just because a majority of people are now so far up the
does in no way negate an argument that corporations haven't also noticed
this and target advertising appropriately to exploit it (and maybe we need
to talk about that)
It just means that it's lazy thinking to presume we are in some way "sliding
backwards" socially, rather than needing to just keep pushing through this
adversity through to the summit.
I have to admit it does really stick in my craw a bit hearing millenials
moan about how they may never get to *own* a really *nice* house while their
grandparents are still alive who didn't even get the right to finish school
and had to share a bed with their siblings.
There is no such thing as a free-market society. Your society of 'self-interest'
is really a state supported oligarchy. If you really want to live in a society
where there is literally no state and a more or less open market try Somalia
or a Latin American city run by drug lords - but even then there are hierarchies,
state involvement, militias.
What you are arguing for is a system (for that is what it is) that demands
everyone compete with one another. It is not free, or liberal, or democratic,
or libertarian. It is designed to oppress, control, exploit and degrade
human beings. This kind of corporatism in which everyone is supposed to
serve the God of the market is, ironically, quite Stalinist. Furthermore,
a society in which people are encouraged to be narrowly selfish is just
plain uncivilized. Since when have sociopathy and barbarism been something
to aspire to?
George, you are right, of course. The burning question, however, is not
'Is our current social set-up making us ill' (it certainly is), but 'Is
there a healthier alternative?' What form of society would make us less
ill? Socialism and egalatarianism, wherever they are tried, tend to lead
to their own set of mental-illness-inducing problems, chiefly to do with
thwarted opportunity, inability to thrive, and constraints on individual
freedom. The sharing, caring society is no more the answer than the brutally
individualistic one. You may argue that what is needed is a balance between
the two, but that is broadly what we have already. It ain't perfect, but
it's a lot better than any of the alternatives.
We certainly do NOT at present have a balance between the two societies...Have
you not read the article? Corporations and big business have far too much
power and control over our lives and our Gov't. The gov't does not legislate
for a real living minimum wage and expects the taxpayer to fund corporations
low wage businesses. The Minimum wage and benefit payments are sucked in
to ever increasing basic living costs leaving nothing for the human soul
aside from more work to keep body and soul together, and all the while the
underlying message being pumped at us is that we are failures if we do not
have wealth and all the accoutrements that go with it....How does that create
a healthy society?
Neoliberalism. A simple word but it does a great deal of work for people
The simple statistical data on quality of life differences between generations
is absolutely nowhere to be found in this article, nor are self-reported
findings on whether people today are happier, just as happy or less happy
than people thirty years ago. In reality quality of life and happiness indices
have generally been increasing ever since they were introduced.
It's more difficult to know if things like suicide, depression and mental
illness are actually increasing or whether it's more to do with the fact
that the number of people who are prepared to report them is increasing:
at least some of the rise in their numbers will be down to greater awareness
of said mental illness, government campaigns and a decline in associated
Either way, what evidence there is here isn't even sufficient to establish
that we are going through some vast mental health crisis in the first place,
never mind that said crisis is inextricably bound up with 'neoliberalism'.
Furthermore, I'm inherently suspicious of articles that manage to connect
every modern ill to the author's own political bugbear, especially if they
cherry-pick statistical findings to support their point. I'd be just as,
if not more, suspicious if it was a conservative author trying to link the
same ills to the decline in Christianity or similar. In fact, this article
reminds me very much of the sweeping claims made by right-wingers about
the allegedly destructive effects of secularism/atheism/homosexuality/video
games/South Park/The Great British Bake Off/etc...
If you're an author and you have a pet theory, and upon researching an
article you believe you see a pattern in the evidence that points towards
further confirmation of that theory, then you should step back and think
about whether said pattern is just a bit too psychologically convenient
and ideologically simple to be true. This is why people like Steven Pinker
- properly rigorous, scientifically versed writer-researchers - do the work
they do in systematically sifting through the sociological and historical
data: because your mind is often actively trying to convince you to believe
that neoliberalism causes suicide and depression, or, if you're a similarly
intellectually lazy right-winger, homosexuality leads to gang violence and
the flooding of(bafflingly, overwhelmingly heterosexual) parts of America.
I see no sign that Monbiot is interested in testing his belief in his
central claim and as a result this article is essentially worthless except
as an example of a certain kind of political rhetoric.
social isolation is strongly associated with depression, suicide,
anxiety, insomnia, fear and the perception of threat .... Dementia,
high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, lowered resistance to viruses,
even accidents are more common among chronically lonely people.
Loneliness has a comparable impact on physical health to smoking
15 cigarettes a day:
it appears to raise the risk of early death by 26%
Why don't we explore some of the benefits?.. Following the long
list of some the diseases, loneliness can inflict on individuals, there
must be a surge in demand for all sort of medications; anti-depressants
must be topping the list. There is a host many other anti-stress treatments
available of which Big Pharma must be carving the lion's share. Examine
the micro-economic impact immediately following a split or divorce. There
is an instant doubling on the demand for accommodation, instant doubling
on the demand for electrical and household items among many other products
and services. But the icing on the cake and what is really most critical
for Neoliberalism must be this: With the morale barometer hitting
the bottom, people will be less likely to think of a better future, and
therefore, less likely to protest. In fact, there is nothing left worth
Your freedom has been curtailed. Your rights are evaporating in front
of your eyes. And Best of all, from the authorities' perspective, there
is no relationship to defend and there is no family to protect. If you have
a job, you want to keep, you must prove your worthiness every day to 'a
disappeared, everyone knew exactly where to point the finger
Simon Sharwood, APAC Editor
25 Aug 2017 at 07:02
's weekly reader-contributed tales of workplace woe.
This week, meet "Craig," who shared a story of working for a small IT services company that
hired a new "team leader".
Craig used italics because after meeting his new boss he quickly surmised the title "was an
entire contradiction, as he was neither."
One fine day, Craig was given the job of sorting out an email issue at a small family owned
legal firm. Craig knew the client well: he'd previously fixed their jammed printers, added new
users to the company domain and lots of other mundane stuff.
On this occasion things were a bit more urgent as one of the senior partners had email
issues and there was a whiff of data loss in the air. Enter the new team leader, who dispatched
Craig to the client with thundered instructions to "JUST GO AND FIX IT!"
Upon arrival, Craig liaised with "Dianne", a worker at the law firm who helped him when he
With Dianne's help Craig quickly figured out that senior partner's .PST file was corrupted.
Craig tried his usual tricks but they didn't work, in part because "Outlook was throwing a
hissy fit at every opportunity." So he called back to base to consult a colleague, but the
phone was answered by the new team leader who insisted on taking control of the situation.
At this point, Craig put the call on speaker so that Dianne could hear it.
Both were treated to the new boss suggesting use of a .PST repair tool, which Craig had
"I don't care, run it again," was the response, so Craig obeyed and duly reported it had not
"Delete the account and recreate it" was the next instruction, which again was hardly news
to Craig and again didn't work.
So the boss got extreme and told Craig to "delete Outlook and Office from the registry."
Craig didn't like that idea and told the team leader so, while shaking his head at Dianne,
making lots of bad-idea motions and telling his boss he felt this was not a sensible course of
"Just fucking do what I tell you" was the reply. Which got Dianne smiling as she now
appreciated Craig's situation and realised the boss had no idea he was on speaker.
Craig protested that this was a dangerous course of action likely to create further problems
in an already-unstable system and endanger the client's data.
To which the team leader responded that Craig was a lowly functionary and should do what he
was told by his betters.
So Craig did as he was told, deleting any registry entry that mentioned Outlook while
watching Dianne start to take notes about the incident.
Of course the glorious leader's idea didn't work and Craig was soon able to show Dianne that
the partner's emails had gone, in all probability forever. Which is a bad look anywhere but
even worse at a law firm.
Dianne was furious.
Craig was calm. He whipped out a third-party .PST repair tool he favoured, applied it to the
backup of the partner's file he'd made just in case things went pear-shaped, and recovered just
about all of the at-risk emails.
"Dianne hailed me as a hero," Craig recalls. And not long afterwards he was vindicated when
the client sent his employer a letter saying that they'd be fired if the new team leader ever
had anything to do with their IT again.
Said leader was gone two months later after other clients complained about his skills and
"I was glad to see the back of him because he was an utter dickhead," Craig told us in his
email to On-Call.
Has your boss ever asked you to do something dangerous?
Write to share your story
and it might be
your anonymised name getting readers chuckling in a future edition of On-Call. ®
"... This is a very dishonest take on Trump. It abstracts from the actual political situation. Trump may be a symptom of America writ large!this is inevitable. But Trump is an antidote to the failed policies of global capitalism. ..."
"... Trump is an attempt by fly-over country and middle America to drag all of us back toward community and rootedness. This criticism of Trump on the basis of his alleged individual vices is characteristic of the cosmopolitan conservative. ..."
"... You hilarious. "but most Americans headed west to GET AWAY from those types." Perhaps a little thing called manifest destiny played a role"– Incentives to move west, cheap land, land speculation, gold ! etc. ..."
"... Trump is a strange man. He pupports to represent "fly-over" country and it's yearning for American traditions of the past rooted in a long-forgotten nationalism yet he lives none of these things and in most cases he demonstrates the opposite in his professional and personal life. ..."
"... Americans admired Trump not because he was wealthy, but because he became wealthy honestly, ..."
The pitchman and huckster and serial entrepreneur are classic American types, but most
Americans headed west to GET AWAY from those types. Those types stayed in NYC, where they
manipulated and ruined the rest of the country to enrich themselves. Panics and depressions
every few years, civil wars and foreign wars, all crushed America and enriched NYC.
Trump is just the latest NYC booster to fool the rest of America for his own
aggrandizement. (I confess, he fooled me for a while!)
Hmm let's see, why else would HRC declare, 'we are great because we are good', or a host
of Republicans insist on calling the U.S. indispensable and exceptional. Why else would our
MSM make it a litmus test to require DT to call Putin a thug and a murderer and recoil in
horror when he retorts, 'we aren't so innocent'.
Oddly enough, not only is Trump a mirror but his bad behavior is reinforced and his few
moments of restraint are mercilessly condemned.
This is a very dishonest take on Trump. It abstracts from the actual political situation.
Trump may be a symptom of America writ large!this is inevitable. But Trump is an antidote to
the failed policies of global capitalism.
Trump is an attempt by fly-over country and middle America to drag all of us back
toward community and rootedness. This criticism of Trump on the basis of his alleged
individual vices is characteristic of the cosmopolitan conservative.
To wit: Trump is an advocate of national unity and rootedness which the author professes
to admire. "Nationalism not globalism shall be our credo". Meanwhile the author harps on
individual virtue and vice!a symptom no doubt of our extreme atomization.
Tocqueville's impressions are echoed by Dickens in "Martin Chuzzlewit" when Martin visits
America and Dickens relates his experiences with the Americans Martin met. Dickens was a keen
observer of people.
One way to look at it is that we are all victims of our own success; as Keb Mo said, Victims
of Comfort. We lack the character formation of family / community / self reliance because,
ironically, our government doesn't actually want Liberty, they want conformity. Thus our
leaders tear down every institution in its way. With the righteous aim of looking out for our
liberty they tear down repressive institutions that offer a conformity that is too diverse
for them to control. Thus we are left with fewer places to turn for necessary character
development. We look to them, which is working to their best design, to fulfill our demands
for a better world. No matter which side of the debate fuels our intractable demands, we are
all left with an unexamined conscience, demanding change in the world while not having our
own tools of character to achieve it. This idiot included.
If Trump is an advocate of national unity and rootedness, I'd hate to see what he'd be like
when he's trying to DIS-unite us. Trump is simply another US huckster with a YU-UUGE chip on
his shoulder. And his gullibles are those who want to be like him.
You hilarious. "but most Americans headed west to GET AWAY from those types." Perhaps a
little thing called manifest destiny played a role"– Incentives to move west, cheap
land, land speculation, gold ! etc.
Trump is a strange man. He pupports to represent "fly-over" country and it's yearning for
American traditions of the past rooted in a long-forgotten nationalism yet he lives none of
these things and in most cases he demonstrates the opposite in his professional and personal
I guess that would make him a good ol' American huckster.
If circumstances don't evolve somehow on their own, rendering the swamp inconsequential, that
people already understand, our society may just collapse. We are to diverse to come together
and push the cart in the same direction. Our two political parties have already collapsed,
evidence of the election. Trump with no GOP support , and still none is President. Hillary is
in exile with worse popularity than Trump and Bernie Sanders is very popular. How is this
setting some course or refining a model.
Americans admired Trump not because he was wealthy, but because he became wealthy honestly,
by creating thousands of jobs. Americans didn't reject Romney because he was wealthy or tried
to hide it, but because he became wealthy by destroying American jobs.
Sorry, Mr. Burtka, when I look in the mirror, I don't see a man with no friends, who lies
constantly in order to elevate himself, who only has money because he inherited millions, and
who makes impossible promises to people looking to blame others for their own failures.
For the few Trump characteristics you've touched on, there are dozens you've ignored.
Trump has two eyes, one nose and two ears; that doesn't make him like me.
Americans admired Trump not because he was wealthy, but because he became wealthy
Um, no. Trump became wealthy the
old fashioned way – he inherited it.
As was frequently pointed out during the election season, even taking his claims of his net
worth at face value (despite much circumstantial evidence that those claims are grossly
inflated), he would have been worth far more if he had simply taken his inheritance and
plugged it into a plain vanilla Vanguard index fund. He has spent his lifetime
money, and stiffing hundreds of small business vendors and contractors along
According to some commenters at MoA the US neocons can be viewed as a flavor of political
psychopaths: "Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have
identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like
focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders
use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise.
Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture
of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear
path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow
confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe."
the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda.
Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and
takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will
react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops
in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that
there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure
is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality".
It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster
every single time. "
"... Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to learn very well there is lying. ..."
"... Barack CIA 0bama. ..."
"... It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos. ..."
"... Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit? ..."
"... Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and international law perspectives. ..."
"... you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies like war crimes tribunals? ..."
"... it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal strikes me as an exercise in confusion. ..."
"... the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided. That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term occupation of Afghanistan escapes him. ..."
"... Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and "accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being the malignant driving force in US FP. ..."
"... There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade. ..."
"... My only gripe with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc. ..."
"... Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise. Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe. ..."
"... the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100 Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed. ..."
"... Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing. ..."
"... It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists, they don't like that. ..."
"... Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these three don't work, they repeat them! ..."
"... Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic damage. ..."
"... America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see sense and reverse their road to destruction. ..."
"... the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda. Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality". It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster every single time. ..."
"... The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression. ..."
"... Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda. ..."
"... The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated. The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat evil' story. ..."
"... Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures. This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST. ..."
"... The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems. The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality, they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take the world down with it. ..."
"linear"?, I would say amateurish and often stupid!
It seems that the USA cannot see far enough as it's submitted to regime changes every 5 years
and decisions are finally left to powerful lobbies that have a better continuity.
Provided the gross flaws of the intelligence, one has to wonder about the quality of the
education in politics provided by Harvard and other expensive universities.. What they seem to
learn very well there is lying.
"Linear" and all that is the mushy feel-good stuff on top of your arrogance. Kleptocracy only
NOW putting down its roots? Come on. Let's get back to the 90's where it started. Vengeance for
It seems the, "Mission Possible" of the alphabet agencies is not intelligence, but chaos.
All's well in the world with them as long as the USSA is grinding away on some near helpless
ME country. Drugs and other natural resources flow from and death and destruction flow to the
unsuspecting Muslim targets.
With America, you're our friend, (or at least we tolerate you) until you're not (or we don't),
then God help you and your innocent hoards.
The organized and well scripted chaos has been just one act in the larger play of destroying
western civilization with throngs of Muslims now flooding western Europe and to a lesser degree,
USA. Of course, the Deep State had felt confident in allowing Latinos to destroy America...Trump
has put a large crimp in the pipeline--one of the reasons he is hated so badly by the destructive
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error.
You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.
It is entirely possible that the underlying objective of, for instance, invading Iraq was to
win a war and bring democracy. Subsequent behaviour in Iraq (and Afghanistan) indicates that there
might be (likely is) a hidden but central other objective. I do not want to state that I know
what that is because I am not "in the know". However, much that you attribute to failure from
linear thinking just as easily can be explained by the complexity of realizing a "hidden agenda".
Perhaps we can learn from history. Did the U.S. enter the First World War to save the world
and democracy, or was it a game of waiting until the sides were exhausted enough that victory
would be a walkover, the prize a seat at the center of power and the result that the U.S. could
now take advantage of a superior position over the now exhausted former superpowers, having sat
out the worst of the fighting and sold to both sides at a healthy profit?
Invading Afghanistan and Iraq gives the U.S. a dominant role in the center of the Asian
continent, the position coveted by Britain, Russia, France and the Ottoman Empire during the Great
Power rivalry leading up to the Great War. It can be seen as partial success in a policy of encirclement
of Russia and China. Redefining the Afghanistan and Iraq wars along these lines make them look
more successful, not less, however odious we may thing these objectives might be from moral and
international law perspectives.
Russia learnt a huge lesson from their experience in Afghanistan. There they retreated in the
face of a violent Wahabist insurgency and paid the price. The Soviet union collapsed and became
vulnerable to western free-market gangsterism as well as suffering the blowback of terrorism in
Chechnya, where they decided to play it very differently. A bit more like how Assad senior dealt
with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1980's.
Russia knew that if ISIS and friends were allowed
to destroy Syria like the Mujahadeen had done in Afghanistan, then it would only be a matter of
time before blowback would come again to Russia.
Russia's involvement is entirely rational and in their national interest. It should never have
come as a surprise to the US, and the US should shake off their cold war propaganda and be grateful
that people are willing to put their lives on the line to defeat Wahabist terrorism. Russia has
played a focused line with integrity. Many Syrians love them for this, and many more in the Middle
East will likewise adopt a similar line.
In other words, the linear mindset blocks out all non-conforming realities in the present
and those contingent elements which might arise in the future
you mean non-conforming realities like the rule of law, and possible future contingencies
like war crimes tribunals?
i kinda skimmed this piece, but it seems to me that trying to write some kind of rational
analysis of a US foreign policy without mentioning the glaring fact that it's all absolutely illegal
strikes me as an exercise in confusion.
Brenner: Washington never really had a plan in Syria.
Really? Firstly, the author's focus on successful implementation of policy is misguided.
That the Iraq War was based on a lie, the Libyan bombing Campaign was illegal, and the Syrian
conflict was an illegal proxy war does not trouble him. And the strategic reasons for US long-term
occupation of Afghanistan escapes him.
Although he laments the failure to plan for contingencies, the words "accountable" and
"accountability" never appear in this essay. Nor does the word "neocon" - despite their being
the malignant driving force in US FP.
The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria.
A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse
a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January , Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is "a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,"
separating "reformers" and "extremists"; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation,
and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were "on the other side of that divide."
Lastly, Brenner's complaint that Obama has been "scape-goated" as having created ISIS conveniently
ignores Obama's allowing ISIS to grow by down-playing the threat that it represented. Obama's
called ISIS al Queda's "JV team" and senior intelligence analysts dutifully distorted intelligence
to down-play the threat (see below). This was one of many deceptions that Obama took part in -
if not orchestrated (others: "moderate rebels", Benghazi, the "Fiscal Cliff", bank bailouts).
After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle
of 2015, the United States Central Command's most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the
command's intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq" . . .
The Joint Task Force can find no justifiable reason why operational reporting was repeatedly
used as a rationale to change the analytic product, particularly when the changes only appeared
to be made in a more optimistic direction . . .
There have been many lessons for the Russians since Afghanistan, two that Russia was directly
involved with were the 90's break-up of Yugoslavia in the 90's (and the diplomatic invention of
R2P) and the Chechen turmoil of the last decade.
Russia has also benefited through the non-linear analysis of US diplomacy failures of the last
two decades. Russia has created a coalition backing up their military entry into the Middle East
that allows achievement of tangible objectives at a sustainable cost.
But b's article is about the US's dismal diplomacy that is exacerbating its rapid empire decline
and it does very well to help explain the rigid lack of thought that hastens the deterioration
of US influence.
This article makes a lot of good points, but I didn't really grasp exactly what "linear" thinking
is. OK. Venezuela very well may be turning into a situation. What is the "linear" approach? What,
instead, would be the "non-linear" approach? This article cites many "linear" failures. It would
be helpful also to learn of some non-linear successes. If not by the United States then by somebody
Let me clarify my prior posting. This article seems to be asserting that the United States
has attempted to pound the square peg of its policy objectives into the round hole of the Middle
East. I pretty much agree with that idea. But how is this "linear," as opposed to "bull-headed"?
How does being "non-linear" help with the pounding? Would not adapting our policies to pound a
round peg instead be just as "linear" but more clever?
Thanks for posting these great observations by Michael Brenner, b.
The link to his bio on University
of Pitsburg site is broken and the page is gone, but it still exists for now in Google's cache
from Aug. 1st
here . His bio can also be found under
article from The Globalist
Everything I've read of Dr. Brenner that I've stumbled across is brilliant. My only gripe
with his work is that he always describes multiple aspects of psychopathy in his observations
of U.S. foreign policy and the Washington ruling elite, but never goes as far as to conclude the
root of all our problems are psychopathic individuals and institutions, or a culture of psychopathy
infesting larger groups of the same, e.g., Washington elite, "The Borg", etc.
While he is quite accurate in describing the symptoms, one is left with the impression that
they are the things to be fixed. Linear thinking in a U.S. foreign policy of aggression?
Absolutely, but it's pointless to 'fix' that without understanding the cause.
Linear thinking is precisely how Washington psychopaths think and execute once they have
identified a targeted population for subservience and eventual exploitation. It's a laser-like
focus on control using the tools psychopaths understand: money, guns and butter. U.S. leaders
use linear thinking because, as psychopaths, they do not have the ability to think otherwise.
Linear thinking give leaders control over how their subordinates think and execute. A culture
of psychopathy means subordinates and supporters will offer slavish devotion to such a linear
path. Anyone straying from the path is not insightful or innovative, they are rebels that sow
confusion and weaken leaders. They must be silenced and banished from the Washington tribe.
Does anyone in Washington REALLY want to 'save' the Persians and 'rebuild' Iran as they
imagine America did post WWII to German and Japan? Or is the more overriding intent to punish
and destroy a leadership that will not submit to the political and commercial interests in the
US? Of course the U.S. fails to deliver any benefits to the 'little people' after destroying their
country and government - they are incapable of understanding what the 'little people' want (same
goes for domestic issues in the U.S.).
The U.S. government and leadership do not need lessons to modify their techniques or 'thinking'
- they are incapable of doing so. You can't 'talk a psychopath into having empathy' any more than
you can talk them out of having smallpox. 'The law' and voting were intentionally broken in the
U.S. to make them all but useless to fix Washington, yet a zombified American public will continue
to use the religiously (or sit back and watch others use them religiously) with little result.
Because we're a democracy and a nation of laws - the government will fix anything broken with
In a certain sense, I'm glad Brennan does NOT go on about psychopathy in his articles. He would
sound as tedious and nutty as I do here and would never be allowed near Washington. I'll just
be grateful for his thorough illustration of the symptoms for now.
Your analysis of linearity is interesting. However, you make what I believe is a critical error.
You assume you know the objective and the path to follow and base your critique accordingly.
First, this is more an analysis of military failure to "do the job" that Washington "strategic
thinkers" tell them to do, and the reasons why it's such a futile game. In our system of government,
the military does tactics, not strategy. And the above article, which should be passed out to
every politician in this country, isn't really about "the objective".
For example, the military was told "Go to Iraq, overthrow Saddam, everything will work
out once we get our contractors and corporations in after you." Paul Bremer's CPA and his "100
Orders" were supposed to fix everything. But the Iraqis objected strenuously to the oil privatization
selloff (and the rest of it) and the insurgency was launched. Okay, the military was told, break
the insurgency. In comes the CIA, Special Forces, mass surveillance - what comes out? Abu Ghraib
torture photos. The insurgency gets even stronger. Iran ends up winning the strategic game, hands
down, and has far more influence in Iraq than it could ever dream of during the Saddam era. The
whole objective, turning Iraq into a client state of the U.S. neoliberal order, utterly failed.
Here's the point I think you're missing: the Washington strategists behind all this
are batshit crazy and divorced from reality. Their objectives have to be rewritten every few
years, because they're hopeless pipe dreams. They live and work and breathe in these Washington
military-industrial think tanks, neocons and neoliberals both, that are largely financed by arms
manufacturers and associated private equity firms. As far as the defense contractors go, one war
is as good as another, they can keep selling arms to all regardless. Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen,
Libya, Syria - cash cows is all they are. So, they finance the PR monkeys to keep pushing "strategic
geopolitical initiatives" that are really nonsensical and have no hope of working in the long
run - but who cares, the cash keeps flowing.
And if you want to know why the Borg State got firmly behind Hillary Clinton, it's because
they could see her supporting this agenda wholeheartedly, especially after Libya. Here's a comment
she wrote to Podesta on 2014-08-19, a long 'strategy piece' ending with this note:
Note: It is important to keep in mind that as a result of this policy there probably will be
concern in the Sunni regions of Iraq and the Central Government regarding the possible expansion
of KRG controlled territory. With advisors in the Peshmerga command we can reassure the concerned
parties that, in return for increase autonomy, the KRG will not exclude the Iraqi Government
from participation in the management of the oil fields around Kirkuk, and the Mosel Dam hydroelectric
facility. At the same time we will be able to work with the Peshmerga as they pursue ISIL into
disputed areas of Eastern Syria, coordinating with FSA troops who can move against ISIL from
the North. This will make certain Basher al Assad does not gain an advantage from these operations.
Finally, as it now appears the U.S. is considering a plan to offer contractors as advisors
to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, we will be in a position to coordinate more effectively between
the Peshmerga and the Iraqi Army.
It's all nonsense, there's no FSA just Al Qaeda and ISIS affiliates, plus the Kurdish proxy
force is a long-term dead end - but it keeps the war going. A more rational approach - work with
Russia to defeat ISIS, don't worry about economic cooperation between Syria and Iran, tell the
Saudis and Israelis that Iran won't invade them (it won't), pull back militarily and focus instead
on domestic problems in the USA - the think tanks, defense contractors, Saudi and Israeli lobbyists,
they don't like that.
Regardless, it looks like end times for the American empire, very similar to how the Soviet
Union collapsed in the 1980s, and the last days of the French and British empires in the 1950s.
And good riddance, it's become a dead weight dragging down the standard of living for most American
citizens who aren't on that gravy train.
Brenner is trying to mislead us with bombastic terminology like "The Linear Mindset". The
root cause of America's problems is what Michael Scheuer calls Imperial Hubris: The idea that
they are Masters of the Universe and so they have omnipotent power to turn every country into
a vassal. But when this hubris meets reality, they get confused and don't know what to do. In
such a case, they resort to three standard actions: sanctions, regime change or chaos. If these
three don't work, they repeat them!
Politicians are mere puppets. Their real owners are the 1% who use the Deep State to direct
policy. Among this 1% there are zionists who have enormous influence on US Middle Eastern policy
and they use the neocons as their attack dogs to direct such policy. This hubris has caused so
much pain, destruction and death all over the world and it has also caused America so much economic
America is waning as a global power but instead of self-introspection and returning
to realism, they are doubling down on neocon policy stupidity. Putin, China and Iran are trying
to save them from their stupidity but they seem to be hell-bent on committing suicide. But I hope
the policy sophistication of Russia, China and Iran, as well as their military capabilities that
raise the stakes high for US military intervention will force the Masters of the Universe to see
sense and reverse their road to destruction.
There's a lot in both this piece and the comments. In a sense, I wonder if the core issue behind
the Neocon/Imperial mindset isn't a complete inability to see the other side's point of view.
Psychopathy, short-termism (a common fault in businesspeople), divorce from reality and hubris
are likely a good part of it, as somebody, Paveway IV, Makutwa and nonsense factory put it, but
the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief in their own propaganda.
Even the psychopath manages to fake plausibility - although he has no empathy for the victim and
takes a thrill out of hurting them, he can still know enough about them to predict how they will
react and to fake empathy himself. This ability seems to be missing in the folk who send the troops
in. Here there seems to be the genuine but unquestioning belief in one's own infallibility - that
there is one right way of doing things to which all others must and will yield if enough pressure
is applied. The line by one of GWB's staff was, supposedly, that "we create our own reality".
It is this creation of a reality utterly divorced from the real world that seems to lead to disaster
every single time.
I would paraphrase critics of b that he (she?) has fallen into linearity trap: one point is the
resources spent by USA on wars of 21-st century (a lot), the second points are positive results
(hardly any), and an intellectual charge proceeds from A to B.
However between A and B there can be diversity of problems. We can stock enough gasoline, run
out of potable water. And indeed, you can encounter pesky terrain. I recall a family vacation
trip where we visited Natural Bridges National Monument and we proceeded to Arizona on an extremely
straight highway through pretty flat plateau. Then the pavement end, and the acrophobic designated
driver has to negotiate several 180* hairpins to get down on a cliff flanking Monument Valley.
After second inspection, the map had tiny letters "switchbacks" and a tiny fragment of the road
not marked with the pavement. Still better than discovering "bridge out" annotation on your map
only when you gaze at the water flowing between two bridge heads. (If I recall, during late 20-th
century Balkan intervention, US military needed a lot of time to cross Danube river that unexpectedly
had no functioning bridge where they wanted to operate. Landscape changes during a war.)
That said, military usually has an appreciation for terrain. But there are also humans. On
domestic side, the number of experts on those distant societies is small, and qualified experts,
minuscule. Because the qualified ones were disproportionally naysayers, the mere whiff if expertise
was treated as treason, and we had a purge of "Arabists". And it was of course worse in the lands
to charm and conquer. Effective rule requires local hands to follow our wishes, people who can
be trusted. And, preferably, not intensely hated by the locals they are supposed to administer.
And like with gasoline, water, food, etc. on a vacation trip (who forgot mosquito repellent!),
the list of needed traits is surprisingly long. Like viewing collaboration with Israel supporting
infidels as a mortal sin that can be perpetrated to spare the family from starvation (you can
recruit them, success!), but it has to be atoned through backstabbing (local cadres are disappointing).
Great analysis! This is an excellent example for why I read MOA at least once a day and most of
the comments! There's something of a sad irony that Trump has made at least some kind of effort
to thwart the neocons and their relentless rush toward armageddon, seeing as how lacking in any
real intellectual capcity they all seem and with Trump at the helm?
Mostly tptb, our political class, and the pundits for the masses, seem all to exhibit an astonishingly
dull witted lack of true concern or humanity for anybody anywhere, and in my years on earth so
far, at least in America, they have inculcated in the population very dubious ethical chioces,
which you would think were tragic, and decisions, which you would believe were doomed, from the
wars being waged, to the lifestyles of the citizenry especially toward the top of the economic
ladder, and I don't know about others here but I for one have been confronting and dealing with
these problems both in family and aquaintances for my entire adult life! Like the battle at Kurushetra.
At least they say they "have a plan," scoffingly.
Where is chipnik to weigh in on this with his poetic observations, or I think long ago it was
"slthrop" who may have been bannned for foul language as he or she raged on at the absurdities
that keep heaping up exponentially? I do miss them!
Oh well, life is relatively short and we will all be gone at some point and our presense here
will be one and all less than an iota. An awareness of this one fact and its implications you
would think would pierce the consciousness of every human being well before drawing their final
breath, but I guess every McCain fails to realize until too late that the jig is up?
Justin Glyn@20 "but the Neocons seem to suffer from something almost worse - a misguided belief
in their own propaganda."
The propaganda part is inventing, manufacturing and embellishing some embodiment of evil
that must be defeated to liberate their victims and save humanity. That's the cover story, not
the underlying purpose of U.S. aggression.
Neocons do not believe that exclusively as a goal in itself - it merely dovetails rather
nicely with their ultimate obsession with control, and it's and easy sell against any less-than-perfect
targeted foreign leader or government. Irrational demonization is the embodiment of that propaganda.
The methods of ultimately controlling the liberated people and their nation's resources are
cloaked in the guise of 'bringing Western democracy'. Methods for corrupting the resulting government
and usurping their laws and voting are hidden or ignored. The propaganda then turns to either
praising the resulting utopia or identifying/creating a new evil that now must also be eliminated.
The utopia thing hasn't worked out so well in Libya, Iraq or Ukraine, so they stuck with the 'defeat
Apart from psychopathy in US leadership, the US has no understanding, nor respect of, other cultures.
This is not just in US leadership, but in the exceptional people in general. It shows up from
time to time in comments at blogs like this, and is often quite noticeable in comments at SST.
That it why the US in its arrogance has failed in Syria, and Russia with its tiny force has
been so successful.
The essence of imperial hubris is the belief that one's country is omnipotent; that the country
can shape and create reality. The country's main aspiration is to create clients, dependencies
and as the Godfather Zbigniew Bzrezinski candidly put it, "vassals".Such a mindset does not just
appreciate the reality of contingency; it also does not appreciate the nature of complex systems.
The country's elites believe that both soft and hard power should be able to ensure the desired
outcomes. But resistance to imperial designs and blowback from the imperial power's activities
induce cognitive dissonance. Instead of such cognitive crises leading to a return to reality,
they lead to denial amongst this elite. This elite lives in a bubble. Their discourse is intellectually
incestuous and anybody that threatens this bubble is ostracized. Limits are set to what can be
debated. That is why realists like John Mearsheimer, Steve Walt, Michael Scheuer and Stephen Cohen
are ignored by this elite even though their ideas are very germane. If other countries don't bow
down to their dictates, they have only a combination of the following responses: sanctions, regime
change and chaos. The paradox is that the more they double down with their delusions the more
the country's power continues to decline. My only hope is that this doubling down will not take
the world down with it.
"Welcome to Hell!" is the slogan with which G20 protesters greet the self-appointed leaders
of the world to their summit on 7 and 8 July 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, under Madame Merkel's
auspices to discuss the calamities of our globe and how to resolve them. Never mind that the
distress of Mother Earth has been mostly caused by those who represent the West, and now pretend
to fix it.
How utterly arrogant – and hypocritical!
In the wake of the summit, police were beating on aggressively against the demonstrators, most
of them peaceful, unarmed; but some of them violent and hooded, as old tradition dictates, so
they will not be recognized as police themselves or patsies of the police. Many people were
hurt, several to the point of hospitalization. And the meeting just began.
... ... ...
This reminds of the prominent former German Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt's words, shortly
before his death, in an interview on terrorism to the German paper "Die Zeit", on 30 August
2007: "I suspect that all terrorists, whether they represent the German RAF, the Italian Brigate
Rosse, the French, the Irish, Spanish or Arabs, are relatively modest in their disdain for
humanity. They are largely surpassed by certain forms of state terrorism." – When the journalist
asked back, „Are you serious? Whom are you referring to?" Schmidt: "Let's leave it at that. I
really mean what I say" (http://www.zeit.de/2007/36/Interview-Helmut-Schmidt/seite-7 – in
Only western megalo-psychopaths could have thought of 'creating', of nominating themselves into
an alliance, of which the ultimate goal is to forge a New World Order (NWO), at times also
called, One World Order, referring to an unspoken One Anglo-Zionist Government. That's where we
are headed; towards military oppression and financial subjugation of a small Zionist-headed
financial and military elite.
It's still time to wake up, to take our lives into our own hands, shed the mainstream propaganda
and blood-thirsty lie-media, ignore them; get out from under the fraudulent privately owned fake
dollar monetary system. There are alternatives available. We have to see them, then choose them.
It is up to us to let go of the ever oppressing west. But each one of us, has to see the light,
the little spark, that tells him or her – that there is something drastically wrong with the
life we live, have been living for the last hundred years, that peace is just around the corner,
but we have been duped into wars, after wars, after bloody conflict – and wars again. We are
dozed with the idea that conflict and aggression is the Big Normal, as it is always inspired and
provoked by 'others' – mostly by the east. Yes, we believe it. It's comfortable, and it would be
inconvenient having to admit that we have been living a lie – a blatant lie all or most of our
lives. Admitting it, and standing up for justice, would be saving ourselves and civilization –
maybe even humanity.
... ... ..
After debating supportive mechanisms like wars and the lie-propaganda – Goebbels would be proud
– economy and finance will have center stage. How to speed up financial globalization to attain
in the shortest span of time 'Full Spectrum financial and monetary Dominance'? – The western
economy is running on empty – its main thriving force is greed and instant profit by a few.
Privatization of all state assets is part of the final run. The people are left behind. The
people, the lot that needs to consume to fulfill for an ever-tinier elite the abject target of
greed for 'more and more', the insatiable appetite. These people will soon vegetate in a
sucked-dry space, robbed of social infrastructure and welfare.
What's left is the enslavement by debt. To survive, people may commit to the 'debt-row',
gradually converting into the death-row. As un-behaving countries are forced to do – swallowing
debt against being fed minimal rations for survival. Greece is the epitome of this razors-sharp
knife that slashed throats as well as the last goblet of the lifeline to survival. Solidarity is
The dying beast is lashing out, right and left and above and beneath. It is desperate; itself on
death-row, but if it must die, then dying we must all – the deadly grip of the rabies-diseased
dog that won't let go. And won't let go. And won't let go to the last minute – or until death
reigns over us all. That's the risk we are running. A nuclear holocaust where, as Mr. Putin said
already on a number of occasions, nobody will survive. The G20 know it.
Um, of course, all countries are run by psychopath, how do you think you get to the top of
society by hugging? In a functional society the high-IQ long term psychopaths rule, in a
dysfunctional the low-IQ short term psychopaths rule.
.an imaginary society of exactly one hundred adults, in a group that conforms precisely to
know statistics. This means that of the one hundred people in my hypothetical society, 4 are
psychopaths – they have no conscience. Of the remaining 96 decent citizens, all of whom
do have consciences, 62.5% will obey authority more or less without question, quite possibly
the authority of one of the more aggressive and controlling sociopaths in the crowd. This
leaves 36 people who have both conscience and the strength to bear the burdens of their
actions, a little more than a third of the group. These are not impossible odds, but they are
not easy ones, either.
You are not far from the truth regarding who takes the lead in the riots and plundering. Such
events have been always hijacked by those forces in the dark to make the confusion greater and
throwing the peaceful demonstrators under their yoke. Now, leftist and rightists are under the
same umbrella of anarchy. That's why the shock felt by the Hamburger citizens and by different
politicians in Germany from different parties. Somebody is laughing in the shadow.
Maybe those crowds are doing the work of George Soros, maybe they're doing the work of other
paymasters (i. e. agent provocateurs) in order to push for more militarization of police. For
the first time after WW II, since 2016 German military is allowed to assist the police in case
German citizens got sold out by their politicians on privacy as well. Just recently the
German parliament bypassed the Federal Council and voted for a (probably by purpose very
vaguely phrased) law permitting security forces to spy on citizens – all in the same of
Please kindly note in the city where Airbus is at home, the builder of Eurocopters, there is
not a single helicopter with a firefighting bucket to douse any fire during the G20 protests.
Never mind that there must be at least one helicopter for every head of state on standby during
For the millions being spent on security it was impossible to predict or to furnish fire
extinguishers in large quantity around the perimeters of the meeting venue (sarcasm).
What you are watching is carefully orchestrated propaganda.
According to residents of the Schanzenviertel interviewed on video shown at Der Spiegel, the
craziness continued for three hours before any policemen showed up. I think this video was made
the day after the riot.
Strangely, now I cannot find that particular video, which shows bulldozers cleaning up piles
of bricks and other projectiles pulled up from the streets and thrown at shop windows, etc.
Is the West governed by psychopaths? I don't think so; just an average bad vintage of normal
"The banality of evil" ! Hannah Arendt.
"Broad and easy, the highway to destruction; narrow and difficult, the path to salvation". !
Rabbi Yeshuah of Nazareth.
"Hell is immense, and very powerful". ! Saint Faustina Kowalska of Poland.
In reply to the question posed by the title of this article Why would anyone ask this question?
The answer is more than obvious, in that their actions speak rather loudly. Do they ever listen
to the wishes of the people? Do they ever really seek peace? NO.
Nice that you placed that link, I've also read this incredible story about this moron.
May I add to this, that sometimes still something 'leaks' from the very secretive Bilderberg
conference. There are no minutes taken (wise, while John Podesta had all his mails stolen
clicking on a phishing mail. The same happened to Hillary, it was even a porn link that she
Apparantly on the first Bilderberg conferences, the start speaker told the audience 'We are
God's gift to mankind'.
Are you saying that the left-wing press is cheering on violent protesters?
And that this press is aligned with Netanyahu?
I don't see how that would parse. I mean, Netanyahu is a far-right maniac, as far as I can see
(except for maybe his "pan-nationalism" type of neoliberalism, which I guess technically is
sort of left compared to "nationalism," which the "left" now calls " right.") It seems to me t
hat that leaves us with the fact that the protesters, since they actually probably align more
closely with the "right" than the "left" by definition if they are protesting global finance,
So who says the protesters (violent ones) are left in the first place? Did anyone ask them
whether they are "left" or "right"?? Or the nonviolent ones, too, for that matter? They might
all be so addled t hat they don't know anymore whether they are "left" or "right." Soros has
screwed things up big-time!
we definitely are ruled by psychopaths at least in the Anglo-Saxon world. That is the biggest
problem we have nowadays I think. They are great actors, often charming (not all of them are
i.e. Hilary), they are great actors, tell their victims exactly what they want to hear in order
to get into positions of power.
Most importantly, psychopaths cannot care about others even if they want to – it's the
nature of their sickness.
I started learning about psychos after reading Steve Job's biography. I was on a holiday in
Greece and had nothing else to read – I expected some insights on design etc – I
was really shocked to see how outrageously crazy he was. Then a friend told me he was a
psychopath so I ordered all the best books I could find on the subject.
Having psychos in positions of power if like putting a fox in charge of a hen-house.
Nothing will change until more people learn how to identify psychos and prevent them from doing
I started a blog on the subject but only had one post so far. I'd like to research and write
more but I don't have much time:
I enjoyed reading your article. Most of the conclusions and opinions that you make,
I agree with.
"The West" can no longer sustain themselves as before, they need constant
wars and inequality. What is really disgusting is that they don't even treat their own
citizens well. It is really a war between corporate greed and humanity.
Thanks for a great
"... Yes, but why are liberals so outraged at Trump? Is it only because they don't like his manners..his vulgarity? I really don't get it. All these spineless, gutless wonders in world capitals going on about what an evil guy Trump is etc. ..."
"... I don't get where the hysteria is coming from because Trump is hardly uniquely evil...he's just more direct and vulgar Oh the horror! ..."
Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 8:02:38 PM |
58 Temporarily Sane | Jun 29, 2017 8:18:54 PM |
The present "empty suit", is proof, IMO, that the POTU$ really doesn't matter. The ship of
state is controlled by a corporate cabal, that pursues the business interests of the empire,(
U$A/NATO) regardless of who the POTUS is. Enriching the business elites globally, is the agenda.
Join the club, or face destruction.
Yes, but why are liberals so outraged at Trump? Is it only because they don't like his
manners..his vulgarity? I really don't get it. All these spineless, gutless wonders in world capitals
going on about what an evil guy Trump is etc. but when he says "jump!" they say "how high?"
Even American "opponents" of Trump really only get upset at his rhetoric and his "Muslim ban"
(killing Muslims is fine though, encouraged even). And the border wall of course.
But Obama was known as the "deporter in chief" and there is already a 700-mile fence along
the U.S. - Mexico border.
I don't get where the hysteria is coming from because Trump is hardly uniquely evil...he's
just more direct and vulgar Oh the horror! Can it be they are afraid people will be more
alert to slick (or otherwise) politicians trying to pull the wool over their eyes after four or
eight years of Trump's nonsense?
The engineer, Susan Fowler (who left Uber in December and now works for Stripe), posted
the account to her blog on Sunday, calling it a "strange, fascinating, and slightly horrifying
It is indeed horrifying. Sexism is a well-documented problem in Silicon Valley, but the
particulars of Fowler's account are astounding. She says problems began on day one, when her manager
accosted her with details of his sex life: "
In my first official day rotating on the team, my new manager sent me a string of messages
over company chat. He was in an open relationship, he said, and his girlfriend was having an easy
time finding new partners but he wasn't. He was trying to stay out of trouble at work, he said,
but he couldn't help getting in trouble, because he was looking for women to have sex with. It
was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out of line
that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.
When I reported the situation, I was told by both HR and upper management that even though
this was clearly sexual harassment and he was propositioning me, it was this man's first offense,
and that they wouldn't feel comfortable giving him anything other than a warning and a stern talking-to.
Upper management told me that he "was a high performer" (i.e. had stellar performance reviews
from his superiors) and they wouldn't feel comfortable punishing him for what was probably just
an innocent mistake on his part.
As much as Slashdot likes to believe that sexism is imaginary, this behavior is pretty common
in tech. Frankly, I've seen worse.
OK, so you start with the strawman that "Slashdot," whoever that is, likes to believe that
sexism is imaginary. But, then you say you've seen worse? I'm a software engineer in the auto
industry, and I have never seen anything like what she describes. I'm not saying it doesn't happen.
But, if you've seen worse, you have worked in some horrific work environments.
Anonymous Coward writes: on Monday February 20, 2017 @12:09PM (
I see an allegation with no facts. Anyone working in IT understands how to make a screenshot,
if not how to log a chat session. Yet no evidence is presented, and what would the easiest
thing be for this person to do? Save evidence, because sexual harassment is ILLEGAL.
Your claim (repeated) that you have to be the victim to see sexual harassment on the scale
she is claiming is moronic. It would be visible to at least everyone on that team. There would
be more than one claim from more than one person if it was that rampant. In the event it was
just her and she over-hyped the scale, she could have this thing called evidence. Yet there
is no evidence, just allegations. I'll wait for the court case, and would be willing to bet
a paycheck that no evidence is forthcoming.
Sorry, but there are no groups of dudes hanging around conspiring on how to fuck over, and
fuck, women in the company. Quite the opposite, since the virtue signalling SJWs are rampant
in SF and would have busted the boss to make a name for themselves.
You clearly didn't RTFA. She has extensive email and chat records to back up her claims. Yes,
I am taking her word for it. But if you are accusing her of lying about it, it is you who need
to provide evidence.
And yes, there actually are groups of dudes conspiring how to fuck women at the company. Not
at every company of course. But I have seen such things at jobs I have had.
I see an allegation with no facts. Anyone working in IT understands how to make a screenshot,
if not how to log a chat session. Yet no evidence is presented, and what would the easiest
thing be for this person to do? Save evidence, because sexual harassment is ILLEGAL.
The article mentions that she does indeed have that evidence. Why does she not present this
evidence? Probably because to do so might be illegal. I believe she has the legal right to retain
that documentation for the sole purpose of legal action (as either defendant or complainant) and
no right to publish it (as it is technically copyright of Uber as she was work-for-hire at the
If she was lying, Uber would most likely sue her for defamation/libel/slander in short order,
and she would get burned because she wouldn't have the long trail of evidence that she mentioned
in the article.
Your claim (repeated) that you have to be the victim to see sexual harassment on the scale
she is claiming is moronic. It would be visible to at least everyone on that team. There would
be more than one claim from more than one person if it was that rampant.
She explicitly states that there was, and that she had talked to several coworkers who had
Sorry, but there are no groups of dudes hanging around conspiring on how to fuck over, and
fuck, women in the company.
It doesn't have to be a conspiracy -- negative attitudes aren't conscious.
Quite the opposite, since the virtue signalling SJWs are rampant in SF and would have busted
the boss to make a name for themselves.
For example: you're sexist, but you think you're not, because you think it's all "SJWs", rather
than people who have been genuinely mistreated. In this case, the woman gives a very detailed
account, directly referring to matters on company record. Within an hour of picking up the phone,
Uber's legal team would have had enough information to know whether this was credible or not.
As Uber's official response was "conducting an internal investigation" rather than "completely
baseless", I don't believe her claims can be easily dismissed at this point. And yet you believe
you are taking a rational approach, even though you are disregarding the facts at hand -- attitude,
"... At least according to the article, the HR person was not being honest. They said that it was the boss's first offense and they didn't want to put it on his record because it would hurt him. But the author spoke to other women who had complained about him before she did, so it wasn't his first offense. The most generous interpretation is that they were basing the claim of first offense on his blank official record, so that he could get an infinite number of "first" offenses left off. ..."
"... in this case the her immediate superior opened on day 1 with "I'm in an open relationship, please have sex with me". Later she finds out that HR is basically encouraging him by taking no action against a "high flyer", which explains why he (correctly) thinks he can get away with it. ..."
"... There is a difference between treating a complaint as "credible" and treating it as "factual". My problem here isn't that people are doubting the allegations, but that they're outright dismissing the credibility of them. They should be taken seriously, and they should be investigated, and yes, no-one should be pronouncing judgement without access to the full facts. ..."
"... 1. Apparently the boss did not make sex a condition of continued employment. ..."
"... 2. Her first response should have been to say, ..."
"... The rest of her "explosive blog" goes on to talk about bog standard industry stuff. ..."
One can hope that is the case now. I will relate a situation I was very close to at one of
the VERY LARGE PETROLEUM companies that started with sexism and misogyny and ended in tragedy.
In the mid 90's my father became romantically involved with a woman at work who was employed
as an executive assistant in another department. As their relationship evolved she confided in
him that not only was she the recipient of unwanted advances from a certain employee in the sales
department, but she had heard from other female employees that they have been harassed, fondled,
and even sexually assaulted by this person. Apparently his favorite tactic was to offer to take
a young lady to lunch. Then he would mention having left his wallet at home and that they would
stop there for a moment to get it. He would invite the young woman inside and then assault her.
Management's response to this had been to move this salesperson around the US, kind of like the
Catholic church did with pedophiles in their employ. This salesperson was a "high performer" and
made the company significant profits, and was protected by the HR department and managers from
My father, having a firmly defined standard of fairness and an even more deeply entrenched
allergy to injustice, decided to do something about this sexual predator. Over a period of almost
2 years he managed to use the internal electronic message board at the company to rally enough
employees into speaking up and the man was eventually fired. In one of the craziest twists of
fate ever this person ended up in my industry, working at my company as a salesperson. My father
and I have the same exact name, sans the suffix so he had to know who I was.
He also knew one of my coworkers. A stout christian woman, deeply involved in one of the largest
churches in our city, and she vouched for his upright character, his beautiful wife and children,
and their wonderful christian character. Then after about 4 months on the job he decided he had
had enough. He left work in the middle of the day and went home with a purpose. He first killed
their 19 year old nanny. It was later learned he had been having an affair with her. Then he killed
his two children, 20 months and 3 months, followed by his wife, aged 36. All of them were murdered
by stabbing. The police described it as a "very brutal, violent scene, lots of blood."
After killing his family the scumbag in question stabbed himself, shot himself, and drank rat
poison. When these methods of ending his life did not work he drove about 70 miles outside of
town, parked his car on the side of the road, and stepped out in front of a 18 wheeler cruising
down the freeway, thus ending his miserable life.
I can only imagine how this situation might have developed differently if only the company
he worked for had not decided to protect this awful human being from the consequences he deserved.
Maybe if he had been fired right away with the first offense he would not have progressed to where
he killed his entire family and then offed himself.
Whatever the conditions were that eventually led to this, the initial seed of this problem
was how he viewed people, especially women, around him. This was, I am sure, exacerbated by his
company defending him. Maybe in his mind he thought he was entitled to do with women as he pleased.
I don't know. Whatever the reasons are, I see this as a condemnation of sexist activity of this
type, as it belies a lack of concern for and malice toward others that resulted in someone killing
4 people and then themselves.
So, I would recommend to anyone who encounters this kind of activity, report it immediately.
Don't feel flattered. Get evidence. Remove that person from the workplace immediately and hopefully
place them in prison. You are dealing with a predator who does not care for you one bit. They
see you as an object that they deserve. Something they can take, use, and discard without a flicker
of emotion. Your life could be at stake. Or, maybe the lives of a couple of innocent children.
Let me ask you a simple question. Ignoring the sexism, which doesn't apply to you, read her
description of the corporate culture and tell me: does this sound like a place you'd like to work?
It isn't just sexism, she describes a generally toxic work culture in which all kinds of problems
can arise and persist. It's one where managers are focused on competing with each other, even
to the point of undermining their supervisors; you might let a problem ride for a bit because
you might need to use it against them later.
Now granted, this might not be a fair description of Uber's culture. Or her perceptions might
be colored by what was a string of bad luck. But we all know places that shade this way exist.
The problem of a organizations that are at the same time bureaucratic and cutthroat go way back.
What she describes could be the politics of an old-time royal court.
Why? Why does this kind of culture crop up again and again in human history?
I think because ruthless internal competition offsets some of the natural lethargy of a bureaucracy.
It can serve the interests of whoever is on top, at least in the short term. If you have no talent
for inspiring people you can at least set them against each other. But you'd be a fool to join
such an organization at the bottom, knowing what it is, if you had any alternatives.
You've limited the scope to "quid pro quo" sexual harassment. The article demonstrates "hostile
environment" sexual harassment. There's no requirement that "compliance is made a condition of
continued employment or advancement".
Even so, in every bit of coaching that I have ever seen, there is a requirement of: request,
rebuff, request again, escalate, unless the references are "to the reasonable person" offensive
in the extreme.
That also seems to follow the legal doctrine on the matter. An advance is considered normal
and human (if stupid, from a manager), the repeated advance in the face of clear rejection causes
the condition to rise to harassment. This goes for passive things like, a mudflap girl coffee
mug, inappropriate humor, etc.
I agree that the victim should escalate early and often for their own protection and documentation,
but the HR person (if they were being honest) did the right thing. If we went around firing everyone
for the first inappropriate thing they ever did the manpower churn itself would be a viable alternative
I'm not a lawyer, advisor, or necessarily reasonable. I'm just old enough to see this go around
multiple times, sometimes having negotiated successful resolutions... sometime having quit MY
JOB because of the treatment of peer and the company's response.
the HR person (if they were being honest) did the right thing.
At least according to the article, the HR person was not being honest. They said that it
was the boss's first offense and they didn't want to put it on his record because it would hurt
him. But the author spoke to other women who had complained about him before she did, so it wasn't
his first offense. The most generous interpretation is that they were basing the claim of first
offense on his blank official record, so that he could get an infinite number of "first" offenses
It goes to show why that approach is a bad one. If you don't want people to get in trouble
for a first offense, make that the policy. Put the offense in their record, but give them a free
pass for it when it comes time to evaluate them. But leaving something out of the record makes
it possible for somebody to get an indefinite number of "first offenses". Of course it seems far
more likely that there was an informal policy of protecting offenders who were otherwise high
performing, and the whole thing about it being a first offense was a ruse.
That doesn't seem unreasonable, but in this case the her immediate superior opened on day
1 with "I'm in an open relationship, please have sex with me". Later she finds out that HR is
basically encouraging him by taking no action against a "high flyer", which explains why he (correctly)
thinks he can get away with it.
That doesn't seem unreasonable, but in this case the her immediate superior opened on day
1 with "I'm in an open relationship, please have sex with me". Later she finds out that HR
is basically encouraging him by taking no action against a "high flyer", which explains why
he (correctly) thinks he can get away with it.
After Ellen Pao, UNLV, Duke LaCrosse, and countless false police reports (resulting in legal
action) about discrimination I'm waiting for evidence. Chat logs, screen shots, and email logs
should be enough to prove the case. TFA reports no such evidence.
Innocence until proven guilty should have meaning to all Americans, but seems like many are
fine prosecuting without evidence let alone proof.
After Ellen Pao, UNLV, Duke LaCrosse, and countless false police reports (resulting in legal
action) about discrimination I'm waiting for evidence. Chat logs, screen shots, and email logs
should be enough to prove the case. TFA reports no such evidence.
So, you post this, but don't bother to read the actual account? From the actual account:
It was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him, and it was so clearly out
of line that I immediately took screenshots of these chat messages and reported him to HR.
I know, I know, they cleverly hid it behind the first link in the story.
There is NO, Zero, Zip, NADA Shred, of evidence provided in TFA. Her claiming to have evidence
is the same exact value as her claiming she was harassed. Both are possible, but neither are demonstrated
with any facts. Considering that there were plenty of alleged "facts" with the UNLV rape hoax,
and the Duke Lacrosse rape hoax, and Ellen Pao's discrimination case, the fake Muslim hate crime
in NYC we should _all_ be demanding and waiting for evidence prior to making assumptions. "Hands
up don't shoot", Duke Lacrosse, and countless other hoaxes have ruined plenty of lives. Numerous
"news" agencies were caught faking and fabricating video and audio to support the narratives.
You would guess that people would have learned their lesson already.
There is NO, Zero, Zip, NADA Shred, of evidence provided in TFA. ... we should _all_ be demanding and waiting for evidence prior to making assumptions.
"Hands up don't shoot", Duke Lacrosse, and countless other hoaxes have ruined plenty of lives.
There is a difference between treating a complaint as "credible" and treating it as "factual".
My problem here isn't that people are doubting the allegations, but that they're outright dismissing
the credibility of them. They should be taken seriously, and they should be investigated, and
yes, no-one should be pronouncing judgement without access to the full facts.
However, when you talk about false accusations that have ruined lives, you are presumably talking
about people who named other people in their accusations, which Fowler didn't do. The only life
on the line here is her own, and as someone whose career is on the rise, she has a lot to lose.
No doubt there's been a spike in orders for her book (currently a best-seller on Amazon) and so
there's the possibility she's doing this for short-term gain, but the damage to her reputation
would be inestimable if this turned out to be false, and she would appear to be an intelligent
enough person that she wouldn't risk throwing away an entire career this early on just to increase
sales for a week or two.
1. Apparently the boss did not make sex a condition of continued employment.
He's her boss. That's ALWAYS implied or always the risk.
2. Her first response should have been to say,
Actually I think her first response should have been to knock out his teeth. Failing that going
straight to HR was entirely appropriate. Propositioning a subordinate like that is so far out
of line that there is no way she is in any way responsible for trying to smooth things over.
The rest of her "explosive blog" goes on to talk about bog standard industry stuff.
The reason the industry is infested with problems like this is because of people like you.
Oh sure I mean you might not actually do any of those things yourself, but you defend others that
do and when the defense fails, you excuse the behaviour as "standard".
I think the main problem here is that the superior propositioned the subordinate. This is problematic,
as when she refuses, which she did, she was still dependent on him, and it was easy for him to
punish her for her refusal. Of course, he still could put care on treating her the same, but obviously
this is something very hard to prove, and therefore the best approach would be to ban this behavior.
Generally though, assuming or expecting that every employee lives in a happy relationship and
doesn't want any new ones is just not realistic. Employees will seek relationships and generally
this doesn't cause any harm to anybody, just when the power relations are so direct like with
direct superior and subordinate its a problem.
Men value women differently than women value men. I saw something from Tinder that like 20%
of the men on Tinder are hooking up with 80% of the women. And there was an OK Cupid study that
when asked to rank women as above or below average, men ranked 50% of the women above average,
and 50% of the women below average. The women ranked 80% of the men "below average." Hmmmm.
Note that sexism was a *small* part of the situation described. What amazes me was the continued
desire to work for a company because of the 'great engineers'.
The reality is you can find a *good* company that also has great engineers. Other companies
also face interesting challenges that are worthy of your time. I've seen people fall into this
trap of toiling under crappy management because 'their team is so great'. The problem is that
crappy management gets all the benefits of your awesome teams work (in fact, in crappy management,
the management gets nearly *all* the glory and your 'awesome engineers' are the first under the
bus when good times are over, after months on end of 60+ hour workweeks, where the management
is only around for part of maybe 3 days a week. You need to find a company that has both a great
team *and* good management.
If it had been an isolated incident with one manager, and switching teams fixed it, but she
reports a pattern of management dysfunction that seems pervasive, at least to wherever she could
go. Now it *might* be the case that her perspective by itself is skewed, but in her view of things,
it was a terrible situation and she stayed *way* longer than anyone should have.
I agree with the people on here saying we need more evidence that one person writing a blog
about their side of the story to know what REALLY took place. But that's a whole lot of writing
just to make up a fictional tale of how sexist things are at Uber. I'm inclined to believe it's
probably at least generally true.
But assuming it's factual? Why put up with all of that for a year and then write a blog about
how you were wronged? If you really did the right thing, saving all of the chats and email conversations
-- the obvious next step is a lawsuit.
I *hate* dealing with attorneys and their shady billing practices ... but if there was ever a time to deal with them, I think *this* would be it! You're
making accusations that H.R. staff broke the law multiple times in handling your complaints, and
you were blocked from a promotion by someone going in and modifying a FINAL performance review
(without even telling you it would be changed first). I see a whole lot of "sexual harassment"
complaints that are largely baseless "he said, she said" garbage. (I used to work for a firm where
one of the I.T. guys bought some flowers for the front office receptionist after she was out sick
for a while. The card with them was your basic "Get Well Soon" message. She ran to H.R. and filed
a complaint against him. THAT is the kind of stuff that's NOT a valid complaint. That's how you
ruin things for nice guys and encourage an office environment where nobody gives a crap about
each other.) But this story sounds like, especially in the state of California, you've got the
law clearly on your side.
i think my main concern with evolutionary psychology is by
rationalising these behaviours as being the result of long term
trends there is no way of explaining substantial changes in behaviour
over time. and we know, despite the daily mails best efforts, that
british culture (for example) is less aggressive and sexist than it
was 50 years ago, 100 years ago etc. although there's still a long
ways to go...
Some of that is likely to be genetic. Really aggressive people tend
to get weeded out of civilised societies either by committing crime and
then either being executed or jailed. The other route of course is to go
to war, and not come back.
Other influences are that as society becomes less aggressive and more
law abiding more children know their fathers and live with them. We know
that boys in particular raised without their fathers tend to be more
aggressive than those raised by them.
As for less sexism I think rather paradoxically that we can blame the
wars for that, the industrial ones at least when women were needed to
keep the country running so the men could go off and fight. Of course
when they came back there was a shortage of men so some women were
needed to go on working. This increased in the second and even though
the Fifties were supposedly an era of housewives this was only part of
the story. The interesting thing is how it was kept going afterwards
when there 'enough' men again. I suspect that the white heat of
technology was to blame here, the increasing complexity of industry,
technology, university expansion etc meant our societies simply needed
the intelligence, knowledge, dexterity etc of women, so not only did the
men learn to value them by working alongside them but they had the
economic independence to demand less sexism.
You are right to be skeptical of evolutionary psych that considers
only Western people but not all of it does and that tendency should not
be used to damn the entire field. As Trivers points out not just our
primate relatives but creatures like scrub jays have been shown to
employ deceit. We know at what stage our infants are able to deploy it,
Trivers points out that the more intelligent we are the more likely we
are to lie. So therefore it is not unreasonable to think it is somehow
hardwired in us. Whether that means there are genes for
there may well be neural circuits for it, tied into things like mirror
neurons that give us theory of mind.
Also while it is true that we are not slaves to all of our evolution
laden tendencies it does not follow that we are entirely free of all of
them. For eg while it is possible to stare oneself to death in the face
of food, not many have managed to take the much shorter route to death
of voluntarily refusing to drink. We have biochemical pathways to enable
us to endure periods when food is scarce or absent or we are stupid
enough to try Dr Atkins's diet. We can scavenge water from our food and
stave off thirst that way but we cannot stave off thirst itself. The
body has only limited ways of generating water. Burning carbs or fat
will give you some but by far not enough for more than about 3 days max.
Genes were responsible, somehow, for you fighting the whirlwind to
save your sister, but probably not your less related cousin, and
certainly not the stranger from down the road.
This is only one reason for altruism. Among social animals, altruism
is probably much more to do with evolutionary game theory: we generally
cooperate with everyone, but defect on anyone who has previously
defected on us - a
strategy, which is beneficial for
the individual (or for its genes) and can lead to robust global
The best book for any person who wants to understand how ... , February 29, 2016
The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win (Paperback)
The best book for any person who wants to understand how American Courts work! At times we all
ask questions like "How can this criminal get off on technicalities if it is obvious that he/she
committed crime?", or "How can this be fair?" or "How can a lawyer defend this "bad guy/girl"?
This is totally wrong! He/she is a criminal!" The author explains the difference between law and
common sense, law and ethics, understanding of crime in legal terms and in laymen words.The book
closely examines the logical reasoning of the law professionals , demonstrating the "tricks" used
in court rooms. Fascinating reading!!!
WARNING: the book will not prepare you to go to court and
defend your case! This is not a "how-to" manual for folks who are planning to go to court. Hire
a lawyer if need be.
However, if you want to learn how to present and defend your point (any point, not just legal
issues) as an intelligent and convincing person, this book is for you! Chances are, by the time
you are done with debating your next case, your opponents will at least respect your opinion (or
hate your guts, which still might give you some satisfaction).
This book is for anyone who wants to boost up their skills in logical persuasion, finding loopholes
in opponent's logical reasoning.
Lots of interesting and valuable information for a pretty small price! It is written in a short
and clear format: each chapter discusses specific idea, giving examples from court cases and average
daily life (parent-child, husband-wife, employee-supervisor), concluding with a practical application
summary argument vs. counterargument.
So, no reason to read the entire book from beginning to end. One can just pick any chapter
and read about how this or that legal (logical) rule can be applied in daily life.
The psychological term "Gaslighting" comes from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called Gaslight. Gaslighting
describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instil in their victim's mind, an extreme anxiety
and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason
and judgement. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by central intelligence agencies in the
US and Europe as part of their psychological warfare methods, used primarily during torture or interrogation.
Gaslighting as an abuser's modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual
information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate.
This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing
them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their
abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.
Gaslighting involves a step by step psychological process to manipulate and destabilize its victim.
It is built up over time and consists of repetitive information feeds that enter the victim's subconscious
over a period of time, until it is fully registered on the subconscious "hard disk" and cannot be
overridden by the conscious floppy disk. Put more simply, it is brainwashing.
" Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the abuser has complete
control over their victim so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate." ~
Three Stages of Gaslighting
Stage One: The first stage depends upon trust in the integrity and unimpeachable intentions
of the abuser, a state of reliance that has been engendered by the abuser's artful self-promotion
and ingratiating propaganda. Once this trust is gained, the abuser will begin to subtly undermine
it, creating situations and environments where the victim will begin to doubt their own judgement.
Eventually the victim will rely entirely upon the abuser to alleviate their uncertainty and to
restore their sense of reality which is in fact that of the abuser.
Stage Two: The second stage, defence, is a process by which the abuser isolates the
victim, not only from their own sense of identity but from the validation of their peers. They
are made to feel that their opinion is worthless, discredited, down-right weird. In political
circles they would be labelled a conspiracy theorist, a dissident, a terror apologist. As a consequence,
the victim will withdraw from society and cease to express themselves for fear of ridicule, judgement
This stage can also be compared to Stockholm Syndrome where a hostage or captive is reduced,by
psychological mind games, back to infantile dependency upon their captor. Narcissistic abuse bonds
the victim to the aggressor via trauma. Stockholm Syndrome bonds the victim to the aggressor via
regression to an infantile state where the abuser/aggressor becomes the "parent" who will rescue
the victim from imminent annihilation. Both methods tap into the victim's survival mechanisms
to gain and maintain control.
Stage Three: The final stage is depression. A life under the tyrannical rule of a narcissist
drives the victim into a state of extreme confusion. They are stripped of dignity & self-reliance.
They, ultimately exist in an information vacuum which is only filled by that which the abuser
deems suitable or relevant. This can eventually invoke symptoms of PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder]. Flashbacks, constant apprehension, hyper vigilance, mind paralysis, rage and even violence.
The process is complete and the victim has been reduced to a willing accomplice in the abusers
creation of a very distorted reality.
Exceptionalism or Narcissism?
We are currently seeing the transformation of US exceptionalism into an abusive Narcissism .
In my opinion the most under-reported event of the Iraq war was the suicide of military Ethicist
Colonel Ted Westhusing. It was reported at the end of a Frank Rich column that appeared in the
NY Times of 10-21-2007:
"The cost cannot be measured only in lost opportunities, lives and money. There will be a long
hangover of shame. Its essence was summed up by Col. Ted Westhusing, an Army scholar of military
ethics who was an innocent witness to corruption, not a participant, when he died at age 44 of
a gunshot wound to the head while working for Gen. David Petraeus training Iraqi security forces
in Baghdad in 2005. He was at the time the highest-ranking officer to die in Iraq."
"Colonel Westhusing's death was ruled a suicide, though some believe he was murdered by contractors
fearing a whistle-blower, according to T. Christian Miller, the Los Angeles Times reporter who
documents the case in his book "Blood Money." Either way, the angry four-page letter the officer
left behind for General Petraeus and his other commander, Gen. Joseph Fil, is as much an epitaph
for America's engagement in Iraq as a suicide note."
" 'I cannot support a msn that leads to corruption, human rights abuse and liars,' Colonel
Westhusing wrote, abbreviating the word mission. 'I am sullied.' "
"The tiny pink candies at the bottom of the urinals are reserved for Field Grade and Above." --sign
over the urinals in the "O" Club at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, 1965.
Now that sentiment, is Officer-on-Officer. The same dynamic tension exists throughout all Branches
My background includes a Combat Infantry Badge and a record of having made Spec Four , two
times. If you don't know what that means, stop reading here.
I feel that no one should be promoted E-5 or O-4, if they are to command men in battle, unless
they have had that life experience themselves. It becomes virgins instructing on sexual etiquette.
Within the ranks, there exists a disdain for officers, in general. Some officers overcome this
by their actions, but the vast majority cement that assessment the same way.
What makes the thing run is the few officers who are superior human beings, and the NCOs who are
of that same tribe. And there is a love there, from top to bottom and bottom to top, a brotherhood
of warriors which the civilian population will forever try to discern, parse and examine to their
lasting frustration and ignorance.
It is the spirit of this nation [Liberty, e pluribus unum and In God We Trust ] that is the
binding filament of it all. The civilians responsible for the welfare of the armed services need
to be more fully aware of that spirit and they need to bring it into the air-conditioned offices
they inhabit when they make decisions about men who know sacrifice.
"... The schools teach a combination of staff process and sophomore-level college courses in government and international relations. No one is taught how to be a commander in combat. One Army lieutenant colonel recently wrote me that he got angry when he figured out that nothing he needs to know to command would be taught to him in any Army school. ..."
"... The promotion system reinforces professional ignorance. ..."
It was tragic that the career of General David Petraeus was brought down by a mere affair. It should
have ended several years earlier as a consequence of his failure as our commander in Afghanistan.
Petraeus, like every other theater commander in that war except Stanley McChrystal, could have been
replaced by a concrete block and nothing would have changed. They all kept doing the same things
while expecting a different result.
Thomas Ricks's recent book The Generals has reintroduced into the defense debate a vital
factor the press and politicians collude in ignoring: military incompetence. It was a major theme
of the Military Reform Movement of the 1970s and '80s. During those years, a friend of mine who was
an aide to a Marine Corps commandant asked his boss how many Marine generals, of whom there were
then 60-some, could competently fight a battle. The commandant came up with six. And the Marine Corps
is the best of our services.
Military incompetence does not begin at the rank of brigadier general. An old French proverb says
that the problem with the generals is that we select them from among the colonels. Nonetheless, military
competence-the ability to see quickly what to do in a military situation and make it happen-is more
rare at the general officer level. A curious aspect of our promotion system is that the higher the
rank, the smaller the percentage of our competent officers.
Why is military incompetence so widespread at the higher levels of America's armed forces? Speaking
from my own observations over almost 40 years, I can identify two factors. First, nowhere does our
vast, multi-billion dollar military-education system teach military judgment. Second, above the rank
of Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force captain, military ability plays essentially no role in determining
who gets promoted. (It has been so long since our Navy fought another navy that, apart from the aviators,
military competence does not seem to be a consideration at any level.)
Almost never do our military schools, academies, and colleges put students in situations where
they have to think through how to fight a battle or a campaign, then get critiqued not on their answer
but the way they think. Nor does American military training offer much free play, where the enemy
can do whatever he wants and critique draws out why one side won and the other lost. Instead, training
exercises are scripted as if we are training an opera company. The schools teach a combination
of staff process and sophomore-level college courses in government and international relations. No
one is taught how to be a commander in combat. One Army lieutenant colonel recently wrote me that
he got angry when he figured out that nothing he needs to know to command would be taught to him
in any Army school.
The promotion system reinforces professional ignorance. Above the company grades, military
ability does not count in determining who gets promoted. At the rank of major, officers are supposed
to accept that the "real world" is the internal world of budget and promotion politics, not war.
Those who "don't get it" have ever smaller chances of making general. This represents corruption
of the worst kind, corruption of institutional purpose. Its result is generals and admirals who are
in effect Soviet industrial managers in ever worse-looking suits. They know little and care less
about their intended product, military victory. Their expertise is in acquiring resources and playing
the military courtier.
"... Now think about it a minute. These are the people to whom we have given the authority to make life and death, godlike, decisions, over thousands of their subordinates and millions of people in less fortunate foreign lands. As you will see toward the end of this article, their manifest failings have had some rather serious consequences-that could have been much worse-in an episode in Korea in the 1960s that is revealed in full here for the first time. ..."
What with all the glorification of our "heroes" in uniform, a glorification that seems to grow
in inverse proportion to the real need for them, a person could begin to feel afraid to utter aloud
the sort of jokes that people used to make. For instance, you might feel the need to look over your
shoulder before you repeat the old George Carlin observation that "military intelligence" is an oxymoron.
The growing military hype and the sort of military intelligence with which I became all too familiar
in my two years of service, 1966-1968, came together on this Veterans Day weekend. The picture of
the U.S. Navy's finest engaged in the Sisyphean task of
mopping dew off the basketball court that had been laid on the deck of the USS Yorktown said
it all. That was in coastal South Carolina on Friday night, November 9, in what was to have been
a big military advertisement to kick off the weekend. The same fiasco played itself out on the
deck of the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, Florida, except that the college basketball players there
put themselves in harm's way for an entire half, attempting to play on the virtual skating rink that
the very predictable condensation had made of the surface.
... ... ...
Now think about it a minute. These are the people to whom we have given the authority to make
life and death, godlike, decisions, over thousands of their subordinates and millions of people in
less fortunate foreign lands. As you will see toward the end of this article, their manifest failings
have had some rather serious consequences-that could have been much worse-in an episode in Korea
in the 1960s that is revealed in full here for the first time.
... ... ...
Before we were to do our one dry run we had a planning meeting, presided over by the lieutenant
colonel from Eighth Army Headquarters in charge of the operation, at which the action plan was handed
out. Right off the bat we noticed a problem. Each of the teams was identified with a number. We were
team four. Each of the islands was also assigned a number, one through four, and they were called
"sites." Our team four was to go to site one, team three was to go to site two, and so on.
We wanted badly to suggest that it might be a better idea to match up the sites and the team designations,
so that team one went to site one, etc., but we were told that we would have an opportunity to make
suggestions for the final action plan after we had done our dry run, so we held our fire.
... ... ...
"We're implementing the action plan," said he, or words to that effect. "Move out immediately."
Patting myself on the back for the decision I had made, and in a state of rather high excitement,
I pulled out the phone number of the contact in the Kimpo engineer battalion to make sure that there
would be boats for us when we got to our destination.
It's a good thing the phone worked-the military phones were something of a hit-or-miss thing at
that time in Korea-considering his response. "We haven't had any move-out order," he responded to
I immediately got back on the phone to the Eighth Army lieutenant to ask him what was up.
"Hold that first order," he said. "We've decided to give it a little more time."
Now I was thinking that it was an especially good thing that I had not taken the "immediately"
part of his move-out order too literally, and I was really glad I had gotten that boatman's phone
number. Considering the weather conditions, "high and dry" doesn't precisely describe the position
we would have found ourselves in at the evacuation site without the boats and without even a need
for them, but it comes close.
Having heard many reports of predicted river flooding on the news where the levels expected are
based upon levels already recorded upstream, I inquired of the lieutenant as to the basis on which
the final decision would be made. I remember his response as though it were yesterday:
"Colonel 'Geronimo' is down looking at the river."
As it turned out, no one drowned because some would-be rescue helicopter had landed at Site 3
instead of the correct Site 2 because he had received an emergency radio call from Ground 3, and
we never suffered from the lack of manpower that the Korean Army might have provided at our site.
None of the islands flooded that day-or that year-and the "hold" on that first call from the Eighth
Army lieutenant continued into perpetuity.
"... a kid who is 8, 9, or 10 years old commits a transgression or a crime while alone, without the pressure of peers. This reflects an interior impulse toward harm. Criminal versatility-committing different types of crimes in different settings-can also hint at future psychopathy. ..."
"... That really happened? ..."
"... The second hallmark of a psychopathic brain is an overactive reward system especially primed for drugs, sex, or anything else that delivers a ping of excitement. ..."
"... Their brains ignore cues about danger or punishment. "There are all these decisions we make based on threat, or the fear that something bad can happen," says Dustin Pardini, a clinical psychologist and an associate professor of criminology at Arizona State University. "If you have less concern about the negative consequences of your actions, then you'll be more likely to continue engaging in these behaviors. And when you get caught, you'll be less likely to learn from your mistakes." ..."
shy away from calling children psychopaths; the term carries too much stigma, and too much determinism.
They prefer to describe children like Samantha as having "callous and unemotional traits," shorthand
a cluster of characteristics and behaviors , including a lack of empathy, remorse, or guilt;
shallow emotions; aggression and even cruelty; and a seeming indifference to punishment. Callous
and unemotional children have no trouble hurting others to get what they want. If they do seem caring
or empathetic, they're probably trying to manipulate you.
... ... ...
Researchers believe that two paths can lead to psychopathy: one dominated by nature, the other
by nurture. For some children, their environment-growing up in poverty, living with abusive parents,
fending for themselves in dangerous neighborhoods -- can turn them violent and coldhearted. These kids
aren't born callous and unemotional; many experts suggest that if they're given a reprieve from their
environment, they can be pulled back from psychopathy's edge.
But other children display callous and unemotional traits even though they are raised by loving
parents in safe neighborhoods. Large studies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere have found that
this early-onset condition is highly hereditary, hardwired in the brain-and especially difficult
to treat. "We'd like to think a mother and father's love can turn everything around," Raine says.
"But there are times where parents are doing the very best they can, but the kid-even from the get-go-is
just a bad kid."
Still, researchers stress that a callous child-even one who was born that way-is not automatically
destined for psychopathy. By some estimates, four out of five children with these traits do not grow
up to be psychopaths. The mystery-the one everyone is trying to solve-is why some of these children
develop into normal adults while others end up on death row.
A trained eye can spot a callous and unemotional child by age 3 or 4. Whereas normally developing
children at that age grow agitated when they see other children cry -- and either try to comfort them
or bolt the scene-these kids show a chilly detachment. In fact, psychologists may even be able to
trace these traits back to infancy. Researchers at King's College London tested more than 200 five-week-old
babies, tracking whether they preferred looking at a person's face or at a red ball. Those who favored
the ball displayed more callous traits two and a half years later.
As a child gets older, more-obvious warning signs appear. Kent Kiehl, a psychologist at the University
of New Mexico and the author of The Psychopath Whisperer , says that one scary harbinger
occurs when a kid who is 8, 9, or 10 years old commits a transgression or a crime while alone, without
the pressure of peers. This reflects an interior impulse toward harm. Criminal versatility-committing
different types of crimes in different settings-can also hint at future psychopathy.
But the biggest red flag is early violence. "Most of the psychopaths I meet in prison had been
in fights with teachers in elementary school or junior high," Kiehl says. "When I'd interview them,
I'd say, 'What's the worst thing you did in school?' And they'd say, 'I beat the teacher unconscious.'
You're like, That really happened? It turns out that's very common."
... ... ...
The second hallmark of a psychopathic brain is an overactive reward system especially primed
for drugs, sex, or anything else that delivers a ping of excitement. In one study, children
played a computer gambling game programmed to allow them to win early on and then slowly begin to
lose. Most people will cut their losses at some point, Kent Kiehl notes, "whereas the psychopathic,
callous unemotional kids keep going until they lose everything." Their brakes don't work, he says.
Faulty brakes may help explain why psychopaths commit brutal crimes: Their brains ignore cues
about danger or punishment. "There are all these decisions we make based on threat, or the fear that
something bad can happen," says Dustin Pardini, a clinical psychologist and an associate professor
of criminology at Arizona State University. "If you have less concern about the negative consequences
of your actions, then you'll be more likely to continue engaging in these behaviors. And when you
get caught, you'll be less likely to learn from your mistakes."
Researchers see this insensitivity to punishment even in some toddlers. "These are the kids that
are completely unperturbed by the fact that they've been put in time-out," says Eva Kimonis, who
works with callous children and their families at the University of New South Wales, in Australia.
"So it's not surprising that they keep going to time-out, because it's not effective for them. Whereas
reward-they're very motivated by that."
Listed below is the Hare
-Revised, a diagnostic tool used to identify
It was compiled by Dr. Robert Hare, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the
University of British Columbia, where he has taught and conducted research for
more than four decades, devoting most of his academic career to the study of
Dr. Hare created the
as a tool to
determine the length of stay for criminals in prison. It's obvious that the
present in criminals would play a
deciding factor on the length of stay. Dr. Hare ranks each trait on a scale of
0-3. For example, if a prisoner ranks 1 on all 20 traits, then he or she would
rank 20. Someone who ranks a 3 on all 20 traits would receive a score of 60 and
would probably receive a longer length of stay in prison.
Dr. Hare spends much time with each prisoner and consequently, scores them to
his best abilities. But even to Dr. Hare's own chagrin, he has been duped by many
psychopaths. With that in mind, please do not read through the traits and
instantly analyze everyone in your life. This information is meant to give you an
overview and it's something you can use as a tool to assess yourself and to use
wisely when assessing others.
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised
GLIB and SUPERFICIAL CHARM
- The tendency to be smooth,
engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Psychopathic charm is not in
the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A psychopath never
gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about
taking turns in talking, for example.
- A grossly inflated view of one's
abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart.
Psychopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.
NEED FOR STIMULATION or PRONENESS TO BOREDOM
excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances
and doing things that are risky. Psychopaths often have low self-discipline in
carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail
to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks
that they consider dull or routine.
- Can be moderate or high; in moderate
form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form,
they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and
CONNING AND MANIPULATIVENESS
- The use of deceit and
deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished
from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is
present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of
LACK OF REMORSE OR GUILT
- A lack of feelings or concern
for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned,
dispassionate, cold-hearted, and non-empathic. This item is usually
demonstrated by a disdain for one's victims.
- Emotional poverty or a limited range or
depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open
CALLOUSNESS and LACK OF EMPATHY
- A lack of feelings
toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.
- An intentional, manipulative,
selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack
of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete
POOR BEHAVIORAL CONTROLS
- Expressions of irritability,
annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate
control of anger and temper; acting hastily.
PROMISCUOUS SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
- A variety of brief,
superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of
sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a
history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking
great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.
EARLY BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS
- A variety of behaviors prior to
age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity,
fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.
LACK OF REALISTIC, LONG-TERM GOALS
- An inability or
persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic
existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.
- The occurrence of behaviors that are
unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation,
frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the
consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.
- Repeated failure to fulfill or honor
obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans,
performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor
FAILURE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR OWN ACTIONS
failure to accept responsibility for one's actions reflected in low
conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial
of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.
MANY SHORT-TERM MARITAL RELATIONSHIPS
- A lack of
commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable,
and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.
- Behavior problems between the ages
of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of
antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless
REVOCATION OF CONDITION RELEASE
- A revocation of
probation or other conditional releases due to technical violations, such as
carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.
- A diversity of types of criminal
offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them;
taking great pride at getting away with crimes.The word psychopath can be
replaced with the word sociopath throughout this page. The meaning is very
similar, if not the same.
General caveat: in the absence of generally accepted "objective" categories, the ICD/DCM "deviancy"
descriptions skew heavily towards (or certainly smell of) lack of expected social conformance.
(Even less than a century ago, it was not uncommon that "uncooperative" relatives or wives, or
reticent individuals were committed to get rid of them, strip them of their civil rights, or obtain
control of their assets - with the cooperation of the public and private sector psychiatric profession).
That's not to say they don't have a basis in fact.
W.r.t. sociopathy, a characterization I found useful was "treating other people like video
game characters" (and the word "pawn" (in the sense of chess) pretty much suggests itself). It
is consistent with the criteria you listed.
Other than that, it is a sliding scale/shades of gray, not a yes/no kind of thing.
W.r.t. sociopathy, a characterization I found useful was "treating other people like video
game characters" (and the word "pawn" (in the sense of chess) pretty much suggests itself).
It is consistent with the criteria you listed.
Other than that, it is a sliding scale/shades of gray, not a yes/no kind of thing.
That's a very good observation. Thank you !
Treating people like video game characters = lack of compassion = objectification
"(Even less than a century ago, it was not uncommon that "uncooperative" relatives or wives,
or reticent individuals were committed to get rid of them, strip them of their civil rights,
or obtain control of their assets - with the cooperation of the public and private sector psychiatric
Of course you can create a cliché out of any definition and use it against people you do not
like. But sociopathy is a real danger in modern society, especially in terms of "high functioning
sociopaths" (if you look under this angle at Clinton family you will find some interesting and
disturbing correlations) which neoliberalism implicitly promotes as it by objectifying everything.
And in this sense neoliberalism is a sociopathic ideology == natural, very convenient ideology
Paine said in reply to Peter K....
March 30, 2017 at 07:34 AM
Corporate aims are inevitably sociopathic at key moments. The
contradiction between corporate aims and social welfare is
Social democracy in the 30 - 60's was an attempt to
cushion society from the welfare depredations of its
The struggle to constrain corporations by progressive
liberals having failed abysmally by 1930. The liberals joined
de facto social democrats in a new wave of regulations
imposed on financial corporations.
Various hallmark sociopath traits are listed below. It is
important to note that not all traits will be present in all
According to ICD-10 criteria, presence of 3 or more of the
following qualifies for the diagnosis of antisocial
personality disorder (~sociopathy):
1.Callous unconcern for the feelings of others.
2.Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and
disregard for social norms, and obligations.
3.Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though
having no difficulty in establishing them.
4.Very low tolerance to frustration, a low threshold for
discharge of aggression, including violence.
5.Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from
experience, particularly punishment.
6.Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible
rationalization for the behavior that has brought the person
into conflict with society.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
(DSM IV-TR) is another widely used tool for the diagnosis and
it defines sociopath traits as:
A) Pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the
rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated
by three or more of the following:
1.Failure to conform to social norms with respect to
lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts
that are grounds for arrest
2.Deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of
aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
3.Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
4.Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by
repeated physical fights or assaults
5.Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
6.Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated
failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor
7.Lack of remorse as indicated by being indifferent to or
rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another
... ... ...
Sociopathy vs. Psychopathy vs. Antisocial Personality
There is often confusion between these terminologies
because of wide overlapping of the features. Sociopathy is
nearly synonymous with antisocial personality disorder.
Antisocial personality disorder is a medical diagnosis which
is commonly termed as sociopathy. However, some people may
have some features of sociopathy which may not be suffice to
meet the diagnostic criteria for antisocial personality
disorder. They may also be called (albeit wrongly)
Some people consider psychopathy synonymous with
sociopathy. However, psychopathy is a more severe form of
sociopathy. Psychopathy is not a defined diagnosis in the
widely used DSM-IV criteria for the diagnosis of mental
disorders. Most of psychopaths will meet the diagnostic
criteria for antisocial personality disorder, however vice
versa is not true and only 1/3rd of the sociopaths will meet
the criteria for psychopathy.
High Functioning Sociopath
High functioning sociopath is term used to describe people
with sociopath traits that also happen to have a very high
They are likely to be highly successful in the field they
endeavor (politics, business, etc.).
They plan very meticulously and the presence of
sociopathic traits like lack of empathy, lack of remorse,
deceptiveness, shallow emotions, etc. makes it very difficult
for "normal" people to compete with them.
Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 06:52 PM
Furthermore, Tony Podesta's favorite artist is Biljana Djurdjevic, whose art heavily features
images of children in BDSM-esque positions in large showers.
Psychopathy in the Pedophile (From Psychopathy: Antisocial, Criminal, and Violent Behavior, P 304-320,
1998, Theodore Millon, Erik Simonsen, et al, eds.–See NCJ-179236)
This paper argues that pedophilia may represent a special case or subcase of psychopathy and
that the main aims of both the psychopath and the pedophile are to dominate, to use, and to subjugate
another person in service of the grandiose self. [...] It notes that the major differences between
psychopaths and pedophiles are that the object of the predation for the pedophile is a child and
that the overt behavioral manifestation of the pathology is sexual.
"Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race. Outside of parenting, human beings
aren't born with the inclination to be ruled, controlled, 'managed,' and 'supervised' by other human
]. Hierarchies are artificial constructs designed to serve a purpose. They are
a necessity within any society that boasts high degrees of wealth and power inequities. They are a
necessity for maintaining these inequities and ensuring they are not challenged from below."
"Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race. Outside of
parenting, human beings aren't born with the inclination to be ruled,
controlled, 'managed,' and 'supervised' by other human beings" [The Hampton
This is a complex subject, but I'll hazard a guess that Colin Jenkins, the
author of the article, is wrong. Our close relatives the chimpanzees and
gorillas have dominance hierarchies, and one's position in the hierarchy can be
enforced by violence. Even bonobos have dominance hierarchies, although they
are much less violent than their cousins. Human hierarchies have existed for
tens of thousands of years, which has been verified by differences in burial
goods at grave sites. With the invention of agriculture around eleven or twelve
thousand years ago, hierarchicalism really took off.
I'm not saying that hierarchies are good simply because they are natural.
Complex hierarchies and the associated severe inequality are very bad.
Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race. Outside of
parenting, human beings aren't born with the inclination to be ruled,
controlled, 'managed,' and 'supervised' by other human beings.
True, maybe, for hunter gatherers, but unlikely.
Otherwise the assertion is not supported by any facts for any human group
anywhere. Please provide examples which support this statement.
I've lived in many places and seen many things. I've never even heard of
a group of humans without a leader, and hence a hierarchy.
Even hunter gatherers have hierarchies. They just don't have much
material inequality. But there is probably some inequality, as grave
sites have shown (of course there is uncertainty and controversy about
this). See this for more information:
The Rainbow Family is a (dis)organization with no leaders. There are
those who "focalize" (focus + organize) people to get things done but no
leader or spokesperson. It makes it much harder to quash a movement that
has no discernible head to remove or co-opt.
If you want to borrow from Deleuze & Guattari in Capitalism and
Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus, the hierarchy learned within the family is one
of the main methods society uses to prepare you for an authoritarian
society, and that the existence of the nuclear family shouldn't be seen as
separate from society but one of its basic building blocks. I'm greatly over
simplifying, but one of its many basic arguments is that conditioning
children to unquestioningly accept the authority of the father is a sort of
training wheels version of the eventual submission to the boss, the drill
sergeant, the political leader.
I'd also argue that this split between what is and isn't natural is
tenuous at best. Even if I were to accept the argument that hierarchy "isn't
natural" it's not like we could ever hope to return to such a state of
nature, so it becomes almost a complete non sequitur.
Hierarchies direct significant resources toward enforcing the Order.
Empires have larger standing armies and military sectors than free states.
Impoverished people, that is, those excluded from resources by the Order,
tend to find their communities more heavily policed and less valued as
Jeremy Belknap propagandized the "unable to govern themselves" bromide
for his personal and/or church-corporate benefit.
Societies with higher personal longevity and higher inequality tend to be
more conservative, as vested interests constitute a larger proportion of the
In other words, how many generations of scientific husbandry and
selective breeding does it take to create "nature"? That's why I'm not
Ditto. My sentiments run toward equality and fighting hierarchy seems a
noble effort. The status quo affects of entrenched hierarchies are pretty
ugly in the lower tiers and justice would be served by altering the social
system to accommodate the grievances. To argue that social hierarchies are
not natural is tantamount to arguing against societies at all.
create structures to reproduce.
re: Hierarchies. I'm convinced sociopathy is at the root of this problem.
And there may be something about the species that makes us all prone to this
condition. Much more work needs to be done and I think the answers will make a
lot of people uncomfortable.
Re "Hierarchies aren't natural phenomena within the human race." As a
sociologist, I must with regret snark: "Further research is necessary." (Ha,
ha, how do you answer this question with research?) This is, nonetheless, a
central question of human nature which sociologists and anthropologists are
unable to reach consensus on. If we're in a sociopathic system, that's
mote-or-less a Marxist view and actually a hopeful sign that our cultural
pathology can be overcome. If what we have now is a social system that
reflects the inherent nature of humans to dominate one another -more-or-less
a Weberian Iron Cage view-, the implication is clear. Another possibility:
Hierarchy appears as surplus resources are generated, and an egalitarian
system develops when resources cannot be accumulated, i.e, hunters and
gatherers. As opposed to the certainty with which economists speak (false
bravado though it may be), sociologists and anthropologists are best
characterized by the phrase, "Well, on the one hand " To me, it's astounding
how few sociologists are deeply engaged in recognizing and then studying the
collapse of the current system and how it bears on the hierarchy question.
(I first posted this in 2014. It is
worthy of another posting.)
Back when I was a boy, I watched
entirely too much television. Of course,
who could blame me? Tempted by a luxuriant
three, count them, three channels, albeit
one of them fuzzy in bad weather, to choose
from! However, I do not regret watching
on Channel 3. Back
in those bygone days, many stations would
run old movies from the thirties, forties
and fifties, between 3:00 PM-5:00 PM. Thus
I first experienced some of the classics of
cinema, and one of my favorites was
, 1944, the first of
the film noire genre. Adultery and murder
were perhaps too mature topics for me in my
initial pre-teen viewings, but I was
fascinated by it because it seemed to be a
playing out on screen of what I was
learning at the time from
: that sin will lead
inevitably to destruction unless contrition
and amendment are made. The film was
fortunate to have at its center three
masters of the craft of acting.
Fred MacMurray, born in Kankakee,
Illinois, 37 miles from my abode, in 1907,
was a good guy in real life and usually in
reel life. A firm Catholic and staunch
Republican, he tried to join the military
after Pearl Harbor but a punctured ear drum
kept him out of service. He adopted a
total of four kids with his two wives: his
first wife dying from cancer in 1953, and
his second wife remaining his wife until
his death. (Such fidelity was as rare in
Hollywood then as it is now.) On screen
MacMurray played to type and was almost
always a good guy, but not always, and it
is ironic that the two best performances
of his career came when he played bad
guys: weak, lustful and doomed Walter Neff
scheming, cowardly Lieutenant Thomas
The Caine Mutiny
Barbara Stanwyck had a Dickensian
childhood from which she was lucky to
emerge alive, her mother dying of a
miscarriage and her father going off to
work on the Panama Canal and never being
heard from again. A series of foster homes
followed, which Ruby Catherine Stevens, as
Stanwyck was then named, constantly ran
away from. Dropping out of school at 14 to
begin working, she never looked back.
Breaking into show business by becoming a
dancer in the Ziegfield Follies at age 16,
she was a star on broadway in the play
before she turned 20.
Changing her name to Barbara Stanwyck, she
broke into films immediately thereafter,
displaying a flair for both drama and
comedy, specializing in strong independent
women. Her personal, as opposed to her
professional, life was a mess. Married in
1928 to her Burlesque co-star Frank Fay,
they adopted a son, Stanwyck having been
rendered sterile by an abortion at 15. The
marriage ended in divorce in 1935, Fay
during the marriage often slapping Stanwyck
around when he was drunk. Stanwyck got
custody of their son. Stanwyck was a
hovering and authoritarian mother, leading
to a life long alienation from her son
after he became an adult. Stanwyck married
actor Robert Taylor in 1939, and, after
numerous acts of infidelity on both sides,
divorced in 1950. Ironically Stanwyck and
Taylor did stay friends after their
divorce, Stanwyck, who never remarried,
referring to him as the true love of her
life. In her politics Stanwyck was a
staunch conservative Republican who
supported the investigations of Congress
into Communist infiltration into
Hollywood. Remaining in demand as an
actress almost until her death in 1990, she
filled her last years with charitable
work. Stanwyck was well equipped by her
own tumultuous life to give depth to her
portrayal of the murderous, scheming
Phyllis Dietrichson in
Although remembered today chiefly for
his gangster roles and his portrayal of the
rat-like Dathan in
Edward G. Robinson was
actually an actor with a very broad range
of work: comedies, dramas, historical
epics, you name it. By 1944 he was age 51
and realized that his days as a leading man
were coming to a close. His half
comedic role as the insurance claims
adjuster Barton Keyes in
he viewed as a step in his
transition to being a character actor.
Always a liberal, Robinson was blacklisted
in Hollywood due to his affiliation with
Communist front groups. Robinson admitted
as much by an article he wrote for the
American Legion Magazine
the Reds Made a Sucker Out of Me". His
comeback came when anti-Communist director
Cecil B. DeMille, who thought that Robinson
had been treated unfairly, cast him in the
scene-stealing role of Dathan in
This book is a desperately needed wake up call to NS men needing fluorescent illumination
in the middle of "gaslight" and other
" I really identified with the "role reversal" and truth that there are men that suffer under
a female N's tactics. The severity and persistence of the female N is exposed brilliantly in this
Having Zari identify the male as a victim of the narcissist is crucial to helping men break
free of the craziness, while also helping men identify why they feel so stuck loving the woman
they have committed their souls to.
Also crucial, is the chapter that breaks out the difficulty
of "no contact" when children are involved. While many N relationships share much in common, the
male NS suffers under societies prescribed male strengths, and serves to undermine the ability
of men to overcome being trapped.
Society typically has the female's back, especially narcissistic
women, as they are often the victims of stereotypical males (in real life and fictional portrayals).
Kudos to the Author for helping unlock the chains of this forbidden subject. There are, not undeservedly,
many explicatives used in this book. I believe the strong words are appropo representations of
the years of suffering and pain inflicted by the narcissist on their supply.
The author's insights
will likely help release many NS men from their prison within.
on December 11, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Need to get off the crazy train? This is your first stop!
" Guys, if your life is one gigantic roller coaster ride of being seduced, destroyed emotionally,
and then kicked to the curb when you say anything, then this is the place to start. If you're
looking at this review, then you know something in your relationship is slowly poisoning you to
death. It is NOT you! Wanna know why? Get the book!!!
on December 2, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Worth The Read
" If you have any questions about the patterns in your relationship this will help. More research
on narcissism and manipulation will be needed, but it offers some good advice about seeing more
clearly the issues that might lie hidden in the shade.
Men under pain by narc women deserved to get a book like this.
" I was married to a narc women for several years, and we share a daughter. I thank Zari Ballard
for this excellent account of how narc females move around in society, mostly unknown to other
people, friends and relatives who judge them just as "weird" or "arrogant".
In my case, I felt
like a man who was for years playing on a stage and with a choreography designed by my ex wife.
Now, thanks to books like this one, I can stand aside and *understand* what went on, and what
is currently going on. As a victim, narcissism makes you crazy, the more you delve into it to
understand it, the more you get tangled in the lies, distorted views of reality, crazy nonsense
I spent years married with a woman with whom I had no real dialogue, without
If you are a man in distress, and you feel some woman makes you feel miserable, please
read this book to go deep into the causes of your pain. Thanks Zari for your book, thanks from
the many men that suffer the pain inflicted by narcissistic women.
on December 5, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the best reads on Female Narcs out there
" This was an amazing read and helped me far more than even therapy. Zari has helped males
understand the Female Narc better than any of the myriad of books I have read on the subject.
on May 17, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a must read if you've been on "Mr Toad's Wild Ride" with one of these psychopaths at
" After being systematically brainwashed then discarded, I educated myself by reading everything
I could get my hands on regarding Narcissism and Narcissist abuse, specifically male victims of
these pathological parasites.
I found the content of this book very insightful, helpful, and matter-of-fact.
Zari does not claim to be a doctor, teacher, or therapist. However, she provides a great insight
for surviving this painful ordeal with proven methods of healing from a former victim's prospective.
" An extraordinary, concise, at times darkly humorous and sobering road map to help you on
your way out of the long dark tunnel designed by the female Narcissist. I had suffered for over
a year in this kind of 'relationship', and after the discard was left tortured by self doubt,
depression, and confusion.
After reading Zari's book just once, i gradually felt that much needed
shift - the chapter 'Tactics Of Emotional Warfare' details a list of characteristics of the Narcissistic
personality, which left me feeling as though i had been exorcised by a friendly priest, leaving
me without a shadow of doubt that this was not something i had imagined, nor could have done anything
By the second reading, (the very next day) that brick wall of denial slowly began to crumble,
allowing the undeniable facts to speak for themselves, and sink in. It's easy to feel alone in
times like these, perhaps your friends or family may not completely understand your pain, but Zari does - and I believe this book is the only friend you will need to guide you on your way
back to sanity.
Gaslighting: An insidious form of emotional abuse
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00 UTC
Once in a while, it's normal to have a fleeting moment where you question
your own sanity, like when you're severely
sleep deprived or
stressed out . But if a relationship leaves you constantly
second-guessing your own instincts and feelings, you may be a victim of a
sophisticated form of
emotional abuse : gaslighting. Like other types of abuse, gaslighting can
happen in all sorts of relationships, including personal, romantic, and
Ben Michaelis, PhD, a New York City-based clinical psychologist, has worked
with victims of gaslighting. For one of his patients-we'll call her
Marie-the gaslighting began when her husband shouted another woman's name
When she tried to discuss the incident with him, he
flatly denied what he'd said and told Marie she was hearing things.
Marie figured she must have had too much to drink. But then the lying
continued: Marie's husband would
change his alibi constantly
and when Marie questioned him, he'd say she was acting delusional. It wasn't
until almost a year later when Marie realized her husband had been hiding an
affair the whole time.
"[Gaslighting] is like someone saying the sky is green over and over again,
and at first you'll be like 'no, no,'" says Gail Saltz, MD a psychiatrist
and host of the podcast
The Power of Different .
"Then over time the person starts to
manipulate you into saying 'I guess I can't really see what color the sky
is.' It's just this sense of unreality."
Acknowledging you're a victim of gaslighting like Marie did can be tricky at
first, says Michaelis, who is the author of
Your Next Big Thing: 10
Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy.
"Initially, if someone is
insisting on a reality that is different from your own, you'll think,
Why was I off that day?
Was I tired?
" As the gaslighting
victims begin to question themselves and their judgment
more and more.
Michaelis says this can go on for months or even
years before they realize they're being gaslighted. "People who experience
gaslighting may show obsessive-compulsive symptoms because they want to
constantly check themselves and recheck themselves," says Dr. Michaelis. The
confidence-depleting nature of gaslighting could contribute to increased
anxiety in many or all aspects of a victim's life, not only in the
relationship. Many gaslighting victims berate themselves or feel the need to
apologize all the time, explains Dr. Saltz.
Gaslighting can manifest in a workplace environment as well. "Your boss may
use gaslighting to hide a mistake or cover up information they didn't mean
to share," says Michaelis.
"It can also be a passive-aggressive
gesture used among peers who are competing."
If you realize you're being gaslighted, the first thing you need to
recognize is that a gaslighter may not be conscious of the effects of their
actions, especially if they have issues with being wrong or out of control.
In this case, confronting the gaslighter could work. Michaelis suggests
conducting all conversations you have with the gaslighter in a recorded
format, like through email or text. Then, when gaslighting occurs, tell the
person what they originally said.
"If they continue do deny what
they said, you can supply the recorded evidence so they have a concrete
understanding of what happened,"
says Michaelis. This method works
best when confronting a friend or partner.
In professional relationships, Michaelis suggests reaching out to a third
party, like human resources, which can make the confrontation more
objective. You can take this route in your personal relationships as well by
enlisting a friend or family member to help. "If you find it happening to
you, be thoughtful of the person's motivations," Michaelis says. "They don't
usually do it out of pure ill-will. It usually correlates with trying to
cover something up, so first try to repair the relationship if it's worth
If confrontation fails and ending the relationship is an option, Dr. Saltz
recommends doing so. Michaelis agrees: "All relationships are changeable.
Maybe not immediately, but they are changeable or
severable if need
," he says.
If you have to stick it out with a gaslighter, though, try to boost your
confidence with the support of good friends. "If you're having a hard time
changing the situation, they can bolster your reality otherwise," says
Michaelis. In a work environment,
you should also be wary of what
information you share with a gaslighter
. Michaelis suggests
withholding personal life details with a gaslighting co-worker or boss to
protect yourself from emotional abuse in the office.
No matter which method you choose, it's important to take control of reality
again, says Dr. Saltz. This involves
setting limits that stop
gaslighting attempts in their tracks
. For example, if your boss
calls you overly sensitive when you ask, "Why won't you let me work on big
company projects?" demand true feedback rather than accepting blame on your
character. "It's holding the line for what you're wanting to achieve," Dr.
Saltz says, "and not buying into accusations intended to knock down
Many psychiatric professionals agree that even
strong, intelligent, confident, and stable people can become vulnerable to
this form of emotional manipulation. Intelligence and emotions are not the
same thing and
a gaslighters' key maneuver is to prey on emotion
rather than intelligence.
Gaslighting is a
conscious, deliberate tactic of manipulation and control.
"... this book is the first I have seen that really, truly provides answers and healing for victims. ..."
"... I believed I had brought this misfortune upon myself. What is worse, unless someone has been through what some of us have, they can't understand, and so one is left feeling adrift, lonely, confused and misunderstood. It is also very easy to turn to non-constructive ways to block, drown or diffuse the anguish one suffers after a relationship with a psychopath ends. ..."
"... I now understand what happened to me, and I now realize, through the power of the words and insights in Thomas Sheridan's book, that it was NOT my fault. I was targeted. I was intentionally used in the most despicable ways. And I am not alone. ..."
"... The term for these people who have no empathy, conscious and who prey on vulnerable, decent caring people is PSYCHOPATH. If any of you out there are having trouble recovering from such an ordeal you are not alone. ..."
"... I was a strong, intelligent and happy person until I was targeted by a female vampire..idealized, devalued and thrown in the garbage like a used napkin. It nearly brought me to suicide. But guess what....didnt happen...to bad for the psychopath...thats what they want ..."
"... I found them to be very useful despite the fact I had already encountered psychopathic people before, my first (to my knowledge) being in a relationship in 1997. When it collapsed, so did I. Why had someone been so cruel, dishonest and manipulative toward me? I didn't deserve to be treated this way. I then went on to learn a lot about psychopaths. ..."
"... There is a section on the psychopaths that are at the highest levels of government and corporations, and the methods they employ to keep people in their grip. ..."
"... In addition, he explains the psychopathic organizations. He discusses individuals in politics, in religious organizations and possibly the person sleeping right next to you. ..."
"... The title of the Introduction summarizes the way we cannot stop being used: Know thyself - Know thy predator. ..."
"... They were good books, but this was the first that acknowledged and accurately articulated the emotional devastation from the victim's point of view. ..."
"... It was the book that convinced me that my tormenter is a psychopath. It also helped me free myself from the shame and self-blame, the feeling that I was weak or stupid for getting drawn into the crazy-making web of a parasite. Also, I was accepting of the fact that I needed to go completely no contact. ..."
"... Finally, it put to rest any impulses I had to try to get even with or expose this person. I've realized that it's pointless and probably dangerous to do so. I know I've already been trashed to our mutual acquaintances. I can only hope the people who've seen through this monster won't believe what they've been told. But if they do, I suppose it's their loss. ..."
"... A Good Place to Start. If you have only just cottoned on to the existence of psychopaths and the trouble they bring into your life this book is a good place to start. If you've been the target of a psychopath it will help you understand why. It will also help you plan your escape, survival and recovery. If you want to learn more after reading this book look at books by Jon Ronson, Martha Stout and Robert D. Hare. ..."
Finally - a book
that truly helps victims of psychopaths
This is an amazing, life-changing book for anyone who has
been a victim of a psychopath. I was in a relationship
with a psychopath for over five years, and while I had
read other books that were very helpful (including check
lists that made my blood run cold) this book is the first
I have seen that really, truly provides answers and
healing for victims.
I had spent the last seven years
feeling that I was only partly healed from my experience.
I still felt a big part of myself was missing and I was
deeply depressed. I had come to accept that I would never
be the same - that I would always bear a large amount of
damage to my psyche, my self esteem and my sense of who I
was. I felt that a big part of me had been taken, but more
importantly, I believed that I had ALLOWED it to happen,
and that it was ALL MY FAULT.
I believed I had brought
this misfortune upon myself. What is worse, unless someone
has been through what some of us have, they can't
understand, and so one is left feeling adrift, lonely,
confused and misunderstood. It is also very easy to turn
to non-constructive ways to block, drown or diffuse the
anguish one suffers after a relationship with a psychopath
ends. This book saved my life. I read it within about 3-4
short evenings, and it has completely changed the way I
perceive what happened in a way that is highly empowering.
I am re-claiming my fundamental spirit and joy.
understand what happened to me, and I now realize, through
the power of the words and insights in Thomas Sheridan's
book, that it was NOT my fault. I was targeted. I was
intentionally used in the most despicable ways. And I am
not alone. There is help, there is hope, and you can
regain what you lost of yourself. They say there are no
magic bullets for curing deep trauma, but I am here to
tell you, this book is that magic bullet for survivors of
psychopaths to not only recover, but emerge stronger, more
whole and more joyful than ever before. Read it. Learn it.
Get your life back.
very best work out there..author under attack from cult
Let me start out by saying that Thomas Sheridan's
brilliant work about the world of psychopaths in both
personal relationships and in society at large...is
currently being subjected to a smear campaign by a
disgruntled cult leader....hense as you can see after
sometime in mid August there appears on Amazon numerous
one star reviews denigrating his book. Prior to mid August
you will see that the book is universally raved.
Enough of that. Let me tell you my opinion having had the
mis fortune to be in a romantic relationship for six
months with one of these soul rapers.
First off only people who had been involved with these
entities will truly understand how helpful and
extraordinary Seridens work is in helping them make sense
of what happened to them. Personally, I spent the last six
months studying narcissist personally disorder,
borderlines etc...its all nonsense. The term for these
people who have no empathy, conscious and who prey on
vulnerable, decent caring people is PSYCHOPATH. If any of
you out there are having trouble recovering from such an
ordeal you are not alone.
I was a strong, intelligent and
happy person until I was targeted by a female vampire..idealized, devalued and thrown in the garbage
like a used napkin. It nearly brought me to suicide. But
guess what....didnt happen...to bad for the psychopath...thats
what they want. To murder you and get away with it.
Sheridans work is brilliant and I've read everything in
the world that is out there. If you've been targeted by
one of these creeps read Sheridan's books.. you'll feel
100% better and you will come to understand the dark ,
empty, lying subhuman demon that passed trough you life.
There's nowhere to go but UP from there and on to becoming
the loving, caring beautiful and now knowledgeable
empathetic human you are. Do not pass go. Get both books
you won't regret it. Pay no attention to the negative
reviews by the psychopaths online trying to smear his
timely, brilliant and important work.
Upon recently breaking up with what turned out to be a
psychopath, I found the YouTube channel of Thomas
Sheridan. There, he posts videos pertaining to the subject
of psychopaths in our society.
I found them to be very
useful despite the fact I had already encountered
psychopathic people before, my first (to my knowledge)
being in a relationship in 1997. When it collapsed, so did
I. Why had someone been so cruel, dishonest and
manipulative toward me? I didn't deserve to be treated
this way. I then went on to learn a lot about psychopaths.
This is the third book I've read on the subject. It is
written in a very easily understood language, rather than
using too many clinical terms that are encountered in
books written by authors who are admittedly in possession
of a PhD. I don't believe the lack of a piece of paper
makes Puzzling People any less valid. After all, anyone is
capable of making a study of people and documenting their
findings, and perhaps go on to publish those findings.
I finished the book off in two days. The various key
traits of the psychopath are outlined. Often I would laugh
upon reading some of the paragraphs. That's because they
resonated so strongly with my own experiences. Admittedly
I did not learn anything startlingly new from this book,
since I have previous experience with psychopaths and have
read other books, but this book is useful to read
nonetheless. In fact it might be useful to remind oneself
now and then of this unfortunate type of person. The
psychopath is a shell that houses an entity unlike most of
us. It has no conscience. It is devoid of the wide range
of emotions the rest of us have. It can do what it wants
to you and me and it can sleep at night. It is sub-human.
There is a section on the psychopaths that are at the
highest levels of government and corporations, and the
methods they employ to keep people in their grip.
The book concludes with ways to regain your life and
energy after an encounter with a psychopath, and reminds
us to close the door on them and never ever open it again.
The only complaint I have with the book (and you can call
me pedantic if you like) is that it really ought to have
been proof-read before publishing because it is,
unfortunately, littered with typographical errors. At
times I found that a little distracting. However, it
doesn't take away from the fact that it's a good read on a
subject more people really need to be aware of.
Steven Haackon December 8, 2015
Know thyself - Know thy predator
This book is a must read for every adult. Sheridan opens up the inner world of the psychopath.
The psychopath has no conscience; they are experts at manipulation. They cannot be changed.
In addition, he explains the psychopathic organizations. He discusses individuals in politics, in
religious organizations and possibly the person sleeping right next to you.
The title of the Introduction summarizes the way we cannot stop being used: Know thyself -
Know thy predator.
Michael Harrison October 18, 2015
Must read for anyone in the corporate world
Absolute required reading, to survive and thrive in our world...Sheridan will help you
understand the world, and help you to understand how to relax,. and thrive.
Artist on March 10, 2014
Good and bad, but mostly good
This book is tremendously comforting for anyone who's emerged from a relationship with a
psychopath. I've read Robert Hare's and George Simon's books on, respectively, sociopaths and
manipulators. They were good books, but this was the first that acknowledged and accurately
articulated the emotional devastation from the victim's point of view.
It was the book that convinced me that my tormenter is a psychopath. It also helped me
free myself from the shame and self-blame, the feeling that I was weak or stupid for getting
drawn into the crazy-making web of a parasite. Also, I was accepting of the fact that I needed to
go completely no contact.
Finally, it put to rest any impulses I had to try to get even with or expose this person.
I've realized that it's pointless and probably dangerous to do so. I know I've already been
trashed to our mutual acquaintances. I can only hope the people who've seen through this monster
won't believe what they've been told. But if they do, I suppose it's their loss.
The only problem I had with the book was that it went off the rails about three-quarters
of the way through, turning into a screed against "institutional psychopaths" in popular culture,
government, etc. I understand the author's passion, but his points could have been made more
succinctly and with more restraint. As they stand now, it sounds like ranting.
William Heagueon January 31, 2014
A Good Place to Start. If you have only just cottoned on to the existence of psychopaths
and the trouble they bring into your life this book is a good place to start. If you've been the
target of a psychopath it will help you understand why. It will also help you plan your escape,
survival and recovery. If you want to learn more after reading this book look at books by Jon
Ronson, Martha Stout and Robert D. Hare.
Hoosier Hayseed January 21, 2014
Extremely helpful advice
Following an episode with a family member which absolutely left me dumbfounded that anybody
could be so cold and indifferent to the needs of another human being - even a relative - I looked
for any books I could find about psychotic behavior.
I found one, "The Sociopath Next Door," which was excellent, and then, later on, I began to see
other books on the subject, and bought several of them.
But Thomas Sheridan's book has been, hands down, the best of the lot, and probably has
satisfied my need to search for any more information on the subject.
He really covers all the bases about psychopaths, and explains many things - some of which I
already knew, and others that I had surmised on my own, but there were many other things which
were completely new to me, which I found invaluable to learn about.
His humanity, and his love for the other members of humanity simply shines through, and he makes
a couple of very profound comments, which offer much encouragement for anybody who has ever been
subjected to one of these freaks.
One is the observation that once you learn what a psychopath is all about, you are probably,
from that moment, safeguarded from ever being fooled by one again, which is extremely comforting
The other thing is his conviction that, as bad as they are, they are always doomed to failure,
and that we will ultimately win, is very encouraging.
But one thing that still confounds me is just trying to understand exactly what they are. They
appear for all the world to be human, and you may know for a fact that they came from human
parents - maybe even your own family - but they act like aliens, or anything but someone of this
I had thought that the only answer was that they were simply evil, and that may be the
But if the problem is that their brain is actually defective - missing the genes that account
for empathy and compassion - then it stands to reason that they simply are not "playing with a
full deck," as it were, almost literally.
But whatever they are, they are a living nightmare for anybody to encounter, and even worse
than that, if you happen to be so unfortunate as to find yourself married to one.
"... No. Don't do the selfish thing or the self-serving thing ..."
"... I don't care what happens to the world because I'm getting even ..."
"... Someone who has money, and sex, and rock and roll, and everything they want may still be psychopathic-but they may just manipulate people, or use people, and not kill them. They may hurt others, but not in a violent way. ..."
The key question is whether he is a charlatan wanting publicly or a honest reseracher? If I
were him I would make a second scan in othe demical instition befor jumping to conclution, That fact
that he did not do even this completly undermined his credibility. Also phychopath is not medical
Jan 21, 2014 | http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/01/life-as-a-nonviolent-psychopath/282271/ | Judith Ohikuare
Neuroscientist James Fallon discovered through his work that he has the
brain of a psychopath
--[and he might be wrong -- NNB]
You used to believe that people were roughly 80 percent the result of genetics, and 20 percent the
result of their environment. How did this discovery cause a shift in your thinking?
I went into this with the bias of a scientist who believed, for many years, that genetics were
very, very dominant in who people are-that your genes would tell you who you were going to be. It's
not that I no longer think that biology, which includes genetics, is a major determinant; I just
never knew how profoundly an early environment could affect somebody.
... ... ...
While I was writing this book, my mother started to tell me more things about myself. She said
she had never told me or my father how weird I was at certain points in my youth, even though I was
a happy-go-lucky kind of kid. And as I was growing up, people all throughout my life said I could
be some kind of gang leader or Mafioso don because of certain behavior. Some parents forbade their
children from hanging out with me. They'd wonder how I turned out so well-a family guy, successful,
professional, never been to jail and all that.
... ... ...
I found out that I happened to have a series of genetic alleles, "warrior genes," that had to do
with serotonin and were thought to be at risk for aggression, violence, and low emotional and
interpersonal empathy-if you're raised in an abusive environment. But if you're raised in a very
positive environment, that can have the effect of offsetting the negative effects of some of the
... ... ...
After all of this research, I started to think of this experience as an opportunity to do
something good out of being kind of a jerk my entire life. Instead of trying to fundamentally
change-because it's very difficult to change anything-I wanted to use what could be considered
faults, like narcissism, to an advantage; to do something good.
... ... ...
I started with simple things of how I
interact with my wife, my sister, and my mother. Even though they've always been close to
me, I don't treat them all that well. I treat strangers pretty well-really well, and people
tend to like me when they meet me -- but
I treat my family the same way, like they're just somebody at a bar. I treat them well, but
I don't treat them in a special way. That's the big problem.
I asked them this -- it's not something a
person will tell you spontaneously -- but they said, "I give you everything. I give you all
this love and you really don't give it back." They all said it, and that sure bothered me.
So I wanted to see if I could change. I don't believe it, but I'm going to try.
In order to do that, every time I started to do something, I had to think about it, look
at it, and go:
No. Don't do the selfish thing or the self-serving thing
Step-by-step, that's what I've been doing for about a year and a half and they all like it.
Their basic response is: We know you don't really mean it, but we still like it.
I told them, "You've got to be kidding me. You accept this? It's phony!" And they said,
"No, it's okay. If you treat people better it means you care enough to try." It blew me
away then and still blows me away now.
But treating everyone the same isn't necessarily a bad thing, is it? Is it just
that the people close to you want more from you?
Yes. They absolutely expect and demand more. It's a kind of cruelty, a kind of abuse,
because you're not giving them that love. My wife to this day says it's hard to be with me
at parties because I've got all these people around me, and I'll leave her or other people
in the cold. She is not a selfish person, but I can see how it can really work on somebody.
I gave a talk two years ago in India at the Mumbai LitFest on personality disorders and
psychopathy, and we also had a historian
from Oxford talk about violence against women in terms of the brain and social development.
After it was over, a woman came up to me and asked if we could talk. She was a psychiatrist
but also a science writer and said, "You said that you live in a flat emotional world-that
is, that you treat everybody the same. That's Buddhist." I don't know anything about
Buddhism but she continued on and said, "It's too bad that the people close to you are so
disappointed in being close to you. Any learned Buddhist would think this was great." I
don't know what to do with that.
Sometimes the truth is not just that it hurts, but that it's just so disappointing. You
want to believe in romance and have romance in your life-even the most hardcore, cold
intellectual wants the romantic notion. It kind of makes life worth living. But with these
kinds of things, you really start thinking about what a machine it means we are-what it
means that some of us don't need those feelings, while some of us need them so much. It
destroys the romantic fabric of society in a way.
So what I do, in this situation, is think: How do I treat the people in my life as if
I'm their son, or their brother, or their husband? It's about going the extra mile for them
so that they know I know this is the right thing to do. I know when the situation comes up,
but my gut instinct is to do something selfish. Instead, I slow down and try to think about
it. It's like dumb behavioral modification; there's no finesse to this, but I said, well,
why does there have to be finesse? I'm trying to treat it as a straightaway thing, when the
situation comes up, to realize there's a chance that I might be wrong, or reacting in a
poor way, or without any sort of love-like a human.
... ... ...
In some ways, though, the stakes are different for you because you're not
violent-and isn't that the concern? Relative to your own life, your attempts to change may
positively impact your relationships with your friends, family, and colleagues. But in the
case of possibly violent people, they may harm others.
The jump from being a "prosocial" psychopath or somebody on the edge who doesn't act out
violently, to someone who really is a real, criminal predator is not clear. For me, I think
I was protected because I was brought up in an upper-middle-class, educated environment
with very supportive men and women in my family. So there may be a mass convergence of
genetics and environment over a long period of time. But
what would happen if I lost my family or lost my job; what would I then become? That's the
For people who have the fundamental
biology-the genetics, the brain patterns, and that early existence of trauma-first of all,
if they're abused they're going to be pissed off and have a sense of revenge:
care what happens to the world because I'm getting even
. But a real, primary
psychopath doesn't need that. They're just predators who don't need to be angry at all;
they do these things because of some fundamental lack of connection with the human race,
and with individuals, and so on.
Someone who has money, and sex, and
rock and roll, and everything they want may still be psychopathic-but
they may just manipulate people, or use people, and not kill them. They may hurt others,
but not in a violent way.
Most people care about violence-that's the thing. People may say,
"Oh, this very bad investment counselor was a psychopath"-but the essential difference in
criminality between that and murder is something we all hate and we all fear. It just isn't
known if there is some ultimate trigger.
... ... ...
,,, For personality disorders it's
not really known when they will emerge because it's very understudied. People will say, you
can't do anything about it, it's locked in and there seems to be almost no treatment.
Whereas, for things like depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, you can do
something about it. There are drugs, or things you can do with brain stimulation and talk
therapy, so that's where Big Pharma and the whole industry goes.
...A lot of kids,
bullied and they may get pissed off, but that doesn't create a personality disorder. But
there are 20 percent of kids who are really susceptible and they may ultimately be
triggered for a personality disorder in puberty. If
we know these children can be helped by making sure that they aren't abused or
abandoned-because you've got to get there really early-well,
then, that would be important to do. I don't mean to preach.
... ... ...
It means, for example, that if you have
to go to war, and sometimes you probably have to go to war-I'm not talking about a
belligerent country starting war or fomenting discord, but if you
to go to war and to engage infantry-you
do not send 18-year-olds into it, because their brains aren't set. They don't know how to
adjudicate what's happening emotionally and hormonally with the intellectualization of
it. When you're 20, 25, it's a different matter because things gel a little more. Our
emotions don't get away from us as much in terms of what is happening. Other factors,
sociological ones like what soldiers return to, are also important, but we're not going to
get rid of war any time soon, so we might as well engage in a way that does the least
amount of damage.
In terms of legal action, you've been
used as a researcher for court cases-not to determine guilt or innocence, but for
sentencing. Do you think there's a moral boundary for that since we don't have enough
knowledge on this field yet to determine guilt or innocence?
We don't have enough research. You can't just take genetics-even though I'm a big
proponent of it-or imaging, and tell if someone's a criminal or a psychopath. If you put
together all that information, you could explain a lot of behavior and causality and early
abuse-but we don't know enough.
So, when I get a case to look at, first
of all, I don't accept money-and
it's not because I'm a nice guy. It's because I think I'd be biased. I don't accept any
payment and I don't want to know who the person is. We all try to create a story or
narrative, and I'm just as weak as anybody. I'll tell the defense attorney, or public
defender, or whoever it is to just send me scans, maybe with normal scans to try to throw
me off, and then I'll look at them and discuss what the traits of the person might be based
on the lack of activity in certain areas or not.
I can usually say, "Oh, this person
might have a language problem," or "This person might have trouble with impulsivity." After
all of that analysis is there, we can look at their traits and see what they've done.
... ... ...
Some people have this psychopathy or
are almost psychopaths, and they get into trouble and go right to jail and end up in the
prison system as 18-year-olds. It's awful because they get unlucky and they don't have
enough impulse control to pull it back at the last instant. So, what is that edge where
somebody's got these traits, and they are impulsive? What puts one guy on a pathway to
becoming an attorney or successful in general, and the other one has life in prison? We
just have to find out what that edge is. I think we will have parameters to work with, but
it's not the same for everybody.
3 years ago
I am looking forward to the sequel, where he learns that he really isn't
a psychopath after all. His brother switched the MRI's as a practical
joke to get back at him for the African incident.
3 years ago
In my lifetime I've known 2-3 people like Fallon - fully functioning,
non-violent psychopaths. It didn't surprise me that his friends and
family were not surprised. It did surprise me that he did not see these
qualities in himself.
3 years ago
What would be very interesting would be to hear his wife's
perspective. What attracted her to him? When did she realize he was a
psychopath? Why did she stay with him? What is marriage to a
non-violent psychopath like?
3 years ago
I just read Sam Smith's comment (above) and I imagine that goes
some way towards answering your question. The individuals I knew
were psychically attractive and quite charismatic. They functioned
very well in group/social situations, but when it came to
one-on-one a lot of people (myself included) wanted nothing to do
with them because they were manipulative and used other people as
a means to an end. 'What is marriage to a non-violent psychopath
like?' A great question. One of the people I knew was a room-mate
for about a year. It was appalling. You do begin to question your
own sanity. It was only after the experience that I was able to
see what had really been going on, and I can't imagine how much
more intense it would be if you were also in a sexual relationship
or a marriage.
3 years ago
I had a mentor in grad school that I would armchair diagnose as
a non-violent psychopath. He was so manipulative, that while
working for him, you would begin to question your sanity. He
didn't know how to manipulate people in a positive manner
(because he made promises and never kept them), so he would
resort to threats. He once defended a threat he had made to me
(to kick me out of his lab with no degree for failing to
discover why 2 proteins of unknown function were interacting
fast enough) by saying, "You should have realized that I didn't
mean it. I tell my kids all the time that I don't love them
when I'm mad at them, but I don't mean it." All I could think
was, "Thank God, I'm only his student and not his kid."
3 years ago
Me too. I don't know how a faculty member in my former
academic department kept her job after the things she said
and did to me and to others in my presence. No one seemed to
notice, or was too afraid of her to bring it up.
3 years ago
Productivity. As long as he was publishing, he was given
free reign. When I finally went to talk to the dean, the
comment was, "What took so long? Everyone from your lab
comes to see us sooner or later." WTH?