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Tue, 19 Nov 2019
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Ponerology 101: The Psychopath's Mask of Sanity

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© M.C. Roessler 2010
A Wall Street Psychopath?

In 1960 Bernie Madoff founded his Wall Street firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. As chairman of its Board of Directors until his arrest in December of 2008, Madoff saw his firm (and himself) rise to prominence on Wall Street, developing the technology that became NASDAQ, the first and largest electronic stock exchange in America, in the process. A multimillionaire with over $800-million in shared assets with his wife and high school sweetheart, Ruth Alpern, Madoff was well-regarded as a financial mastermind and prolific philanthropist. He exuded an aura of wealth, confidence, and connections, and many trusted him as a pillar of the community. Sounds like a great guy, huh?

His humanitarian image was supported by his work for various nonprofit groups like the American Jewish Congress and Yeshiva University in New York, the various commissions and boards on which he sat, and the millions he donated to educational, political, cultural, and medical causes. As his firm's website made clear at the time (it has now been removed): "Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm's hallmark." It's funny how things change with a little perspective and a pattern emerges only in retrospect. It wasn't until December of 2008 that the public became aware that this "personal interest" was anything but one of integrity, and that image stopped being taken for reality.

Comment: Go to Part 3 in the Ponerology 101 series


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Is Your Favorite Politician a Psychopath?

Psychopaths rule our world
© Sott
What do John Edwards, Bob Barr, Rod Blagjevich, John Ensign, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, William Jefferson, William Jefferson Clinton, David Vitter, James McGreevy, Tom DeLay, Charles Rangel, Newt Gingrich, and David Paterson have in common?

Obviously, they're all politicians who've been caught doing something illegal, unethical, mind-bogglingly self-destructive, or all of the above.

But what also binds them is that none of them seem to believe they really did anything wrong, in spite of vast evidence to the contrary. When they finally have no option but to appear contrite, their apologies feel stilted, scripted and anything but heartfelt.

The latest offender, New York Governor David Paterson, hasn't even gotten around to apologizing yet. In the meantime, he's apparently managed to convince himself that it's okay to phone up and intimidate a woman his top aide just viciously beat up. Then there's John Edwards. I've just finished reading The Politician by his aide, Andrew Young -- an irresistibly salacious takedown, but one that never gets near understanding Edward's breathtaking brazenness and utter obliviousness. Or how about the much-indicted Rod Blagjevich joining the cast of "The Apprentice?" while he awaits his own criminal trial -- and continues to profess his utter innocence despite dozens of tape recordings that make it clear exactly what he did.

Comment: The unsavory personal lives of politicians undoubtedly brings much destruction to individuals directly involved. However, it's important to recognize that their toxic influence extends far beyond their personal life to involve whole nations. The results of having a pathological leadership, a pathocracy, is nothing short of devastating for humanity.

See Lobaczewski and the origins of Political Ponerology for more information.


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Ponerology 101: Lobaczewski and the origins of Political Ponerology

Psychopaths rule our world
© Sott.net
Beginning immediately after World War II and continuing in the decades after the imposition of Soviet dictatorship on the countries of Eastern Europe, a group of scientists - primarily Polish, Czech, and Hungarian - secretly collaborated on a scientific study of the nature of totalitarianism. Blocked by the State Security Services from contact with the West, their work remained secret, even while American researchers like Hervey Cleckley and Gustave Gilbert were struggling with the same questions.1 The last known living member of this group, a Polish psychologist and expert on psychopathy named Andrzej Łobaczewski (1921-2007), would eventually name their new science - a synthesis of psychological, psychiatric, sociological, and historical studies - "ponerology", a term he borrowed from the priests of the Benedictine Abbey in the historic Polish village of Tyniec. Derived from poneros in New Testament Greek, the word suggests an inborn evil with a corrupting influence, a fitting description of psychopathy and its social effects.

Most of what we know about this research comes from precious few sources. Łobaczewski's sole contact with the researchers was through Stefan Szuman (1889 - 1972), a retired professor who passed along anonymous summaries of research between members of the group. The consequences for being discovered doing this type of forbidden research were severe; scientists faced arrest, torture, and even death, so strict conspiracy amongst their little group was essential. They safeguarded themselves and their work by sharing their work anonymously. This way, if any were arrested and tortured, they could not reveal names and locations of others, a very real threat to their personal safety and the completion of the work. Łobaczewski only shared the names of two Polish professors of the previous generation who were involved in the early stages of the work - Stefan Błachowski (1889 - 1962) and Kazimierz Dąbrowski (1902 - 1980).2 Błachowski died under suspicious circumstances and Łobaczewski speculates that he was murdered by the State police for his part in the research. Dąbrowski emigrated and, unwilling to renounce his Polish citizenship in order to work in the United States, took a position at the University of Alberta in Canada, where he was able to have dual citezenship. A close reading of Dąbrowski's published works in English shows the theoretical roots of what would become ponerology.3

Comment: Go to Part 2 in the Ponerology 101 series


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Intolerable Cruelty: Cover Stories and a Culture of Lies

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There was this boy I sent to the 'lectric chair at Huntsville Hill here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn't any passion to it. Told me that he'd been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he'd do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. "Be there in about fifteen minutes". I don't know what to make of that. I sure don't. The crime you see now, it's hard to even take its measure. It's not that I'm afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don't want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don't understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He'd have to say, "O.K., I'll be part of this world."

- Sheriff Bell in No Country for Old Men
Over the last decades the Coen brothers have repeatedly proven themselves to be masters of portraying the tragicomic realities of American life. From the quirky and trivial to the depths of moral failings and utter depravity, their films often focus on the criminal mind and its varied psychological roots. They get to the heart of human weakness, the tempting lure of a "free lunch", and the inscrutable darkness of the psychopathic mind. Most notable of recent years was Javier Bardem's rendition of Anton Chigurh, the psychopathic killer from the Coens' Academy Award-winning adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel, No Country for Old Men. In many ways recalling the Coens' earlier work, Fargo, the audience experiences the film's drama through the eyes and conscience of a county Sheriff in West Texas, Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones). We share his confusion and pained desire to understand the senseless violence against which he struggles every day.

Vader

Pathocracy: Brave New World or 1984?

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© Sott.net
To those who have grown up in countries considered "free", the vision of George Orwell's 1984 strikes us as a threatening nightmare, a warning of a not-so-distant future where freedom is but a word. Like seed perpetually scorched before it even has a chance to take root, all that it means to be human is actively degraded, denied, and punished at even the smallest display.

The vision of the Party's rule, its inhumanity and utter ruthlessness and mendacity frighten us and we hope it will never come to pass here. But we have no clue how to prevent it, and just like the people in Orwell's fictional world, we are perpetually caught off guard when it comes to pass in our own lives. One day we wake up and realize we are living in a nightmare, and we have been for a long time. "It'll never happen here" and "We've taken every precaution" become "When did it happen" and "How did we get to this point?" This perennial sickness takes hold of a nation and we are at its mercy.

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Arun Gandhi And 'The Jews'

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Dr. Arun Gandhi in front of a picture of his grandfather Mahatma Gandhi

Arun Gandhi is the fifth grandson of the famous Mahatma Gandhi, a public figure and an established and true man of peace. So what was he doing spreading nefarious 'conspiracy theories' about the Jews back in January 2008?

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Psychopaths Among Us - ABC Report

Click the play button to watch this 12 minute report by ABC News Australia


Is your boss manipulative? Intimidating? Totally lacking in remorse? Yet superficially charming? Then you could be working with a workplace psychopath. The latest figures suggest one in ten managers are psychopaths, and this week Catalyst goes deep inside their minds - what makes them tick, how do you spot them; and how do you avoid being crushed by them. We'll also run a handy test - tune in to find out if your boss is an office psychopath.

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Use It Or Lose It? Study Suggests The Brain Can Remember a "Forgotten" Language

Many of us learn a foreign language when we are young, but in some cases, exposure to that language is brief and we never get to hear or practice it subsequently. Our subjective impression is often that the neglected language completely fades away from our memory. But does "use it or lose it" apply to foreign languages? Although it may seem we have absolutely no memory of the neglected language, new research suggests this "forgotten" language may be more deeply engraved in our minds than we realize.

Psychologists Jeffrey Bowers, Sven L. Mattys, and Suzanne Gage from the University of Bristol recruited volunteers who were native English speakers but who had learned either Hindi or Zulu as children when living abroad. The researchers focused on Hindi and Zulu because these languages contain certain phonemes that are difficult for native English speakers to recognize. A phoneme is the smallest sound in a language-a group of phonemes forms a word.

The scientists asked the volunteers to complete a background vocabulary test to see if they remembered any words from the neglected language. They then trained the participants to distinguish between pairs of phonemes that started Hindi or Zulu words.

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Sleep Helps Reduce Errors in Memory, Research Suggests

Sleep may reduce mistakes in memory, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a cognitive neuroscientist at Michigan State University.

The findings, which appear in the September issue of the journal Learning & Memory, have practical implications for everyone from students flubbing multiple choice tests to senior citizens confusing their medications, said Kimberly Fenn, principal investigator and MSU assistant professor of psychology.

"It's easy to muddle things in your mind," Fenn said. "This research suggests that after sleep you're better able to tease apart the incorrect aspect of that memory."

Fenn and colleagues from the University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis studied the presence of false memory in groups of college students. While previous research has shown that sleep improves memory, this study is the first to address errors in memory, she said.

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Truth to Power: Psychopaths Rule Our World

Ponerology
© SOTT.net
The writing's on the wall
Watching Europe's political class squirm after Ireland's No vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum last year, I couldn't help but feel that some of them know something we don't: there is an agenda that must be met. The Irish people could not be threatened into sealing the nEU Deal, yet it's business as usual for the fanatical Eurocrats who are adamant nothing will get in their way. Incessant media hype is portending economic ruin lest Ireland vote 'correctly' at the second time of asking this fall.

It is evident, for those with eyes to see, that political discord between rival criminal cartels is purely for public consumption. Bread and circuses. Policy is not shaped by party politics. Decisions are made by a few: everyone else adjusts or starves. Weapons of financial mass destruction deployed by Central Bankers and Disaster-Capitalists, under the guise of protecting the markets and improving the efficiency of the system, vacuum the wealth of the nations - the work people produce - into ever fewer hands.

While we share a symbiotic reality, mutually bound by rules and conventions, theirs is very different. It shadows ours, feeding off the real economy below by manipulating the supply of money, which private banks control. 'Market crashes' are built into the system. Rules designed to regulate economies and prevent volatility are periodically altered. Hysteria is induced in people through repeated media suggestion forecasting impending doom. In the ensuing panic brought on by shock, windows of opportunity open for the few to recast the rules in their favour, extending and entrenching their vice on the real economy.