Christian Sell - General on the Battlefield - ca. 1648
(Image by David Blackwell.) Permission Details DMCA
Economics, governance, education, welfare, health, are now little more than facades of their original ideals filled with processes of entrapment, exploitation and frustration of potential that are working solely to empower and enrich the predators who control them.
Now through the focus of a number of researchers, these predators are coming to light and being described as "successful psychopaths" -- they are composed of the majority of a 5% of humanity, who have successfully avoided being diagnosed clinically and have not been apprehended during criminal and immoral activities and then institutionalised.
The "ways" of the psychopath are simplistic and become easy to observe when we finally learn to see "the wood for the trees" and we learn that many of our critical social and economic "givens" are in fact evolutionary artefacts of the influences that psychopaths have had on our cultures and societies for millennia.
They have told us that, like domestic cattle, we need their fences (controls) and their oversight (surveillance) to protect us from the wolves (or terrorists) that would come and decimate us and our little ones and we have been told that the world is a terrible hostile place and that life is fraught with adversaries, a self--fulfilling prophecy when societies and cultures are governed by psychopaths. Their measures are in reality to make us defensive, terrorised and so easily influenced and ultimately such fear will intellectually infantilise us, divide us and then herd us like cattle for a more thorough and systematic control and exploitation.
The psychopath is operating cognitively at what Economics Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman called "System1" or fast thinking, this is a cognitive template that is in place in infancy, the processes of which are situated largely within the limbic system, memory based and emotionally controlled. This type of primitive "fast and dirty" thinking when amplified through trial and error experiences is ideal for operating in chaotic and conflict based environments such as on the battlefield or in video games.
"System2" thinking or slow thinking, on the other hand, is rational, considerate and logical, so being both analytical and constructive, it takes time. The cognitive processes of "System2" take place largely cortically, in the areas of higher brain function and when fully evolved, utilise those higher cognitive functions acquired only through seeking mutually beneficial relationships with others and the environment. This type of advanced slow and empathetic thinking is ideal for dealing with relationships, creativity and complexity.
"System1" or thinking "intuitively" (more like presumptuously) utilises formulae, recipes, scenarios and scripts for actions memorised and recalled in part from past experiences or mimicked from observing the "successful" actions of others in similar circumstances. As Kahneman points out, it is fraught with impulse, assumption and error. Its ONLY real advantages are for fast reflexive responses in conflict and competitive based survival environments where immediacy is the critical factor.
Psychopaths are not just identified by their lack of empathy and conscience and their ruthless, manipulative, single-minded, narcissistic and opportunistic ways but also by their almost total lack of application of "System2" thinking. This means that they have a severe inability to deal with complexity, the welfare of others, or with any further effects of their actions beyond their immediate self-serving objective!
To understand how psychopaths have morphologically influenced the organs of society and culture we need to be aware of those ways and thinking processes outlined above. It's not rocket science to come to the conclusion that if Psychopaths want to have the continual advantage and to prevail, they must turn every type of human dealing and interaction into a virtual conflict or competition. And so creating such adversarial systems is simple but such systems are extremely unintelligent, inefficient and run on flawed structures and processes, the true costs of which, unfortunately, are borne by the rest of us and the planet, and rarely by the psychopath.
All of us, at one time or another, probably often, have personally become victims of a psychopath. In the heat of a confrontation by one, it is almost reflexive to take up a "system1" defensive and competitive position and in doing so our empathy and sense of fairness seriously disadvantages us against the "battle" honed deviousness, ruthlessness and opportunism of the psychopath. It is even easier for the psychopath to sow, nurture and take advantage of division among family, friends, communities, committees, cultures and even countries.
The big, corrupting, ancient and perennial issue then becomes: "In a conflict or competition, wouldn't you rather have a psychopath on your side than against you?" But the end of all such situations is of course not just possible short term "gains" but an inevitable destruction and an environment of on-going conflict, both within and without.
Competition/Conflict is the life's blood of the psychopath and the ultimate psychological contagion that can only be eradicated through a clarity, understanding and then avoidance of the cyclical processes between psychopathy/sociopathy and competition as a human dynamic. Instead we must choose a different path through the conscious development of empathetic mutuality and the consequential maturation of the "System 2" thinking, creativity and complex thinking that gradually arises from such a choice.
Psychopaths and their constructs (ie corporations, political parties) need to be identified, avoided and isolated in such a manner that they have no further destructive influences over places of control, or critical decision-making. Competition spawns few winners and many losers, in an insidious hierarchy of exploitation. The organs of society, which have been perverted to reflect psychopathic ways and objectives should be rebuilt, eradicating competition and using our empathetically acquired higher intelligence, focussed on mutual benefit with true environmental synergy and creativity as its new core.
To understand the effect of the psychopath fully, we must be aware that the retarded infantile nature of his thinking and behaviour and his incapability of creative endeavour, keeps him in an infantile dependent state. He can only take, or be given what he needs and desires, so he focusses greatly on his infantile skills of manipulating others to meet his needs. He does this in a way that is amplified and sophisticated by many years of trial and error experience at "pushing people's emotional buttons" using the emotional tactics of seduction, rejection and menace in all their variations.
Unfortunately the psychopath's attributes of control are uniquely successful in divisive competitive environments like politics and economics, where whole populations have been both intellectually and empathetically suppressed in their development through the cradle to the grave application of competition. For most of us, in order to compete, we have been coerced into attempting to apply seriously faulty "system1" thinking to every aspect of our lives, literally "in the heat of battle" and as a result have abandoned our fertile and complex cognitive potentials.