I.H.: There is a a scene at the end of that film, and I'll use this as an example that psychopath isn't just a lack of conscience, it's also a disorder of thinking, and I'll give you this example; the closing scene at the end of "The Act of Killing" is one of the mass murderers, it's a scene by a waterfall and he's surrounded by lots of beautiful women who are dancing and he is almost like a god, so there is the narcissism in there, he is this god who is being surrounded by all these beautiful ladies and he has two people reenacting two of the people that he murdered and they have chicken wire around their throats because that's how he killed them, but the final scene is them taking the chicken wire up from around their necks and coming over with a gold medal and putting it round the murderer's neck and saying Thank You for setting us free.
I.H.: But this is the thinking. The thinking and Robert Hare writes about this in "Without Conscience." Psychopaths often think that their victims will be grateful to them. Robert Hare writes the example of mass rapist who was, when he was arrested and interviewed, he said what are these women complaining about? Sure didn't I get their names in the newspaper? They think their victims will actually be grateful to them.
R.K.: It's horrific. So now you talk about how it's really just more recently that people have become aware that psychopaths and these other personality disorders exist. How could that be? How could it be that for a couple thousand years people were not aware that there was this kind of psychopath? Psychotic, they're not psychotic, these monsters -
I.H.: [inaudible 19:45]
R.K.: I mean, and did they know, do you believe that people did not believe that they were monsters? That they were horrible people? How do you see their role in history before these recent times where you see that people have become aware of them?
I.H.: I think we don't have to go back into history to see this, Rob. I think it's also that it can be difficult to recognize them in the present day. The disorders themselves are low-level disorders. For the most part they can choose -- I mean it goes back to what we talked about earlier about so-called successful psychopaths who can control their behavior, other psychopaths maybe can't.
But certainly with narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder, those are low-level disorders that can be quite difficult to recognize. We need to be working with someone or in close proximity to someone for quite a period of time before you start noticing that some of the things that are happening cannot be described as normal -
R.K.: Let me do a station ID and then you'll tell us about what makes a person narcissistic or paranoid. This is the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 AM, reaching metro Philly and South Jersey, sponsored by Opednews.com. If you're jumping in in the middle of the show and you want to catch the beginning of it, you can look for my name at iTunes, Rob Kall, K A L L or go to opednews.com/podcasts with an s on the end and you can download the recording of this interview and hundreds of others free of charge.
So, I've been speaking with Ian Hughes, he's the author of a book in process, Imperfect Design about psychopaths, narcissists and paranoids. His website is disorderedworld.com and we're talking now about narcissists and paranoids and what they are. Go.
I.H.: Well narcissistic personality disorder is, people with narcissistic personality disorder see the world as belong to them and again this is both, this is a cognitive and an emotional disorder so in terms of their cognitive disorder, they really see things that, I guess the best way to describe this, I'll take a step back as they say, for most of history we've lived in societies that have been hierarchical so there have been princes and kings or high priests and so forth and it's only in relatively recent times that the idea of equality have begun to break through and I would say that's very much from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the social changes that have come about from that and most people can at least conceive of the idea of equality.
They can at least conceive of the idea that you are as entitled to something as I am and that you should be treated roughly the same and the same way as I am. People with narcissistic personality are only able to conceive of the idea of equality. For them they are always right. They are entitled more than you are and it's a fixed, as in all personality disorders, this is a fixed attitude and a fixed way of behaving so in discussions, I think narcissistic personality disorder, people will probably come across them quite frequently. And again it's a cognitive disorder also because of the way people think.
So with narcissistic personalty disorder, in a conversation, the narcissist's primary aim is to defeat you in the conversation. So if you're having a conversation or discussion with them, it isn't so important to them that they stick to a particular point, they can change their point, shift their point of view, as long as at the end of the conversation they have defeated you and proved that they are more important than you are, are more intelligent than you are.
So narcissistic personality disorders they are people who really are incapable of conceiving of the idea of equality. That has a huge implication if these people are running democracies or these people are in charge of societies or in charge of trying to you know, distributing goods and so forth. Paranoid personality disorder, in the same way that narcissists are unable to conceive of the idea of equality, people with paranoid personality disorder are only able to conceive of other people as anything other than a threat.
So in every interaction they will be looking to see what is it that you're trying to do to harm them and they'll be constantly hyper-attentitive, constantly super suspicious and if you try to persuade them otherwise then you are likely to become under suspicion yourself. So both of these disorders again if we go back to Freud and we go back to human development and personality development during the life course, both of these disorders are almost a frozen type of personality from childhood.
Now you can imagine as Freud said we all go through a narcissistic phase where we are the most important thing in the world and all of our needs should be met and so forth, most of us grew out of that. Similarly in paranoid personality disorder, that's at a very early stage, children at a very young age have what, what would psychologists call it? There's a, paranoid state of mind and a, what they call a depressive state of mind and the paranoid state of mind a baby is very hyper-attentive and very afraid of its environment. In a depressive state of mind they're more able to relax and be able to take in their surroundings.