[Paleopsych] psychopaths rising to the top

Steve shovland at mindspring.com
Tue Aug 3 20:14:57 UTC 2004

I prefer to think that we are passing through
a dark time and that the empathic majority
is gradually arousing itself to put the animals
back in their cages  :-)

As far as organizations go, any time they hire
from the outside they risk taking in a psychopath,
because psychopaths interview well.  They
can be charming and intelligent and can zero in
on the vulnerabilities of the people screening them.
They are probably hyper-empathic in that area.

A number of years ago an insurance exec told
me about someone their company hired.  They
soon realized that "he was just in it for himself"
and they got rid of him.

Steve Hovland

-----Original Message-----
From:	Michael Christopher [SMTP:anonymous_animus at yahoo.com]
Sent:	Tuesday, August 03, 2004 11:11 AM
To:	paleopsych at paleopsych.org
Subject:	[Paleopsych] psychopaths rising to the top

>>If we say that only competition matters,
then the psychopaths end up in charge,
which I think describes our present
situation pretty well.<<

--I agree. In a tribal setting, a web of relationships
keeps competition within bounds, at worst directing
the most damaging aspects of it at other tribes. In
our culture, relationships are more complex, and it's
possible for competition to become quite toxic, with
social relationships failing to prevent the promotion
of psychopaths. We're rapidly falling into the same
patterns that ate up empires before us, and at bottom
is the loss of the social webs that keep instincts
from amplifying out of control. Self-interest evolved
as part of a network, and it is only recently that
people with very little in the way of emotional
connection to others have found themselves with so
much power to affect the whole. In war, sociopaths
(who excel at displacing guilt, self-doubt and shame
onto enemies) have always sensed opportunity, but in
our culture we don't even have to be at war for
sociopaths to rise to the top. What web of social
relationships would enable those with both ingenuity
and empathy to empower themselves? Or have we rigged
the game so that empathy has become a block to


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