PSYCHOPATHS: ALMOST HUMAN
PONEROLOGY: EVIL IS A DISEASE
Psychopathy: The Cause of Evil
Ponerology: A New Science
Susceptibility: The Natural World View
The Genesis of Evil
Signs and Symptoms of Evil
Causes of Evil
Communicability or Ponerization
“Regarding pathological factors of ponerogenic processes, perinatal or early infant [brain] damages have more active results than damages which occur later [in life].” (Lobaczewski, 105)
“This [character anomalies developing as a result of brain-tissue damage] opens the door to the influence of other pathological characters who most frequently carry some inherited psychological deviations; they then push the characteropathic individuals into the shadows and proceed with their ponerogenic work. That is why various types of characteropathy participate during the initial periods of the genesis of evil, both on the macrosocial scale and on the individual scale of human families.” (Lobaczewski, 120)
Certain brain lesions and their effects on personality play an important role in the genesis of evil. While well-known results of such lesions, like epilepsy, are easily observed early in life, many brain lesions only affect their bearers’ personalities over time. The effects of these lesions will vary depending on the location of the brain damage, the time of its origin, and the lifestyle of the bearer after the damage occurs. Lobaczewski calls these character or personality disorders “characteropathies”.
Undamaged brain matter retains our species’ natural instinctive and emotional responses. These include, for example, the ability to form emotional bonds with others and to empathize (what Lobaczewski calls intuiting a psychological situation). However, characteropathic thought processes differ, and are characterized by heightened emotional violence and pathological egotism. Their narcissistic self-importance and deviant psychology have a traumatizing effect on normal people, greatly diminishing their victims’ common sense to the point where they become infected by pathological thinking. The younger or more naïve the individual, the more readily these traits can be transmitted.
“It is characteristic of paranoid behavior for people to be capable of relatively correct reasoning and discussion as long as the discussion involves minor differences of opinion. This stops abruptly when the partner’s arguments begin to undermine their overvalued ideas, crush their long-held stereotypes of reasoning, or forces them to accept a conclusion they had subconsciously rejected before. Such a stimulus unleashes upon the partner a torrent of pseudological, largely paramoralistic, often insulting utterances which always contain some degree of suggestion.” (Lobaczewski, 110)
Spellbinding: While cultured and logical people tend to avoid paranoid individuals because of their vulgar and violent language, paranoids have a remarkable capacity for enslaving less critical minds. Among those susceptible are young people, the psychologically deficient, and those who have been victimized by pathological egotists. For example, those reared by characteropaths will have some degree of psychological damage preventing them from critically analyzing the paranoid’s ideology and false logic. Such a victim finds himself agreeing with a skewed worldview, and any disagreement is limited to minor points. This pattern of thinking affirms that the skewed premises and corresponding paranoid ideology are ‘correct’ even though they may be seriously flawed. Paranoid individuals are well aware of their ability to enslave others, and take full advantage of this early in life.
Rigidity of Beliefs: Paranoid individuals are similar to psychopaths in that they are incapable of feeling self-doubt, or of seriously questioning their beliefs. Any such inner conflict occurs without self-control, -awareness, or a hierarchy of values. In short, while they may encounter moments of inner tension caused by some confrontation of their own beliefs with contradictory data, in their own minds, they are never wrong
Physiological Cause: Lobaczewski traces the cause of this characteropathy to brain tissue damage, usually in the diencephalon region of the brain. Their paranoid view of reality can range from relatively naive to violently revolutionary, as was the case with the Russian revolutionary, Vladimir Lenin.
Behavioural/Functional Cause: Those without brain tissue damage often develop paranoid characteristics as a result of psychological induction by a paranoid characteropath. A terror-filled upbringing gives rise to rigid and stereotyped thinking, and makes it hard for such an individual to develop a healthy world-view.
“The pathological character of such people, generally containing a component of hysteria, develops through the years. The non-damaged psychological functions become overdeveloped to compensate, which means that instinctive and [emotional] reactions predominate. Relatively vital people become belligerent, risk-happy, and brutal in both word and deed.” (Lobaczewski, 114)
Damage to the frontal cortex at or near childbirth (especially among premature infants) has been the most common cause for this characteropathy. As a result of modern advances in medical care for pregnant women and newborns, the spectacular role this disorder plays in ponerogenesis is more characteristic of past generations. These individuals are impulsive, irritable and aggressive, have a low frustration tolerance, shallow emotions, and demonstrate socially inappropriate behavior.
Inhibited Thought Processes: This type of brain damage does not impair memory, intelligence, or the ability to accurately intuit a psychological situation. It does, however, inhibit the ability to mentally visualize and manipulate pieces of information in the characteropath’s field of consciousness, or working memory. This inhibits the so-called “executive system” which manages thought processes. As such, frontal characteropaths are characterized by abnormal levels of reactive aggression (as opposed to the instrumental aggression which characterizes essential psychopaths).
Impulsivity and Poor Long-Term Planning: Because of this inability to manipulate information in short-term memory, individuals with frontal brain damage must develop mental short cuts. This results in split-second decision-making, and hasty actions and words that are deemed absolute and irrevocable. They even view their ‘spontaneity’ (really just poor decision-making) as a sign of their superiority over normal people, when, in fact, these oversimplified decisions are ultimately self-destructive.
Spellbinding: Such ruthless and egotistic beliefs traumatize and spellbind normal people, diminishing their ability for common sense. Some even come to view frontal characteropaths as having special powers. If a parent possesses this disorder, all their children will usually show evidence of this fact in their personalities. Lobaczewski characterizes Joseph Stalin as typifying such a characteropath.
Confusion with Psychopathy: An individual with frontal brain damage shows some behavioral similarities with essential psychopathy, which has led to the erroneous conclusion that psychopathy is caused by frontal brain damage.
A typical description of an extreme case may include the following: brutal, charismatic, snake-charming, issuing of irrevocable decisions, inhuman ruthlessness, pathological revengefulness, an egotistical belief in their own genius.
“Character anomalies developing as a result of brain-tissue damage [from medications] behave like insidious ponerogenic factors. … their influence easily anchors in human minds, traumatizing our psyches, impoverishing and deforming our thoughts and feelings, and limiting individuals’ and societies’ ability to use common sense and to read a psychological or moral situation accurately. This opens the door to the influence of other pathological characters who most frequently carry some inherited psychological deviations.” (Lobaczewski, 119-120)
With the rise of modern medicine came the use of little-understood drugs which leave permanent damage to the nervous system. Some tumor treatments (i.e., cytostatic drugs) often attack the more primitive portions of the brain, leaving such individuals emotionally dull, unable to empathize. While retaining their intelligence, they become vengeful and praise-craving egocentrics, indifferent to the pain they cause others.
Certain viruses (e.g., mumps, diphtheria, polio) and toxins like heavy metals, pesticides, food additives and household chemicals can have similar effects. Such individuals are usually psychologically naive and unable to comprehend the crux of a matter.