One of SOTT’s favorite essayists, Les Visible of Smoking Mirrors, was interviewed by Mike Rivero of WhatReallyHappened on April, 12, 2008. A SOTT Forum member has provided a rush transcript where we read the following:
Mike Rivero: Getting back to the lessons of history and to the remembrance that our President’s grandfather was business partner with what’s his name?… We have all heard about that type of a good German who, just went along and helped Hitler, became a cliché of somebody who thought of being good while doing incredible evil. It seems like in our society we have the same thing going on. We have a good American who supports the president, no matter what he does; he turns the blind eye on torturing people. You mentioned Kafka before. My image of that, of course, is we have tortured Iraqis to find weapons of mass destruction which didn’t exist! What do you think about Americans? What is going to happen to them?.
Les: You know, I’m going to have to like qualify that in metaphysical terms. You are an atheist, right, Mike?
Mike: Yes, I thank God
Les: Anyway, I am anything but… but I am not religious at all. I am not into religions at all, but I have daily experiences of another power, a greater power that surrounds us, that penetrates us as a living force. And it is what is responsible for my ability to write.
In fact anything I say or do it’s just a matter of me getting out of the way. I am sort of a toreador who dances away from my own bull and somehow the sword is able to penetrate and this sword is one of the light and it then fires up the bull and uses it for fuel, and the next thing you get warmed.
But anyway I believe that my point in bringing all of it up is everything is under control. It’s always has been under control. You look, you see stars, you see the planets, you see orderly configurations. You look at the sequences of nature, you look at all different cycles that we observe in the natural world… There is the force that holds all of this together and one day science will actually discover this. It is on the verge of it already. And my belief is that every human being is more or less in contact with this, but when they are willfully not in contact with it like when they are a good Germans and when they are good Germans they are moving increasingly into temporal or the materially based. Now, you know, pressure creates heat, right?
Les: OK. Well, when you press a whole lot of people together, people move deep into a materialistic darkness, more and more heat, more fire occurs. And this has a good point too – hopefully – one would hope. But for people moving into that state of darkness unfortunately certain karmas, certain laws apply.
For instance, if you live in a particular hurricane zone, you know, you are going to get hurricanes. If you live there, that’s something you have to factor in. If you are going to live out in a jungle, you’ve got to be aware of tigers and other things. There are natural dangers that exist and that is a kind of a lifestyle or a place of living. So, when people put themselves into a situation when they have given power, their will, to forces which are unfortunately not very life-affirming, they in some way share that destiny. But for people who are moving towards the light I will put it this way: as the world is being torn down and recycled, a new world is rising up.
I am always extremely optimistic. I know that bad things are going to happen and it’s possible that millions and millions of people will die. But I do believe that something very very good is going to happen.
I see the whole of life, Mike, as a Shakespearean play in which the same stories are told over and over again and people are given the opportunity to learn from them. If they do not learn, then there are certain pains that happen. Pain is the great instructor. For those who do learn, they do move away from pain.
You see why we love Les? A kindred soul: one who is anti-religion, anti-cult, but powerfully moved by the knowledge that there IS more to this world than just the material reality that we experience, that there is SPIRIT, and cycles, and that all is as it should be. Yes, it is true that Knowledge Protects, and that it only protects when it is UTILIZED, and this is something that Les understands in a visceral way. Les is a Mystic; I am a Mystic; and it is a cruel irony of our reality that true Mysticism has been so distorted, defamed, denigrated and marginalized that people look to the cults of materialism – the Monotheistic Farces that pass as religions today – for their spiritual sustenance when there is, truly, Universal Intelligence out there just waiting to dance with you, to lead, if you will take the first, faltering steps.
Those first steps must be towards an objective understanding of our world and the forces that have shaped it. Chief among those forces is monotheism – an immense sick joke and the perennial bane of our collective existence. Yet how many are aware of the evidence for the role of cyclical comets and disasters as the original driving force behind organised religion? How many realise that, without this knowledge and the knowledge of Ponerology, it is impossible to fully understand how our major religions were formed and how so many people have been duped by them?
Les’s most recent essay was: Noam Chomsky, White Knights and 9/11 Truth. Here are excerpts of the salient points made in that essay:
Some of you may think that Chomsky is one of the good guys … but the fact remains that you can’t be a bonafide voice of the people. You can’t be a standard bearer for the truth. You can’t be a legitimate voice of conscience and all the other things these public white knights present themselves as if you avoid or deny the truth about 9/11. […]
Okay… here’s how it is. Everything… everything we are going through; all the draconian security measures that screw up our freedom of expression and movement are because of the 9/11 attacks. They are also pointless because the terrorists in question happen to be the state itself, with the assistance of at least one other nation. All of the deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq; the savage butchery in Palestine and the raping and pillaging of the American economy by Halliburton and so many other blood sucking siphon machines are all happening and have happened because of 9/11. […]
So I don’t see how I can trust all the articulate commentary from these men on a wide variety of subjects when they ignore or deny the linchpin of the whole deal. And what does it matter what they have to say about these things when the cause of all of these things is the very subject that they ignore or deny? Do they ignore or deny it from good sense… from fear… from complicity? I don’t know. Whatever their reasons are cancels out any standing they might have in my mind. […]
These men are posturing from their ivory towers as courageous combatants for human freedom and veneration of the truth yet they will not address the MAIN ISSUE. It all comes down to 9/11 period. It’s all happening because of 9/11. The buck stops there.
“But visible, they’ve done a lot of good… yackety yack, yackety yack.” That’s like saying Paul Wolfowitz doesn’t beat his wife or Rupert Murdoch donates a lot of money to good causes (which I wouldn’t know about, it’s just a hypothetical example). It doesn’t somehow make it all okay.
9/11 is the litmus test. If you aren’t focused on that and if you aren’t out front about where the evidence leads then what good are you? […]
9/11 was an inside job! 9/11 was an Inside Job!! 9/11 was an Inside Job!!! 9/11 was an Inside Job!!!! And Israel was involved…
If you are a public figure and if your livelihood and your reputation are based on telling the truth and you can’t say this then you are not what you make yourself out to be and that, according to me, makes you a hypocrite.
Remember that these are highly intelligent individuals. These are people with great research skills and reasoning ability. There is no way that they do not know what we know. There’s no way around it. It’s fine if they are in some other line of work but they are not. This is their line of work.
I’m tired of these men and so many others. I am tired of Daily Kos and so many others who make out how they are all about freedom and democracy; transparency and truth… high-minded words with no more substance than a dream… shining white knights with feet of clay. […]
People have died. PEOPLE HAVE DIED! People are being tortured and locked up for years. An entire nation of people is displaced in Iraq and the suffering is immense. In Palestine… oh… what can I say? I want to cry but my tears will serve no purpose at all… all because of 9/11… all because of lies… all this murder goes on every day, courtesy of the people who did 9/11 in the first place and now they murder those whom they have accused of their crimes. They torture them for information that only they possess.
If you are in a position to know the truth and you have a reputation for telling the truth and you do not … If you support these lies then your hands have blood on them.
He’s right, you know. And, in fact, it is because of the fact that Mike Rivero doesn’t seem to grok the reality of the Strike on the Pentagon that we have held him suspect, lo these many years. He effectively supports the Official Story there, though he will certainly go everywhere else, including the obvious involvement of Israel in 9-11. We have always thought that to be most curious. If Jeff Rense and Mike Rivero (who support each other on about everything else) had joined forces with us on the exposure of the Pentagon as the weak link of the whole 9-11 story, if their audiences has joined with ours, a real Truth Movement might have been born back then – four years ago – and some serious energy of light could have been focused where it might have done some good.
But they didn’t, and here we are four years later and things are as bad as they could be and getting worse.
But, I digress. OilEmpire.us has put together a bit of background on Chomsky : Where Noam will not roam: Chomsky manufactures consent, supports the official stories of 9/11 and JFK which reports:
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” – Noam Chomsky
“That’s an internet theory and it’s hopelessly implausible. Hopelessly implausible. So hopelessly implausible I don’t see any point in talking about it.” – Noam Chomsky, at a FAIR event at New York’s Town Hall, 22 January 2002, in response to a question from the audience about US government foreknowledge of 9/11.
At that time, 9/11 investigators had already presented substantial documented evidence for: prior warnings, Air Force stand-down, anomalous insider trading connected to CIA, cover-up of the domestic anthrax attacks, inconsistencies in identities & timelines of “hijackers”, US connections to al Qaeda in Balkans, a Pak ISI-al Qaeda funding connection, etc etc etc.
Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the country’s most famous dissidents, says that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman in Dallas. Anyone who still supports the Warren Commission hoax after forty years of countering proofs is either ill-informed, dumb, gullible, afraid to speak truths to power or a disinformation agent. […]
Professor Chomsky was apparently part of a study group in the late 1960s that was investigating what really happened in Dallas (ie. he was a skeptic of the official story). It seems likely that Chomsky did indeed figure out what happened – and decided that this was too big of an issue to confront.
Maybe Chomsky gets more media attention these days than most other dissidents BECAUSE he urges people not to inquire into how the secret government operates. […]
JFK Conspiracy: The Intellectual Dishonesty and Cowardice of Alexander Cockburn and Noam Chomsky (Michael Worsham, The Touchstone. Feb 1997)
…in early 1969 Mr. Chomsky met with several Kennedy experts and spent several hours looking at and discussing assassination photos. Mr. Chomsky even cancelled several appointments to have extra time. There was a followup meeting with Mr. Chomsky, which also lasted several hours. These meetings were ostensibly to try to do something to reopen the case. According to the Probearticle, Mr. Chomsky indicated he was very interested, but had to give the matter careful consideration before committing.
After the meeting, Selwyn Bromberger, an MIT philosophy professor who had sat in on the discussion, said to the author:
“If they are strong enough to kill the President and strong enough to cover it up, then they are too strong to confront directly . . . if they feel sufficiently threatened, they may move to open totalitarian rule.”
According to the author, Mr. Chomsky had given every indication that he believed there was a conspiracy at these meetings. However, Mr. Chomsky never got involved with trying to reopen the case.
Chomsky and his good friend and soul mate on the JFK case, Alexander Cockburn went on an (orchestrated?) campaign at the time of Stone’s JFK to convince whatever passes for the left in this country that the murder of Kennedy was 1) not the result of a conspiracy, and 2) didn’t matter even if it was. They were given unlimited space in magazines like The Nation and Z Magazine. But, as Howard Zinn implied in a recent letter to Schotz defending Chomsky, these stances are not based on facts or evidence, but on a political choice. They choose not to fight this battle. They would rather spend their time and effort on other matters. When cornered themselves, Chomsky and Cockburn resort to rhetorical devices like exaggeration, sarcasm, and ridicule. In other words, they resort to propaganda and evasion. [CTKA]
And then, there is this from a Chomsky Interview: Left Denial on 9/11 Turns Irrational
“It’s a little bit like the huge energy being put into trying to figure out who killed JFK, I mean yeah, who cares? People get killed all the time, what does it matter if one of them was JFK. If it was a high level conspiracy it might be interesting but the evidence is overwhelming, and after that its just a matter of it being a jealous husband or the mafia.”
In short, Chomsky really doesn’t care about truth; that’s the bottom line.
It’s really a shame. There is a small number of people who are well placed and have respect and influence, and they could do so much for this world, but they don’t. Reminds me of what I wrote in Chaos and Consent, the quotes from Sebastian Haffner’s book “Defying Hitler”:
Indeed, only a few weeks after the atrocities began, a law was passed that forbade anyone, under pain of severe penalties, to claim, even in the privacy of their own home, that atrocities were taking place.
Of course, it was not the intention to keep the atrocities secret. In that case they would not have served their purpose, which was to induce general fear, alarm and submission. On the the contrary, the purpose was to intensify the terror by cloaking it in secrecy and making even talking about it dangerous. An open declaration of what was happening in SA cellars and concentration camps in a public speech or in the press – might still have led to desperate resistance, even in Germany.The secret whispered rumours, ‘Be careful, my friend! Do you know what happened to X?’ were much more effective in breaking people’s backbones. […]
People began to join in – at first mostly from fear. After they had participated, they no longer wanted to do so just from fear. That would have been mean and contemptible. So the necessary ideology was supplied. That was the spiritual basis of the victory of the National Socialist revolution.
True, something further was necessary to achieve all this. That was the cowardly treachery of all party and organisational leaders, to whom the 56 per cent of the population who had voted against the Nazis on the 5th of March had entrusted themselves. This terrible and decisive event was not much noticed by the outside world. Naturally, the Nazis had no interest in drawing attention to it, since it would considerably devalue their ‘victory’, and as for the traitors themselves: well, of course, they did not want attention drawn to it. Nevertheless, it is finally only this betrayal that explains the almost inexplicable fact that a great nation, which cannot have consisted entirely of cowards, fell into ignominy without a fight.
The betrayal was complete, extending from Left to Right.[…]
The great middle-class, Catholic party, Zentrum, which in the last few years had attracted the backing of more and more middle-class Protestants, had already fallen in March. It was this party that supplied the votes necessary for the two-thirds majority that ‘legalised’ Hitler’s dictatorship. In this it followed its leader, the ex-Reichschancellor Bruning. […]
We see the same treachery from the Democratic Party in the U.S. We have seen their treachery after the last “election” when, in spite of the will of the people, they have failed to address a single issue that their constituents have demanded of them! And they continue along this path of rubberstamping the march of Fascism, even in the words of the current political candidates!
Finally, the German nationalists, the right-wing conservatives, who venerated ‘honour’ and ‘heroism’ as the central characteristics of their programme. Oh God, what an infinitely dishonourable and cowardly spectacle their leaders made in 1933 and continued to make afterwards! One might at least have expected that, once their claim in January proved illusory – that they had ‘tamed’ the Nazis and ‘rendered them harmless’ – they would act as a ‘brake’ and ‘prevent the worst’. Not a bit of it. They went along with everything: the terror, the persecution of the Jews, the persecution of Christians. They were not even bothered when their own party was prohibited and their own members arrested. […]
And so it is with the so-called “Democrats” of today… (And we can add Noam Chomsky, too.)
As the parties, so the leagues. There was a ‘League of Communist Front-Line Veterans’ and a centrist association called Reichsbanner with a black, red and gold flag, the colours of the Weimar Republic. It was organised on military lines by a coalition of centrist parties including the Social Democrats, had arms and millions of members and was explicitly intended to hold the SA in check. During the whole period this association remained completely invisible, not a glimmer. It disappeared without trace, as though it had never existed. Resistance in Germany only took the form of individual acts of desperation –as in the case of the trade union official in k’penick.
The officers of the Reichsbanner showed not the slightest opposition when their facilities were ‘taken over’ by the SA. The Stahlhelm, the army of the German nationalists, permitted itself to be absorbed and then dissolved bit by bit. They grumbled, but offered no resistance.
There was not one single example of energetic defence, of courage or principle. There was only panic, flight, and desertion. In March 1933 millions were ready to fight the Nazis. Overnight they found themselves without leaders.
Thus it seems almost certain that the rise of Hitler in Germany was aided and abetted by the same types of pressure that have now been brought to bear on the U.S. Congress, inducing the passage of legislation legalizing torture and doing away with habeas corpus, and establishing of Nazi-like military tribunals. These pressures also include such things as the co-opting of the 9-11 Truth Movement, the Alternative Media and Historical Revisionism. Except for minor adjustments in methodology, the picture is almost point by point exactly the same!
This terrible moral bankruptcy of the opposition leadership is a fundamental characteristic of the March ‘revolution’ of 1933. It made the Nazi victory exceedingly easy. On the other hand, it also sheds doubt on the strength and durability of that victory. The swastika has not been stamped on the Germans as though they were a firm, resistant but malleable mass, but as though they were a formless, yielding pulp that can equally easily take a different form. Admittedly, March 1933 has left open the question as to whether it is worth the effort to try and reshape it. The moral inadequacy of the German character shown in that month is too monstrous to suppose that history will not one day call them to account for it. […]
And the same can certainly be said about the U.S. though it seems to be almost a waste of time and breath to point out to individuals and groups that what happened to Germany may very well happen to you all: you will all be called to account for either your violence or your spinelessness, you will be hated and spat upon by the world tribunal when that court seats itself to render justice over you in the end. It moves them not in the least because, like all deviants. they cannot imagine consequences, they cannot see that those who live by the sword always and inevitably die by the sword.
It was out of this treachery of its opponents, and the feeling of helplessness, weakness and disgust that it aroused, that the Third Reich was born. In the elections of the 5th of March the Nazis had remained a minority. If there had been elections three weeks later, the German people would almost certainly have given them a true majority. This was not just a result of the terror, or intoxication… The decisive cause was anger and disgust with the cowardly treachery of their own leadership. That had become for a moment stronger than the rage and hate against the real enemy. […]
Hundreds of thousands, who had up till then been opponents, joined the Nazi Party in March 1933. The Nazis called them the ‘casualties of March’ and treated them with suspicion and contempt. The workers also left their Social Democratic and Communist unions in equally large numbers and joined Nazi Betriebszellen (factory cells) or the SA. They did it for many reasons, often for a whole tangled web of them; but however hard one looks, one will not find a single solid, positive, durable reason among them – not one that can pass muster.
In each individual case the process of becoming a Nazi showed the unmistakable symptoms of nervous collapse.
The simplest and, if you looked deeper, nearly always the most basic reason was fear. Join the thugs to avoid being beaten up.
Less clear was a kind of exhilaration, the intoxication of unity, the magnetism of the masses. Many also felt a need for revenge against those who had abandoned them. Then there was a peculiarly German line of thought: ‘All the predictions of the opponents of the Nazis have not come true. They said the Nazis could not win. Now they have won. Therefore the opponents were wrong. So the Nazis must be right.’
There was also (particularly among intellectuals) the belief that they could change the face of the Nazi Party by becoming a member, even now shift its direction. Then of course many just jumped on the bandwagon, wanted to be part of a perceived success.
Finally, among the more primitive, inarticulate, simpler souls there was a process that might have taken place in mythical times when a beaten tribe abandoned its faithless god and accepted the god of the victorious tribe as its patron. Saint Marx, in whom one had always believed, had not helped. Saint Hitler was obviously more powerful. So let’s destroy the images of Saint Marx on the altars and replace them with images of Saint Hitler. Let us learn to pray: ‘It is the Jews’ fault’ rather than ‘It is the capitalists’ fault’. Perhaps that will redeem us.
The sequence of events is, as you see, not so unnatural. It is wholly within the normal range of psychology, and it helps to explain the almost inexplicable.
The only thing that is missing is what in animals is called ‘breeding’. This is a solid inner kernel that cannot be shaken by external pressures and forces, something noble and steely, a reserve of pride, principle and dignity to be drawn on in the hour of trial. It is missing in the Germans. As a nation they are soft, unreliable and without backbone. That was shown in March 1933. At the moment of truth, when other nations rise spontaneously to the occasion, the Germans collectively and limply collapsed. They yielded and capitulated, and suffered a nervous breakdown.
The result of this million-fold nervous breakdown is the unified nation, ready for anything, that is today the nightmare of the rest of the world. (Sebastian Haffner, Defying Hitler, excerpts)
Notice what Haffner said about BREEDING:
The only thing that is missing is what in animals is called ‘breeding’. This is a solid inner kernel that cannot be shaken by external pressures and forces, something noble and steely, a reserve of pride, principle and dignity to be drawn on in the hour of trial.
Dare we say that this thing that Haffner referred to as “Breeding” is CONSCIENCE? The very thing that psychopaths are said to lack entirely?
At this point, I want to refer to Henry See’s article: Environment of Evil where he writes:
…there are individuals who never feel remorse, who are incapable of feeling remorse. Nothing in the world can help them to see the error of their act, the violence they have perpetrated on another, and to see the need to repair the damage. The reaction is more along the lines of “What of it?” or “Get over it”.
The truly horrific acts of evil, or the majority of them, are those perpetrated by such human-looking predators. These predators can take positions of power in organizations and in society and can instill an environment where the morally weak are easily influenced into mimicking such acts. Other people who are not pathological can be influenced by this environment and can come to accept that such acts are normal or part of life. A mundane example is the way violence and taunts are now accepted as being part and parcel of sport. There is nothing about violence and taunts that is intrinsic to sport, and yet few bat an eye now when it shows its head. Many even hope it will show its head.
That process that leads to the pathological being accepted as normal is the process of ponerization. It is real, and most everyone can be and is affected to one extent or another. An understanding of ponerology, of how society becomes infected with evil, is much different from the simplistic assertion that “we could all become an Idi Amin”. […]
What of the psychopath?
By denying the fundamental difference between the psychopath, the person without conscience, and people of conscience, Zimbardo continues to propagate the great lie, the fundamental fact of the nature of our world that, if generally known and taken into account by society at large, could change our world for the better in ways we can’t even imagine. That lie states that we are all the same.
The truth, that not all who look human have a conscience, is a bitter pill to swallow. We have been raised under the twin peaks of religion and science. The religious shadow upon us tells us that God made us all in his image. The shadow cast by official science tells us that questions of conscience have no place in science.
In recent years, however, a few brave researchers into psychopathy are providing us with data that proposes to establish a study of evil that is scientific. Such is the proposition of Andrew Lobaczewski who presents the work of courageous Eastern European psychologists, now persecuted and forgotten, who actively studied psychopathy and political power. Others suggest there is a genetic link with conscience, that psychopaths differ genetically in a fundamental way from other people. They are born without the necessary hardware to choose a moral life. Robert Hare, a Canadian psychologist, has even taken brain scans of psychopaths that were refused publication in a scientific journal because the editors were convinced that they were not human but from some sort of ape.
If Zimbardo does not know this data, then he cannot offer a complete picture of the subject. If he does know this data….
In Zimbardo’s appearance on “The Daily Show” Thursday, host Jon Stewart agreed, and cited the example of Ishmael Beah, the former child soldier from Sierra Leone who, with his book “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” demonstrates the possibility of such a transformation and the inspiration it delivers.
The example of one individual, or even many, who are capable of recognizing the evil they have done, while hopeful, does not negate the facts of psychopathy. That one man can do it does not imply that all men can do it.
“It is not an abstract concept,” Zimbardo writes. “As we are reminded by the Russian poet and former prisoner in Stalin’s Gulag, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “The line between good and evil is in the center of every human heart.”
No. There are hearts that have no line. There are hearts lacking in empathy, lacking in the capacity to feel the pain of another human being. We discuss this issue at great length on SOTT.net because it is as vital to our survival as it is unknown. We have seen a recent increase in individuals and web sites discussing ponerology and the political repercussions of psychopathy since the publication by Red Pill Press of Andrew Lobaczewski’s Political Ponerology, but there is still much work to be done to bring this vital information to the world.
Yes, we agree that there is an environmental element to evil. Good people can be swayed and pressured in the appropriate circumstances and environment into committing acts they could never imagine. But what is that appropriate circumstance and environment?
Let’s look at this question.
The Real Environment
It doesn’t take an Einstein to see that things are bad on the planet. I can’t think of an adjective to qualify “bad” that sums up the actual state of things. Wars, starvation, inequality, injustice, disease, poverty, ecological disaster, and on and on. The developed countries consume the lion’s share of the world’s resources while the rest of the world starves. The United States consumes the lion’s share of the consumed resources. The vast majority of people in those countries accept the situation and think it is fine. If they have qualms, they aren’t so upset that they are moved to actually do anything about it.
People find excuses.
We are told that this is how things have always been. We hear stories of the Roman Empire, Alexander’s Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and our history books are filled with wars for this and wars for that as justifications for the current push for the establishment of an American Empire. The problems that beset us are somehow linked to human nature, we are told. We are rational animals, with stress on our animalistic side, not on reason. It is that animal inside that cannot always be tamed. Given the right circumstances….
The explanation offered by Zimbardo lies squarely in this conceptualization of humanity and society.
We suggest that the conceptualization is wrong, fundamentally wrong. It is fundamentally wrong because it does not take into account the fact that there are among us on our planet human-looking individuals devoid of conscience and incapable of anything resembling what others would consider as emotion. Their emotions are only related to those associated with the hunt, with predation. They have no ability to register and feel the suffering of other human beings as anything more than a tasty food source. In fact, they thrive on the suffering of other people because it makes them feel important, special, smarter, and better than everyone else. We squirm and suffer while they pump themselves up because they have conned us again. They know how we can be manipulated through playing on our emotions, and they are extremely successful at it. They are so successful that we don’t even know that they exist! We blame ourselves. We even measure ourselves against their standards.
Psychologist Martha Stout agrees. In her excellent book The Sociopath Next Door, she writes:
“And so why does the world seem so terribly unsafe? How do we explain the six o’clock news, or even our own personal experiences? Could it conceivably be that a mere 4% of the population is responsible for nearly all of the human disasters that occur in the world, and in our individual lives? This is an arresting question, one that offers to overhaul many of our assumptions about human society. So I will repeat that the phenomenon of conscience is overwhelmingly powerful, persistent, and prosocial. Unless under the spell of psychotic delusions, extreme rage, inescapable deprivation, drugs, or a destructive authority figure, a person who is conscience-bound does not – in some sense cannot – kill or rape in cold blood, torture another person, steal someone’s life savings, trick someone into a loveless relationship as sport, or wilfully abandon his own children.
“When we see people doing such things, either on the news or in our own lives, who are they? On the rare occasion, they are formally insane, or under the pressure of some radical emotion. Sometimes they are members of a group that is desperately deprived, or they are substance abusers, or the follower of a malevolent leader. But most often they are none of these. Rather, most often, they are people who have no conscience. They are sociopaths.” [pp. 104-05.]
We ascribe barbarous acts to “human nature” when, in fact, it is not “human” at all. Normal humans are shocked and repelled. The idea that “we are all potential Idi Amins” is tantamount to the Stockholm Syndrome. We have identified with the kidnapper and so we elaborate theories to justify our behaviour. According to Stout, the idea that we all have a shadow side:
“…maintains in its most extreme form that anything doable or feelable by one human being is potentially doable and feelable by all… Ironically, good and kindhearted people are often the most willing to subscribe to this theory in the radical form that proposes they could, in some bizarre situation, be mass murderers. It feels more democratic and less condemnatory (and somehow less alarming) to believe that everyone is a little shady than to accept a few human beings live in a permanent nighttime. To admit that some people literally have no conscience is not technically saying that some human beings are evil, but it is disturbingly close. And good people want very much not to believe in the personification of evil.” p. 106
People of conscience, those who can feel remorse, who can feel distraught at having hurt another human being, buy into the big lie because of their ability to feel!
Lobaczewski points out over and over again in his book that psychopaths have a special psychological knowledge of normal people and use this knowledge against us constantly. Because they are never blinded by emotions, and yet they see how crippled in our thinking and our reactions we can become, they understand that our emotions, our noblest emotions, are the ultimate weapon against us.
These are the facts on the ground and any theory that doesn’t take it into account only plays further into the hands of these individuals.
If the existence of psychopaths and their ability to play us is denied, then their role in government, in business, in the media, in the military, in the police and law, in education, in any place where power is to be had, cannot be understood.That is the reality, those are the forces that are shaping the environment in which we can be ponerized. So on that level, yes, the environment is a factor. Fortunately, researchers such as Łobaczewski, Robert Hare and Paul Babiak are bringing to light the nefarious influence these pathological types play in society. We are beginning to have an understanding of the dynamic between psychopath and non-psychopath, between predator and prey, in individual lives and in society at large.
Let’s do some modelling to try and understand what we face.
Look at the following figure.
©Signs of the Times Figure 1. Environment without Conscience
The horizontal line represents society as a whole, mapped out between two poles: those Without Conscience and those With Conscience. Consider society as made up of individuals spread out on the continuum between those who, on the one had, have no conscience, and those who are able to live their lives based completely on conscience. The vast majority of the population falls between the two.
Consider the two poles as being centres of gravity, attracting people to them.
Now let’s play with it a bit.
The various pathological types that make up what we call the pathocracy are represented by the red line on the left. These are the four to six percent of the population without conscience. Next to them are those who are most easily influenced by them, people whose conscience, if it is ever active, extends only to their family and maybe a few friends. They will place their own needs and desires over that of society as a whole. They will seek comfort over justice and personal success over the social good.
In a pathocracy, the six percent have the majority of the important positions of power. Because of this, the 17 or so percent who are easily influenceable will give them their support in exchange for a comfortable life.
In the world today, it is the left pole that determines the environment in which we live. The values of society emanate from it, the ideas of what is socially acceptable come from it. The programming on television, in the movies, in books and music, in anything that is treated as “culture” in a capitalist economy, all of that emanates from the pole of the conscienceless. Power accrues from the left to the right on the scale. If you imagine the line placed on a pivot point in the middle that allowed us to compare the weight of the power and influence of the two poles, it is obvious that the left pole dominates. Society is weighted towards a lack of conscience.
We could say that conscience, at the moment, exists as an idea, nothing more. It has no weight in reality. It exists in potential. For it to come into existence, there must be individuals who put their conscience into practice. They must act on conscience. Its manifestations at the moment are sporadic and individual. There is no coherence.
That is the environment in which we live. If you wish to understand how we are influenced by evil, it is the fact of the existence of the pole of the conscienceless that you must understand. It is the existence of this pole that explains the horrors of human history, not some incurable or permanent predatorial nature at the heart of every human being.
This conscienceless reality continues to exist because the majority of people are ignorant of the facts. They have no knowledge of psychopathy and the role it plays in shaping society. They do not understand that their ideas, their opinions, their thoughts, their dreams, their goals in life are all broadcast out from a group of people who either have no conscience and are incapable of it, or who are willing to do whatever they are asked in order to preserve their own comfort.
To break the rule of the pathocrats, we need knowledge: the knowledge about them and how they work, both on an individual level and on the level of society as a whole. Knowledge, scientific knowledge on psychopathy and ponerology, will permit us to create a pole of conscience that can serve as a counterweight to the pole of the conscienceless. The goal of this knowledge is to eliminate the influence from the other pole by facilitating people to pull themselves out of its field of influence. The 17% or so percent who support the pathocracy would be won away if they were to feel that their security and comfort was bettered served by supporting the other pole.
The goal is not to eliminate physically the psychopaths but to render their manipulations fruitless as more and more people see through them. Knowledge of them and how they manipulate and deceive serves as an inoculation. We can learn to become immune. As this occurs, the weight of the left pole will decrease. If the pathological have no influence, if they can no longer have access to positions of power, gradually, consciencelessness will become nothing but an idea. It will lose its physical manifestations.
Now look at the second figure.
©Signs of the Times Figure 2. Environment with Conscience
The second figure shows us what the environment would look like in a society where the pole of conscience is a reality and the pole of consciencelessness exist only as an idea. The fatal six percent are no longer dominating society; they have been effectively excluded from it, put into quarantine. Those influences can no longer wreak their havoc.
Think about how the environment would change. Think how the world would be a different place if violence was not promoted as the acceptable solution for differences, where the leaders of the world’s countries sat down together and were able to understand the suffering their policies were inflicting on others and were thus willing to change. Our standards and models would no longer be drawn from those without conscience, they would come from those who live by their conscience. The pathological reality we have today would be transformed into a humane reality, reflecting who we really are as humans, not what we may once have been as animals.
And so it is that, just as there exists a small minority of conscienceless individuals who dominate our world, at the other end, there is another minority – those with conscience, but without material power.
Les Visible has made a profound observation about this:
…when you press a whole lot of people together, people move deep into a materialistic darkness, more and more heat, more fire occurs. […] the same stories are told over and over again and people are given the opportunity to learn from them. If they do not learn, then there are certain pains that happen. Pain is the great instructor. For those who do learn, they do move away from pain.
And we cannot forget this little exchange:
Mike Rivero: […] What do you think about Americans? What is going to happen to them?.
Les: You know, I’m going to have to like qualify that in metaphysical terms. You are an atheist, right, Mike?
Mike: Yes, I thank God
Les: Anyway, I am anything but… but I am not religious at all. I am not into religions at all, but I have daily experiences of another power, a greater power that surrounds us, that penetrates us as a living force. And it is what is responsible for my ability to write.
This brings us to the main topic I want to discuss, an article I wrote some time ago when my own spiritual approach – the fire that drives me – was being defamed by a very different essayist from the spiritual Les Visible…