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  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 10:37 on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , criminals, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Is there a psychopath in your life? 

    Women in green

    What is a psychopath? Do you know one? Ever been the victim of one? The chances are that the answer is yes, even if you may not realize it. The scientific consensus is that one in a hundred people is psychopathic and this breaks down evenly between men and women. (1)  Scary thought, huh? What is your idea of a ‘psychopath’? A serial killer? A crazy person foaming at the mouth? Think again.

    Movie madness – muddling psychosis and psychopathy

    Hollywood loves psychopaths and psychotics because they make such wonderful (or terrible, depending on your point of view) baddies. But if you think that because you’ve seen lots of movies featuring baddies who are ‘mad’ in some way you will therefore be able tell a psychotic from a psychopath, you are mistaken, because the movies regularly mix them up. Perhaps the most famous ‘mad’ movie baddie of them all, Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, is regularly branded a psychopath, although he was no such thing. He was a delusional psychotic. ‘Hearing voices’ or ‘seeing things’ that aren’t there can be symptoms of psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia, but does not mean that you are a psychopath. Of course, schizophrenia itself is another condition often misrepresented in the movies, which pursue the dramatic possibilities of ‘split personality’ while failing to acknowledge that it has nothing whatever to do with schizophrenia.

    To see a more accurate movie psychopath, turn to the eponymous cold hired assassin ‘the Jackal’ in The Day of the Jackal, or the scheming and manipulative Tom Ripley (brilliantly portrayed by Matt Damon) in The Talented Mr Ripley.

    In reality, most psychopaths are not criminal – although many criminals are psychopaths – but they are certainly amoral. The great majority are not killers; they are ‘bad’ rather than ‘mad’. So how do you tell if there is a psychopath in your life?

    The charming manipulator

    The socialized psychopath is likely to be too smart to end up in jail.

    The socialized psychopath can appear extremely charming. You have to know them really well and have a fair amount of insight yourself to spot that they always and only ever do what suits them. As long as they are getting their own way, they can be as charming as you could wish, and the most delightful company. But they will lie at the drop of a hat, without the slightest twinge of anxiety or guilt (so the old ‘lie detector’ polygraph test wouldn’t be likely to catch them out). They will use other people for their own ends without the smallest concern – treating them as no more than chess pieces in their ‘game’. They have no sense of guilt or remorse and will always be able to come up with plausible rationalizations for their behavior which allow them to lay the blame for any subsequent disaster on other people. And, of course, once chess pieces have served their purpose, there is no reason why they should not be discarded.

    Is it surprising that politics and show business are thought to have more than their fair share of socialized psychopaths?

    Cruel yet magnetic

    The socialized psychopath can be very attractive for the very qualities that make them psychopathic. This is not as contradictory as it sounds. A person whom we sense is not encumbered with the same inhibitions, doubts, uncertainties and sensitivities that plague the rest of mankind can seem very attractive. They can have such an aura of confidence and freedom about them. They may be enormously fun sensation-seeking risk takers. There are ‘no strings on them’ – or so it would appear. They may even seem like heroes to us. And they will keep us onside while we are useful to them. If you watch them carefully, however, their humor will tend to be on the cruel side.

    Cult leader Jim Jones was very magnetic and attracted a great number of followers to his ‘Jonestown’ settlement where they met their tragic deaths. He was reported to have enjoyed dissecting live animals as a child – a common childhood indicator of psychopathy. Other people’s suffering does not shock the psychopath as it does ordinary people, although they can look as shocked as anyone on the surface. How so?

    Feigning empathy

    A psychopath is not ’emotion blind’. They can ‘read’ other people’s emotions perfectly well, and mimic them perfectly well. And for them, other people’s emotions are just another counter to use in their games. They themselves rarely get worked up about anything except not getting what they want.

    How do you deal with someone who has no empathy, guilt, remorse or fear?

    A psychopath may understand other people frighteningly well. They can watch dispassionately, with a cold and calculating mind, going convincingly through the motions of empathy on the surface while focusing on how to turn the situation to their advantage. The only way to spot them is to observe them carefully over a significant period of time. Do they regularly say one thing and then do another, more than other people? Do they use people emotionally, sexually, professionally and then discard them casually? Do they sometimes seem strangely un-shocked by shocking events?

    Cold hearts

    Not surprisingly, many two-faced bullies show strong psychopathic tendencies. As they say: ‘You can’t turn a lion into a vegetarian by throwing veggie burgers at it.’ Trying to appeal to the better nature of a person who hasn’t got a better nature is a losing strategy. Psychopaths do not feel guilt or shame. They won’t feel genuinely sorry for you and will only put up a front of convincing looking sympathy for as long as it suits them.

    If you suspect there is a psychopath causing havoc in your life then you need to avoid them as much as possible. Collect and record evidence of their manipulative behavior. Try to avoid seeing them except when other people are around. Psychopaths leave a string of broken hearts, disappointment, bewilderment and empty wallets in their wake. Romantic relationships with a psychopath (of either sex) are fraught with dangers to your emotional and even physical well-being.

    How do you treat the psychopath?

    Traditionally psychopaths have only been ‘treated’ when they have been caught in criminal misdemeanor, and that ‘treatment’ has often been no more than punishment. Psychopathy is seen as a ‘personality disorder’ and therefore pretty much untreatable. Psychopaths may be very happy with being the way they are and there is some evidence that their brains, in some respects, work quite differently from other people’s.

    In a fascinating study, researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London (2), showed six psychopaths and nine healthy volunteers’ pictures of faces displaying different emotions. When looking at happy faces (as opposed to neutral faces), the brains of both groups showed increased activity in the areas involved in processing facial expression, although this increase was smaller in the psychopathic group.

    In contrast, when processing faces full of fear compared with neutral faces, the healthy volunteers showed more activation and the psychopaths less activation in these brain regions. Psychopaths can be very emotional themselves if they feel thwarted, but they are less concerned with other people’s emotions except as a hook by which to manipulate them.

    The psychopathic continuum

    We can all behave psychopathically sometimes, given extreme enough circumstances. Even whole cultures may be more psychopathic than others. Societies that encourage individuality, material gain and personal power while glorifying violence at the expense of the community display psychopathic tendencies just as surely as individuals do. And some people may manifest some psychopathic tendencies while still on occasion having genuine empathy and consideration.

    The vast majority of people do care about others, are shocked and upset by the suffering of fellow creatures and won’t tread over all and sundry just to get to the top. And we can all be manipulative, calculating, selfish or ladle on the false charm at times. But for the psychopath this is par for the course.

    Notes

    1. See Robert D Hare’s excellent: Without Conscience: The disturbing world of the psychopaths among us
    2. This research was conducted by Professor Declan Murphy and colleagues at Kings College London and published in ‘Facial emotion processing in criminal psychopathy’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 2006 189: 547-555

    EXCERPT from “No strings on me: Is there a psychopath in your life?” by Mark Tyrrell

    Photo courtesy bryancrump

     
    • revengestar 21:01 on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It’s way more than that percentage since psychopathy is a spectrum. Although the main psychopath in my life is…well me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • @GeneticPsycho (Tina) 21:22 on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Curious – how many do you know? Are they in your family?

        Like

        • revengestar 21:24 on June 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

          all my family members are narcissistic sadly. I know 4 psychopaths in real life who drop the mask in private and we talk like psychopaths. Many others who act even when i see what they are. As for online, well dozens.

          Like

  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 10:21 on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , corporate crime, , criminals, , , , fraud, , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Psychopathy and Corporate Crime 

    Psychopathic Personality Diagnostic Checklist

    Psychopathic Personality Diagnostic Checklist

    INTRODUCTION

    The relationship between psychopathy and violent street-level offenses has been well established.  However, psychopathic characteristics and behaviors have been normalized, tolerated, and even valued among corporate offenders. There is a paucity of research that explores the relationship between psychopathy and forms of elite deviance, and the connection between psychopathy and corporate crime warrants further academic attention.

    Psychopathy is characterized by glib/superficial charm, impression management, a grandiose sense of self-worth, pathological lying, conning/manipulativeness, lack of empathy, lack of guilt or remorse, shallow affect, and failure to accept responsibility. Impression management is indicated by efforts put forth by individuals in order to be viewed by others in a socially desirable or favorable manner. Grandiosity is typified by an excessive need for admiration, arrogance, sense of entitlement, envy, and exploitative tendencies towards others. Pathological lying is marked by a long history of frequent and repeated lying. Manipulativeness is characterized by charm, deceit, risk-taking, and carelessness about rules and conventions. Empathy has been defined as “the ability to detect accurately the emotional information being transmitted by another person”. Guilt “refers to the private feelings of a troubled conscience caused by a personal wrongdoing or by disadvantaging a valued other”. Although they are capable of concealing their emotional deficits, psychopaths are not capable of experiencing or appreciating everyday emotions, demonstrating a shallow affect. Psychopaths tend to rationalize and justify their behavior, often blaming others rather than accepting responsibility for their own actions.

    While there has been little research conducted on psychopathy and corporate offending, personality traits such as interpersonal competitiveness, positive extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism have emerged as principal personality correlates of white-collar offending. Interpersonal competitiveness is defined as extreme competition in which individuals are motivated to avoid loss and to defeat their rival counterparts. Positive extroversion is characterized by individuals who are talkative and spontaneous. In contrast, the disagreeable businessman is defined by characteristics such as bitterness, having condescending attitudes towards co-workers, and being easily angered or frustrated at unplanned circumstances and inconsistencies with order, rules, and corporate customs. Neuroticism is defined by traits such as anxiety, insecurity, sloppiness, and low self-esteem. While these traits explain corporate offending, other characteristics, such as those typical of psychopathy, can be extended to many of the traits and behaviors of elite criminals. As this thesis demonstrates, corporate behaviors illustrate several traits that are consistent with psychopathy.Monopoly. Big means you don't have to share

    CORPORATE CRIME

    In contrast to street level offenses, acts of elite deviance may fall beyond the scope of codified criminal law. Furthermore, many acts of elite deviance do not actually violate the law, but still have multiple adverse consequences for society. In fact, elite offenses cause significantly greater harm than street level offenses. For example, corporate and white-collar property crimes cause an estimated $404 billion in damages, while street level property damages are estimated to only cost $20 billion. Still, crimes committed by elites are rarely targeted under the current Crime Control Model.

    Elite deviance is characterized by illegal and/or unethical behavior, the maintenance or increase in profit and/or power for economic and political organizations, the open or covert assistance and support from elites who oversee such organizations, and the participation of elite and/or employees that work for people who are wealthy and/or powerful. Elite deviance encompasses a wide variety of behaviors, such as white-collar crime, corporate crime, corporate violence, occupational crime, governmental deviance, crimes of the state, crimes of privilege, profit without honor, and crimes by any other name.

    There has been a great deal of definitional ambiguity surrounding the conceptualization of white-collar and corporate crime.  A more recent definition describes white-collar crime as “illegal or unethical acts that violate fiduciary responsibility or public trust, committed by an individual or organization, usually during the course of legitimate occupational activities, by persons of high or respectable social status for personal or organizational gain”.

    Corporate crime has been defined as wrongdoing committed by corporate officials for the benefit of their corporation and offenses of the corporation itself. In addition to violations of the existing law, corporations may commit acts that, while legal, have many negative social consequences. For this reason, definitions of corporate crime should include any harmful actions caused by negligent, reckless, or intentional behaviors that are both lawful and illegal. Frank and Lynch (1992, p. 17) defined corporate crime as, “socially injurious and blameworthy acts, legal or illegal, that cause financial, physical, or environmental harm, committed by corporations and businesses against their workers, the general public, the environment, other corporations and businesses, the government, or other countries.”

    Examples of Corporate Wrongdoing

    In The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, Joel Bakan (2004) discusses several examples of corporate wrongdoing. For instance, American corporations such as Nike, The Gap, Kathy Lee Gifford’s clothing line, and Walmart, often exploit impoverished countries for cheap and easy labor. Twenty-two separate operations take place to produce one Nike shirt. Five steps involve cutting the material, 11 steps involve sewing, and six steps involve attaching labels, hang tags, and packaging. The estimated maximum time to manufacture one shirt was 6.6 minutes, which cost $0.08 in labor and sold for $22.99. Typical sweatshop conditions are harsh and inhumane. Aside from receiving very little pay, employees in these situations are often humiliated and abused. Young girls are forced to take pregnancy tests and are fired if the results are positive. These facilities are usually located in secret, guarded locations and surrounded by barbed wire. Further, employees are often housed in substandard living conditions by the corporations they work for.

    In 1938, President Franklin Roosevelt passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which banned sweatshops, child labor, and industrial homework. However, the act is routinely violated by the garment industry and many sweatshops remain in operation both domestically and abroad. Only 33% of the garment industry is in compliance with the law. According to Charles Kernaghan, director of the National Labor Committee, sixty-five percent of clothing operations in New York City are sweatshops. Many sweatshops in the United States employ illegal immigrants.

    Monsanto does not have my consent to use my body as a science experimentMany state statutes label individuals with four convictions as “habitual criminals”. In his study, Sutherland (1949, 1983) used the records of court decisions and administrative commissions regarding 70 of the largest manufacturing, mining, and mercantile corporations in the United States. His analysis focused on violations such as restraint of trade, misrepresentation in advertising, infringement of patent, trademarks and copyrights, unfair labor practices, rebates, financial fraud and violation of trust, violations of war regulations, and other miscellaneous offenses. He found that a total of 980 decisions were made regarding the 70 corporations with an average of 14 decisions for each one.

    There are countless other examples of corporate wrongdoing. Robinson and Murphy (2009) discuss several different types of corporate violations, including fraud, deceptive advertising, defective products, and deadly products. Fraud is defined as a form of theft in which the consumer is deprived of their money or property through deceit, trickery, or lies. Fraud occurs across a wide array of industries in a variety of contexts, such as consumer fraud, insurance fraud, credit card and check fraud, cellular phone fraud, health care fraud, Medicare and Medicaid fraud, telemarketing fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and automotive fraud. Quackery is a form of fraud that advertises worthless medical products, such as drugs, devices, and nutritional products.

    Institutional Anomie Theory

    The cultural element of Institutional Anomie Theory is centered around the notion of the American Dream, which leads to pressure for economic success and anomie. The term anomie, coined by sociologist Émile Durkheim, refers to “a weakening of normative order in society”. The American Dream is defined as “a broad cultural ethos that entails a commitment to the goal of material success, to be pursued by everyone in society, under conditions of open, individual competition”. The American Dream socializes people to seek out economic success and to believe that their chances of achieving economic success are relatively high. This facilitates the ongoing pursuit of rarely-achieved aspirations and material gains. This focus on material success undermines the importance of noneconomic structures, such as those related to education, family, and politics. The universal acceptance and pursuit of the American Dream creates a number of obstacles for people since the reality is that the existing social structure creates economic inequality.

    The four basic value foundations of the American Dream are (1) achievement, (2) individualism, (3) universalism, and (4) materialism. Individual self-worth is often evaluated on the basis of achievement. American society emphasizes individualism, as Americans are deeply dedicated to individual autonomy and individual rights. Universalism is described as the universal acceptance of cultural goals and values, as virtually everyone is socialized to achieve and to evaluate themselves and others using this criteria for success. Materialism is a focus on monetary success and material accumulation. All of these factors function in a way that emphasizes material gain while diminishing the importance of legitimate means to attain economic success.

    These cultural values, the devaluation of noneconomic institutions, and the portrayal of economic institutions and economic success of utmost importance can contribute to the commission of both street and elite crimes. In the context of corporations, seeking the American Dream, and the values associated with it, can motivate individuals to increase their gains at any costs necessary.

    Maximization is defined as “the concomitant utilization of legitimate and illegitimate means to achieve the goals associated with the American Dream”. This form of behavior involves simultaneously obeying the law and violating the law. Maximizers simultaneously engage in both conformity and innovation, such that the boundaries between law-abiding behaviors and criminal behaviors become distorted or disregarded. This is especially likely to occur in corporate settings where there is added pressure to achieve financial success and immoral, harmful legitimate and illegitimate means are normalized. Maximizers view their actions as justifiable. Crime and deviance have become normal in corporations, and maximization is the primary way corporations have achieved greater wealth.

    Differential Association Theory

    The culture of competition within the subculture of organizations also creates criminogenic conditions in which illegal and amoral acts are incorporated into organizational norms. The competitive struggle for personal gain and advancement is viewed as a positive individual strength rather than as negative or selfish. Any social inequality is viewed as legitimate and fair. The poor are stigmatized and labeled incompetent and lazy, while the rich and successful are admired, creating a strong desire for success and a fear of failure.

    PSYCHOPATHY

    Psychopathy is fascinating because it is a form of antisocial behavior disguised by a veil of normalcy. Indeed, psychopaths are so proficient in their conning and manipulative qualities that they can easily gain the trust of those who surround them. Seemingly impervious to the common plights of other psychological disturbances, psychopaths are generally well-liked by others and perceived as well-meaning.

    Cleckley (1941) formed the foundation for the pathological condition we now know as psychopathy. His work identified several criteria including superficial charm, lack of anxiety, lack of guilt, undependability, dishonesty, egocentricity, failure to learn from punishment, poverty of emotions, and lack of insight into the impact of one‟s behavior on others.

    The PCL-R four-factor model of psychopathy identifies several personality characteristics. Among these are conning/manipulativeness, impression management, pathological lying, lack or remorse of guilt, callousness/lack of empathy, stimulation seeking, impulsivity, and criminal versatility. Personality can be defined as “the set of psychological traits and mechanisms within the individual that are organized and relatively enduring and that influence his or her interactions with, and adaptations to, the intrapsychic, physical, and social environments” (Larson & Buss, 2005, p. 4).

    Other personality traits relevant to corporate violence that are not identified by the PCL-R are also explored. Among these are desire for control and openness/intellect. Desire for control can be defined as an urge to exercise control over everyday life events. Openness/intellect, sometimes referred to as culture, imagination, or fluid intelligence, is illustrated by an openness to new experiences, intellectual ability, and creativity.

    Psychopathy and Street Crime

    Those with higher PCL-R scores received reduced sentences and were able to appeal the sentences of higher courts successfully. This demonstrates the ability of psychopaths to continue impression management and manipulative behaviors during the course of criminal proceedings, ultimately deceiving the criminal justice system.

    Such capabilities are certainly relevant to extending this analysis to the exploration of psychopathic corporate crime. Psychopathic features such as callousness, grandiosity, and manipulativeness, are relevant to making persuasive arguments and potentially harmful decisions, while features such as impulsivity, irresponsibility, and poor behavioral controls are relevant to poor decision making and performance.

    Psychopathy and Elite Crime

    Lack of Remorse or Guilt - A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victimsBabiak, Neumann, and Hare (2010) explain that our limited knowledge about corporate psychopathy is largely due to the difficulty in obtaining the cooperation of business organizations. They were presented with a unique opportunity to explore psychopathy and its correlates in a sample (N=203) of corporate professionals from various companies.

    PCL-R scores were not significantly related to the level of management held by participants. However, the authors noted that of the nine participants who scored 25 or higher, two were vice presidents, two were directors, two were managers or supervisors, and one held some other type of managerial position. Performance appraisals and 360-degree assessments indicated that psychopathy was associated with strong communication skills, strategic thinking skills, creativity/innovation, poor management style, and not being perceived as team oriented.

    According to Bakan (2004), corporations were initially conceived as public institutions intended to serve national interests and advance public goods. They are creations of the state, which granted them rights such as legal personhood and limited liability, and are viewed as independent persons. Bakan also argues that corporations are psychopathic and interviewed Dr. Robert Hare, creator of the PCL-R, on the subject. Hare points out several psychopathic qualities of corporations, including irresponsibility, manipulativeness, lack of empathy, lack of guilt or remorse, and superficiality.

    Hare explains that corporations are often irresponsible since they attempt to satisfy their goals by putting others at risk. They attempt to manipulate public opinion and display grandiosity by their persistence in establishing their position as “number one” and “the best”. Lack of concern shown for those that they have harmed and could potentially harm demonstrates their lack of empathy. Lack of guilt or remorse is illustrated by the fact that corporations often continue to commit the same violations after being caught and paying fines that are often trivial in comparison to their profits. Hare also argues that corporations are superficial in their relations since they attempt to present themselves in a positive light to the public, which is not representative of what they are in reality. Similar to the way in which a human psychopath uses manipulation and charm to “mask” themselves as normal, corporations present themselves as socially responsible, compassionate, and concerned about others. However, in reality, and as displayed in their behaviors, they are not.

    Excerpted from “PSYCHOPATHY AND CORPORATE CRIME A Thesis by ANGELA DAWN PARDUE“, August 2011

    Images courtesy Christopher Dombres, William Murphy, Dr. Rex, CountyOfLiars.com

     

    Psychopath TEST Politicians

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  • GeneticPsychosMom (Tina) 10:55 on September 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , criminals, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    The Sneaky Bastard’s (Sociopath) Playbook 

    The Sociopath's PlaybookExcerpt from BOOK REVIEW: The 48 Laws of Power By Ox Drover

    Many times on Lovefraud, bloggers have joked with me that a particular phrase or behavior “came out of the ‘Psychopath’s play book,’“ the kind of book in which a football team would write all their usual plays.

    I recently bought a book entitled, The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, because it sounded like an interesting book. But the more I got into it, I realized that the heretofore-thought-mythical “Psychopathic Play book” does exist, and this is it!

    Robert Greene, by the way, also wrote The Art of Seduction.

    Here’s what the jacket blurb on the back of The 48 Laws of Power says about its content:

    The best-selling book for those who want POWER, watch POWER, or want to arm themselves against POWER. Amoral, cunning, ruthless and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power into forty-eight well explicated laws. As attention-grabbing in its design as in its content, this bold volume outlines the laws of power in their unvarnished essence, synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carol Von Clausewitz and other great thinkers. Some laws require prudence, some stealth, some total absence of mercy, but like it or not, all have applications in real-life situations. Illustrated through the tactics of Queen Elizabeth I, Henry Kissinger, P. T. Barnum, and other famous figures who have wielded, or been victimized by power, these laws will fascinate any reader interested in gaining, observing, or defending against ultimate control.

    The 48 laws are listed in the contentsWolf in Sheep's Clothing

    Law 1: Never outshine the master

    Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies

    Law 3: Conceal your intentions

    Law 4: Always say less than necessary

    Law 5: So much depends on reputation—guard it with your life

    Law 6: Court attention at all cost

    Law 7: Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit

    Law 8: Make other people come to you—use bait if necessary

    Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument

    Law 10: Infection: avoid the unhappy and unlucky

    Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you

    LiesLaw 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

    Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy or gratitude

    Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy

    Law 15: Crush your enemy totally

    Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honor

    Law 17: Cultivate an air of unpredictability

    Law 18: Do not built fortresses to protect yourself, isolation is dangerous

    Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with—do not offend the wrong person

    Law 20: Do not commit to anyone

    Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker—seem dumber than your mark

    Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: Transform weakness into power

    Law 23: Concentrate your forces

    Law 24: Play the perfect courtier

    Get a makeoverLaw 25: Re-create yourself

    Law 26: Keep your hands clean

    Law 27: Play on people’s ‘need to believe’ to create a cult-like following

    Law 28: Enter action with boldness

    Law 29: Play all the way to the end

    Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless

    Law 31: Control the options: Get others to play with the cards you deal

    Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies

    Law 33: Discover each man’s thumb screw

    Law 34:Be royal in your own fashion: Act like a king to be treated like a king

    Law 35: Master the art of timing

    Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have: Ignoring them is the best revenge

    Amazing spectacleLaw 37: Create compelling spectacles

    Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others

    Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish

    Law 40: Despise the free lunch

    Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes

    Law 42 Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

    Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others

    Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

    Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once

    Law 46: Never appear too perfect

    Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory, learn when to stop

    Law 48: Assume formlessness

    Perfect advice for psychopaths

    The preface of the book gets right down to business:

    No one wants less power, everyone wants more … in the world today, however, it is dangerous to seem too power hungry, to be overt with your power moves. We have to seem fair and decent. So we need to be subtle—congenial yet cunning, democratic, yet devious.

    This game of constant duplicity most resembles the power dynamic that existed in the scheming world of the old aristocratic court(s).

    The author, Greene, then goes on to perfectly describe the psychopath’s ways, without naming him such “…those who make a show or display of innocence are the least innocent of all.” What else but a psychopath could “recognize…by the way they flaunt their moral qualities, their piety, their exquisite sense of justice … but (they) are merely throwing dust in our eyes distracting us from their power plays with their air of moral superiority….you will see they are often the ones most skillful at indirect manipulation, …and they greatly resent any publicizing of the tactics they use.”

    Emotions

    In directing his readers how to master the most important skills in acquiring power, Greene tells them that the most important foundation is to “master your emotions.” He states that an emotional response is the single greatest barrier to gaining power. In this particular thing, I totally agree with him, because if we are emotional about a situation, we lose sight of the ultimate goal, and as he says, “cannot prepare for and respond to it with any degree of control.”

    Greene goes on to say that anger is the most destructive of emotional responses, and “clouds your vision the most.” Again, I totally agree with Greene in this statement, but then he goes on to add what I would think is directed more toward the vengeful psychopath than to less pathological people, “If you are trying to destroy an enemy who has hurt you, far better to keep him off-guard by feigning friendliness than showing your anger.”

    The mask

    Psychopaths have been described by many writers as “wearing a mask” or even “the mask of sanity.” Greene seems to be very aware of this “masking” when he advises his readers that, “You cannot succeed at deception unless you take a somewhat distanced approach to yourself—unless you can be many different people, wearing the mask that the day and moment require.”

    Psychopaths tend to project blame for their behavior on to other people, to refuse to assume responsibility for any of the things they have done. They lie “when the truth would fit better.” Greene says, “Power requires the ability to play with appearances. To this end you must learn to wear many masks and keep a bag full of deceptive tricks.” He goes on to say, “Playing with appearances and mastering arts of deception are among the aesthetic pleasures of life. They are also the key components in the acquisition of power.”

    Green does not seem to view deception or the acquisition of power as anything immoral, and he actually says, “Power is essentially amoral…power is a game…and in games you do not judge your opponents by their intentions but by the effect of their actions.” He goes on to advise the reader to not be caught by assuming that someone has good intentions, or that their good intentions matter. Greene advises his readers that some sets of moral judgments are “really an excuse for the accumulation of power.” I can definitely agree with that last statement. Frequently, religion and moral judgments are used as justification for a power stance that has no other legitimacy, and does great harm to the victims.

    Chapter One

    For each of the 48 laws of power, Green has a short chapter that consists of the name of the law, the first being, “Never Outshine the Master.”  Then he has a section called “Judgment,” in which he explains more fully the named law of power. The first law is reasonably self-explanatory and makes sense, really, because if you show your boss you are superior to him/her, then he/she will resent you.

    After giving several good examples of using this law, or failing to use this law, Greene finishes up Chapter One by saying, “You cannot worry about upsetting every person you come across, but you must be selectively cruel. If your superior is a falling star, there is nothing to fear in outshining him. Do not be merciful—your master had no such scruples in his own cold-blooded climb to the top. Gauge his strength. If he is weak, discreetly hasten his downfall: Outdo, outcharm, outsmart him at key moments.”

    While this book seems aimed at the “amoral-wannabe-politician on the way up,” rather than the psychopathic “wannabe-gang-banger thug” on the corner who is illiterate, I think that those of us who have had or even will have associations with psychopaths, or “Snakes in Suits” (to highjack the name of the book as a noun), should read this to learn how to discern when we are being played by the power-seeker. If we can recognize the masks for their deceptive cover, we can avoid the consequences of being played, or possibly turn the play back on to the player.

    Disturbing, but necessary, reading

    Frankly, this book made me uncomfortable while I was reading it, I think possibly by showing me “red flags” of power plays that I had experienced in the past, but had not quite recognized at the time I was being played. However, I do think the knowledge I gained by reading this book is well worth the slight discomfort. It isn’t a book that you can “zip through” quickly, but one that must, like the textbook that it is, read and ponder, and even re-read, and ponder again.

    The most personally disturbing part of the book was one in which he was discussing the siege of Troy, and he said, “Image: The Trojan Horse. Your guile is hidden inside a magnificent gift that proves irresistible to your opponent. The walls open. Once inside, wreak havoc.”

    We must learn to protect ourselves from those power-players who have no conscience, the power players who will use calculated acts of kindness or proffered gifts to earn our trust. Selective kindness can be the biggest part of the arsenal of deception. “Aimed for the heart, it corrodes the will to fight back.”

    The 48 Laws of Power is available on Amazon.com.

    Source:  BOOK REVIEW: The 48 Laws of Power, by Ox Drover, December 2010

    Photos courtesy Ged Carroll, Kris Krug, Mary Doodles

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    Psychopath Test Politicians

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