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Signs of the Times for Mon, 11 Dec 2006

Henry See
Signs of the Times
11 December 2006
If you are a reader of the Signs of the Times, chances are you are interested in coming to an understanding of the truth of both your own life and life on this planet. While we may only be able to get better and better approximations of this truth, that is, as objective as possible descriptions of the world and ourselves, the dynamics at work in human relations on all levels, and what our role as individuals might be, at the heart of our lives there is a need to seek this truth.

Because we are like that, we tend to project the same state of mind on others. We can't possibly imagine a life without this deep-seated need for the truth. It then comes as a shock when we encounter people who have no such need and who's actions belie any words they might speak suggesting a common interest in truth seeking. It can often take years to make this discovery, depending upon how deep in the illusion we are living and whether or not we are surrounded by genuinely like-minded people on the same path who can share data and compare notes along the route.

One of our central concerns on this site is the question of psychopathy and pathologies. From our own run-ins with these types to their effect on society as a whole, as described in clinical detail in Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski, people of conscience are faced with a major problem. And it is a problem that is not acknowledged, which aggravates the problem. How can we solve it if we don't admit it exists?

One of the characteristics of the psychopath and other pathological types is that they have a different relationship to the truth than do people of conscience. We offer a short text below that illustrates this difference. It was left as a comment on the blog of a member of the Signs of the Times forum.

I can't remember if truth ever meant much in my life.  I can count on the fingers of one hand all the times when I really wanted to let someone know the truth, when it was extremely important.  It is rare that I am lacking attention so much that I would attempt to attract it using this extreme, irrational and ineffective method.  With all that, I get very upset if in such situation I am 'found guilty' of telling the truth. 

I began to tell the truth when I understood that no one has any criteria that would allow to distinguish the truth from a lie, with a high degree of precision.  This means that one can tell the truth without consequences, same as lying!  It was a real discovery that opened many extra doors:

- if someone didn't like my truth, I could say it was a lie, and enjoy peace and quiet.

- if someone didn't like my truth, I could maintain that it is truth, and fele [sic] proud of my principles. 

- if someone didn't like my lie, I could say it was truth, and enjoy the other persons's confusion. 

- if someone didn't like my lie, I could confirm it was a lie, and watch the other person felling is proud of his power of perception. 

- if someone liked my lie, I could say that it is nothing but the truth, and bask in the sun rays of another's person's happiness. 

- if someone liked my lie, I could say it is a lie, and have a nice juicy argument. 

- if someone liked my truth, I could say it was a lie, and enjoy the feeling of power and security.

- if someone liked my truth, I could admit it is the whole truth, and enjoy openness and mutual understanding. 

So it looks like I learned to use a truth as certain means, but still has no clue why anyone would need a truth as goal and an end, in and of itself. 


I usually say whatever comes to mind, without much thought as to whether it happen to be truth or lie.  It is indeed very simple.  Before, I used to wonder whether truth and lie have some special meaning and significance, but then, I settled on the thought that, from everything that is ever said, very little has any meaning and significance. 

However, if I get myself in the situation when what was said has great importance either for me, or for a person I am talking to - that's incredibly stressful.  Then I have to think, and there is no time to be lazy.  In such situations the truth brings about such an adrenalin [sic] rush, that no lie could stand the comparison.

A rather astonishing piece of reasoning, isn't it?

The distinction between truth and a lie is a matter of predation: how will the author get what he or she needs? There is no interest in truth as an abstract idea, as a noble goal, as something integral to one's life or being. It is merely a rush, a kick of adrenaline, a way to get high and overcome a certain boredom.

It is also interesting to note how the needs of the writer can so quickly shift. It is as if the many small "I"s of this person's personality are in continual flux, following an algorithm of predation, the aim of which can change from one moment to the next depending upon the interplay with the victim and the next necessary move that is needed to keep the prey in play in order to arouse the manipulative kick.

The writer is describing a mind-set that is far away from that of a person of conscience. Try, however, to see the actions of someone like Dick Cheney through this warped lens. The same juggling of truth and lie is clear in the actions of the Bush regime. The lie is the constant, and the small dash of the truth is thrown out from time to time to get a reaction. Think of Rumsfeld's remark about the missile that hit the Pentagon or that Flight 93 was shot down. DO you think Rummy was feeling the shot of adrenaline as he made them?

Andrew Lobaczewski writes about the different mind-set of the essential psychopath. He suggests that normal people can "learn to speak their conceptual language" the way one would learn a foreign language.

In spite of their deficiencies in normal psychological and moral knowledge, they develop and then have at their disposal a knowledge of their own, something lacked by people with a natural world view. They learn to recognize each other in a crowd as early as childhood, and they develop an awareness of the existence of other individuals similar to them. They also become conscious of being different from the world of those other people surrounding them. They view us from a certain distance, like a para-specific variety. Natural human reactions - which often fail to elicit interest to normal people because they are considered self-evident - strike the psychopath as strange and, interesting, and even comical. They therefore observe us, deriving conclusions, forming their different world of concepts. They become experts in our weaknesses and sometimes effect heartless experiments. The suffering and injustice they cause inspire no guilt within them, since such reactions from others are simply a result of their being different and apply only to "those other" people they perceive to be not quite conspecific. Neither a normal person nor our natural world view can fully conceive nor properly evaluate the existence of this world of different concepts.

A researcher into such phenomena can glimpse the deviant knowledge of the psychopath through long-term studies of the personalities of such people, using it with some difficulty, like a foreign language. As we shall see below, such practical skill becomes rather widespread in nations afflicted by that macro-social pathological phenomenon wherein this anomaly plays the inspiring role.

A normal person can learn to speak their conceptual language even somewhat proficiently, but the psychopath is never able to incorporate the world view of a normal person, although they often try to do so all their lives. The product of their efforts is only a role and a mask behind which they hide their deviant reality. [Political Ponerology, pp. 127-128]

The "heartless experiments" noted by Lobaczewski call to mind the description given above of using truth for kicks and the pleasure described by the writer of the manipulations of his or her listener. Imagine an intimate relationship with an individual like this. Your world would quickly become topsy-turvy, your inner compass completely out-of-whack with the shifts from truth to lies.

This chaos manifests in our world, too. All around us, words and actions do not match. Our leaders tell us one thing through their servants in the media, while the facts on the ground offer a widely contrasting counterpoint. The effects on society are the same as in a couple: the moral compass of people of conscience becomes disoriented. Individuals can no longer tell up from down, right from wrong, truth from falsehood. And after a certain time, they no longer care. They give up. They can no longer make sense of it all, so they turn it off.

Over the years, we have received many emails from readers of this site thanking us for our work on psychopathy. These people have been brutally scarred by their relations with individuals such as the writer above. They thought the problem was theirs, that they weren't doing something right, that they lacked a capacity for understanding the other person. After learning about psychopathy, they finally understood that the problem lay elsewhere, it lay in the predator who had come into their lives.

The same process occurs on the social scale. People who come to an understanding of psychopathy and political ponerology are then able to make sense of the world. They are equipped with tools that most people do not have. They can begin a process of becoming inoculated against the effects of the special knowledge the psychopath has of the psychology of normal people. They are then able to shine a light on this, oh, so real problem and help others to begin working on their own mental hygiene.

It feels as if events are speeding up, that the train of humanity's illusions is getting ready to crash into the wall of reality, leaving more dead and injured than we can possibly guess. While we might not be able to avoid the coming accident - though can we really call it an accident when the outcome can be foreseen? - those who can see its arrival may have a better chance of surviving.

Join in the discussion of the comments on truth as kick on the Signs forum.

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