“One phenomenon all ponerogenic groups and associations have in common is the fact that their members lose (or have already lost) the capacity to perceive pathological individuals as such, interpreting their behavior in fascinated, heroic, or melodramatic ways.”
Psychopaths are estimated to make up 1 percent* of the population but constitute roughly 15 to 25 percent of the offenders in prison and are responsible for a disproportionate number of brutal crimes and murders.A recent estimate by the neuroscientist Kent Kiehl placed the national cost of psychopathy at $460 billion a year — roughly 10 times the cost of depression — in part because psychopaths tend to be arrested repeatedly.The societal costs of nonviolent psychopaths may be even higher. Dr. Robert Hare, the co-author of “Snakes in Suits,” describes evidence of psychopathy among some financiers and business people; he suspects Bernie Madoff of falling into that category.
* Opinions about the percentage vary. 1% is the most moderate estimate.
Psychopathy is “the greatest obstacle in development of personality and social groups”. “The general inability to recognize the psychological type of such individuals [i.e. psychopaths] causes immense suffering, mass terror, violent oppression, genocide and the decay of civilization… As long as the suggestive [i.e. hypnotic, charming, “spellbinding”] power of the psychopaths is not confronted with facts and with moral and practical consequences of his doctrine, entire social groups may succumb to his demagogic appeal”.
After reading the incredible book Political Ponerology: A science on the nature of evil adjusted for political purposes by Andrew Lobaczewski http://ponerology.com, I had a transcendental moment of realization (sort of a “Eureka!” moment). I have to conclude that ponerology and psychopathy are two significant concepts that best explain the sorry state of human affairs in this world which continue to negatively impact on our society, our lives, and our future. No, I don’t think it has anything to do with “greed” or even “moral weakness” (however you define it). It has to do with psychopathology and its influence on the nature of evil in society.
People in positions of power that systematically perpetuate evil behave as if they were a different human species; a ‘para-Homo sapiens,’ if you will. No matter how much good will there is in the world, there continues to be much war, suffering and injustice. It doesn’t seem to matter what plan, ideology, religion, or philosophy great minds come up with, nothing seems to improve our lot.