The teach-in on psychopaths

The following are excerpts from the book, parts of the Tyranny of Psychopaths teach-in:

Posters announcing the teach-in were displayed everywhere. The posters asked, Why do civilizations fail? Is the U.S. collapsing? Can we discover the root cause? What can we do about it? Can Occutopia find a path to a soft landing? Come to the teach-in given by the Corruption study group. Come to the Tyranny of Psychopaths Teach-In.

The time had come. The Tyranny of Psychopaths teach-in was about to begin and people were pouring into the auditorium. There was a sense of excitement. The auditorium had been renovated from top to bottom, thanks to the geeks, the teachers, and of course, the Chinese. Until then, the auditorium had been a dark and eerie place. Everyone was thrilled to have the lights and sound system in operation, and there was a full house.


On stage, a dozen people were seated in a semi-circle, in old chairs and couches. There was a stool and a microphone at center stage. A woman took the microphone and welcomed the audience to the teach-in. She explained that the Corruption study group members were going to present a series of short talks about the tyranny of psychopaths. And then, she began the introduction.

‘What causes the collapse of civilizations? How can we learn from the current collapse and avoid collapses in the future? If we focus our attention on environmental degradation, global warming, species die-off, pollution, and so on, we are chasing after the effects instead of the causes of collapse. We urgently need to find the root cause of these problems. It will mean the difference between whether the human race survives or not. We hope that you came prepared to take notes and participate in discussions after this teach-in.

‘Our thesis is that collapse is caused by the corrupt behavior of the power elite. Whether you call them the Illuminati, the 1%, the Bilderbergs, or the new mafia, there are those who climb to positions of power, just as they have throughout history, and attain a chokehold on the world’s economies. Their goal is to acquire wealth and power, and in the process, they are looting the entire world.

‘We decided that rather than accept all this at face value, we would probe more deeply—who are these people? After some study, we began to focus on a clinical psychology term, psychopaths. Psychopaths aren’t just the cold-blooded killers in chainsaw massacre movies. On the contrary, they dominate positions of great wealth and power. They may be educated and intelligent, witty and charming, even charismatic. When we in the Corruption study group discovered this, we gained many new insights.

‘What is the tyranny of psychopaths? It is the control of the world by people who are immoral and dangerous. It is a political and economic system that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of the 1%. It is a vampiric system, because it sucks the lifeblood out of the economy, out of the people and the environment. It is an annihilation machine because it is destroying everything, even itself.

‘As we began our investigation, we found a growing interest in psychopathic elite. In fact, there is a research institute, called the Institute for the Study of Psychopaths, which is dedicated to the study of the psychopaths in society. The Institute has conducted a lot of new research. Their work has yielded a much clearer view of elite psychopaths and it has helped us discover much about them. In this teach-in we will discuss elite psychopaths in terms of power, money, corruption, and collapse. We will discuss how the tyranny of psychopaths is destroying our world.’

The woman turned and sat down. A man got up from a couch on the stage and took the mic.

Looking out at the audience, he paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. Then he began.

‘For my entire adult life I’ve wondered, why are consumers sold out in the name of higher profits? Why do we continue to consume resources at an unsustainable pace? Why is everything some kind of scam designed to rob ordinary people and put them deep in debt? Why is government so inept? Why are corporations managed so badly? Why do nations go deeper and deeper into debt? Why do we, especially in the U.S., get involved in war after war? Why is everything managed so stupidly? Why is everything corrupt? And then, when I read about psychopaths, a lot of things suddenly made sense. I realized that psychopaths have risen to the highest positions of power in government, corporations, religious institutions, non-profits, the military, and all human organizations.

‘The elite psychopaths don’t have the slightest interest in high ideals. In public, they put on a show of sincerity and good intentions. But in private they disparage human rights, the environment, and peace. Global warming is bullshit to them—unless they can somehow profit from it. Their singular focus is on whatever will advance their own self-interest. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is real.

‘A decade ago, the Institute for the Study of Psychopaths was established to gain a better understanding of the psychopathic elite, including their dominance of human organizations and societies. They conducted interviews with elite psychopaths and compiled the results. It became clear that the elite psychopaths have neither empathy nor remorse. They actually get a thrill out of cheating millions of people out of their life savings, their homes, and their pensions. They think they are superior to others, and that people who have compassion are stupid.’

The speaker turned and exchanged positions with another man, who came and stood at the mic.

‘For those of you who may be wondering if we are demonizing another group, as has been done to African Americans, gays, women, and others who have suffered from various disadvantages—we say, not this time. We can not spare our critique of psychopaths simply because others have been discriminated against in the past. In fact, we feel that others have been targeted precisely to divert our attention from those who deserve our scrutiny. The people we’re talking about have all the advantages. Their goal is to control the world, to consume everything of value, to loot everything, and spare nothing, not even the Earth itself. This is what makes them so dangerous.

‘So first, we’ll distinguish psychopaths from sociopaths. In the early 1800s, the field of psychology was in its infancy. Doctors observed that some patients who seemed normal actually had no understanding of the rights of others. The terms they used for such patients were morally depraved or morally insane. The term, psychopath, began to be used around 1900.

‘In psychopaths, the brain physiology and functions responsible for understanding the feelings of others is impaired. A lack of communication among the parts of the brain that generate emotions results in the psychopath’s insensitivity.

‘The term, sociopath, is generally used for those who have some of the traits of psychopaths. Their condition is thought to be a result of abuse by others, perhaps in their formative years.

‘Those of you who are professionals in psychology—we ask you not to become hung up in technicalities. We’re aware of the fact that the definitions of psychopath and sociopath have been reorganized into a category called antisocial personality disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Allow us to develop a working model of the power elite psychopath for the purpose of this discussion.

‘We’re going to give you a profile of psychopaths, using a list of traits that we gathered from researchers. It gives you an idea of what psychopaths are like. I’ll go over these slowly, so you can think about them. I suggest you take notes. Okay? Here we go.

‘Psychopaths lack shame, guilt, or embarrassment.

‘They are callous and coldhearted.

‘They have no qualms about harming others.

‘They have no empathy for their victims. They have no remorse for the harm they do.

‘They lack normal human emotions and do not have the capacity for love.

‘They have no fear.

‘They blame others when something goes wrong, even when it is their own doing.

‘If they are exposed, they make up an explanation. For them, it is just a game.

‘They change their story to suit the circumstances.

‘They are glib and superficial.

‘They are deceitful and manipulative.

‘They are calculating and devious.

‘They can be charming; they often attract allies and supporters.

‘They have a grandiose sense of self worth, and a pathological egocentricity.

‘They have a sense of entitlement.

‘Their lifestyle is parasitic.

‘They do what feels good. They thrive on excitement and they lack a sense of responsibility.

‘They are impulsive and easily distractible. They have poor behavior controls.

‘They are bad tempered and have a low tolerance for frustration.

‘They can be aggressive and violent.

‘They have no intellectual capacity.

‘They have trouble understanding metaphors and abstract concepts.

‘They talk about ideals, such as freedom, integrity, and honesty—but they themselves don’t practice them.

‘They promote a positive image of themselves to deceive others.

‘They are not creative. They steal the work and the ideas of others and take credit for them.

‘They seek their own advantage and gratification without any of the normal social constraints.

‘If others have something of value, psychopaths take it for themselves. They see it as their duty, because others are inferior subhumans who don’t deserve to have anything.

‘They lie, cheat, steal, and kill, to get their way. For them, it is a practical matter.

‘I hope that gives you the picture. The more of these traits a psychopath has, the more wealth and power they have, the more dangerous they are to society.

‘The Corruption study group took this profile and elaborated upon it as we researched psychopaths in positions of power. We documented additional things based on our own experiences. Many of us have worked in places of power—corporations, government, and the military—and we have observed psychopaths first-hand. So now, we want to share with you an expanded profile of the power elite psychopath.’

The speaker sat down and a woman took the mic.

‘As we alluded to earlier, psychopaths can be charming, charismatic, and intelligent. They are often seen as great leaders. They have powerful personalities with an almost a hypnotic ability to persuade and command people to do what they want. They can be smart, even scary smart—in a devious, Machiavellian way. They are con artists who present a false image to the world, an image that they know will gain favorable attention.

‘Their emotional life consists of the gratification of acquiring, consuming, and possessing the best of everything, the thrill of conquest, the frustration of losing a fight, the triumph of defeating enemies, and the glory of egomania.

‘But above all, they live to conquer and to be victorious over others. Of course, this necessitates battles with competitors. Psychopaths love such battles—for them, it is a game. They go from one challenge to the next. They love winning and prizes. They love recognition and fame. They love privileges and exclusive clubs. They believe they are entitled to the best of everything. Psychopaths believe the entire world is theirs for the taking.

‘They have no respect for the shared space of the world in which we live, our society, or the environment. They have no respect for the notion of the commons. An issue like global warming is simply an annoyance that interferes with their game plan. Neither do they care about the truth of any matter. They hate facts and studies that would compel them to a conclusion other than the one they want. They would take down a corporation if they could gain from doing so, as has happened with Enron and many others. They take down whole countries to extract their resources. They have repeatedly taken down the financial system of the world for their own profit, leaving governments to pick up the pieces if they can. And they are in the process of taking down life on Earth.’

Another man took the mic.

‘For psychopaths, people in general are sorted into four general categories: The first—those who can provide some advantage, such as expert knowledge, a strategic alliance, political gain, or sexual conquest. Yet, for psychopaths, such people are simply a means to an end. Once they no longer have value to the psychopath, they are dumped or in some cases murdered. Psychopaths have no loyalties.

‘The second category consists of competitors and enemies who are also vying for fame and domination. The third category of people are those whom psychopaths prey upon and victimize through scams and enslavement. Fourth and last are those who are of no value or are viewed negatively by the psychopath. These may be entire populations and they may be killed en masse as has been done throughout history.

‘Psychopaths resent people in general because they consume resources that belong to the psychopaths—so they think. For them, people are eaters and moochers, cheaters who game the system for their own advantage. Ironically, all of that is true of the psychopath.

‘And yet psychopaths are individuals who, without the cooperation and support of others, would not have wealth or power. And this is where we must concentrate our efforts to stop the damage they do.’

The speaker turned to assist the people on stage with a large prop. They set up a 10-foot-high triangle made of painted cardboard with horizontal lines and stick-figure people standing on each line. A young woman took the mic.

‘Now, let’s talk about the organizational structures that promote psychopaths to the top positions of wealth and power,’ she said.

‘Most organizations are characterized by pyramidal, hierarchical structures, like this one. This type of organizational structure is made for psychopaths. The purpose of the hierarchy is to support the psychopaths at the top. It protects them and empowers them. The structure itself actually promotes the worst psychopaths to the topmost powerful positions. We’ll explain how it works.’

She took out a stick and pointed to parts of the pyramid as she spoke.

‘Within an organization there are many tiers of management. The majority of people, who are at the bottom of the organization, are paid as little as possible, often not enough to make a living. A few people at the top make billions in salaries, bonuses, and stock options. They make as much as 500 times more than the people at the bottom of the pyramid.

‘Most of the employees, including managers up to about the middle of the pyramid, have real responsibilities. Middle managers manage budgets, projects, operations, people, and administrative work.

‘However, above the middle layers of the pyramid, the executives in upper management have little or no routine responsibilities. Psychopaths often aim to enter the organization in the upper levels and thereby avoid the hard work and low pay of the lower levels.

‘In the higher levels of management, jobs are less well-defined and the value of these executives to the organization is mostly perceived. Their work is often called strategic. It mostly involves shifting financial figures around in different arrangements to see that one best suits their purposes.

‘Most of the time the execs are counting and recounting the money, cutting expenses, tracking how money gets spent, and of course adding up the profits. Those of us who have made presentations to top execs know that the content has to be dumbed down for them. And basically, they’re only interested in cutting costs, because costs divert profits from their own personal bank accounts.


‘And as many of us know, the lower levels of employees are laid off when the execs want to boost profitability in the short term. Psychopaths make the so-called hard choices and keep their cool. They can lay off thousands of employees with a totally clear conscience and pragmatic attitude.

‘You’re probably aware of most of this, right? But you may not be aware of the way that pyramidal hierarchies promote the psychopaths to the positions of top executives.’

An older man took the mic.

‘How do psychopaths climb to the top positions of wealth and power? To answer that, we first have to understand the structure of the organization. Pyramidal, hierarchical organizational structures are the ultimate jungle gym for the psychopath. In a hierarchy, the activities of each level of management are hidden from the levels below and shielded from their scrutiny. As psychopaths ascend, each level up provides greater power and privacy, even secrecy. There is no downward accountability.

‘Management decisions are not questioned. Shareholders don’t interfere with management as long as the corporation is profitable. If an exec makes a bad call, it gets covered up, or the blame gets shifted somewhere else. Upper management has impunity. This is what makes the upper levels of management so desirable to psychopaths.

‘Psychopaths are experts in impressing people and they are masters of perception management. They exaggerate their accomplishments and claim prestigious credentials that they may not in fact, possess. This is not to say that all elite psychopaths aren’t educated. They may have degrees from prestigious universities, but for them, it is the credential, not the education, that is important.

‘Psychopaths mesmerize people. They have amazing skill in convincing people of their abilities and talents. Strangely, people often want to believe in the psychopath. Many times their supporters continue to believe in them, even after they’ve been exposed.

‘When they are hired into an organization, psychopaths devise their game plan for getting to the top. They get to know people and size them up for their usefulness. If you are useful to the psychopath, he or she may flatter you and show appreciation for your efforts and talents. The psychopath may invite you to join them on their way to the top. They will tell you it’s a great opportunity and it would be foolish to pass it up.

‘They are constantly plotting their next move to get promoted to a higher position. They have no moral or ethical constraints about how to do it. They use aggressive and devious means to force their way upward through the tiers of management.

‘Often, this means removing others who are in their way. Psychopaths are only limited by their imagination and their skills of deception and manipulation. If they need to eliminate a peer who’s competing against them for a higher position, they will do such things as plant evidence, forge documents, and set up incriminating circumstances. Anything goes, as long as they get away with it. They gain the confidence of those who are important to their success. And once they have their confidence, they’re able to get away with telling brazen lies. They do things that would shock and enrage an ordinary person. But that’s how they get to the top.


‘In the past, people were more often promoted to management based on merit, meaning they were actually smart and capable, and had accomplished worthwhile things. But if you pit a manager like that against a psychopath, the psychopath will win. Managers of merit get pushed out of the way by psychopaths; they get discredited and disgraced. They are not equipped to defend themselves against the evil genius of psychopaths. This is how psychopaths have taken over.

‘Psychopaths often have hostile relations with their peers, especially if they conned and cheated their way to a higher position. When psychopaths are promoted, they are empowered with authority over their former peers, who must comply with the psychopath’s orders or risk being fired. This gives psychopaths a tremendous thrill. Every promotion to a higher level brings increased impunity from enemies below, who are intimidated into silence. And even if psychopaths are exposed as con artists, they stay a step ahead of trouble by moving up—either in the same organization or in another. For them, it is all a game.

‘For psychopaths, it’s natural and expected to have enemies. But enemies must be controlled so that they don’t become a threat. This requires a lot of political power, security, and willing operatives who will threaten people and beat them up in dark alleys. Because psychopaths have money, they can hire people to do whatever they want, because there are people who will do anything for money. Money and power are therefore, inextricably linked.

‘This is how the worst psychopaths rise to the top and take the positions of power in government, the military, and in corporations. The hierarchy itself ensures that psychopaths dominate the top positions. The hierarchy protects and empowers them. Be sure to understand this: psychopaths are the reason that human organizations become corrupt.’

–End of excerpts.  After this, speakers discuss flat organizations and alternatives to money.  They talk about how to create an environment that ‘outs’ and disempowers psychopaths.  And they explain how to identify psychopaths at Occutopia.


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