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A World Damaged by Psychopaths and Narcissists-- Ian Hughes Interview Transcript Part 1

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R.K.: Okay, and how do you finish the book?

I.H.: I finish the book on a hopeful note because I think the struggle between this minority and the normal majority, in terms of human history is really a quite recent thing.  That is I think from the beginning of the cultural revolution we began to discover the means because societies began to change radically.  

When people I say if you go back two hundred years, 80% of the population in the world was living below what we would call the poverty line.  Abject poverty where people were struggling everyday just to feed themselves so under those circumstances it's virtually impossible for people to get educated, to organize, to organize politically, to organize in civil society, to resist tyranny   and so I end the book on a hopeful note by pointing to the people in the world today who are struggling and successfully   struggling against tyranny and against this minority.  

And I think in the long term, it is a good news story and I think particularly when we begin to realize now that we have the scientific knowledge that this minority exists, we can begin to formulate how we deal with them and how we build a more humane and a fair, more equitable, and more peaceful world.  

So that's how I end the book, with quotes from various figures who are currently struggling and succeeding in the struggle against this minority.

R.K.: Okay so I'm going to kind of go in to more detail within some of the aspects of the book.  As just about everybody who talks about psychopaths describes, you discuss how psychopaths don't have a conscience.  

I should take a step back, you don't mention sociopaths.  Why not?  Why do you just, you refer to the three categories: narcissist, paranoids, and the psychopaths.  But from what I understand, sociopaths are a huge additional group, described in DSM-V as the antisocial personality disorder.

I.H.: So I'm using the term psychopath and I would say Rob that there's a lot that isn't known as yet about these conditions and there's a lot about them that psychiatrists and psychologists are still trying to learn about these disorders and even in terms of the definitions there's also a lot that we don't understand and a lot of controversy and a lot of things that are still being argued about.  

So for example as you mention that the sociopaths and psychopaths, sociopath is in DSM as you say, psychopath isn't.  But within, I'm concentrating on psychopaths because I think the psychopaths and the absence of conscience of the psychopath is one of the most dangerous facets across all of the personality disorders and so researching psychopathy at the moment, the traditional way of looking at psychopaths and understanding psychopaths is based on Robert Hare's diagnostic which is really a part of that diagnostic is behavior of violence.  A previous history of violence.  So a lot of the research has been done on prison populations but there's another line of thinking now that is happening, another line of research which goes back really to the original Hervey Clerkey's original book on psychopaths which is less based on violent behavior and more based on the absence of conscience.  

Regardless of whether the person engages in violence or not.  So in current research in psychopath, there is this distinction that's emerging between the psychopath that we would usually talk about in terms of violent behavior and another type of so-called successful psychopath who may have no conscience but who may not be violent.

R.K.: And what was interesting my about your observation is that the, this test, the index by Robert Hare, you suggested it tends to look for people who are jailed, who has the kind of psychopathy that got them in to jail or arrested and there's this other kind that you're referring to, the successful psychopath who is different.  

They're the kind that tend to get in to real big positions of power because they don't get themselves in trouble so easily.  Go ahead, keep going.

I.H.: So that's exactly true but when you say that the violent ones may not get themselves into positions of power, you're talking of course of the United States or Europe or well peaceful societies but the violent psychopaths can easily get themselves into positions of power in societies where there is a war ongoing or where there is a high level of violence.  

So it depends.  Both of them share the same characteristic in terms of their basic personality structure.  It's the same.  They both have the lack of conscience that allows them to treat people as things rather than as people but the so called successful psychopath I think would have more of an in-built mechanism for self control and so they wouldn't act on their impulses for violence or maybe they don't have the impulse for violence to the same extent.  

So their underlying psychology is basically the same with the difference perhaps their ability to control themselves but both could rise to positions of power.  Absolutely both will rise to positions of power, but they will do so under different societal circumstances.

R.K.: Okay.  Now you talk about conscience as a handicap for normals.  Could you get in to that?  

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The ruling human incentive is fear. All the analys... by Bud Martin on Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 at 2:10:02 PM
This is an excellent and enlightening interview wh... by M.I. Lee on Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 at 3:12:50 PM
Rob asked what is the social advantage of being a... by Derryl Hermanutz on Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 at 5:11:15 PM
     now there's two of us wh... by William Crain on Monday, Feb 3, 2014 at 1:09:09 AM
I have worked under bosses like this.   They ... by Silvia Wilson on Monday, Feb 3, 2014 at 6:43:37 AM
Rob, this is awesome material...thanks for the int... by Cathie Bird on Monday, Feb 3, 2014 at 8:14:00 AM
The greatest modern Psychopaths ever (making Hitle... by jean labrek on Monday, Feb 3, 2014 at 3:58:10 PM
Ian starts of the interview with the question, "We... by Neal Chalabi Chambers on Monday, Feb 3, 2014 at 4:48:33 PM