by Richard William Posner
“Whilst doing research online I sometimes come across some really fascinating, albeit unrelated, information. One small joy of life in a world that becomes grimmer each day. While scrolling down any given web page, reading an article for information pertinent to the current research, I may notice a heading or a phrase with a link to another page, which I find intriguing even though it's not specifically relevant. Often it's just a waste of time, sometimes it's so enticing that I abandon what I'm doing and become engrossed in the new find.
Just Lucky I Guess: In some of my writing and in comments I have made on the writing of others, I have alluded to my opinion that the psychopathic condition of people who seek dominance over all others is the result of a genetic aberration. It now seems my conjecture may not have been without merit. In one such comment I stated my supposition that inimical traits - predatory, tyrannical, ruthless, pitiless - found in virtually all members of the ruling, upper, or elite class are not dominant among humans in general and only manifest in a small portion of the population. I also expressed my view that it is our intrinsically cooperative nature and our innate desire to be helpful that makes such a large segment of the human race susceptible to victimization by a small minority of individuals who are afflicted with what I consider to be a genetic flaw.
My comment: For my part, I will say this; I do not accept that human morality, for the vast majority, is based on hate, envy, greed or self-interest. In fact, quite to the contrary, the basic benevolence and cooperative nature of most people is what has allowed a very small, depraved and abhorrent group to prey upon the majority of the species for millennia. I like to think that this negative trait will eventually be eliminated by evolution, provided our species can survive long enough. That small group of deviant individuals is like a parasite within the body of humanity. They have managed to pass along whatever genetic flaw they possess through the ages. They can only survive if there is a significantly larger population of healthy, sane and basically good people to maintain them. I recently found some credible data that offers agreement with and support for this opinion.
Totalitarianism And The Parasitic Psychopath:
The Psychopathic Survival Strategy: "You see, evolutionarily speaking, psychopaths should not exist. Throughout history it can be seen that human beings have needed to co-operate and care about one another in order to survive and produce a new generation that will carry on the processes of society. Most human dynamics are based on people trying to work out their problems and come to resolutions agreeable to the greatest number or, at the very least, in the interactions between two people. The issue of trust is paramount. Someone who betrays your trust is someone you cannot live or work with. Therefore, psychopaths, who are untrustworthy, should have long ago become extinct. But that isn't the way things are. It appears, in fact, as if psychopathy has increased!" Source
So how is it that a few parasitic, psychopathic individuals, incapable of providing for their own needs, can yet manage to carry along a recessive gene for so many generations? As I postulated in my comment above, this small minority requires a large, "normal" population to support their existence. Evolutionary psychologists regard psychopathy as an inherited personality style that has evolved because glib, deceitful individuals - as a minority within a larger population of trusting folk - often reproduce with much success." Source
From the same source: “Other investigators, such as neuroscientist R.J.R. Blair of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Md., regard psychopathy as the result of a still-unspecified genetic disorder. The inherited defect interferes with the workings of the brain's emotion system, which is centered in the amygdala, a structure especially concerned with perceiving dangerous situations.” Personally, I see no conflict between these to two conclusions. They seem, to me at least, mutually inclusive. The second gives us the source of the defect while the first explains how those thus inflicted have managed to pass it on through the centuries.
Perpetual Parasitism: There are other examples in nature of parasites with evolved dependency upon a specific host species. If the host species becomes extinct, so does the parasite. It is unable to survive with any other host. Some species of parasites are termed species specific. This means that they can complete their life cycle in only one species of host. Should they enter the wrong species they are unable to complete their life cycle and die, all generally without the host requiring treatment. Source
It seems clear to me that the psychopath/society relationship is that of highly specialized parasite/host. That the psychopath operates externally to the host in no way disqualifies it as parasite. The common mosquito is without question parasitic, as are the tick, the leech, and many other bloodsuckers. I think this human/human arrangement is unique in at least one regard, however: I know of no other situation wherein the host and parasite are, apparently, of the same species.
The psychopath/parasite cannot survive without non-psychopathic humans to prey upon. It needs the support of other humans, as do we all, but is incapable of functioning as a cooperative member of the population. Nor can it survive on its own or within a group comprised only of psychopaths. Although often highly intelligent, they frequently lack any real abilities or skills, but rely instead on deceit, malicious cunning, and ruthless self-interest enhanced by a complete absence of conscience or remorse.
What's nice about this explanation is that it not only explains why psychopaths exist, but also why we're not all psychopaths. If there are few enough psychopaths in the population, then being a psychopath makes sense because you'll mostly have winning confrontations with nice people. But if there are too many psychopaths, then the gains from taking advantage of nice people will be swamped by the losses from confronting other psychopaths. In equilibrium, you'll get both psychos and nice folks, with each strategy generating approximately equal returns, and with the precise balance determined by the relative payoffs of different interactions. Source
The Matter Of Degree: At the extreme, the psychopath simply resorts to outright violence to satisfy its needs. These cases are by far in the minority however. They may be a separate variety, a sub-group, which is not completely parasitic in some instances. In any case, however horrible their acts may be, they are not nearly as deadly as those who function within the system of government and business disguised as "aggressive", "ambitious" and "savvy" type-A go-getters.
There's currently a bull market in corporate psychopaths, according to psychologist Paul Babiak of HRBackOffice, an industrial-consulting firm in Hopewell Junction, N.Y. Organizations undergoing major changes, such as downsizing or mergers, provide a chaotic atmosphere that savvy psychopaths exploit", Babiak holds. "They cozy up to a firm's power brokers, manipulate coworkers, and intimidate underlings on their way up the corporate ladder, stealing everything possible along the way. Not all psychopaths resort to violence, however. Highly intelligent people with psychopathic personalities find fertile, nonviolent opportunities in conning and manipulating others, in Porter's view.” Source
The ratio of parasites to host must be kept quite small, or the entire host population might be wiped out leaving the parasites unable to survive. In the past, when the drain became too great, the host population has attempted to exterminate the parasite, hence the repeated cycle of bloody revolutions throughout history. Evidently, the effort at eliminating the parasitic infestation has never been fully successful.
Threatened with extinction, the psychopath displays great skill at hiding in plain sight. A psycho-camouflage of sorts is employed, allowing the parasite to mimic a sense of sorrow, dismay or other feelings not actually present in the psychopathic character. Some always manage to survive by temporarily blending with the host population.
The Disease Blames The Afflicted: The most ironic aspect of this condition is that these life-draining parasites, riding on the body of humanity like great, bloated ticks, are the first to scream bloody murder should anyone among the host population require aid in a time of distress. They express indignation and outrage at any action, program or institution that can be seen as benefitting the general welfare. Such people, they insist, are freeloaders and moochers and such programs a drain on society. The hypocrisy is breathtaking. Part of the skill-set I suppose.
Prognosis? I fear we are now approaching that point where the parasite is perilously close to overwhelming the host. I only say approaching, since I think it will take a little time yet to cross that Rubicon. I have no doubt we will if things continue on their present course. That could mean destruction for all, including the parasite. Governments of the world, monolithic multi-national corporations, and the international banking cartel are overrun with psychopaths in the highest positions of power. Their parasitic insatiability threatens to consume our species.
It has always been my hope and abiding conviction that humanity would evolve beyond the juvenile, even primitive stage in which we currently seem to be mired. It seems, at the very least, that we are about to enter into a great transitional period. It promises to be a time of unthinkable hardship, possibly leading to our extinction.
A second possible scenario might produce a small number of human survivors who arise from the rubble, free at last from the oppressor gene to build a new world and the first truly human civilization.
The third and sadly most probable possibility is that within that small tribe of human survivors will be two or three psycho-parasites, hiding in plain sight, waiting for just the right moment to begin the cycle all over again.
Epilogue: Rid at last of the aberration that caused so much damage, in so little time, Gaia will heal. Though Life will still be taken that Life may continue, never again will it be done with malice or hate. Nor will death be born of greed, lust or envy. No ideology, no arrogant certainty of righteousness will ever again bring needless pain, suffering and death to those who's chosen path is not the same. Pain, suffering and death will remain, but only in the service of Life, without animosity, prejudice or enmity. Life and death will once again be equal partners.
With the passing of the only creature ever to favor death over Life, the balance will be restored. No longer will death be a commodity to be sold for profit. Once again, it will be the price for the continuation of Life, an even trade. Peace at last. Go ahead people, do your worst.”