A Phil-for-an-ill Blog

December 3, 2009

When Does Psychopathy Flourish? (Musings on Psychopathy II)

“Insanity – a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world.” R.D. Laing

The chaos star - symbol of chaos

What is a psychopath?

Etymology: Psychopath
psyche Look up psyche at Dictionary.com
1647, “animating spirit,” from L. psyche, from Gk. psykhe “the soul, mind, spirit, breath, life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body” (personified as Psykhe, the lover of Eros), akin to psykhein “to blow, cool,” from PIE base *bhes- “to blow” (cf. Skt. bhas-). The word had extensive sense development in Platonic philosophy and Jewish-infl. theological writing of St. Paul. In Eng., psychological sense is from 1910. etymonline.com
pathos Look up pathos at Dictionary.com
“quality that arouses pity or sorrow,” 1668, from Gk. pathos “suffering, feeling, emotion,” lit. “what befalls one,” related to paskhein “to suffer,” and penthos “grief, sorrow;” from PIE base *kwenth- “to suffer, endure” (cf. O.Ir. cessaim, Lith. kenciu “suffer”). etymonline.com
From Greek ψυχή psyche “soul” + πάθος pathos “suffering”. wiktionary.com

Therefore,

psychopath = psyche + pathos  = mind/soul + suffering = suffering mind = dis-eased mind = sick mind

Wikipedia states:

Psychopathy (pronounced /saɪˈkɒpəθi/[1][2]) is a personality disorder whose hallmark is a lack of empathy. Robert Hare, a researcher in the field describes psychopaths as “intraspecies predators[3][4] who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, sex and violence[5][6][7] to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and empathy, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse”.[8] “What is missing, in other words, are the very qualities that allow a human being to live in social harmony.”[9]

Psychopaths are glib and superficially charming, and many psychopaths are excellent mimics of normal human emotion;[10] some psychopaths can blend in, undetected, in a variety of surroundings, including corporate environments.[11] There is neither a cure nor any effective treatment for psychopathy; there are no medications or other techniques which can instill empathy, and psychopaths who undergo traditional talk therapy only become more adept at manipulating others.[12] The consensus among researchers is that psychopathy stems from a specific neurological disorder which is biological in origin and present from birth.[10] It is estimated that one percent of the general population are psychopaths.[13][14] Wikipedia

Evolutionary Raison d’etre of the Psychopath

Laura Knight-Jadczyk wrote:

You see, evolutionarily speaking, psychopaths should not exist. Throughout history it can be seen that human beings have needed to co-operate and care about one another in order to survive and produce a new generation that will carry on the processes of society. Most human dynamics are based on people trying to work out their problems and come to resolutions agreeable to the greatest number or, at the very least, in the interactions between two people. The issue of trust is paramount. Someone who betrays your trust is someone you cannot live or work with. Therefore, psychopaths, who are untrustworthy should have long ago become extinct. But that isn’t the way things are. It appears, in fact, as if psychopathy has increased! laura-knight-jadczyk.blogspot.com

Our last hope - Hitler

I contend however that there are environmental circumstances in which the psychopath may have selective benefits that lead to increased survivability. Such circumstances would be defined by sufficient degrees of societal chaos, turmoil, danger, disaster etc…. In short, circumstances that feature sufficiently pronounced social instability or an overall psychologically unhealthy environment. It is under these challenging and pathological circumstances that the pathological individual, who has the “suitable” practical mental attitude to act swiftly and ruthlessly, stands out from the crowd. In the most positive qualification, he could be the hero type. Contrastingly, the more humanely inspired, but thus also the more hesitantly and considerately acting individual would likely be too overcome with fear to the point of being unable to respond at all. As such, compared to the psychopath, those less extreme individuals are likely to be outflanked in successfully dealing with challenging and harsh environments.

Once a psychopath has, or a group of collaborating psychopaths have, gained dominion over a group of people who are in need of help, then a sort of societal stability may set in if both parties are mutually supportive. In practical terms this means when the other group is submissive to the psychopathic leadership. As long as that hierarchical acknowledgment is in place the psychopaths at the top do not necessarily have to kill all the guys at the bottom if the latter serve the former. Indeed, the band of ruling psychopaths, euphemistically and perhaps typically touted as the heroic saviors of the tribe, automatically get the girls (including any possible harems) and they are thus offered an opportunity to pass on their psychopathic traits to their offspring. In addition,  the lack of conscience and stereotypical lack of respect for fellow human beings paves the way for the psychopath  to spread his traits also using blatantly unethical means (i.e. through sexual rape). And so psychopathy is given a chance to flourish, at least in those  unfortunate communities that have psychopaths positioned firmly at its proverbial rudder.

As such, the phenomenon of the proliferation of the psychopath can be reconciled with evolution theory after all. Although one has be willing to admit that the societal environment which birthed the psychopath was one where chaos and discord reigned. In a habitat where most of its constituents are in the debilitating grip of fear, the uncaring psychopath naturally emerges as victor. In fact, the psychopath likely prefers to thrive in a fear stricken ambiance as he will stand out among what he likely considers “weaklings.” If he manages to seize control of society he will then rule with a rod of iron over those needy weaklings, probably rationalizing to himself that they need a strong leader like himself (think of Stalin, whose name literally means “man of steel”).

Needless to say, a form of government based on brute force and terror tends to catalyze more fear and terror into the hearts and minds of its constituents. Psychopathy may be one form of mental sickness, but I propose that the debilitating inability resulting from fear and apathy as well as complacency in preventing the detrimental rise to power of a psychopathic leadership is yet another form of mental sickness. As such, when psychopathy is in control of society it is very well possible to produce a relatively stable form of society, albeit one that is of course, patently all-round pathological; one where enjoyment of relative freedom has been sacrificed on the altar of blind hero worship of the “Savior” State.

In short, it is the sick ruling the sick on the universal basis of fear and terror.

Since the media is joined at the hip with government, it is only to be expected that Hollywood also has no qualms to glorify the psychopath...

...portrayed as the strong man "hero" type, impervious to bullets and care for his "cannon fodder".

Generative Principle for the Emergence of the Psychopath

Therefore,  regarding the emergence and possible dominance of the psychopathic individual and in keep with R.D. Laing, I postulate that the following generative principle apply:

Just like people tend to get physically sick from exposure to a physically unhealthy environment,
people also tend to get mentally sick from exposure to a mentally unhealthy environment.

Pathological individuals thrive best in pathological environments; whereas orthological (i.e. sane) individuals thrive best in orthological rather than pathological environments, as they are ill-equipped to handle the ruthless and parasitical exploitation as forced on them by the psychopathic individual. In addition, pathological individuals do not fare well in predominantly sane environments, as, in turn, their double dealings are likely to be discovered by vigilant counterparts. Consequently they are likely to be singled out and forced into social isolation and/or jettisoned out of the orthological society.

Only the sick sustain a sick leadership.

Therefore, in the midst of wolves, the sheep need to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16).

References:

  1. Musings on Psychopathy
  2. The Trick of the Psychopath’s Trade: Make Us Believe that Evil Comes from Others
  3. Tunguska, Psychopathy and the Sixth Extinction

Restoring order out of chaos; totalitarian order that is; the psychopath's specialty...

13 Comments »

  1. The main problem with your theory is the evidence from the Paleolithic. The Paleolithic civilization which appeared so suddenly as to mock the rules of evolutionary theory (which is only a theory and probably true for the most part, but needs to consider evidence from other fields in order to fully explain what the fossil record shows),produced great works of art, and showed evidence of global communication and interaction, existed peacefully for approximately 20,000 years. We know that there were many periods during this enormous span of time, when conditions of environmental stress were extreme and undoubtedly, geological chaos was rampant. However, it does not seem that psychopathy arose during that period to fill those evolutionary niches you describe. In actual fact, it seems that the social structures, beliefs, practices, etc, of the paleolithic were so workable and satisfying that they survived many environmental (and probably other) insults.

    So, sorry, your theory doesn’t fly.

    Somewhere, at some point, a mutation occurred and it can be seen in the broad overview of the archaeological and geological records when compared to one another.

    When this record is carefully examined, (see: The Origins of War by Jean Guilaine and Jean Zammit, compare with DeMeo’s “Saharasia,” and Dingwell’s “Artificial Cranial Deformation”, etc) it is evident that something happened during the period following the sudden end of the Ice Age about 13,000 years ago, probably during the Younger Dryas. See Firestone, West and Warwick-Smith’s “The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes” and Clube and Napier’s “The Cosmic Serpent” and “The Cosmic Winter.” See also Mike Baillie, 1999, 2006, 2007.

    Just as the Tunguska event of 1908 appears to have produced lasting genetic mutations among the local population, it may be that bombardments of cometary debris in prehistory may have resulted in a recessive genetic mutation that affected many human individuals, spreading invisibly through human populations until a critical mass carrying the unexpressed mutation allowed for its full expression in their offspring. Epigenetic changes, as well as generations of interbreeding, could have resulted in a radically different subspecies within existing human groups with which normal humans were completely unprepared to cope given the previous course of our evolution. Though still only comprising a small percentage of the human population, the disproportionate influence of psychopathy on the social structures and thought patterns of humanity may well be leading humanity to extinction.

    Comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk — December 4, 2009 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for your prompt reply.

      The main problem with your theory is the evidence from the Paleolithic.

      I don’t think my theory needs evidence from the Paleolithic to be honest. There’s no need to go back into history that many thousands of years, besides, the fossil record is like a piece of Swiss cheese, full of holes; even Darwin himself admitted to this in his On the Origin of Species and he gave good reasons for it too. Also I do not believe that evolution happens on a such a slow pace as most geneticists would probably try and have me believe. I do not believe that genetic evolution is guided by genes but rather, in keep with Bruce Lipton, that it is guided by the environment instead. The problem with gene mediated genetic evolution is this. If genes regulate genetic expression then, in turn, what regulates those regulator genes? Regulator regulator genes? And what regulates those regulator regulator genes? Regulator regulator regulator genes? As you can see, there’s an infinite recursion problem at hand here. This problem can be avoided however, by accepting that the environment, rather than genes, regulate genetic expression and therefore guide genetic evolution. The genotype merely delineates the range of possible phenotypical expression. The actual phenotype is determined by the complex interplay with the local (cellular) environment. I know this is probably heresy to a lot of classically schooled “genes are the ultimate dictators” geneticists but I don’t care, this model makes much more sense intuitively IMO. And since the environment is intimately and directly involved in genetic expression, adaptability is much more efficacious than previously assumed with the sluggish gene-guided evolution.

      I think there is lots of evidence to be found in the recent historical record of typical psychopathic activity. For instance, the advent of warfare, tyrants (including the notoriously vindictive Catholic Church), witchcraft/satanism all provide excellent breeding grounds for the psychopath, and have done so for thousands of years already. In fact, any kind of “social” activity that leads man to act according to his more base, carnal or animalistic identity provides a niche for the psychopath. A psychopath is basically a type of intellectual animal, i.e. a being reminiscent of a human being on the face of it but one who is incapable of expressing his real human identity. Incidentally, the word human is derived from the Sanskrit hum manas, meaning spirit mind. That is what a human being is supposed to be, a spiritual being in tune and in harmony with their fellow human beings and surroundings. The psychopath on the other hand is completely out of touch with his true and rightful nature and instead is an utter slave of his ego, the animal mind; myopic, greedy, self-centered/narcissistic, antisocial/hostile etc.

      Comment by Phil — December 5, 2009 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

    • Even if evidence from the Paleolithic would play a role, would it be reasonable to find fossilized evidence that testifies of periods of chaos at some stage in the development of humanity? Chaos implies destruction, destruction implies a tendency of undermining prolonged periods of intact preservation needed for the process of fossilization to take place. So chaos tends to work against the formation of fossils. In addition, just because there were civilizations at one time in the past capable of producing great art and that this may be interpreted as a sign of (relative) stability and order does not mean this trend occurred the globe over? Lastly it should be noted that absence of evidence should not be mistaken for evidence of absence.

      Do you see how hard it is to falsify my theory based on the scant and circumstantial evidence available?

      Comment by Phil — December 8, 2009 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  2. You should look up Linda Mealey from the Department of Psychology at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. She has some really interesting things to say in her paper “The Sociobiology of Sociopathy: An Integrated Evolutionary Model”.

    She addresses the increase in psychopathy in American culture by suggesting that in a competitive society – capitalism, for example – psychopathy is adaptive and likely to increase. Quote:

    I have thus far argued that some individuals seem to have a genotype that disposes them to psychopathy.

    [Psychopathy describes] frequency-dependent, genetically based, individual differences in employment of life strategies. [Psychopaths] always appear in every culture, no matter what the socio-cultural conditions. […] Competition increases the use of antisocial and Machiavellian strategies and can counteract pro-social behavior…

    Some cultures encourage competitiveness more than others and these differences in social values vary both temporally and cross-culturally. […] Across both dimensions, high levels of competitiveness are associated with high crime rates and Machiavellianism.

    High populaton density, an indirect form of competition, is also associated with reduced pro-social behavior and increased anti-social behavior. […] [Mealey, op. cit.]

    The conclusion is that the American way of life has optimized the survival of psychopaths with the consequence that it is an adaptive “life strategy” that is extremely successful in American society, and thus has increased in the population in strictly genetic terms. What is more, as a consequence of a society that is adaptive for psychopathy, many individuals who are NOT genetic psychopaths have similarly adapted, becoming “effective” psychopaths, or “secondary sociopaths.”

    Whoa, and we wonder why George W. managed to get elected.

    Comment by Sharon — December 4, 2009 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

  3. Psychopaths do well when they have enough non-skeptical cooperators to prey upon.
    I can’t find the computer simulation that showed how populations change proportions, but as I recall:
    1- A predominance of reciprocators or skeptical cooperators allow non-skeptical cooperators to flourish.
    2- This makes skepticism un-needed, and so skeptical cooperators reduce in number.
    3- Predators or free riders, introduced among mostly non-skeptical cooperators, flourish and said Predators decimate non-skeptical cooperators .
    4- Skeptical cooperators out-compete predators in a population of mostly predators.
    5- This mostly wipes out the Predators.
    6- return to line 1

    We might expect some equilibrium to form in some circumstances.

    Here is an account of human tests that seem somewhat consistent with the above simulation, from:
    http://www.pnas.org/content/102/5/1803.full
    Findings. Based on the seven (in-sample) games that each subject plays, our algorithm classifies 17 of our 84 subjects (20%) as free-riders, 11 (13%) as cooperators, and 53 (63%) as reciprocators (three subjects were not statistically classifiable as one of these types).

    Comment by chris — December 5, 2009 @ 2:57 am | Reply

    • Fascinating. That is what Lobaczewski describes in Political Ponerology in slightly more literary terms. An excerpt:

      (begin quote)
      Ever since human societies and civilizations have been created on our globe, people have longed for happy times full of tranquility and justice, which would have allowed everyone to herd his sheep in peace, search for fertile valleys, plow the earth, dig for treasures, or build houses and palaces. Man desires peace so as to enjoy the benefits accumulated by earlier generations and to proudly observe the growth of future ones he has begotten. Sipping wine or mead in the meantime would be nice. He would like to wander about, becoming familiar with other lands and people, or enjoy the star-studded sky of the south, the colors of nature, and the faces and costumes of women. He would also like to give free rein to his imagination and immortalize his name in works of art, whether sculptured in marble or eternalized in myth and poetry.

      From time immemorial, then, man has dreamed of a life in which the measured effort of mind and muscle would be punctuated by well-deserved rest. He would like to learn nature’s laws so as to dominate her and take advantage of her gifts. Man enlisted the natural power of animals in order to make his dreams come true, and when this did not meet his needs, he turned to his own kind for this purpose, in part depriving other humans of their humanity simply because he was more powerful.

      Dreams of a happy and peaceful life thus gave rise to force over others, a force which depraves the mind of its user. That is why man’s dreams of happiness have not come true throughout history: this hedonistic view of “happiness” contains the seeds of misery. Quite the contrary, they feed the eternal cycle whereby good times give birth to bad times, which in turn cause the suffering and mental effort which produce experience, good sense, moderation, and a certain amount of psychological knowledge, all virtues which serve to rebuild more felicitous conditions of existence.

      During good times, people progressively lose sight of the need for profound reflection, introspection, knowledge of others, and an understanding of life’s complicated laws. Is it worth pondering the properties of human nature and man’s flawed personality, whether one’s own or someone else’s? Can we understand the creative meaning of suffering we have not undergone ourselves, instead of taking the easy way out and blaming the victim? Any excess mental effort seems like pointless labor if life’s joys appear to be available for the taking. A clever, liberal, and merry individual is a good sport; a more farsighted person predicting dire results becomes a wet-blanket killjoy.

      Perception of the truth about the real environment, especially an understanding of the human personality and its values, ceases to be a virtue during the so-called “happy” times; thoughtful doubters are decried as meddlers who cannot leave well enough alone. This leads to an impoverishment of psychological knowledge, the capacity of differentiating the properties of human nature and personality, and the ability to mold minds creatively. The cult of power thus supplants those mental values so essential for maintaining law and order by peaceful means. A nation’s enrichment or involution regarding its psychological world view could be considered an indicator of whether its future will be good or bad.

      During “good” times, the search for truth becomes uncomfortable because it reveals inconvenient factors. It is better to think about easier and more pleasant things. Unconscious elimination of data which are or appear to be inexpedient gradually turns to habit, then becomes a custom accepted by society at large. Any thought process based on such truncated information cannot possibly give rise to correct conclusions; it further leads to subconscious substitution of inconvenient premises by more convenient ones, thereby approaching the boundaries of phenomena which should be viewed as psychopathological.

      Such contented periods, which are often rooted in some injustice to other people or nations, start to strangle the capacity for individual and societal consciousness; subconscious factors take over a decisive role in life. Such a society, already infected by the hysteroidal state, considers any perception of uncomfortable truth to be a sign of “ill-breeding”. J. G. Herder’s1 iceberg is drowned in a sea of falsified unconsciousness; only the tip of the iceberg is visible above the waves of life. Catastrophe waits in the wings. In such times, the capacity for logical and disciplined thought, born of necessity during difficult times, begins to fade. When communities lose the capacity for psychological reason and moral criticism, the processes of the generation of evil are intensified at every social scale, whether individual or macrosocial, until they revert to “bad” times.

      We already know that every society contains a certain percentage of people carrying psychological deviations caused by various inherited or acquired factors which produce anomalies in perception, thought, and character. Many such people attempt to impart meaning to their deviant lives by means of social hyperactivity. They create their own myths and ideologies of overcompensation and have the tendency to egotistically insinuate to others their own deviant perceptions and the resulting goals and ideas.

      When a few generations’ worth of “good-time” insouciance results in societal deficit regarding psychological skill and moral criticism, this paves the way for pathological plotters, snake-charmers, and even more primitive impostors to act and merge into the processes of the origination of evil. They are essential factors in its synthesis. … the participation of pathological factors, so underrated by the social sciences, is a common phenomenon in the processes of the origin of evil.

      Those times which many people later recall as the “good old days” thus provide fertile soil for future tragedy because of the progressive devolution of moral, intellectual, and personality values which give rise to Rasputin-like eras.

      The above is a sketch of the causative understanding of reality which in no way contradicts a teleological perception of the sense of causality. Bad times are not merely the result of hedonistic regression to the past; they have a historical purpose to fulfill. Suffering, effort, and mental activity during times of imminent bitterness lead to a progressive, generally heightened, regeneration of lost values, which results in human progress. Unfortunately, we still lack a sufficiently exhaustive philosophical grasp of this interdependence of causality and teleology regarding occurrences….

      When bad times arrive and people are overwhelmed by an excess of evil, they must gather all their physical and mental strength to fight for existence and protect human reason. The search for some way out of the difficulties and dangers rekindles long-buried powers of discretion. Such people have the initial tendency to rely on force in order to counteract the threat; they may, for instance, become “trigger-happy” or dependent upon armies. Slowly and laboriously, however, they discover the advantages conferred by mental effort; improved understanding of the psychological situation in particular, better differentiation of human characters and personalities, and, finally, comprehension of one’s adversaries. During such times, virtues which former generations relegated to literary motifs regain their real and useful substance and become prized for their value. …

      Difficult and laborious times give rise to values which finally conquer evil and produce better times. The succinct and accurate analysis of phenomena, made possible thanks to the conquest of the expendable emotions and egotism characterizing self-satisfied people, opens the door to causative behavior, particularly in the areas of philosophical, psychological, and moral reflection; this tips the scale to the advantage of goodness. If these values were totally incorporated into humankind’s cultural heritage, they could sufficiently protect nations from the next era of errors and distortions. However, the collective memory is impermanent and particularly liable to remove a philosopher and his work from his context, namely his time and place and the goals which he served. …

      This cycle of happy, peaceful times favors a narrowing of the world view and an increase in egotism; societies become subject to progressive hysteria and to that final stage, descriptively known to historians, which finally produces times of despondency and confusion, that have lasted for millennia and continue to do so. The recession of mind and personality which is a feature of ostensibly happy times varies from one nation to another; thus some countries manage to survive the results of such crises with minor losses, whereas others lose nations and empires. Geopolitical factors have also played a decisive role.

      The psychological features of such crises doubtless bear the stamp of the time and of the civilization in question, but one common denominator must have been an exacerbation of society’s hysterical condition. This deviation or, better yet, formative deficiency of character, is a perennial sickness of societies, especially the privileged elites. The existence of exaggerated individual cases, especially such characterized as clinical, is an offshoot of the level of social hysteria, quite frequently correlated with some additional causes such as carriers of minor lesions of brain tissue. Quantitatively and qualitatively, these individuals may serve to reveal and evaluate such times…
      (end quote) {Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology, excerpts, pp. 63-70}

      Comment by Laura Knight-Jadczyk — December 5, 2009 @ 10:42 am | Reply

      • About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years earlier:

        ‘A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government.’

        ‘A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.’

        ‘From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.’

        ‘The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years.’

        ‘During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:
        1. From bondage to spiritual faith;
        2. From spiritual faith to great courage;
        3. From courage to liberty;
        4. From liberty to abundance;
        5. From abundance to complacency;
        6. From complacency to apathy;
        7. From apathy to dependence;
        8. From dependence back into bondage.’

        Comment by chris — December 8, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

    • Did the simulation also take into account the possibility that predators may cling together in order to increase survivability? Although on the face of it it sounds like a contradiction, sociable sociopaths, but it is quite commonplace for psychopaths to stick together in gangs, on a lower level, and noble hierarchies on a higher level. Although psychopaths may despise and persecute outsiders they tend to lick up to the guys who are higher up in the pecking order. Codes of honor, respect for “made men”, status, titles etc. all serve to add cohesiveness to groups of collaborating psychopaths.

      Therefore, did this simulation take this fashionable phenomenon into account or did it simply run wild on the assumption that predators do not cooperate whatsoever?

      Comment by Phil — December 8, 2009 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

      • I think it was a simple simulation.
        But I would like to find a more complete account than my memory provides.
        Real life is full of such dualities as you describe.
        But a simulation of pure behavior can be useful in understanding the value of each strategy. And why sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

        Comment by chris — December 8, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

      • Yeah working with toy models can give you insights indeed. However, the downside of using such models is the risk of lack of realism. It is perfectly legate to assume that psychopaths operating on their own, like lone wolves, enjoy less survival prospects than psychopaths working together in groups, like wolf packs do too.

        From any casual glance at the structure of society it is apparent that indeed, “even” psychopaths do tend to cling together in mutually beneficial and cooperative groups. We have the Yakuza in Japan, the Triads in China, the Mafia in Italy and the US, there’s the Russian Mafia, America is being swamped by ruthless Latino gangs. You have organized religion, like the Catholic Church that offers a particularly hypocritical kind of refuge to the psychopath (think of the Crusades, Inquisition etc). There’s politics that’s filled to the brim with power mongering psychos. You have your ample supply of money grubbing banksters. You have your corporate yuppies whose institution, the corporation, is demonstrably clinically psychopathic. And then of course you have your military to which psychos naturally gravitate because of an obvious systemic lack of care for the well-being of fellow human beings.

        So you have all those niches that offer plenty of room for aspiring or practicing psychopaths, and they have done so for hundreds of years, if not thousands of years already.

        Therefore any toy model of social reality that fails to take into account the sociability of the sociopath does not transcend mere academic merit unfortunately.

        Comment by Phil — December 9, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

  4. The book “Critical Mass by Philip Ball includes some dynamic population modelling (if that’s the right description) which might be of interest. See Chapter 17 “Order in Eden – Learning to cooperate” and, particularly, Chapter 18 “Pavlov’s Victory – Is reciprocity good for us?”.

    Thanks for an interesting discussion. (I linked to here from Phil’s comment at Laura’s site.)
    Regards
    Malcolm

    Comment by Malcolm — February 3, 2010 @ 1:27 am | Reply

    • Thank you for your feedback Malcolm. I just ordered the book.🙂

      Comment by Phil — February 3, 2010 @ 7:12 pm | Reply

  5. Reblogged this on lucrezialourdes.

    Comment by LucreziaLourdes — August 22, 2013 @ 11:57 pm | Reply


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