R.K.: Okay so let me just recap a couple of things. There are a couple of things in your book that I would just like you to at least point out or go over. So what you're saying is narcissists and paranoids, at least those two personality disorders, they are p0eople who got stuck in early stages of child development and never grew up to be full people.
I.H.: That's one way of characterizing it. As I say there's a lot of research that's still going on about the causes of these disorders but it does appear that they are, certainly the conduct appears to be that it is stuck in an earlier phase of development. But as I said that the reasons for that are still being researched.
R.K.: Yeah that reminds me in the development of the embryo from the single cell to the full human being, there's a saying that there's, it kind of evolves as it develops up the phylogenetic scale and that at one point, the embryo looks like a fish. And at one point the embryo has a tail
R.K.: And the interesting, you know yesterday I interviewed Frans de Waal, he's a world renowned primatologist and he studied and documented how apes, different primates manifest kindness, caring, fairness, empathy, all these different elements and it's almost like these people, they got stuck developmentally at a point, at a level below the mammal because just about all mammals seem to have this kind of empathy and caring. It's part of the mirror neurons that produce this. It's almost like theirs are not working.
I.H.: I think also though it's important, from my point of view it's also important to recognize the environment is changing hugely. So for a lot of the time I would say, before the Industrial Revolution the environment was such that these people could thrive. You know that violence , might was right, and there was a lot of it, if the environment was in that kind of disorder, then these people can thrive.
But in modern society and the way that our civilization is evolving it's almost like the tide is going out for these people and their behavior is being seen as being less and less acceptable whereas they were setting the rules in the past. So I think it's also important to see that it's almost, from an evolutionary point of view, this minority also had an adaptive advantage in times past. That advantage may be going away.
R.K.: Now you know, I've been wanting to talk to you about this. It seems to me that in human pre-history, before there was civilization, when there was indigenous tribal culture, this kind of person wouldn't be able to get away with doing the kinds of things that they do now. It's a small tribe or a band. It's only fifty or a hundred people, everybody knows each other, they wouldn't get away with it.
It takes a bit of anonymity I think to be able to do most of this kind of stuff and in a small culture like that, these people would be thrown out or killed. And it, so it seems to me like it took civilization to enable and empower this kind of a person to be able to use their lack of compassion and their selfishness as an advantage.
I.H.: Yes. I'm not sure, I see the argument but I'm not sure and the reason I hesitate, and again I take a quote from Mao, when Mao again was going, the Red Army during the Civil War were taking over parts of China, Mao said give me two people in a village and I'll have that village.
I.H.: Meaning if you had two people who were so ruthless that they would stop at nothing they could take control of the village. So I see your argument and it's entirely possible but I would, I'm undecided.
R.K.: Yeah I hear ya. Maybe not. So you, a couple other things I just want to throw in from my notes from your book, you say that narcissists react to anyone who challenges them with active or passive aggression. I think that's an important element in looking at them . They're not just attempting to be superior, it's the way they respond. Can you talk a little bit more about how they respond when they're challenged?
I.H.: I think it's the way they respond and also I guess the motivation and the energy that they have and because they see themselves as being entitled to being in positions of power. They see themselves as being entitled to have more than everyone else they have this authority over everyone else and so their energy is absolutely directed towards being in that position.
Anything else is total failure and it's not only total failure it's an absolute injustice of the world that has to be put right. They have to be in positions of authority otherwise the world is wrong. So it's not just that they react, as you say either passively or aggressively, it's that their energy are directed in a way that most normal people's energy isn't. Their career success is one part of the element of most people's life. It's not the all consuming thing but for narcissists this would be the only way to make the world right is that they are in control.
R.K.: So how is that different from a normal person?