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Political Ponerology
As mentioned in an earlier post, I observed that an important scholar introducing the concept of pathocracy, and who introduced me to the importance of systemic incursion of psychopaths into politics, was Andrew Łobaczewski. In his book, Political Ponerology, on several occasions, he provided extended discussion of a phenomenon, for which he provides no precise name. Here are some of his observations.

He refers to times of extreme comfort, wherein an aversion to discomfort leads people to resist having to hear uncomfortable truths:
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 give rise to "bad" times.

When a few generations' worth of "good-time" insouciance and increasing hysterics results in a societal deficit regarding psychological skill and moral criticism, this paves the way for pathological plotters, spellbinders, even more primitive impostors, and their organized systems of social and moral destruction to act and merge into the processes of the origination of evil. They are essential factors in its synthesis.
Their goals and ideas, which result from their deviant manner of experiencing, easily hook into minds in which the sense and understanding of psychological realities has already started to deteriorate.

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 "highly contagious disease" or, better yet, formative deficiency of character, is a perennial sickness of societies, especially the privileged elites.

Grey-haired Europeans living in the U.S. today are struck by the similarity between these phenomena and the ones dominating Europe at the times of their youth. The emotionalism dominating individual, collective, and political life, as well as the subconscious selection and substitution of data in reasoning, make communication difficult.
And a little further on in his book, he adds this observation, worthy of quoting at length:
Undamaged brain tissue retains our species' natural psychological properties. This is particularly evident in instinctive and affective responses, which are natural, albeit often violent and insufficiently controlled. The experiences, problems, and ideas of people with...anomalies grow in the medium of the normal human world to which they belong by nature. Thus their abnormal manner of experiencing, their thinking anomalies, and their egotistic aspirations find relatively easy entry into other people's minds and are perceived within the categories of the natural worldview and its moralizing tendencies.

Such behavior on the part of characteropathic personalities terrorizes and traumatizes the minds and feelings of normal people, gradually depriving them of the ability to use common sense. In spite of their resistance and critical reactions, normal people come to assimilate such psychological material and become used to the rigid habits of pathological thinking and experiencing.
There are many similar type observations in his book. And most of them have a similarly abstract flavor to them. What should be coming through sufficiently, though, is the idea that at certain points in their history, societies have a weakness for capture by these pathological plotters, spellbinders, and primitive impostors. This capture process takes advantage of atrophied critical faculties to corrupt the thought and communication processes of the majority, clinically normal people. This corruption of normal thought and communication plunges the society into a kind of psychopathic dream world. During this time, psychopaths vastly expand their reign, even - to the great misery of normal people - gaining decisive political power. That outcome is what Łobaczewski calls pathocracy. However, he doesn't seem to have a word for that psychopathic dream world which at some time effectively spellbinds the clinically normal people, allowing the ascent of the psychopaths into political power.1

As it seems to me that to be able to fight something, one must be able to identify it - and since at stake is the prospect of catastrophic human suffering - I want to remedy this lacuna by introducing to the study of pathocracy the concept of the psychorium, which I first introduced last post, speculating on how the globalist wing of the ruling faction of the managerial class uses its language skills to generate self-serving distortion in the reality field. It's sometimes helpful, when grappling with a neologism like "psychorium," to consider comparable linguistic constructs. The useful one I'd point to here is the term sensorium.

This universally accepted term is etymologically composed of the root word "sense" and the suffix "orium." The latter refers to ""having to do with, characterized by, tending to, place for," that to which the suffix is attached. So, the sensorium might be characterized as the realm of the senses. It is the space of sensual experience: where the senses are the defining contours of that experiential realm. Likewise, I intend the psychorium to characterize the realm of the psychopathic: a realm or space whose contours are defined by the qualities of psychopathy.

The necessity of such a term is dictated by the acknowledgement, in the pathocracy literature, that political psychopaths act deliberately to disrupt the sense of normality in the world. The social chaos created simultaneously disorients the clinically normal, making it more difficult for them to recognize and counteract the encroaching pathocracy and puts the psychopath - who does not experience such disorientation - into a psychologically advantage position. Many clinically normal people, trying to adapt, fearing negative consequences of non-conformity, will play along with the newly imposed conditions, and thereby serve to advance and legitimize them.

All this falls under what I'm calling the psychorium. The space of psychopathic mentality, either as conditions imposed by political psychopaths or perpetuated by clinically normal people trying to survive under those conditions, is the psychorium. The psychorium is the lived experience of psychopathy as socially and politically manifest in the world - regardless of who is living that experience. Pathocracy is the governance or system of rule by psychopaths; the psychorium is the mass psychology that makes pathocracy possible.2

This addition to the lexicon, I hope is both useful and economical. I propose it in the full awareness of the larger context in which such a proposal needs to be understood. Indeed, as the rest of this post will demonstrate, such awareness has a reflexive quality. Clarifying terms and even inventing neologisms contribute to knowledge by helping to fix meanings in a place precise enough to be accessible to any interlocutor. Language grows out of a world of symbolic nuance. As I've argued elsewhere, our symbolic communication evolved precisely to shade our signification with nuance.3 So, the better we fix our terms, whether new or traditional, the better our chance of approaching a shared understanding of truth and constituting a viable community of discussion.

The exact opposite of this is the effort (deliberate or otherwise) to confuse people about the meaning of words. Obvious examples of such confusion efforts are the use of the deceptive motte and bailey equivocation or the subversion of traditional meanings of words with trojan horse semantics. A currently popular example of the motte and bailey strategy has been evident in the defense of critical race theory. When the light of public scrutiny shines upon it, defenders of CRT resort to the motte in insisting that it is something innocuous or even apparently virtuous, like racial sensitivity training or anti-racism. Only when the wider public isn't paying close attention, the bailey is occupied, and they openly talk about eradicating Whiteness or imposing racial equity commissars.

Trojan horse semantics are evident, for example, in the popular weaponization of a term like "inclusion." When certain activists petition for its addition to public-facing documents, most normal people assume it is meant to represent the traditional use of the term. This traditional use indicates non-exclusion. Perhaps it might be assumed to militate against discrimination. It may carry connotations of being compassionate, welcoming, and fair. For those executing the trojan horse strategy, though, it smuggles into an organizational context a prohibition of criticism of privileged people or ideas.4 Such criticism is prohibited because it makes the privileged people feel insecure about their privilege, and so is alleged to effectively fail to include them.

Under the guise of inclusiveness, then, "inclusion" in practice is an explicit exclusion of non-privileged ideas, or the people who would advance them (e.g., conservatives, libertarians, populists, or liberals), or in some cases people who are simply taken as somehow symbolizing those ideas or the related insecurity of the privileged (e.g., males or white people). What normal people, using traditional semantic understanding, thought was inclusion is really trojan horse semantics for smuggling in policies of deliberate exclusion. And, of course, given the two available meanings of the word, in a pinch, when called out on the trojan horse semantics, such activists can and do revert to the motte and bailey strategy, claiming by "inclusion" they are only trying to prevent discrimination.

Such linguistic tricks, whether intended to or not, erode the community of discussion, compromising our shared pursuit of truth, by creating semantic confusion and cognitive chaos. They hammer a wedge between the real, empirical world and our means to communicate to each other about that real world. They corrupt language in the aid of social, cognitive chaos. They in fact generate the very reality distortion field which births to the psychorium. Adding a neologism like "psychorium" to the lexicon, refining our tools of social description, helps us grapple our way toward truth and communication.

Those other linguistic strategies, the motte and bailey and the trojan horse, do the opposite. And in so doing they demonstrate the value of the concept of the psychorium; their strategic operations are quintessential artifacts of the psychorium in action — a form of cognitive colonization. Recognizing this cognitive colonization, into a psychopathological socio-mental space, is essential for the opponents of pathocracy to understand what they are up against. Fighting the psychorium is trench warfare over territory that is cognition itself.
  • 1 He does come close to characterizing this phenomenon with the term "hystericization." This term though is aimed more at characterizing the psychodynamic nature of the processes and associated conditions of governance paralysis. Valuable as that is, it does not evoke the valuable recognition that such hystericization contributes to a psychosocial space which people (literally) cognitively inhabit. This is cognitive capture, or perhaps more precisely colonization.
  • 2 Yes, I concede to the linguistic sticklers that the more accurate construction would be the more cumbersome "psychopathorium." However, in the generous spirit that has allowed the less accurate "homophobia" to stand in for the more accurate, but cumbersome, "homosexualphobia," perhaps I too might be allowed this little linguistic license.
  • 3 McConkey, Not for the Common Good: Communication and Human Evolution.
  • 4 In this context, privilege is determined by "intersectional" hierarchies.