Author Topic: Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or "I, Psychopath"?  (Read 234543 times)

Offline purplehaze

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2008, 03:33:41 AM »
Here's a really good post (link below) from a blog I read often:

Angry with a Narcissist? Read On...

If you've done much reading here on my blog you've perhaps noticed that I focus on the "what" not the "why" of malignant narcissism. In other words, I focus more on what they actually do than how they became the way they are.

I am decidedly uninterested in the etiology of malignant narcissism. This is not because I'm an incurious person. This is because I recognize that we can never know to any degree of true certainty all the factors that went into the birth of evil. God refers to the "mystery of iniquity" rather than explain reasons for its existence, therefore it is very unlikely that we finite and mortal beings are better than God at divining the mystery of evil. To explain why evil is is to justify it.

I know that there are those who will disagree with this assertion, but it is true nonetheless. It is impossible to explain how evil came into being without, in some substantive way, lessening it. We assume when something is explained to our satisfaction that we've taken the mystery out of the puzzle. Its not evil...its the result of abuse. Its not evil...they have messed up chemicals in their brains. Its not evil...their genetics are at fault. Any explanation of the etiology of evil must discount the power of choice, free will, and personal responsibility. Period.

You don't have read much of Sam Vaknin's fanciful ideas of what creates a narcissist to see how he relieves himself of responsibility for what he is by his explanations. Mother, society, genetics, abuse, neglect. Never is Sam Vaknin ultimately to blame for choosing to be a parasitic life form. Because he feels he can explain how he, the narcissist, came to be...he doesn't have to believe he is evil. To explain the etiology of evil will, inevitably, explain it away. Who exactly is helped by explaining away evil? Do we actually make evil go away by saying it doesn't exist? Do we change evil doers by not calling them evil? No, we only succeed in making it easier for evil doers to continue their life of crime.

The psychology establishment is a prime example of how explanations for evil have been used to do away with the entire concept that evil even exists. Pretending they have the ability to find a root cause for the problems of people's souls, they have been willing to rationalize even the most base behaviors of humanity into simple, even justifiable, reactions to their circumstances. They must paste the corruption somewhere -- so they lay it on society at large in order to give a pass to the individual in the mis-guided belief that the individual's sense of shame somehow explains why he acts out. This helps no one but the evil doer. Society then has to suffer the predation of evil individuals even while bearing the blame for the evil deeds perpetrated upon it. Society is you and me. Are you really willing to bear this kind of responsibility for the acts of another over which you have no power to stop or persuade from his evil course? I'm not.

Evil behaviors and evil outcomes can become absolutely undeniable in their most egregious manifestations. So undeniable that even the psych community is forced to sometimes admit that evil exists. Yet, even so, they will expend super human efforts to find explanations for the unspeakable. They are so adverse to the idea that human evil exists, and that it is volitional, that they can become extremely creative at finding explanations. It seems that evil in our midst stirs up very powerful emotions in us. Thus, it can cause us to reflexively try to explain it away, at least in part, so we can settle our own internal maelstrom of emotions evoked by evil deeds witnessed or received. Many, especially Christians, try to calm their internal storm by looking for explanations in order to feel pity or compassion for the evil doer. (Notice, again, how we instinctively know that to explain evil will somehow lessen it or reduce its impact on us.) We want to feel good about ourselves, so we try to lessen the culpability of the evil doer so we can settle our own angry feelings. We think that our negative feelings about the evil doer is some kind of condemnation of ourselves rather than the perp. We need to get over that.

It is our discomfort with our own feelings which often drives us to search for a place of "understanding" because we hope that by understanding we will calm the savage seas of our own emotions. For various reasons people feel guilty for having negative feelings. Especially anger. Denying your anger, or trying to subvert it by "understanding" the how the malignant narcissist became what they are is not going to get you where you want to go.

Your anger is not wrong. Your anger is a sign that you recognize the crimes which have been committed against you or those you love. Your anger is actually a healthy sign! Anger is an appropriate emotion in the wake of evil or injustice. Negative feelings are not inherently sinful or wrong. Emotions happen. Don't try to escape what you're feeling by denying or pretending it isn't there. Acknowledge it. What you do with your emotions is where right and wrong come into the picture. Obviously, being angry isn't justification for abusing someone or doing wrong ourselves.

I am of the firm opinion that certain things should outrage us. Evil acts should make us angry. It is an appropriate and reasonable response to injustice and malicious acts. It is a sign that you respect yourself (or others) when you rise up in outrage at egregious behavior. Acknowledge what you feel and don't be afraid of your own strong reactions to evil. Negative feelings should serve as a sign telling you that something is seriously out of whack. That is where your fore brain is supposed to come in. Emotions are not intelligent or mature. They are signals sent from primitive places in our brains. So what to do with them? Acknowledge they are what they are. Then, you apply your reasoning ability to the situation. What is the injustice? What can you do to deal with the situation to remove the threat? Is it time to bring in the law? Is it time to remove yourself? Don't be afraid of your strong reactions. Use them to motivate you to change the circumstance. Legally and morally.

Don't get side-tracked by your negative emotions into trying to understand the incomprehensible. You will not help the narcissist by "understanding" how he became malignant. You will not help yourself either. Again, this is because we can hypothesize from here to eternity but never know how evil was born. This is worst than wasted energy. Spending your finite time and energy trying to solve what can't be solved is only going to distract you from finding solutions to present day problems.

Don't fall for what passes for "truth" by the prescribers of false righteousness. They want peace at all costs. They are willing to overlook the crimes of abusers in order to keep things looking good on the surface. They want you to screw yourself by pretending someone didn't injure you, steal from you, slander you, etc. They demand you submit to bad treatment so they don't have to deal with anything as messy as your hurt or angry feelings at having been crapped on and screwed yet again. See what I'm saying? These people who condemn your negative feelings are demanding you put up with being raped. They are demanding your silence. In fact, in a real sense, they are piling on with the narcissist. They don't want to be inconvenienced by your justifiable reactions to evil deeds done to you or yours. Do not give moral weight to the opinions of someone who is only studying their own convenience and therefore willing to subvert justice in the name of a false peace or truce with evil.

Give up your quest to find peace at the cost of honesty. Be honest with yourself about what you feel. Attempts to lessen the guilt of the guilty is an illegitimate way to cope with your negative reactions to them. Accept the truth that a decent person should be angry and outraged at perverted and evil behaviors. Evil people create themselves. They stand before God Himself with no excuses for their evil deeds. He will strip away all their excuses in the final judgment and they will be forced to bear the full guilt for their choices. We should quit trying to be better than God Himself.

Anna Valerious writes from a Christian standpoint, but she pulls NO PUNCHES with pathologicals... such as Vaknin

Offline Laura

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2008, 12:31:29 PM »
Quote from: purplehaze
It's hard to dig up information on Vaknin without crawling over the wall of stuff he himself has put out there.  A daunting task that needs doing.
Another thing that desperately needs doing is for the so-called "real experts" in NPD to speak up and address him directly.  Knowing academics, they probably think that by ignoring him they are denying him credibility, but the problem is, with his pathological persistence, he's just out there doing the Energizer Bunny routine and flooding the net with his presence.  It's amazing.
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline Laura

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2008, 01:45:44 PM »
Just found a couple of really bizarre articles by Vaknin on the net.  Firs of all, he has this one on his own site:

Quote from: Sam Vaknin

The Psychology of Torture

There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed – one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sadistically and sexually, with undisguised pleasure. Hence the all-pervasive, long-lasting, and, frequently, irreversible effects and outcomes of torture.

In a way, the torture victim's own body is rendered his worse enemy. It is corporeal agony that compels the sufferer to mutate, his identity to fragment, his ideals and principles to crumble. The body becomes an accomplice of the tormentor, an uninterruptible channel of communication, a treasonous, poisoned territory.

It fosters a humiliating dependency of the abused on the perpetrator. Bodily needs denied – sleep, toilet, food, water – are wrongly perceived by the victim as the direct causes of his degradation and dehumanization. As he sees it, he is rendered bestial not by the sadistic bullies around him but by his own flesh.

The concept of "body" can easily be extended to "family", or "home". Torture is often applied to kin and kith, compatriots, or colleagues. This intends to disrupt the continuity of "surroundings, habits, appearance, relations with others", as the CIA put it in one of its manuals. A sense of cohesive self-identity depends crucially on the familiar and the continuous. By attacking both one's biological body and one's "social body", the victim's psyche is strained to the point of dissociation.

Beatrice Patsalides describes this transmogrification thus in "Ethics of the Unspeakable: Torture Survivors in Psychoanalytic Treatment":

"As the gap between the 'I' and the 'me' deepens, dissociation and alienation increase. The subject that, under torture, was forced into the position of pure object has lost his or her sense of interiority, intimacy, and privacy. Time is experienced now, in the present only, and perspective – that which allows for a sense of relativity – is foreclosed. Thoughts and dreams attack the mind and invade the body as if the protective skin that normally contains our thoughts, gives us space to breathe in between the thought and the thing being thought about, and separates between inside and outside, past and present, me and you, was lost."
Torture robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality and, thus, is the equivalent of cognitive death. Space and time are warped by sleep deprivation. The self ("I") is shattered. The tortured have nothing familiar to hold on to: family, home, personal belongings, loved ones, language, name. Gradually, they lose their mental resilience and sense of freedom. They feel alien – unable to communicate, relate, attach, or empathize with others.

Torture splinters early childhood grandiose narcissistic fantasies of uniqueness, omnipotence, invulnerability, and impenetrability. But it enhances the fantasy of merger with an idealized and omnipotent (though not benign) other – the inflicter of agony. The twin processes of individuation and separation are reversed.

Torture is the ultimate act of perverted intimacy. The torturer invades the victim's body, pervades his psyche, and possesses his mind. Deprived of contact with others and starved for human interactions, the prey bonds with the predator. "Traumatic bonding", akin to the Stockholm Syndrome, is about hope and the search for meaning in the brutal and indifferent and nightmarish universe of the torture cell.

The abuser becomes the black hole at the center of the victim's surrealistic galaxy, sucking in the sufferer's universal need for solace. The victim tries to "control" his tormentor by becoming one with him (introjecting him) and by appealing to the monster's presumably dormant humanity and empathy.

This bonding is especially strong when the torturer and the tortured form a dyad and "collaborate" in the rituals and acts of torture (for instance, when the victim is coerced into selecting the torture implements and the types of torment to be inflicted, or to choose between two evils).

The psychologist Shirley Spitz offers this powerful overview of the contradictory nature of torture in a seminar titled "The Psychology of Torture" (1989):

"Torture is an obscenity in that it joins what is most private with what is most public. Torture entails all the isolation and extreme solitude of privacy with none of the usual security embodied therein... Torture entails at the same time all the self-exposure of the utterly public with none of its possibilities for camaraderie or shared experience. (The presence of an all powerful other with whom to merge, without the security of the other's benign intentions.)

A further obscenity of torture is the inversion it makes of intimate human relationships. The interrogation is a form of social encounter in which the normal rules of communicating, of relating, of intimacy are manipulated. Dependency needs are elicited by the interrogator, but not so they may be met as in close relationships, but to weaken and confuse. Independence that is offered in return for 'betrayal' is a lie. Silence is intentionally misinterpreted either as confirmation of information or as guilt for 'complicity'.

Torture combines complete humiliating exposure with utter devastating isolation. The final products and outcome of torture are a scarred and often shattered victim and an empty display of the fiction of power."
Obsessed by endless ruminations, demented by pain and a continuum of sleeplessness – the victim regresses, shedding all but the most primitive defense mechanisms: splitting, narcissism, dissociation, Projective Identification, introjection, and cognitive dissonance. The victim constructs an alternative world, often suffering from depersonalization and derealization, hallucinations, ideas of reference, delusions, and psychotic episodes.

Sometimes the victim comes to crave pain – very much as self-mutilators do – because it is a proof and a reminder of his individuated existence otherwise blurred by the incessant torture. Pain shields the sufferer from disintegration and capitulation. It preserves the veracity of his unthinkable and unspeakable experiences.

This dual process of the victim's alienation and addiction to anguish complements the perpetrator's view of his quarry as "inhuman", or "subhuman". The torturer assumes the position of the sole authority, the exclusive fount of meaning and interpretation, the source of both evil and good.

Torture is about reprogramming the victim to succumb to an alternative exegesis of the world, proffered by the abuser. It is an act of deep, indelible, traumatic indoctrination. The abused also swallows whole and assimilates the torturer's negative view of him and often, as a result, is rendered suicidal, self-destructive, or self-defeating.

Thus, torture has no cut-off date. The sounds, the voices, the smells, the sensations reverberate long after the episode has ended – both in nightmares and in waking moments. The victim's ability to trust other people – i.e., to assume that their motives are at least rational, if not necessarily benign – has been irrevocably undermined. Social institutions are perceived as precariously poised on the verge of an ominous, Kafkaesque mutation. Nothing is either safe, or credible anymore.

Victims typically react by undulating between emotional numbing and increased arousal: insomnia, irritability, restlessness, and attention deficits. Recollections of the traumatic events intrude in the form of dreams, night terrors, flashbacks, and distressing associations.
I want to stop here and draw your attention to Vaknin's use of the word "undulating."  This is a clue to the semantic aphasia that he suffers which is a clue to the fact that Vaknin very well could be a psychopath and not a narcissist at all.  Unless, of course, we consider true, integral narcissism as merely sub-criminal or borderline criminal psychopathy.  

Quote from: Sam Vaknin
The tortured develop compulsive rituals to fend off obsessive thoughts. Other psychological sequelae reported include cognitive impairment, reduced capacity to learn, memory disorders, sexual dysfunction, social withdrawal, inability to maintain long-term relationships, or even mere intimacy, phobias, ideas of reference and superstitions, delusions, hallucinations, psychotic microepisodes, and emotional flatness.

Depression and anxiety are very common. These are forms and manifestations of self-directed aggression. The sufferer rages at his own victimhood and resulting multiple dysfunction. He feels shamed by his new disabilities and responsible, or even guilty, somehow, for his predicament and the dire consequences borne by his nearest and dearest. His sense of self-worth and self-esteem are crippled.

In a nutshell, torture victims suffer from a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Their strong feelings of anxiety, guilt, and shame are also typical of victims of childhood abuse, domestic violence, and rape. They feel anxious because the perpetrator's behavior is seemingly arbitrary and unpredictable – or mechanically and inhumanly regular.

They feel guilty and disgraced because, to restore a semblance of order to their shattered world and a modicum of dominion over their chaotic life, they need to transform themselves into the cause of their own degradation and the accomplices of their tormentors.

The CIA, in its "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983" (reprinted in the April 1997 issue of Harper's Magazine), summed up the theory of coercion thus:

"The purpose of all coercive techniques is to induce psychological regression in the subject by bringing a superior outside force to bear on his will to resist. Regression is basically a loss of autonomy, a reversion to an earlier behavioral level. As the subject regresses, his learned personality traits fall away in reverse chronological order. He begins to lose the capacity to carry out the highest creative activities, to deal with complex situations, or to cope with stressful interpersonal relationships or repeated frustrations."
Inevitably, in the aftermath of torture, its victims feel helpless and powerless. This loss of control over one's life and body is manifested physically in impotence, attention deficits, and insomnia. This is often exacerbated by the disbelief many torture victims encounter, especially if they are unable to produce scars, or other "objective" proof of their ordeal. Language cannot communicate such an intensely private experience as pain.

Spitz makes the following observation:

"Pain is also unsharable in that it is resistant to language... All our interior states of consciousness: emotional, perceptual, cognitive and somatic can be described as having an object in the external world... This affirms our capacity to move beyond the boundaries of our body into the external, sharable world. This is the space in which we interact and communicate with our environment. But when we explore the interior state of physical pain we find that there is no object 'out there' – no external, referential content. Pain is not of, or for, anything. Pain is. And it draws us away from the space of interaction, the sharable world, inwards. It draws us into the boundaries of our body."
Bystanders resent the tortured because they make them feel guilty and ashamed for having done nothing to prevent the atrocity. The victims threaten their sense of security and their much-needed belief in predictability, justice, and rule of law. The victims, on their part, do not believe that it is possible to effectively communicate to "outsiders" what they have been through. The torture chambers are "another galaxy". This is how Auschwitz was described by the author K. Zetnik in his testimony in the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961.

Kenneth Pope in "Torture", a chapter he wrote for the "Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender", quotes Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman:

"It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering."
But, more often, continued attempts to repress fearful memories result in psychosomatic illnesses (conversion). The victim wishes to forget the torture, to avoid re-experiencing the often life threatening abuse and to shield his human environment from the horrors. In conjunction with the victim's pervasive distrust, this is frequently interpreted as hypervigilance, or even paranoia. It seems that the victims can't win. Torture is forever.
So, here he appears to be AGAINST torture.  Forget, for the moment, that he may or may not be right about any of the psychological claims he is making.  And keep in mind his semantic aphasia.  He doesn't do too bad when he is quoting or paraphrasing others, but when he tries to write "eloquently" or descriptively, his language deteriorates.  

Now, have a look at the next article where, at the end, he is FOR torture.  And also notice the website that published this article.  Notice how he uses odd phrases like "human rights activists TARGET..."  

Quote from: Sam Vaknin

The Business of Torture

September 03, 2007 01:31 PM EST

On January 16, 2003, the European Court of Human Rights agreed - more than two years after the applications have been filed - to hear six cases filed by Chechens against Russia. The claimants accuse the Russian military of torture and indiscriminate killings. The Court has ruled in the past against the Russian Federation and awarded assorted plaintiffs thousands of euros per case in compensation.

As awareness of human rights increased, as their definition expanded and as new, often authoritarian polities, resorted to torture and repression - human rights advocates and non-governmental organizations proliferated. It has become a business in its own right: lawyers, consultants, psychologists, therapists, law enforcement agencies, scholars and pundits tirelessly peddle books, seminars, conferences, therapy sessions for victims, court appearances and other services.

Human rights activists target mainly countries and multinationals.

In June 2001, the International Labor Rights Fund filed a lawsuit on behalf of 11 villagers against the American oil behemoth, ExxonMobile, for "abetting" abuses in Aceh, Indonesia. They alleged that the company provided the army with equipment for digging mass graves and helped in the construction of interrogation and torture centers.

In November 2002, the law firm of Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll joined other American and South African law firms in filing a complaint that "seeks to hold businesses responsible for aiding and abetting the apartheid regime in South Africa ... forced labor, genocide, extrajudicial killing, torture, sexual assault, and unlawful detention".

Among the accused: "IBM and ICL which provided the computers that enabled South Africa to ... control the black South African population. Car manufacturers provided the armored vehicles that were used to patrol the townships. Arms manufacturers violated the embargoes on sales to South Africa, as did the oil companies. The banks provided the funding that enabled South Africa to expand its police and security apparatus."

Charges were leveled against Unocal in Myanmar and dozens of other multinationals. In September 2002, Berger & Montague filed a class action complaint against Royal Dutch Petroleum and Shell Transport. The oil giants are charged with "purchasing ammunition and using ... helicopters and boats and providing logistical support for 'Operation Restore Order in Ogoniland'" which was designed, according to the law firm, to "terrorize the civilian population into ending peaceful protests against Shell's environmentally unsound oil exploration and extraction activities".

The defendants in all these court cases strongly deny any wrongdoing.

But this is merely one facet of the torture business.

Torture implements are produced - mostly in the West - and sold openly, frequently to nasty regimes in developing countries and even through the Internet. Hi-tech devices abound: sophisticated electroconvulsive stun guns, painful restraints, truth serums, chemicals such as pepper gas. Export licensing is universally minimal and non-intrusive and completely ignores the technical specifications of the goods (for instance, whether they could be lethal, or merely inflict pain).

Amnesty International and the UK-based Omega Foundation, found more than 150 manufacturers of stun guns in the USA alone. They face tough competition from Germany (30 companies), Taiwan (19), France (14), South Korea (13), China (12), South Africa (nine), Israel (eight), Mexico (six), Poland (four), Russia (four), Brazil (three), Spain (three) and the Czech Republic (two).

Many torture implements pass through "off-shore" supply networks in Austria, Canada, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Albania, Russia, Israel, the Philippines, Romania and Turkey. This helps European Union based companies circumvent legal bans at home. The US government has traditionally turned a blind eye to the international trading of such gadgets.

American high-voltage electro-shock stun shields turned up in Turkey, stun guns in Indonesia, and electro-shock batons and shields, and dart-firing taser guns in torture-prone Saudi Arabia. American firms are the dominant manufacturers of stun belts. Explains Dennis Kaufman, President of Stun Tech Inc, a US manufacturer of this innovation: ''Electricity speaks every language known to man. No translation necessary. Everybody is afraid of electricity, and rightfully so.'' (Quoted by Amnesty International).

The Omega Foundation and Amnesty claim that 49 US companies are also major suppliers of mechanical restraints, including leg-irons and thumbcuffs. But they are not alone. Other suppliers are found in Germany (8), France (5), China (3), Taiwan (3), South Africa (2), Spain (2), the UK (2) and South Korea (1).

Not surprisingly, the Commerce Department doesn't keep tab on this category of exports.

Nor is the money sloshing around negligible. Records kept under the export control commodity number A985 show that Saudi Arabia alone spent in the United States more than $1 million a year between 1997-2000 merely on stun guns. Venezuela's bill for shock batons and such reached $3.7 million in the same period. Other clients included Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mexico and - surprisingly - Bulgaria. Egypt's notoriously brutal services - already well-equipped - spent a mere $40,000.

The United States is not the only culprit. The European Commission, according to an Amnesty International report titled "Stopping the Torture Trade" and published in 2001:

"Gave a quality award to a Taiwanese electro-shock baton, but when challenged could not cite evidence as to independent safety tests for such a baton or whether member states of the European Union (EU) had been consulted. Most EU states have banned the use of such weapons at home, but French and German companies are still allowed to supply them to other countries."
Torture expertise is widely proffered by former soldiers, agents of the security services made redundant, retired policemen and even rogue medical doctors. China, Israel, South Africa, France, Russia, the United kingdom and the United States are founts of such useful knowledge and its propagators.

How rooted torture is was revealed in September 1996 when the US Department of Defense admitted that ''intelligence training manuals'' were used in the Federally sponsored School of the Americas - one of 150 such facilities - between 1982 and 1991.The manuals, written in Spanish and used to train thousands of Latin American security agents, "advocated execution, torture, beatings and blackmail", says Amnesty International.

Where there is demand there is supply. Rather than ignore the discomfiting subject, governments would do well to legalize and supervise it. Alan Dershowitz, a prominent American criminal defense attorney, proposed, in an op-ed article in the Los Angeles Times, published November 8, 2001, to legalize torture in extreme cases and to have judges issue "torture warrants". This may be a radical departure from the human rights tradition of the civilized world. But dispensing export carefully reviewed licenses for dual-use implements is a different matter altogether - and long overdue.

Author Bio

Sam Vaknin ( ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East.

He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Now, when you search on the terms: vaknin torture - you see a flood of articles.  

This guy sure is busy.
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline KC Kelly

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2008, 04:51:13 PM »
In post #18,
Quote from: Laura
Now, have a look at the next article where, at the end, he is FOR torture.
Well, what the hell, then he may as well go ahead and be for torture right from the get-go in this article.

Quote from: Sam Vaknin

The Argument For Torture

Sam Vaknin Ph.D.
July 13, 2006
I. Practical Considerations

The problem of the "ticking bomb" - rediscovered after September 11 by Alan Dershowitz, a renowned criminal defense lawyer in the United States - is old hat.  Should physical torture be applied - where psychological strain has failed - in order to discover the whereabouts of a ticking bomb and thus prevent a mass slaughter of the innocent?  This apparent ethical dilemma has been confronted by ethicists and jurists from Great Britain to Israel.

Nor is Dershowitz's proposal to have the courts issue "torture warrants" (Los Angeles Times, November 8, 2001) unprecedented.  In a controversial decision in 1996, the Supreme Court of Israel permitted its internal security forces to apply "moderate physical pressure" during the interrogation of suspects.

It has thus fully embraced the recommendation of the 1987 Landau Commission, presided over by a former Supreme Court judge.  This blanket absolution was repealed in 1999 when widespread abuses against Palestinian detainees were unearthed by human rights organizations.

Indeed, this juridical reversal - in the face of growing suicidal terrorism - demonstrates how slippery the ethical slope can be. What started off as permission to apply mild torture in extreme cases avalanched into an all-pervasive and pernicious practice.  This lesson - that torture is habit-forming and metastasizes incontrollably throughout the system - is the most powerful - perhaps the only - argument against it.

As Harvey Silverglate argued in his rebuttal of Dershowitz's aforementioned op-ed piece:

"Institutionalizing torture will give it society’s imprimatur, lending it a degree of respectability.  It will then be virtually impossible to curb not only the increasing frequency with which warrants will be sought - and granted - but also the inevitable rise in unauthorized use of torture.  Unauthorized torture will increase not only to extract life-saving information, but also to obtain confessions (many of which will then prove false).  It will also be used to punish real or imagined infractions, or for no reason other than human sadism.  This is a genie we should not let out of the bottle."
Alas, these are weak contentions.

That something has the potential to be widely abused - and has been and is being widely misused - should not inevitably lead to its utter, universal, and unconditional proscription.  Guns, cars, knives, and books have always been put to vile ends.  Nowhere did this lead to their complete interdiction.

Moreover, torture is erroneously perceived by liberals as a kind of punishment.  Suspects - innocent until proven guilty - indeed should not be subject to penalty.  But torture is merely an interrogation technique.  Ethically, it is no different to any other pre-trial process: shackling, detention, questioning, or bad press.  Inevitably, the very act of suspecting someone is traumatic and bound to inflict pain and suffering - psychological, pecuniary, and physical - on the suspect.

True, torture is bound to yield false confessions and wrong information, Seneca claimed that it "forces even the innocent to lie".  St. Augustine expounded on the moral deplorability of torture thus: “If the accused be innocent, he will undergo for an uncertain crime a certain punishment, and that not for having committed a crime, but because it is unknown whether he committed it."

But the same can be said about other, less corporeal, methods of interrogation.  Moreover, the flip side of ill-gotten admissions is specious denials of guilt.  Criminals regularly disown their misdeeds and thus evade their penal consequences.  The very threat of torture is bound to limit this miscarriage of justice. Judges and juries can always decide what confessions are involuntary and were extracted under duress.

Thus, if there was a way to ensure that non-lethal torture is narrowly defined, applied solely to extract time-critical information in accordance with a strict set of rules and specifications, determined openly and revised frequently by an accountable public body; that abusers are severely punished and instantly removed; that the tortured have recourse to the judicial system and to medical attention at any time - then the procedure would have been ethically justified in rare cases if carried out by the authorities.

In Israel, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the state to apply 'moderate physical pressure' to suspects in ticking bomb cases.  It retained the right of appeal and review. A public committee established guidelines for state-sanctioned torture and, as a result, the incidence of rabid and rampant mistreatment has declined.  Still, Israel's legal apparatus is flimsy, biased and inadequate.  It should be augmented with a public - even international - review board and a rigorous appeal procedure.

This proviso - "if carried out by the authorities" - is crucial.

The sovereign has rights denied the individual, or any subset of society.  It can judicially kill with impunity.  Its organs - the police, the military - can exercise violence.  It is allowed to conceal information, possess illicit or dangerous substances, deploy arms, invade one's bodily integrity, or confiscate property.  To permit the sovereign to torture while forbidding individuals, or organizations from doing so would, therefore, not be without precedent, or inconsistent.

Alan Dershowitz expounds:

(In the United States) any interrogation technique, including the use of truth serum or even torture, is not prohibited.  All that is prohibited is the introduction into evidence of the fruits of such techniques in a criminal trial against the person on whom the techniques were used.  But the evidence could be used against that suspect in a non-criminal case - such as a deportation hearing - or against someone else."
When the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi concentration camps were revealed, C.S. Lewis wrote, in quite desperation:

"What was the sense in saying the enemy were in the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at bottom knew as well as we did and ought to have practiced?  If they had no notion of what we mean by Right, then, though we might still have had to fight them, we could no more have blamed them for that than for the color of their hair." (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, paperback edition, 1952).
But legal torture should never be directed at innocent civilians based on arbitrary criteria such as their race or religion.  If this principle is observed, torture would not reflect on the moral standing of the state.  Identical acts are considered morally sound when carried out by the realm - and condemnable when discharged by individuals.  Consider the denial of freedom.  It is lawful incarceration at the hands of the republic - but kidnapping if effected by terrorists.

Nor is torture, as "The Economist" misguidedly claims, a taboo.

According to the 2002 edition of the "Encyclopedia Britannica", taboos are "the prohibition of an action or the use of an object based on ritualistic distinctions of them either as being sacred and consecrated or as being dangerous, unclean, and accursed."  Evidently, none of this applies to torture.  On the contrary, torture - as opposed, for instance, to incest - is a universal, state-sanctioned behavior.

Amnesty International - who should know better - professed to have been shocked by the results of their own surveys:

"In preparing for its third international campaign to stop torture, Amnesty International conducted a survey of its research files on 195 countries and territories.  The survey covered the period from the beginning of 1997 to mid-2000.  Information on torture is usually concealed, and reports of torture are often hard to document, so the figures almost certainly underestimate its extent.  The statistics are shocking.  There were reports of torture or ill-treatment by state officials in more than 150 countries.  In more than 70, they were widespread or persistent.  In more than 80 countries, people reportedly died as a result."
Countries and regimes abstain from torture - or, more often, claim to do so - because such overt abstention is expedient.  It is a form of global political correctness, a policy choice intended to demonstrate common values and to extract concessions or benefits from others.  Giving up this efficient weapon in the law enforcement arsenal even in Damoclean circumstances is often rewarded with foreign direct investment, military aid, and other forms of support.

But such ethical magnanimity is a luxury in times of war, or when faced with a threat to innocent life.  Even the courts of the most liberal societies sanctioned atrocities in extraordinary circumstances.  Here the law conforms both with common sense and with formal, utilitarian, ethics.

II. Ethical Considerations

Rights - whether moral or legal - impose obligations or duties on third parties towards the right-holder.  One has a right AGAINST other people and thus can prescribe to them certain obligatory behaviors and proscribe certain acts or omissions.  Rights and duties are two sides of the same Janus-like ethical coin.

This duality confuses people.  They often erroneously identify rights with their attendant duties or obligations, with the morally decent, or even with the morally permissible.  One's rights inform other people how they MUST behave towards one - not how they SHOULD, or OUGHT to act morally.  Moral behavior is not dependent on the existence of a right.  Obligations are.

To complicate matters further, many apparently simple and straightforward rights are amalgams of more basic moral or legal principles.  To treat such rights as unities is to mistreat them.

Take the right not to be tortured.  It is a compendium of many distinct rights, among them: the right to bodily and mental integrity, the right to avoid self-incrimination, the right not to be pained, or killed, the right to save one's life (wrongly reduced merely to the right to self-defense), the right to prolong one's life (e.g., by receiving medical attention), and the right not to be forced to lie under duress.

None of these rights is self-evident, or unambiguous, or universal, or immutable, or automatically applicable.  It is safe to say, therefore, that these rights are not primary - but derivative, nonessential, or mere "wants".

Moreover, the fact that the torturer also has rights whose violation may justify torture is often overlooked.

Consider these two, for instance:

The Rights of Third Parties against the Tortured

What is just and what is unjust is determined by an ethical calculus, or a social contract - both in constant flux.  Still, it is commonly agreed that every person has the right not to be tortured, or killed unjustly.

Yet, even if we find an Archimedean immutable point of moral reference - does A's right not to be tortured, let alone killed, mean that third parties are to refrain from enforcing the rights of other people against A?

What if the only way to right wrongs committed, or about to be committed by A against others - was to torture, or kill A?  There is a moral obligation to right wrongs by restoring, or safeguarding the rights of those wronged, or about to be wronged by A.

If the defiant silence - or even the mere existence - of A are predicated on the repeated and continuous violation of the rights of others (especially their right to live), and if these people object to such violation - then A must be tortured, or killed if that is the only way to right the wrong and re-assert the rights of A's victims.

This, ironically, is the argument used by liberals to justify abortion when the fetus (in the role of A) threatens his mother's rights to health and life.

The Right to Save One's Own Life

One has a right to save one's life by exercising self-defense or otherwise, by taking certain actions, or by avoiding them.  Judaism - as well as other religious, moral, and legal systems - accepts that one has the right to kill a pursuer who knowingly and intentionally is bent on taking one's life.  Hunting down Osama bin-Laden in the wilds of Afghanistan is, therefore, morally acceptable (though not morally mandatory).  So is torturing his minions.

When there is a clash between equally potent rights - for instance, the conflicting rights to life of two people - we can decide among them randomly (by flipping a coin, or casting dice).  Alternatively, we can add and subtract rights in a somewhat macabre arithmetic.  The right to life definitely prevails over the right to comfort, bodily integrity, absence of pain and so on.  Where life is at stake, non-lethal torture is justified by any ethical calculus.

Utilitarianism - a form of crass moral calculus - calls for the maximization of utility (life, happiness, pleasure).  The lives, happiness, or pleasure of the many outweigh the life, happiness, or pleasure of the few. If by killing or torturing the few we (a) save the lives of the many (b) the combined life expectancy of the many is longer than the combined life expectancy of the few and (c) there is no other way to save the lives of the many - it is morally permissible to kill, or torture the few.

III. The Social Treaty

There is no way to enforce certain rights without infringing on others.  The calculus of ethics relies on implicit and explicit quantitative and qualitative hierarchies. The rights of the many outweigh certain rights of the few.  Higher-level rights - such as the right to life - override rights of a lower order.

The rights of individuals are not absolute but "prima facie".  They are restricted both by the rights of others and by the common interest.  They are inextricably connected to duties towards other individuals in particular and the community in general.  In other words, though not dependent on idiosyncratic cultural and social contexts, they are an integral part of a social covenant.

It can be argued that a suspect has excluded himself from the social treaty by refusing to uphold the rights of others - for instance, by declining to collaborate with law enforcement agencies in forestalling an imminent disaster.  Such inaction amounts to the abrogation of many of one's rights (for instance, the right to be free).  Why not apply this abrogation to his or her right not to be tortured?
Geez!  This article is so full of paralogisms and paramoralisms that its difficult to track them all - oh, and the "schizoid declaration" is right there too for all to see.  And this is just getting one's foot in the door to find out what this guy is all about.  There's a lot more.
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.  Thomas Jefferson

Offline purplehaze

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2008, 04:48:23 AM »
Just reading some of Vaknin's responses here makes me ill:

An In-Depth Look At Where Sam Vaknin is Leading NPD
By Tony C. Brown

"Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited," by Sam Vaknin was first published in 1997 and is now in its fourth impression.

The author is a self-diagnosed "Narcissist" who reached this conclusion while incarcerated in an Israeli prison. Mr. Vaknin describes a process of examining how he came to be in prison, with his marriage over and his finances in shocking condition. Mr. Vaknin has stated that he has never attempted to work through his issues in a formal therapy, rather he believes that his writing to be his therapy. It is my understanding that since this book first came into print that he has also come to describe himself as misanthrope and schizoid.

I voluntarily entered therapy in March of 1996 and was eventually diagnosed by a licensed clinical psychologist as suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Recently I was asked by a cross section of people diagnosed with NPD, friends and family of those so diagnosed, and those effected by possible narcissistic behavior to read Sam Vaknin's book and discuss whether I believe his views offer a realistic view of this disorder.

My first objective was to develop a better understanding of Sam. A check of the Curriculum Vitae published on Mr. Vaknin's web site as of August 11 brought forward several concerns.

First, there is no listing for where Mr. Vaknin obtained his Bachelor's or Master's degree. Next, there is a disturbing aspect of a Ph.D. that Mr. Vaknin claims from Pacific Western University.

A check of the Pacific Western web site revealed,

    The University is oriented to those individuals not seeking licenses or credentials requiring accredited degrees. Our programs are not designed to meet any established requirements by private or professional associations. If a license or a credential is desired, a check should be made of state, federal, association, and credential requirements before applying. Pacific Western University has not sought membership in any independent accrediting association.

I am of the firm belief that for a Ph.D. to be legitimate it must be offered by an accredited university. It is for this reason that I will not be using the title of Dr. in reference to Mr. Sam Vaknin.

Mr. Vaknin's biography also claims a certificate in counseling offered through Brainbench, an online "school". As near as I can tell from examining the criteria that Brainbench lists on their web site the only requirement for receiving such a certificate is to pass an exam, which appears to be open book. There are no requirements for working in a professional counseling setting and receiving supervision on counseling techniques. It should also be noted that the link to the transcript that is included on Mr. Vaknin's site does not have his name or other readily accessible information for a visitor to confirm this is indeed Sam's transcript, so we are being asked to place our trust in his word. I am very concerned that Mr. Vaknin is intentionally misleading people about his credentials in counseling with this certificate that most people will not take the time to investigate.

The best insight I have found for understanding Sam's intentions in writing "Malignant Self Love" came in an interview Bob Goodman conducted with Mr. Vaknin and was published on the Natterbox website in 2000. The following exchange helped me develop a better understanding of Mr. Vaknin's motives and agenda.

    Bob Goodman asks , "I've seen Malignant Self Love described in some contexts as a self-help book. Often in this genre, we see authors who have triumphed over some personal adversity and wish to help others do the same. But your approach is quite different. You write that your discovery of your own NPD "was a painful process which led nowhere. I am no different -- and no healthier -- today than I was when I wrote this book. My disorder is here to stay, the prognosis poor and alarming." Do you see the book, then, as more a work of self-literacy than self-healing?"

    Mr Vaknin replies, "I never described Malignant Self Love as a helpful work. It is not. It is a dark, hopeless tome. Narcissists have no horizons, they are doomed by their own history, by their successful adaptation to abnormal circumstances and by the uncompromising nature of their defense mechanisms. My book is a scientific observation of the beast, coupled with an effort to salvage its victims. Narcissists are absent-minded sadists and they victimize everyone around them. Those in contact with them need guidance and help. Malignant Self Love is a phenomenology of the predator on the one hand, and a vindication and validation of its prey on the other."

    Mr. Goodman: "You are a self-professed narcissist, and you warn your readers that narcissists are punishing, pathological, and not to be trusted. Yet hundreds of readers or customers seem to be looking to you for help and advice on how to cope with their own narcissism or their relationship with a narcissist. I'm struck by a kind of hall-of-mirrors effect here. How do you reconcile these seeming contradictions?"

    Mr. Vaknin: "Indeed, only seeming. I may have misphrased myself. By "helpful" I meant "intended to help." The book was never intended to help anyone. Above all, it was meant to attract attention and adulation (narcissistic supply) to its author, myself. Being in a guru-like status is the ultimate narcissistic experience. Had I not also been a misanthrope and a schizoid, I might have actually enjoyed it. The book is imbued with an acerbic and vitriolic self-hatred, replete with diatribes and jeremiads and glaring warnings regarding narcissists and their despicable behavior. I refused to be "politically correct" and call the narcissist "other-challenged." Yet, I am a narcissist and the book is, therefore, a self-directed "J'accuse." This satisfies the enfant terrible in me, the part of me that seeks to be despised, abhorred, derided and, ultimately, punished by society at large."

It was with this background information that I started my journey of reading Mr. Vaknin's book, Malignant Self Love. The introduction raised a very serious concern that the author was combining several identifiable psychological terms into one all consuming label which he calls Narcissism.

I am deeply concerned that throughout this offering the author is either oblivious to, or ignores the reality of that Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Anti-Social Personality Disorder, and Psychopaths are not synonymous terms.

Throughout the book Sam repeatedly calls behaviors specific to all of these categories "Narcissism". Much of the behavior that the author talks about in this book would be more accurately used to describe Anti-social-Psychopathic behavior, yet is presented as "Narcissism". The message that the author is attempting to articulate to his readers is significantly reduced by the fact that in re-visiting narcissism he appears to be re-defining it to meet his agenda.

The professionals that I have worked with in my therapy and in other settings have expressed a concern that NPD has lost most of its scientific meaning because of what narcissism has come to mean in popular culture. It is for this reason that I believe we must expect anyone claiming expert status on this disorder to take great care not to add to the confusion by allowing their agenda to supercede what is commonly known and accepted regarding NPD and all other identified psychological disorders.

Mr. Vaknin appears to be of the belief that Narcissism is the root or cause of all personality disorders. This leaves me wondering again exactly how Sam defines Narcissism. In this instance he appears to be suggesting that "Narcissism" is the arrest in childhood development which is believed to be the cause of many psychological disorders. The term used by mental health professionals to describe the this early childhood trauma is narcissistic injury or narcissistic wound. A narcissistic injury is a wound inflicted on a young child's ego or true self when they experience trauma such as abuse, neglect, abandonment, death of a parent etc. Evidence appears to confirm that people respond to narcissistic wounds differently depending on a variety of environmental and biological factors which can lead to a wide range of mental illnesses.

It is not accurate to suggest that Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Wounds are synonymous terms and they should not be used interchangeably.

It is interesting to me that from the beginning of his book the author makes a distinction as what he calls Narcissists or "N's" to be somehow different from other people. Throughout this book a person who is suffering from what the author calls narcissism is rarely, if ever, referred to as anything other than a narcissist. I cannot recall a place where he indicates that a Narcissist is a person. The result is the establishment of an "us" vs. "them" setting which appears to work against healing and coming together as a community.

The anger, to the point of rage, that the author feels almost leaps off the pages, especially in the first couple of chapters. I find myself asking who is the author mad at and how does he feel writing this book is helping him get beyond that anger. If we are to believe that the author regards his writing as therapy then it would be logical to assume he is making an effort to resolve demons hidden deep within himself. This may be happening, though the process is obscure to the reader.

Mr.Vaknin makes several interesting, wide-reaching observations about the behavior of "Narcissists". One such assessment address whether Narcissists understand cause and effect thinking as it relates to their behavior.

    The narcissist does not suffer from a faulty sense of causation. He is able to accurately predict the outcomes of his actions and he knows that he might be forced to pay a dear price for his deeds. But he doesn't care.

No supporting scientific information is given to defend this view, so the reader is left to assume this is the opinion of the author.

I find this troubling as human beings suffering from NPD often struggle with cause and affect thinking. A person with this disorder views the world through the eyes of a child and attempts to relate to others from the viewpoint much younger than their actual age. It is not that they understand that their behavior will cause a certain reaction from people and do it anyway. They lack the emotional developmental skills needed to understand how and why an adult will react to their actions.

On the other hand psychopaths may be able to process how their behavior will affect someone and will make a conscious decision to engage in the behavior despite, maybe because of, the effect. This is a huge difference between NPD and Psychopaths and shows how these disorders cannot be lumped into one overriding category.

One of the more revealing commentaries in this offering centers around the author's feelings about treating Narcissists in formal therapy, his therapist in particular and toward psychology in general.

    He seeks treatment only following a major crisis, which directly threatens his projected and perceived image. We can say that the narcissist's "pride" has to be severely hurt to motivate him to admit his need for help. Even then, the therapy sessions resemble a battleground. The narcissist is aloof and distanced, demonstrates his superiority in a myriad of ways, resents what he perceives to be an intrusion on his innermost sanctum. He is offended by any hint regarding defects or dysfunctions in his personality or in his behavior. A narcissist is a narcissist is a narcissist even when he asks for help with his world and worldview shattered.

This is an interesting assessment that is revealing in many ways. It is accurate to suggest that it often takes a major crisis before a person suffering from NPD will seek therapy, as was the case with myself. Much of what the author talks about are indeed concerns that must be worked through a therapy process. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a person suffering from NPD can voluntarily enter therapy and work through these and the many other issues that will come out during the course of a relationship between a therapist and client. It appears that Mr. Vaknin is using this and other aspects of his writing as an excuse for himself not to enter therapy. I regard this as a classic game that is played by people suffering from a lot of the disorders that the author has lumped into the classification of Narcissism. It is unfortunate he appears to lack the insight to get beyond this dilemma as this would be more helpful than implying therapy is very difficult.

Mr. Vaknin spends a considerable amount of time discussing how a "Narcissist" reacts to intimacy. He writes, "intimacy transforms us all into unique beings. It, therefore, negates the uniqueness of those who should be judged to be truly unique even in the absence of intimacy." He goes on to suggest, "since it (intimacy) is a common pursuit, it cannot be unique."

It is fascinating that intimacy transforms us into unique beings, but intimacy itself is not unique. Once again there is no scientific data given to support the idea that intimacy cannot be unique. I suspect most people will say every intimate encounter or relationship they have ever experienced has been somewhat unique to all others. Each person is different and we do bring different dynamics to every relationship. This is more evidence of a great need of the author to simplify complex dynamics and place all people into one category.

Throughout the book one gets the impression that the author is offering an indictment against himself as a form of explanation why he will never attempt to work on healing his issues; a classic example being his view of envy and a Narcissist:

    ... [the] narcissist's mind is pervaded by conscious and unconscious transformations of enormous amounts of aggression into envy. The more severe cases of Narcissistic Personality Disorders (NPD) display partial control of their drives, anxiety intolerance and rigid sublimatory channels. With these individuals, the magnitude of the hatred is so great, that they deny both the emotion and any awareness of it. Alternatively, aggression is converted to action or to acting out. This denial affects normal cognitive functioning as well. Such an individual would, intermittently, have bouts of arrogance, curiosity and pseudo-stupidity, all transformations of aggression taken to the extreme. It is difficult to tell envy from hatred in these cases.

There is some truth to this issue, but it is presented in such a way that one might think this cannot be overcome by working with a licensed mental health professional. I have spent a great deal of time working on issues around envy as envy has played a role in some more serious acting out. It is difficult to talk about such intimate relationships and it is dependent upon the client to bring these raw emotions into a therapy session. Working through envy is dependent upon your specific circumstances but in most cases people suffering from NPD can indeed learn a healthy way of looking at others that does not lead to envy.

Toward the end of the book the author confirms a truth about people suffering from NPD and other personality disorders:

    Being a child, he feels no need to acquire adult skills or adult qualifications. Many a narcissist do not complete their studies, or even do not have a driving license. They feel that people should adore them as they are and could and should supply them with all the needs that they, as children, cannot themselves secure.

This appears to explain why Mr. Vaknin has not taken the time or put forward the effort to secure the credentials which is expected of anyone claiming to hold a doctorate or a counseling certificate.

My overall impression of Malignant Self Love is that the author spent a lot of time talking around the issues which he has labeled "Narcissism", but offered almost no insight into the emotions which drive the behavior of a person suffering from NPD. I came away with the sense that the author was trying very hard to sell the reader on the idea that he is a Narcissist, coming close to creating a whole new classification of Narcissism in the process. I believe the lasting result of this effort has been to create mass confusion among people about Narcissism, NPD, Anti-social Personality Disorder and Psychopathy.

I believe it is of great significance that Mr. Vaknin stated in the interview with Bob Goodman that Malignant Self Love was never intended to help anyone, rather its primary intention was to bring adulation to the author, Sam Vaknin. My honest assessment is this offering amounts to a period of acting out where the author attempted to scapegoat his lifelong behaviors onto what he felt he could label an incurable disease. It is of significance that not only has Mr. Vaknin never sought therapy, and does not believe that "Narcissists" can recover, but there is no indication that he has genuine feelings of remorse or regret for his behavior.

One of the truly disturbing aspect of this book is that the author indicates in the interview with Bob Goodman that there is something about specific people which has led them to be victimized by narcissists. Sam comments that:

    The victims of narcissists have rarely become victims randomly. It is very akin to an immunological response: there is a structural affinity, an inexorable attraction, an irreversible bonding and an ensuing addiction far stronger than any substance abuse. I, therefore, am doubtful not only with regards to the prognosis of a narcissist but also with regards to the healing prospects of those exposed to his poisoned charms. The inverted narcissists (a sub-species of codependent who is specifically attracted to narcissists) are narcissists -- kind of mirror narcissists. As such, they are no less doomed than the original.

It is important to stress that the idea of Inverted Narcissism is not recognized by most professionals, and is an example of the author making things up as he goes through his writings. After reading this it is both fascinating and infuriating to contemplate the cult guru leader status that the author has achieved among people who consider themselves "victims of narcissists". Clearly people are not using their brains to think critically and ask themselves and Mr. Vaknin some very difficult questions.

It is widely accepted in the psychological community that a person suffering from NPD does have a conscience and the ability to express genuine remorse and regret. This is one of the significant obvious differences between NPD and what professionals classify as Antisocial-Psychopath. If we allow ourselves to look beyond the book and examine other behavior Mr. Vaknin has displayed in his work the concern regarding the accuracy of his self-diagnosis becomes dramatically magnified.

Sam lives a nomad lifestyle which he describes in the interview with Bob Goodman.

    Mr. Goodman asks, "I understand you're something of a nomad now, hopping from country to country and job to job. Do you ever long for a more settled existence?"

    Sam replies, "Never. You are describing a morgue, a cemetery. My life is colorful, adventurous, impossible, cinematic. Sure, I pay a price -- who doesn't? Is there no price to be for a sedentary, predictable, numbing existence? When one is 90 years old, all that is left is memories. You are the director of the movie of your life, a 70 years-long movie. Now, sit back and begin to watch: is it a boring film? would you have watched it had it not been yours? If the answers are negative and positive, respectively, you succeeded to live well, regardless of the price you paid."

Mr. Vaknin's nomad lifestyle is reflected in his ownership of several different support forums for "victims of narcissists". After studying the archives on a variety of forums it seems that when Mr. Vaknin becomes bored with a group or if he feels they are threatening him by moving in a direction he is not comfortable then he ceases participation, sometimes starting a new group on another list.

Many people have brought forward questions and concerns to me about the behavior on these support forums. One of the major concerns is centered around Sam deleting posts on his support forums for no reason other than the author challenged his theories about narcissism, often by suggesting that a person suffering from NPD can recover.

It is clear that messages are deleted and people are banned based on the childish needs of Sam Vaknin.

I regard these alleged support forums to be some of the unhealthiest such communities I have ever encountered, online or in the Real World. People are encouraged to worship Sam and his theories regarding Narcissism and are actively discouraged from critical thinking. Other concerns have been raised about the intent and behavior around these support forums but it would require a separate case study to examine everything which has taken place in the name of support from Narcissistic abuse.

What are some of the other motives which could lead Mr. Vaknin to engage in what I now firmly believe amounts to what is known as narcissistic acting out? [Editor's note: Sam Vaknin is more likely to be a psychopath.]

Once again Sam offers insight to this question in an email exchange with Bob Goodman following their interview. Sam was concerned about the status of the copyright of the article and wrote,

    Regarding the copyright: I retain the copyright on everything I write - including responses to an interview. I hate Americans in general and their pusillanimous litigious minds in particular (as does most of the world) -- so, do me a favor: take it or leave it and don't waste my time with this any longer. Thank you, Sam.

It is a widely accepted fact that most of the study around NPD has centered around behavior here in the United States. Could it be that Sam saw an opportunity to lash out at Americans as a class of people, perhaps thinking that he is so smart that they will accept him as an authority. It is interesting that he likes America well enough to buy a degree from one of our diploma mills, and obtain a counseling certificate from one of our online schools, thereby obtaining credentials without doing the work required of others. I guess America has its better side, isn't that right Mr. Vaknin?

In the interview with Bob Goodman the author makes it clear exactly how he feels about his own intelligence and authority on narcissism.

    Goodman asks, "I'm still curious, though, what your attitude is toward your "customers." It's clear you appreciate the attention from them, but do you consider them foolish for seeking advice from a narcissist such as yourself?"

    Mr. Vaknin replies, "I am by far the most intelligent person I know, so, the deep-seated belief that others are bumbling, ineffectual fools is a constant feature of my mental landscape. But seeking advice from a narcissist about narcissism doesn't sound foolish to me -- if the consumer applies judgement and his or her knowledge of narcissism and its distortions to the advice received.

I found this answer to be amusing as it a classic example of a person suffering from a severe personality disorder to greatly exaggerate their own intelligence and importance. It is even more interesting viewed from the perspective that this work, in my opinion, confirms that the author has little or no understanding of narcissism and the various other psychological disorders which are related to the topics which he addresses.

I do not believe that Sam Vaknin suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is my opinion that if he were to be diagnosed by an impartial, licensed mental health professional who has no knowledge of what has gone on over the last six years that the diagnosis would not be NPD.

I think it is very regrettable that the author has lead what I believe to be a campaign of hatred and misinformation around Narcissism and NPD. Many people who are suffering from this disorder, their friends and family, and those harmed by what they thought was narcissistic abuse have been affected by this period of acting out. It is time to reclaim the scientific meaning of NPD and reestablish the boundaries around Narcissism, NPD, Anti-social Personality Disorder and Psychopathy.

I am very concerned about the level of misinformation which now hovers over the question of NPD. Sadly much of the hatred that we see is a result of this campaign of misinformation. Interestingly enough the majority of people who express the most hate toward what they call Narcissists are referring to people that they have diagnosed themselves, rather than a licensed mental health worker. I am of the firm belief that unless a person has been diagnosed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist than you have an opinion and that's all you have. A family member or friend is not qualified to make an impartial judgement based exclusively on the DSM criteria. The reason we have licensed professionals is because these are very complex disorders that we're talking about and it is not possible to understand them in a few sentences. The DSM was never intended to be used the way it now is by the community. It is a tool for professionals that can be a source of great information, but can also be abused, as we have seen repeatedly.

I believe that intentional misinformation and efforts to make large numbers of people hate other people because of their psychological disorders amounts to a form of psychological terrorism. Vulnerable people in considerable amounts of pain are searching for information on healing and are instead finding themselves the target of an unbelievable campaign of hate and misinformation. Once again I state emphatically that we must reclaim the scientific meaning of NPD and remain vigilant in our efforts to develop a process of healing and recovery.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a very complex psychological illness. People suffering from this disorder, their family and friends and victims all will benefit if we are able to move beyond this effort to redefine Narcissism to fit the needs of one person.

All human beings who have been affected by this disorder need to work side-by-side with licensed mental health professionals to get beyond the scare tactics of psychological terrorism and move to a place of healing. In short we need to reclaim NPD and redefine the distinctions of Narcissistic Injury, Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Psychopathy. It has been suggested to me that there are as many variations of NPD as there are people suffering from this disorder. A commonly accepted reality of human nature is that we all react differently to different stimuli and that no two traumas are exactly the same. Together we can get beyond the rather bizarre attitude that a Narcissist-is a Narcissist-is a Narcissist.

Given that Mr. Vaknin insists on defending his work, primarily through his old writings, it is important to clarify scientific information which he claims to base his work. As with anyone seeking to be accepted in scientific or professional terms, credentials are important. I have yet to see anything to affirm a doctorate degree awarded to Mr. Vaknin from an accredited university. Likewise, I have yet to see anything in terms of counseling skills working with directly with clients in a supervised setting. Given the continued claim of scientific research both of these questions must be addressed.

Several questions have come forward with regards to the scientific process used by Mr. Vaknin. I look forward to seeing answers to these questions that can be confirmed by a truly independent, licensed source.

    1) With regards to those who were identified as NPD. In how many cases was the diagnosis made by a licensed mental health professional, verus self-diagnosis or diagnosis by family, friend etc...

    2) With regards to family and friends who have been affected by this disorder. How many of the people involved had their loved ones diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional versus self diagnosis or family/ friend speculation.

    3) What method was used by these professionals in diagnosis and whatever therapy might have been attempted.

    4) How were people selected to participate in this scientific process?

    5) Were motivations for participation evaluated and measured in the final analysis of this data?

    6) What was the attitude toward NPD of the professionals who participated in this scientific research?

    7) Has there been an independent confirmation of the scientific data and where can it be found on the Internet or elsewhere.

    8) Why is the scientific data not included in the book?

Offline Laura

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2008, 07:45:54 AM »
My, my.  So, Vaknin is a fan and supporter of Alan Dershowitz!  And what do we know about Dershowitz?

First thing I find in our database is this: The Core of Zionism which is "Michael Neumann's The Case Against Israel, a bracing and tightly argued counterblast to the nonsense peddled by Alan Dershowitz in The Case For Israel."

Next: US professors accused of being liars and bigots over essay on pro-Israeli lobby (Surprise Surprise) where we read:

An article by two prominent American professors arguing that the pro-Israel lobby exerts a dominant and damaging influence on US foreign policy has triggered a furious row, pitting allegations of anti-semitism against claims of intellectual intimidation.

Stephen Walt, the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and John Mearsheimer, a political science professor at the University of Chicago, published two versions of the essay, the Israel Lobby, in the London Review of Books and on a Harvard website.

The pro-Israel lobby and its sway over American policy has always been a controversial issue, but the professors' bluntly worded polemic created a firestorm, drawing condemnation from left and right of the political spectrum.

Professor Walt's fellow Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz - criticised in the article as an "apologist" for Israel - denounced the authors as "liars" and "bigots" in the university newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, and compared their arguments to neo-Nazi literature.
Next: Molly Ivins: Pro-Israel 'Nutjobs' on the Attack

One of the consistent deformities in American policy debate has been challenged by a couple of professors, and the reaction proves their point so neatly it's almost funny. A working paper by John Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, called "The Israel Lobby" was printed in the London Review of Books earlier this month. And all hell broke loose in the more excitable reaches of journalism and academe. For having the sheer effrontery to point out the painfully obvious-that there is an Israel lobby in the United States-Mearsheimer and Walt have been accused of being anti-Semitic, nutty and guilty of "kooky academic work." Alan Dershowitz, who seems to be easily upset, went totally ballistic over the mild, academic, not to suggest pretty boring article by Mearsheimer and Walt, calling them "liars" and "bigots."

Of course there is an Israeli lobby in America-its leading working group is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). It calls itself "America's Pro-Israel Lobby," and it attempts to influence U.S. legislation and policy. Several national Jewish organizations lobby from time to time. Big deal-why is anyone pretending this non-news requires falling on the floor and howling?
Next: Alan Dershowitz: Apologist For Inhumanity

Dershowitz is a perfect poster boy for what has come to be known as the "right" in American politics. Originally, from the point of view of the state, conservative politics described an inward-looking and protectionist approach to national and foreign affairs and all that they included. Today, things have been made much more simple. I defy anyone to provide an example of any right-wing pundit or group whose political opinions do not boil down to the idea that the American government should always use strong-arm tactics to subdue all those who oppose them, both at home and abroad. It is actually quite ludicrous when you look closely at it. We have the current American administration and their pundits like Dershowitz trying desperately to couch what is essentially a "kill them all and let god sort them out" ethos in "Democratic terms". Such attempts to stuff a massively oversized round peg in a tiny square hole are the reason that you would be hard pushed to find a single sentence that conforms to true logic or reason in the average public utterance of the U.S. government and its supporters. [...]

Dershowitz's beliefs are an exact copy of the psychopaths in power in the US and Israel. Those beliefs are an insight into the inner nature of the people that hold them, and they strongly suggest that such people are absolutely devoid of, and unable to truly feel empathy for another human being. Through subtle manipulations and lies, Dershowitz and the US and Israeli governments are attempting to instill such beliefs in as many members of the global population as possible, and in doing so, dehumanise every last one of us and make us a party to their massive crimes against a humanity that they neither possess nor care about.
Next: Descent Into Moral Barbarism: Should Alan Dershowitz Target Himself for Assassination?

The central premise of Dershowitz is that "international law, and those who administer it, must understand that the old rules" do not apply in the unprecedented war against a ruthless and fanatical foe, and that "the laws of war and the rules of morality must adapt to these [new] realities." This is not the first time such a rationale has been invoked to dispense with international law. According to Nazi ideology, ethical conventions couldn't be applied in the case of "Jews or Bolsheviks; their method of political warfare is entirely amoral." On the eve of the "preventive war" against the Soviet Union, Hitler issued the Commissar Order, which mandated the summary execution of Soviet political commissars and Jews, and set the stage for the Final Solution. He justified the order targeting them for assassination on the ground that the Judeo-Bolsheviks represented a fanatical ideology, and that in these "exceptional conditions" civilized methods of warfare had to be cast aside:

In the fight against Bolshevism it must not be expected that the enemy will act in accordance with the principles of humanity or international law any attitude of consideration or regard for international law in respect of these persons is an error.  The protagonists of barbaric Asiatic methods of warfare are the political commissars. Accordingly if captured in battle or while resisting, they should in principle be shot.
It was simultaneously alleged that the Red Army commissars (who were assimilated to Jews) qualified neither as prisoners of war protected by the Geneva Convention nor civilians entitled to trial before military courts, but rather were in effect illegal combatants.
Next:  2003: Chutzpah: an avoidance strategy

Not only was [Dershowitz] at the Herzliya conference, but he also attended a meeting of the law and constitution committee in the Knesset, where he proposed that Israel should deal with international law "creatively" (Haaretz 19 December 2003) by holding the "terrorist" responsible for forcing Israel to abuse civilians. Evidently, "terrorists" are meant to set up camp in Gaza like an ordinary army so they can be picked off by Israeli forces, for otherwise woe to the civilians among whom the terrorists choose to live. Here we have the logic of the new American liberal. He knows perfectly well that the people he calls terrorists are, in fact, civilians, ordinary people who live in their own homes under the occupation just like other people, and that the so-called terrorist infrastructure that Sharon prattles on about as though there were organised training camps is pure propaganda, because in the occupied areas overlooked by Israeli control towers no camps of any sort can exist. He is perfectly aware that the infrastructure of terrorism is the occupation itself. However, the professor has a position to stick to and that position is Israel's. He is a chauvinist of nationalist stripe, no more and no less, so he must take sides and to hell with liberal values.
Next: Psychopath Alan Dershowitz seeks to grill Jimmy Carter on Israel book

Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter should face "very hard questions" over his controversial book on Israel, civil rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz said on Thursday, as Carter faced a revolt from some of his own supporters.

Jewish groups have expressed outrage at "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," arguing its comparison of Israel's treatment of Palestinians with South Africa's former system of racial segregation could undermine perceptions of Israel's legitimacy.
Well duuuh!  

Next: Psychopath Alan Dershowitz Bares Fangs on Finkelstein

Recently Norman Finkelstein has been making the rounds of American college campuses - Stanford, Brandeis, Harvard, Bryn Mawr, Northwestern and more - having been invited by various departments, groups and individuals. Many of the people extending the invitations are unaware that by inviting this person on their behalf, they are becoming complicit with neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, and anti-Semites. Some of the invitees were all too aware of what kind of person they were inviting.
Dershowtiz starts out with a Hasbara Bang! Notice how he expertly weaves several propaganda techniques into his FIRST paragraph! Name calling, transfer, fear, bandwagon. He's almost got all of them!

Next: Lecture Cancelled at Harvard After Scientist Denounces Dershowitz

On Thursday, Robert L. Trivers took a train to Boston to give a talk at Harvard University the next day. Trivers is a prominent evolutionary biologist and anthropologist at Rutgers University and he had been invited to Cambridge in honor of his having won this year's Crafoord Prize in Biosciences, a top international award that many consider a notch below the Nobel.

Trivers never got to give his talk. He says that hours before he was scheduled to lecture, he was called by an organizer and told that the appearance was being called off because of statements he had made about and to Alan Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard.

In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal last week, Trivers quoted from an April letter he had sent Dershowitz. In that letter, Trivers wrote: "Regarding your rationalization of Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians, let me just say that if there is a repeat of Israeli butchery toward Lebanon and if you decide once again to rationalize it publicly, look forward to a visit from me. Nazis - and Nazi-like apologists such as yourself - need to be confronted directly."

According to Trivers, Dershowitz used his letter to have him declared "a threat" and blocked from speaking at Harvard.
Next: Alan Dershowitz vows to sue lecturers boycotting Israel

A top American lawyer has threatened to wage a legal war against British academics who seek to cut links with Israeli universities.

Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor renowned for his staunch defence of Israel and high-profile legal victories, including his role in the O.J. Simpson trial, vowed to "devastate and bankrupt" lecturers who supported such boycotts.

This week's annual conference of Britain's biggest lecturers' union, the University and College Union, backed a motion damning the "complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation [of Palestinian land]".

It also obliged the union's executive to encourage members to "consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions".
Next: DePaul denies tenure for controversial professor

For a man who has just lost his job after a highly public battle, DePaul University assistant political science Professor Norman Finkelstein is calm and accepting.

That's because Finkelstein, whose tenure bid drew widespread interest because of the Jewish professor's blunt criticism of Jews and the state of Israel -- and the attack on those views waged by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz -- stands firmly on the beliefs that may have got him fired.

"There is a song by the folk singer Keith Seeger, 'Die Gedanken sind frei,'" the controversial academic reflected in a rare interview with the Sun-Times.

"That means, 'thoughts are free.' No one can deny that 'die gedanken sind frei.' They can deny me tenure, deny me the right to teach. But they will never stop me from saying what I believe."

What Finkelstein -- the son of Holocaust survivors -- believes is that his people are culpable in the plight of the Palestinians. He drew wrath from prominent Jewish leaders when he accused some of exploiting Jewish suffering to block criticism of Israel, and made other enemies when he accused some survivors of conducting a "shakedown" to get payments from Germany.

Dershowitz, author of The Case for Israel, called Finkelstein's writings full of distortions about Jews in general and himself in particular, and was one of many weighing in on a normally closed-door process. He implored DePaul to reject Finkelstein's tenure.
Next: Norman Finkelstein an Israeli critic denied post at university

A top American university has denied tenure to a prominent academic amid allegations of anti-Semitism and his defence of the Palestinian cause.

    One of his main critics, Alan Dershowitz, an attorney and Harvard law professor, said: "It was plainly the right decision."

Norman Finkelstein, a frequent critic of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, said he had been "blacklisted" by the university and would now have to leave teaching. He had been offered lifelong tenure by the political science department of the Catholic DePaul University in Chicago, but faced with a bitter campaign against him, the university denied him the post.

Mr Finkelstein, whose family survived the Holocaust, has been public enemy number one of the Israel lobby in the US for a number of years. He has frequently accused American Jews of exploiting the Holocaust for financial gain and is a regular critic of Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians. He described DePaul's move as an "egregious violation" of academic freedom.

One of his main critics, Alan Dershowitz, an attorney and Harvard law professor, said: "It was plainly the right decision."
In regards to the UK proposed boycott of Israeli academics, Dershowitz had this to say using his twisted logic:

Professor Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard University, has promised to visit financial and legal ruin on any UK academic supporting a boycott. Speaking in this week's Times Higher, Professor Dershowitz likened the boycott to the treatment of Jewish students and faculty in Nazi Germany. He promised "extraordinarily punitive" sanctions against those involved in boycotting, the Times reported.
Israel has been quick to set up a task force to quell any critics of Israel.

The Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni had this to say in regards to the boycott:

"We are dealing with hypocrisy and hatred, which must not be allowed to emerge...."
It is clear that the Zionists clearly operate with one rule for Israelis and another for the 'untermenshen'.

Next: The Smearing of Robert Trivers, Dershowitz Style

Robert Trivers is a professor of anthropology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. He has written on topics ranging from natural selection, selfish genetic elements, to self deception. Both of Trivers' sisters married Lebanese men, according to a recent article by Scott Jaschik in InsideHigherEd, which led Trivers to learn much about Lebanon because he has family there. His most recent work has focused on how sustaining myths of the nation depend upon the operation of various types of self deception, leading people who undoubtedly conceptualize themselves as good people and upstanding citizens to suppress critical instincts-that would normally be operative in condemning bad actions by others-when it comes to justifying one's own evil deeds. It would seem, given his academic training and family connection to Lebanon, that Trivers would be well-equipped to understand how techniques of self deception would be operative in the context of intellectual rationalizations for illegitimate war, particularly when it comes to analyzing how this phenomenon works in the case of someone who works overtime to justify the military actions of Israel, actions which often pose a threat to the stability of the Middle East. In a letter dated April 15, 2007, he wrote this to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz:

"Dear Alan,

    You have long been known as a rancid defender of Israeli fascism toward its Arab neighbors but this summer you wrote an article rationalizing Israeli attacks on civilians while Israel was visiting a mini-holocaust on Lebanon. When Human Rights Watch published evidence of war crimes, you stitched together a set of lies suggesting otherwise, which lies you did not retract (of course) when they were shown to be falsehoods.

    Now you try to block from tenure someone who has the courage and integrity to expose your history of lies and your resemblance this summer to classic nazi-apologists. This after earlier attempting to block publication of his work and even sliming the memory of his mother. Norman Finkelstein has integrity and intellectual quality you will never experience first-hand.

    Regarding your rationalization of Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians, let me just say that if there is a repeat of Israeli butchery toward Lebanon and if you decide once again to rationalize it publicly, look forward to a visit from me. Nazis-and nazi-like apologists such as yourself-need to be confronted directly.

    Robert Trivers"
As part of his never-ending campaign of vilification against Norman Finkelstein's tenure bid at DePaul University , Dershowitz wrote in his May 4th op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, entitled "Finkelstein's Bigotry":

"Like the character in the 'Groves of Academe,' Mr. Finkelstein generated protests by students and outsiders. He has encouraged radical goons to email threatening messages; "Look forward to a visit from me," reads one. "Nazis like [you] need to be confronted directly." He has threatened to sue if he loses -- while complaining about outside interference. No university should be afraid of truth -- regardless of its source -- especially when truth consists of Mr. Finkelstein's own words."
In his May 14th Cambridge Diarist article in The New Republic, entitled "Taking the Bait", where he asserted that he was invited into DePaul's tenure and promotion process by the former chair of DePaul's political science department and that Finklestein was crying "outside interference" to justify his lack of scholarship, Dershowitz wrote:

"In the past months, I have received threatening calls and letters. The Rutgers biologist Robert Trivers, for one, has warned, "Nazi-like apologists as [you] need to be confronted directly." Suddenly I'm the Nazi? And a masturbating one to boot! I'm not shy about entering arguments, but I can't help feeling like I walked into a trap. How could I not argue against Finkelstein? But, when I raise my voice, I know that I'm supplying essential ammunition. I guess when you've got no scholarship to make your tenure case, you need all the outside interference you can get. "
As Trivers pointed out in his May 21st letter to the Wall Street Journal editors, entitled "What I Said to Dershowitz" in the May 23rd issue:

"What I Said to Dershowitz
    Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2007; Page A15

    In regard to Alan Dershowitz's commentary "Finkelstein's Bigotry" (editorial page, May 4): In it he asserts that "He [Norman Finkelstein] has encouraged radical goons to email threatening messages; 'Look forward to a visit from me,' reads one. 'Nazis like [you] need to be confronted directly.'"

    But all of this is untrue. I wrote the letter in question (April 15, 2007), but without Prof. Finkelstein's knowledge, interest or approval. The key sentences had nothing to do with Prof. Finkelstein: "Regarding your rationalization of Israeli attacks on Lebanese civilians, let me just say that if there is a repeat of Israeli butchery toward Lebanon and if you decide once again to rationalize it publicly, look forward to a visit from me. Nazis ­and Nazi-like apologists such as yourself ­need to be confronted directly."

    As for being an academic goon: I am late responding because I was in Europe lecturing after receiving the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

    Robert Trivers
    Professor of Anthropology and Biological Sciences
    Rutgers University"
Norman Finkelstein is quoted in Christine Flow's June 16th, 2007 Harvard Crimson article, "Dershowitz Foes Face Scrutiny", confirming Trivers' account: "I wish I could claim people of that stature as my friends," Finkelstein said. "Buthow could we be friends? I have no idea what he's talking about [in his work]. We might as well be talking from Earth to Mars." So much for Dershowitz's assertion that Finkelstein "encouraged radical goons to email threatening messages" to him.
Next: DePaul University Cancels Last Class Taught By Professor Critical of Israel

DePaul University canceled the one remaining class taught by a controversial professor who has accused some Jews of improperly using the legacy of the Holocaust.

Norman Finkelstein, whose work led to a long-running public feud with Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, says he may respond by committing civil disobedience when classes resume Sept. 5.

Finkelstein, 53, was denied tenure in June after six years on the DePaul faculty, but he was permitted to teach for the one year remaining on his contract.

On Friday, however, the university e-mailed students saying that Finkelstein's sole political science course had been canceled. By Monday, the books for the course had been pulled from the DePaul bookstore's shelves.

Finkelstein's most recent book, "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History," is largely an attack on Dershowitz's "The Case for Israel." In it, Finkelstein argues that Israel uses the outcry over perceived anti-Semitism as a weapon to stifle criticism.

Dershowitz, who threatened to sue Finkelstein's publisher for libel, urged DePaul officials to reject Finkelstein's tenure bid in June.
And finally: Psychopath Dershowitz on Waterboarding

Alan Dershowitz is a skillful debater, a capable attorney, and and a ferocious defender of Israel. He is also a Harvard professor and a former member of OJ Simpson's legal defense called the Dream Team.

An article by Dershowitz appeared on op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal on November 7, 2007, titled "Democrats and Waterboarding". In that article Dershowitz makes a spirited defense of waterboarding, going so far as to say that (he believes) the Democrats "will lose the presidential race if it defines itself as soft on terror." Dershowitz thinks the Democrats are headed for trouble if they assume the "pacifistic stance" that he identifies with Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore. By using Moore and Sheehan as examples; it is clear that Dershowitz accepts the media's attempts to dismiss them as part of an imaginary "leftist fringe". [...]

Dershowitz's loves to use the "ticking time-bomb" scenario and trots it out at every opportunity. It is a very persuasive argument, until one really examines the implications. Jose Padilla was supposedly a "ticking time-bomb", wasn't he? According to the earliest public statements by the Bush administration, Padilla had smuggled a nuclear device or "dirty bomb" into the country and was planning to use it in a terrorist attack against American civilians. But it wasn't true. The government had fabricated the entire story and kept him in prison without charges for over 4 years on claims that were manifestly false. The Bush administration has never offered an explanation for their lies.

Padilla's attorney has produced convincing evidence that he was repeatedly tortured in prison and was, thus, driven insane. And for what? The government knew that he was not involved in a terrorist plot to kill Americans. Under Dershowitz's regime, Padilla's treatment would be entirely justified. Is that what we want?

The "ticking time-bomb" argument is a way of challenging our core values. It's a test. It's like asking, "How much are we really willing to sacrifice for the sake of our beliefs? Are we willing to risk our lives and the lives of the people we love ?" Or are we ready to "throw in the towel" and hand the government even greater and more lethal powers hoping that they'll keep us safe?

Dershowitz says, "I am personally opposed to the use of torture." But that is not true. If he is opposed to torture then how does he explain his support for "torture warrants"? The two are mutually exclusive.

In Dershowitz's book, "Shouting Fire: Civil Liberties in a Turbulent Age," he says:

"No torture would be permitted without a "torture warrant" being issued by a judge....An application for a torture warrant would have to be based on the absolute need to obtain immediate information in order to save lives coupled with probable cause that the suspect had such information and is unwilling to reveal it....The warrant would limit the torture to nonlethal means, such as sterile needles, being inserted beneath the nails to cause excruciating pain without endangering life."

It's shocking that a respected author and attorney would actually qualify the type of needles ("sterile") that can be used while conducting torture. Can we see how outrageous this is?

The excerpt proves that Dershowitz advocates torture. The support for "torture warrants" is support torture. Period. It doesn't matter if the torture is limited to extreme cases or not. It's barbarism. More importantly, it is barbarism that is vindicated by the state.
In Dershowitz, we see a pretty clear example of the typical behavior of cyberpaths writ large.  Bottom line is this, we see Sam Vaknin cosying up to those who support the PTB, the Far Right Pathocracy.  If these were Nazi times, he'd be supporting the Nazis.
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline Laura

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2008, 11:15:18 AM »
An interesting article.  Too bad the author cites Sam Vaknin:

The Psychopathology Of Male Psyche

Wanda M. Woodward, Psychotherapist and Author: The Anatomy of the Soul: An Authentic Psychology To be published in 2008: Malignant Masculine Power: The Narcissistic Consciousness of Deceit, Exploitation, Domination, and Destruction That is Leading the World Toward Annihilation


I confess at the onset of my letter my bias toward an egalitarian world, one in which there is a more transcendent collective consciousness; a world in which social and economic justice rest gently among the two genders, and amongst the many diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religions. Who would argue that we fall far short of this ideal in contemporary society? What concerns me is that economists, sociologists, public policy experts, and ecologists seem to have overlooked one of the most pressing issues of our time: the mutual exclusivity between capitalism and overpopulation.

All things evolve. That is an immutable law and only fools ignore it. Capitalism replaced mercantilism as a natural evolution. Socialized democracy will replace capitalism. It is the inevitable evolution of economic systems. Marx was correct when he said that the seeds of destruction were built into capitalism because he knew that greed or limited resources would eventually cause its demise. Socialism failed in the Soviet Union for the simple, but tragic fact that its male leaders were fascists who were only interested in feathering their own beds while ignoring the good for the all. They were narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths and, thus, fell somewhere on the spectrum of masculine pathology. Capitalism will fail for those same reasons and because our planet cannot tolerate unfettered consumerism. Capitalism is predicated upon the theory of "unlimited growth." Unlimited growth is based on unbridled consumerism. Unbridled consumerism is based upon a theory of unlimited natural and mineral resources. And so here we find the end of capitalism.

We live in a world in which there are currently 6.6 billion people. Most of the world lives in poverty. With 6.6 billion people, we have decimated large swathes of forest, fished out 90% of the large fish in our oceans, poisoned massive amounts of soil from toxins in landfills and from agricultural run-off, polluted our oceans with waste and toxins which has resulted in the killing of significant marine life, heated and acidified the oceans from the rise in carbon dioxide emitted from overuse of fossil fuels and forest decimation, and placed at risk significant amounts of potable water such that 2/3 of the people on this planet will not have access to potable water by 2030. Global warming - the nexus between overpopulation, capitalism, excess consumption, and wanton pollution and destruction of the environment----has accelerated the speed at alarming rates at which the ice caps in the polar regions are melting. Scientists predict that, at the current rate of global warming, by 2100, up to 50% of animal species and 30% of plant species will become extinct. Again, this is with 6.6 billion people. It is projected that there will be 8 billion people living on this tiny planet by 2050. Add to this very dismal picture the fact that robots are inevitably going to replace tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of jobs in the next century, the outlook for humankind and the environment goes from dark to the abyss. Scientists tell us that there have been five extinctions on this planet; however, they were all thought to be caused by factors other than by human imprints. The next extinction to which we are headed will almost certainly be anthropogenic whether by global warming or nuclear annihilation.

Let us state what no economist, ecologist, sociologist, or public policy expert has yet to acknowledge: Capitalism and overpopulation are mutually exclusive. In fact, overpopulation is mutually exclusive with oligarchies, plutarchies, and monarchies because, in these systems, the few who have everything in excess can pay for water, food, privacy, safety, and security while the remaining masses are at risk for abject poverty, disease, hunger, and death. As more billions are added to the global population, this disparity grows and, more importantly, it becomes more obvious to more people. The masses of people on this tiny planet will, at some point, connect the dots and realize that either hundreds of millions of people must die or capitalism must die. When that realization dawns is unknown, but it will occur. The few privileged males in those worldly positions of power who quite literally rule this planet, I suspect, have known this for decades. That would be one reason why all the media outlets have been purchased by multinational corporations or extremely wealthy individuals in an attempt to hide the truth from the masses of people and to keep people in a perpetual state of senseless consumerism. Keeping people uninformed would ostensibly prevent mass revolutions, uprisings, and civil wars which would overthrow the current power structures should people become informed of the stark and sobering reality of both the deception by the powerful elite and the uncomfortable choices that now face humankind. Had the male leaders informed people decades ago and made alternative business decisions to avert what must have been statistically probable should the world continue down the path we have tread, our choices would have likely been less painful. Pigs-at-the-trough male corporate and political leadership, through avaricious decision-making, have guaranteed that the entire human race will face this dilemma.

A choice between hundreds of millions of people dying or capitalism dying? We need not enter into a discussion about which option Napolean, Asaka, Pavelic, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Amin, Montt, Mengistu, Taylor, Bagosora, Milosevic, Mladic, Karadzic and their ilk preferred. Narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths gravitate toward the most powerful positions in the world because a diagnostic criteria that must be met with these three clinical populations is their obsession with control and power over others. The psychopath, the morbid pathological state in the spectrum of masculine pathology, actually seeks to destroy "other" and does so without conscience. Ninety nine percent (99%) of psychopaths are males. Approximately 90% of sociopaths are males. It has been shown that, of the clinical population that seeks treatment, 75% of those diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are males (Vaknin, 1999). Psychopaths and sociopaths have no conscience to preclude them from the use of outright murder and war in order to achieve their egomaniacal and pathological objectives of total and absolute control. These are the types of male leaders who have risen to power since time began. We still have abundant numbers of them in contemporary societal leadership, albeit with varying degrees of masculine pathology on a spectrum from mild to severe.

What is more important is to postulate which choice the several thousand privileged and powerful males who, quite literally, rule our world in contemporary society would choose since these men are governing and ruling, and will decide our fate unless enough people rise up against them. In America's capitalist society, those who are extremely wealthy and rely on capitalism to maintain their massive fortunes will derive the most benefit if millions of people die. They stand to lose the most if capitalism dies. This is not to say that every person who is wealthy prefers mass human death to the death of what has become a de facto toxic economic system. But it is consonant with the history of the behavior and leadership of the male gender, and more specifically males in positions of political and economic power, that he would likely prefer---with little or no confrontation to his conscience---that hundreds of millions of people die while he lives. Males have a long history of preferring to solve problems not through collaboration and mutual cooperation, but through aggression and war which, of course, have outcomes of pain, suffering, and death.

Naomi Klein's (2007) theory of disaster capitalism in which wars are intentionally fought for profit accomplishes a tri-fold objective of killing millions of people, keeping capitalism alive, and maximizing profits of corporations. Disaster capitalism, however, fails to protect natural and mineral resources. It even fails to protect human beings. The god of capitalism is money. As a result, this strategy will not prevent humankind from facing the sobering reality of extinction of animal and plant species and, ultimately, of course, the potential extinction of all life species on the planet including the human species. More importantly to the powerful elite (which is mostly male), disaster capitalism achieves the overarching myopic goal of maintaining the male supremacist power structure. Ebeneezer Scrooge's uncharitable comment in A Christmas Carol about being rid of the "excess population" closely depicts the sentiments of males who have the most power in our global political, corporate, economic, and legal systems. In corporations, according to Catalyst, a research organization which studies gender dynamics in corporations, males occupy approximately 97% of CEO positions in the United States. Without adequate factual data of the global percentage of male CEOs, an educated guess of 99% would likely be realistic. As for heads of world governments, we could likely estimate 95% and that would be realistic. As we know, the CEO is the position which decides the strategy, mission, and values of the corporation and the heads of governments are responsible for the allocation of the funds in the public treasure chest. Thus, it is safe to say that 98% of the economic world is governed by males. Who holds the money, holds the power to govern and rule the world.

Corporate power and state power are euphemisms for "male power." Capitalism is a masculine system because its objective is to foster infinite competition so that there are hierarchies with a few privileged at the top who have nine-tenths of the economic pie while the masses of people have the remaining one-tenth of the pie. With corporations now taking governments as willing mistresses all over the world, male power has magnified geometrically. Globalization is unmistakably a male movement of economics on a worldwide scale. In frank terms, it is a global reach of unprecedented greed by males at the top of the food chain to engage in virtually unfettered domination, exploitation, and economic control over people, and vast pillaging and plundering of the environment in order to enrich themselves and to maintain their secure repository of global wealth. While there are favorable outcomes in which everyone could benefit from a globalization process that would be controlled by state power that implements and enforces reasonable standards, regulations, limitations, and exclusions regarding the exploitation of labor and natural resources, no such limitations have been developed by the governments. Certainly, the senior executives of the corporations have failed to exercise self-restraint on the corporate side, but it would not be expected for them to do so given their legal allegiance to shareholders.

However, it is economic blasphemy to the dignity, welfare, and sovereignty of people that governments - the very institution whose mandate is to protect the common good---have forsaken the citizenry by abdicating its expected role of allegiance to the economic welfare of the public and its oversight over the public treasure. It is not so much that globalization, in and of itself, is detrimental to the progress and well being of humankind. Rather it is the unfettered greed of corporations and nation states in rejecting limitations and exclusions as pertains to the fair, reasonable, and humane use of natural resources and labor that makes the global economy a world theatre of masculine psychosocial pathology. If women were in charge of globalization, there would be fairness and humane treatments of labor and land. The nature of women is to care for the good of the all. The globalization process that has been occurring over the past twenty plus years with males in charge has been anything but good for middle class and the poor. As mentioned previously, the media (which is owned by male power) has collaborated with corporate male power to ensure that the masses remain ignorant of the overwhelming disparities between the few wealthy elite and the rest of the world population. The masculine consciousness that has aggressively rejected virtually any and all restraints upon their wanton desire to secure as much money and resources to enrich its benefactors has, without conscience, forsaken humanity and the natural environment.

Globalization is being defined in a myriad of different ways as different people view the construct through a different prism. Rodrik (as cited in Anderson, in press) defines it primarily in economic terms as the "international integration of markets for goods, services and capital" (p. 1), whereas Friedman (as cited in Anderson, in press) perceives it through a hologram of shifting lens, "the integration of capital, technology and information across national borders, in a way that is creating a single global market and, to some degree, a global village" (p. 2). Still others such as the sociologist Malcolm Waters (cited in Anderson, in press) perceives it as a "social process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural arrangements receded and in which people become increasingly aware that they are receding" (p. 3). As a mental health professional who sees the world through the lens of the human psyche, I am particularly fond of sociologist's Roland Robertson's (as cited in Anderson, in press) definition as "the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole" (p. 5). Anderson (in press) appropriately highlights the common and "widespread confusion about what globalization is" as people debate each other because they have such "profound different images of what's happening" (p. 1). Barnet and Cavanagh (1994), highlighting the multi-faceted and complex nature of globalization, compare it to the verbalizations of the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland saying "it means precisely whatever the user says it means" (p. 14). Ursula Franklin (1996), in her 1995 Lois and John Dove Memorial Lecture in Toronto, refers to the "global commercial hegemony," of the "struggle against the arrogance and ignorance of power, against impending destruction, occupation, and conquest" (p. 13). On the most basic level, she speaks of globalization as "a war against people" (p. 13) and "from a historical perspective, we are in the middle of a market-driven war on the common good" (p. 15). Whatever the definition, it has become glaringly obvious that multinational corporations, and the senior executives who manage them, are - by far---the clear winners (Barnet & Cavanagh, 1994; Henderson, 1991; Korten, 2001; Rifkin, 2004) holding a barrel full of carrots with egregiously excessive compensation packages that are in the multi-millions (sometimes hundreds of millions including stocks options), 20-30% average annual corporate boardroom wage increases (Toynbee, 2007), hidden "soft" benefits such as use of the corporate jets for personal matters and residential renovations costing tens of thousands of dollars, and tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthy. Governments have passed laws that have relaxed corporate standards, increased corporate tax breaks, and deregulated the economy to the extent that political leaders are losing much of their power as corporations assume the role of worldwide dictatorships. With an ungoverned and unresponsive global system, the 21st century senior corporate executives have become vultures feeding off a rotting capitalist economy, raping and pillaging the environment, and enslaving the majority of people on the planet in economic servitude. What used to commonly be called "conventional wisdom" as pertains to economic truths is no longer applicable. Economic theories, once accepted as gospel, have broken down to become outdated relativisms.

The modern corporation is a descendent of the merchants of the 15th and 16th centuries in England and Holland (Korten, 2001). Wealthy English landowners and merchants during the 17th and 18th century passed laws to protect their private property and to ensure their monopoly of wealth. The birth of America was a revolt against the tyranny of the British monarchy and the wealthy merchants who were used by the king to maintain control over the colonial economies. Initially when corporations were formed in America, they were under governmental control. They also were headed by men who, for the most part, had a moral conscience about the common good. In the 19th century, legal struggles took place between corporations and civilians regarding the right of people to revoke or amend corporate charters. It was fairly common for states to amend, revoke, or fail to renew corporate charters until the mid 1800s as the louder voice of the people who argued that corporations were formed to serve a public good. The premise was that corporations were public, not private, legal entities. It was after the Civil War that corporate rights shifted. Gradually, corporations were able to gain control over state legislatures so that laws were rewritten giving them limited liability and greater power. In 1886, the Supreme Court ruled in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad that a private corporation is a natural person under law. It marked the beginning of corporate enjoyment of the full legal rights of a person while also being exempted from many responsibilities and limiting liabilities that American citizens had to shoulder. This was the legal birth of the pathological corporation we know today and Joel Bakan's (2005) book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Power and Profit, provides an excellent comparison between diagnostic features of psychopathology and corporate systems, the latter referred to by Noam Chomsky as "unaccountable tyrannies." The corporation uses the legal definition, however, only when it is convenient to do so. When a corporation reaps benefits by referring to itself as a "legal person," it defines itself as a person. When the corporation wants to externalize blame and escape responsibility (one clinically diagnostic intrapsychic feature of narcissism, sociopathy, and psychopathy) for an unethical or unlawful act, it reverts to the self-description of not being a human. This sleight of identity is a way to split itself into two separate identities so as to manipulate and gain advantages, a diagnostic tactic common in psychopathy. As Korten (2001), author of When Corporations Rule the World, says:

    ...the history of corporate-government relations...has been one of continuing pressure by corporate interests to expand corporate rights and to limit corporate obligations...corporations have emerged as the dominant governance institutions on the planet, with the largest among them reaching into virtually every country of the world and exceeding most governments in size and power. Increasingly, it is the corporate interest rather than the human interest that defines the policy agendas of states and international bodies (pp. 60-61).

Ninety eight percent of CEOs in corporations around the world are male, thus, the entire world is powered by masculine ways of doing business, trading goods and services, determining economic systems, establishing at the macrolevel the methodologies of economic rewards, and, of course, who gets the most gold at the end of the rainbow. Seager (1993) refers to the masculinist corporate structure this way:

    "Attributes for success in the corporate world---a privileging of emotional neutrality, of rationality, of personal distancing, loyalty to impersonal authority, team playing, scientific rationality, and militarized paradigms---reflect chracteristics that define 'manliness' in our culture" (p. 102).

Even when a female is in a position of power, the sociocultural norms and the masculine ideologies in every fabric of society overwhelm her and force her to, more or less, adopt masculine ways of rule, leadership, strategies, and objectives. Failure to incorporate that into her style subjects her to serious scrutiny if not ridicule. The covert and insidious ways in which the entire socio-cultural tapestry is dominated by masculine ways and methods, while largely unseen, confront her relentlessly. Those who say that there is no more need for women to seek power and equality are either those who are above, not below, the glass ceiling, or those hypnotized by masculine ideologies who simply cannot perceive the pathological construct of masculine domination and power. We need to state the obvious: males rule, so males win and he who wins, gets to rule and he who rules makes up the rules. It's a gender Ponzi scam that has been played for thousands of years.

What is needed is for the legal system to bring consistency between the legal definition of corporations and their actions. In other words, if a corporation is to be defined as a human, then they should be held to the same responsibilities that all humans have to the environment. A person is fined if they throw trash onto the highway. A person is jailed for trespassing if they go onto another's land. An individual is arrested if they destroy public property. The same should be true of corporations. There should be laws in place which restrict corporations from plundering and pillaging the natural environment.

Most of the world's population would prefer that capitalism die its natural death. It is the only thing that will save the planet and end corporate fascism. Of course, then we would need to be wary of masculine pathology surfacing in a fascist government. I suspect that the handful of males who are in the most powerful positions in the world, who have a stranglehold on power, and who rule this planet know that more people are coming to understand the choice between either the death of millions of people or the death of capitalism. And as a result of knowing this truth, more people will revolt against the powers of corruption, deception, exploitation, domination, and destruction so that we can forge a new stage in the evolution of economic systems and, thus, a new stage in the evolution of human consciousness. This will be a consciousness which seeks to share power between genders, races, ethnicities, religions, and nations. It is a more mature consciousness which wants to empower others and collaborate toward a common good for the all instead of maintaining excess and privilege for a few versus exploitation and poverty for the rest of the world. This mature consciousness exists in both males and females although there are not an appreciable number of them in leadership positions across the globe.

There are, at root, two major forces operating in the world today: those who wish to solve our global problems in an effort to ameliorate suffering and move closer toward social and economic justice for all versus those who are disinclusive and want to garner more social and economic benefits for their group while others have appreciably less. Those in the first group are both males and females willing and eager, by and large, to share power. They also tend to be more willing to share across ethnic, racial, and religious divides. The second group is led virtually exclusively by males. This second group led by males who believe they are superior is perpetually in conflict because it is powered by masculine ideologies of division, separation, competition, and hierarchies believed to be the "natural and immutable order." The females in this group have, for the most part, adopted and acquiesced to this patriarchal power system. In addition, this group fails to understand and internalize the need for collaboration and mutual interdependent exchanges as a way to solve problems and as a way of living. There are millions of factions in the second group because they cannot be whole. They cannot be whole because they believe in division, separation, competition, and hierarchies. Conflicts are rampant in this group because males believe in their inherent superiority over females, one race believes in the superiority of it over others, one religion believes in its superiority over other religions, and all of this leads to the belief in an inevitable class schism whereby those who are "superior" deserve to be rich while those who are "inferior" deserve to be poor. Capitalism is an economic system that mirrors the psyche of those in the highest positions of power. In other words, capitalism is an economic system of hierarchies in which one group is superior over another. It is a system created by males who believe in masculine power and racial superiority. As within, so is without.

The pathologically masculine psyche----with its obsession to control, have power over, dominate, exploit, and destroy others----is the only psyche which could wholeheartedly continue to advocate unfettered consumerism and unbridled capitalism while the human species and the entire ecological system are seriously threatened with extinction. Masculine pathology is the malignant consciousness which will detonate a nuclear bomb, allow capitalism to continue until all life on the planet is extinct, or ensure that millions of people die in wars so as to "get rid of excess population." It is the scourge of our time and since time immemorial. Will males mature psychologically in sufficient numbers to avoid total annihilation? That is the question of our time.

Anderson, W. (in press). The two globalizations: Notes on a confused dialogue. Futures.

Bakan, J. (2005). The corporation: The pathological pursuit of profit and power Columbus, OH: The Free Press.

Barnet, R.J. & Cavanagh, J. (1994). Global dreams: Imperial corporations and the new world order. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Franklin, U. (1996). Peace, technology and the role of ordinary people. Peace
Magazine: Science for Peace, 12(1), 13-15.

Henderson, H. (1991). Paradigms in progress: Life beyond economics. Indianapolis, IN: Knowledge Systems, Inc.

Klein, N. (2007). The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. New York: Henry Holt.

Korten, D.C. (2001). When corporations rule the world. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press and San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Rifkin, J. (1995). The end of work: The decline of the global labor force and the dawn of the post-market era. New York: Putnam's Sons.

Seager, J. (1993). Earth follies: Coming to feminist terms with the global environmental crisis. New York: Routledge

Toynbee, P. (2007, June 26) Brown can't talk like he does and ignore this debauchery: The Babylonian excesses of the rich have to be tackled fast if we are to stop society from being wrenched apart. The Guardian. Retrieved 6/26/07 from here

Vaknin, S. (1999). Malignant self-love. Prague: Narcissus Publications.
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline purplehaze

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2008, 12:37:30 PM »
Its really sickening when they cite Vaknin - he's not even a credible source

Offline purplehaze

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2008, 12:57:30 AM »
Can't get away from him no matter what!!

He's got pictures on both flickr and photobucket of HIMSELF and some of his "quotes" on narcissism.  Note these are of HIM and he looks considerably older than the picture of himself that he puts out there.

BTW - These were stumbled across on searches for images under "domestic violence"


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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2008, 11:55:34 AM »
Interesting pictures, and face. Same thing for the tags attached to those pics: are they about the pics or are they about an agenda ?

Everything about him in those pics screams "victim". The very frightening thing about them (him) is the apparent insight in what is written , but at the same time the inability to do anything with those insights, and the hopelessness which those pics transport.

I showed the first-plane pic to somebody. I got "wily", "possibly media, tv, spokesperson or university".

Pale harmlessness that, with all too frequent success passes itself off as meekness, should not be mistaken as a virtue - Aquinas

Offline purplehaze

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2008, 10:58:33 PM »
Since they pics of the aging Vaknin himself- they can only truly be about one thing: AGENDA.

Quote from: name
Interesting pictures, and face. Same thing for the tags attached to those pics: are they about the pics or are they about an agenda ?
BTW - one of the hallmarks of a pathological person? Is playing the Victim.  And that is what Vaknin accomplished with those pics, isn't it?

Offline purplehaze

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2008, 07:23:34 AM »
Check this one out.  Another of Vaknin's boards.  And he just can't let Sandra Brown have any spotlight at all:


Just HAS to chime in there...  yuck

Offline Laura

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2008, 08:20:57 AM »
What a slimey thing to do.  And SOOO obvious!  

But I do notice that Sam Vaknin has a "relationship" with Liane Leedom... she likes him and he likes her according to their amazon book reviews of each other's work.
He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Agamemnon, Aeschylus

Offline purplehaze

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2008, 04:58:52 PM »
Misconceptions about the Narcissist

There is much written about the narcissist on the internet and, so I believe, much of it is wrong.

There is the opinion that the narcissist needs narcissistic supply. Well, this is quite possibly the fact which is most wrong.

What the narcissist needs most, is support and that is mostly on a material level. So, if you notice that you end up helping a partner constantly and that nothing or little comes back in return, well this is the most important symptom and can be recognized easily as well. If you feel, you are stretching your resources financially and physically, this ought to be the most important alarm sign.

The narcissist, is simply a person who cannot do much for him/herself and expects others to run around for him or her. This fact coincides with the knowledge that narcissists are generally people who have been spoiled as children and expect this pattern to continue. The idea that narcissists are abused children, appears wrong when looked at it from a cognitive point of view. An abused child knows that (s)he cannot demand. It is not even a concept (s)he has been able to form. Only a spoilt child develops the concept that (s)he can demand. An abused child might turn into a fighter or psychopath but not into a narcissist.

Narcissists are only as successful as long as they receive support from a support network. In fact, it is part of the psychological description of a narcissist: Not to be self-sufficient.

Well, as can be imagined, this support network is shrinking in time, and the answer appears to be more and more to find a partner who can be made believe that because of love (s)he has to do everything for the narcissist. (The parents of a narcissist would be just too happy if the narcissist found a new partner because it takes the strain away from the parents the narcissist puts on them). Of course, children are one other support for the narcissist and hence, a narcissist might want to cling on to a child or even a grand child. (This is actually quite an archaic thing, to expect children to help a parent in old age and hence it is deep seated in our psyche.) Narcissists are ruthless when it comes to obtaining resources.

There is this big question: Why is the beginning of narcissistic relationship so grand? This again, is actually - well in hindsight - an easy question. The beginning is just as grand as you make it, because you do most of the running around. The sex life is as good, as you are. The fun is as much fun as you are. The conversations are just as good as you can be. It is all centered around you, and the narcissist just watches and goes along with everything.

This is unfortunately very dangerous. Not only that you burn yourself out, but because you are so much in the center, the narcissist prepares you for the emotional attacks later. This is why you end up doubting yourself, because there seems to have been an element of narcissistic behavior on your side at the beginning. This is of the kind: It was all me, hence it was all for myself. Quite some tricky logic, but it works.

Why is it that you love the narcissist so much? Again, in hindsight, this is an easy question and has some almost sinister answer to it. The narcissist reflects you back to yourself and you actually love this reflection which is your own. So, this brings now the biggest confusion about: In the classical sense, you are actually turning into a narcissist (loving your reflection) but in the psychological sense the other person is the narcissist and you are the victim.

Another twist: Because, the narcissist has been reflecting you back to yourself, you are ready for manipulation. Everything the narcissist says seems to have become your self-reflection and that is when all turns crazy. Who is who - am I me or am I this reflection.

Are there any successful narcissists out there? Well, as mentioned, the narcissist is as successful as the support network. There might be some strange cases where the support system stays with the narcissist, but this must surely be the exception. Hence, it is much more likely, that the narcissist will end up in ruins - emotionally, physically and materially. Step by step, their world falls apart.

If the so called Sam Vaknin is a narcissist, then he is only successful because of the network around him. However, it appears to me that he is just a very good business man now and a lame cult leader who keeps regurgitating his own nonsense.

Does the narcissist want you to be weak and destroyed? This is a good question and the answer is not quite that simple: Ideally, you are supposed to run around for the narcissist. You cannot do this, if you are too weak. This is the reason why the narcissist cannot stand it when you are ill. If you are too ill, the narcissist will run away. The narcissist will certainly not help you under such circumstances. The narcissist does not want you to be too strong either, because then you would run away instead of running around the narcissist. So, the narcissist tries to keep the balance. When the narcissist thinks you are too strong, you get bashed, and if the narcissist thinks you are too weak, the narcissist withdraws.

Is there some good advice: Yes: Love yourself and not your reflection. And: There are a lot of nice people out there. Don't accept just any nasty piece of work because (s)he might be the only one you'll ever find.

Dr. Ludger Hofmann-Engl

Offline Azur

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Sam Vaknin - Narcissist or Psychopath?
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2008, 07:47:54 AM »
Quote from: purplehaze
If the so called Sam Vaknin is a narcissist, then he is only successful because of the network around him.
Considering the subject matter, and the main operator, it seems his network can only grow by the virtue that the operator has schooled himself with the understanding of what hooks are present internally, and has expanded them to capture others in the World (who resonate that there is a problem within) in a bid to self-justify his own existence, or rather the state of his own existence.

In short, a Black Hole into nothingness.

As much as I'd like to express more about his obvious manipulations, I'll say only this: it seems that he is only positioning himself to offer advice to others, in the guise of "help" to make himself become important because he has some data and hence feeds his needs "that he helped" and thus he is "real", and QED appears like he has transcended his narcissism. (Which means that he is now an expert!)

The gap that exists here is between the data, the person and the understanding in between.

Haven't seen too much understanding out of old Sam in his hundreds of posts to others.

But he wouldn't  care much for that, except for acknowledgment that someone paid attention.
"What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are"  -- Epictetus AD 55-c.135

Light your candle before Night, or it takes you -- Greek saying

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. -- Tennyson

Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today. -- Butler