R.K.: Okay. Now, you say narcissists exert a disproportionate influence on society because the number of characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder mean they are more likely to reach positions of authority than those with normal psychology. Can you talk about that?
I.H.: I think for a number of reasons that's true and also I'd like just to say a little bit about the, the title of the book is Imperfect Design , and the reason that I've chosen that title is because it's not only about the psychology of psychopaths and narcissists and paranoids, it's also about the psychology of the rest of us and particularly in the case of narcissists, we very often find them very attractive personalities. They're hyper-confident.
They are absolutely certain about what they're saying so they don't say, we could do this or we could do that, they're absolutely certain about a particular direction and we often find that particularly attractive and they can be very charismatic personalities and of course they have the drive because they feel like they are entitled to this, the absolute conviction that they are entitled to this position, so for all of these reasons, it's the interaction of the psychology of the minority with the psychology of the majority population and in the case of narcissists, they are very often, it's an issue of style winning out over substance.
R.K: Okay. Now I just want to get a little more into the paranoid person because I'm not really clear, I mean, the narcissist and the psychopath, they seem to make sense to me. Can you explain how the paranoid person fits in with this collection of evil people?
I.H.: I think the paranoid person plays a very important role, again in the interaction between the psychology of the minority and the psychology of the majority. Their role really is to scapegoat enemies and to whip up the paranoid feelings of the majority against particular external or internal enemies. So if you look at the role of paranoia in Hitler's Germany, you look at the role of paranoia in, I guess if you look at sectarian conflict where, particular groups, anywhere where a particular group is feeling under threat, whether it's a majority group where the minority is now beginning to agitate for it's rights or whether it's a, what's coming to mind is almost a religious conflict in the Middle East or even the religious conflicts, sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland where I grew up, the role of the paranoid in those situations is to vilify the enemy and do it with such bile and conviction that they are dogmatic, they are absolute, I would say they are the cheerleaders for hatred against enemies.
R.K.: Cheerleaders for hatred against enemies. Now, when we first made contact you told me that it was your experience with some of the things that happened in Ireland that led you to get in to this. Could you talk about that?
I.H.: Well I guess in writing the book I've written the book over those past four or five years but it's been a long time in the making. The idea of as I say, and I was about five or six whenever the Troubles broke out in Northern Ireland so that was going on in the background whenever I was growing up for my entire childhood and early adult life.
But the idea which we often hear in much of my book is sort of a reaction against, we often hear we are all the same, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn even said that his lesson from being in the Gulag was that everyone was the same , he said that the line of good and evil runs through every human heart. And I could never believe that.