Our Psychopath Problem
How humanity's survival depends on our readiness to acknowledge and address the 'world ego'.
Any analysis of society that fails to account for the impact of the psychopathic element (or, more specifically, the ‘successful’ anti-social personality) and its parasitic tendency will fall woefully short. For me, it was a deeper understanding of this phenomenon that finally enabled an explanation of the widespread devastation and disregard for humane values that is so evident but that I couldn’t account for through my experience of ordinary humane beings - who appear for the most part kind, conscientious and without grandiose ambitions or excessive self-importance.
In attempting an analysis of how large scale psychopathic agendas can progress with so little resistance - like an awful open family secret - I suggest that each individual’s relationship to external power - and thereby to the undeniable fact of ruthless self-interest manifesting in the world - can be seen as dividing us into groups of archetypes. These groups form meta-relationships with each other, like conflicting and sometimes colluding aspects of what might be called a species-wide meta-psyche existing in a chronically dysfunctional but stable state which keeps the majority of us, to some degree, cushioned from or numbed to the unbearable reality of the inhumane forces which ultimately dictate the most important decisions of the day.
This analysis mirrors precisely an individual psyche that is in complete denial of the egoic drive behind its dysfunctional actions - unable to confess to and engage with the base greed, anger and delusion which powers its self-destructive behaviour. It moves from tragedy to disaster, caught in an internal dialogue of justification, obfuscation and projection, without ever risking that the ego itself - the actual driving force behind the mayhem and disharmony - be exposed to the light of day. I’ll return to this analogy, as it may well be central to a genuine grasp of the wider subject explored here.
As infants, our awareness of our environment expands by degrees, little by little, until we have some conception of a home shared with billions of souls. At the same time, we evolve some sort of internal relationship with the concept of external power and authority: its validity, and our role in relation to it. How these huge concepts ultimately land in the individual psyche and how our conceptual and emotional frameworks develop to encompass them determines which of the following groups we belong to. We each evolve a basic attitude, consciously or unconsciously, to the entirety of humanity, and to the fact of external power, determining our place within the whole and our stance towards it. I suggest that these attitudes, while subtle and generally unconsidered, are nonetheless profoundly important in determining how the power dynamics between these groups play out. The health and integrity of this interplay is directly responsible for either disrupting or facilitating the outrageous injustices we have come to see as 'normal' - whether the old or new variety. My hope is that this analysis or overview can help us better interpret events and societal norms, and ultimately find ways to render this awful status quo irrelevant and void.
The four strategies, attitudes, roles, classes or archetypes I've identified are:
The Parasite or Liar
The Flying Monkey or Status Seeker
The Idealist or Dreamer
The Folk or Victim
These groups tend to arrange themselves into a pyramidical structure in the sequence shown here. If you’re resistant to such generalisations, I suggest you may yet find some value in imagining a world in which only these categories existed. What would such a world look like?
The sheep, witness or victim class. Their relationship to the whole is essentially one of passive observation - their sense of personal responsibility does not extend far and their relationship to power and external authority is never seriously considered - they lack the confidence to question authority. For the most part, they are well-intentioned and go along with events without complaint or analysis - though they can be stirred or manipulated into action; in which instance their relationship to such action is short-sighted and ultimately unprincipled. Though they have an awareness of Parasites and liars, they nonetheless generally accept what they are told at face value. These are humane beings whose innocence and naivety leave them vulnerable to parasitic deceit. They have never considered in any depth what a Parasite is and have never thought to imagine the world from the Parasite's viewpoint.
Though in individual cases the Folk can be vicious, cruel and inhumane, for the most part, they have little ill intent, and no ambition to rule, nor to understand or solve the problems humanity faces. They are certainly not a threat to liberty except indirectly as they are uninclined to value or protect it, being satisfied with creature comforts. In general, this class recognises good and evil but does not possess the essential scepticism required to recognise a wolf in sheep's clothing. Even if they did, laziness and cowardice might prevent appropriate action - which would signify a great leap into the unknown and a completely different category. This class certainly has the potential to manifest the qualities of truly humane being, but in the current age is bewildered, distracted, fearful and lacking in principles and integrity - largely due to the machinations of the Parasite class. It could certainly be argued that the size and gullibility of this group are currently the principal factors empowering the Parasite class.
A note on intelligence is appropriate here. Intelligence can be difficult to pin down, so I'd like to make it clear that the class I've just described is not, in my view, generally less intelligent than the other classes. That would all depend on how we define intelligence. As I see it, there is superficial intelligence that skates the surface, cataloguing every detail and making a show of its knowledge - which moves towards certainty, stability, self-validification and material advantage. Then there is intelligence which seeks to understand - or does to some degree understand - something of the depths of reality. Which moves selflessly towards enlightenment, truth and the good of the whole; intelligence in search of wisdom. There are certainly many erudite, well-read and opinionated intellectuals among the Folk who would fail to grasp an analysis such as the one I am attempting and who shun the profound responsibility which is, ultimately, my subject here. Conversely, there are many Folk who would instinctively understand it very well, but who consciously choose or accept a passive role in relation to the whole, seeking, finding - and making do with every day rather than life-changing truth.
In buddhist terms, this group would best be described as inhabiting or tending towards the realm of Tranquility.
The three remaining classes differentiate themselves from the Folk through varying degrees of self-awareness, self-determination, egoism, idealism and vision. They each look at the world and see something to be engaged with. Status, power, wealth and the big picture are of great interest to them but in quite different ways.
The Parasite is the manifestation of pure egotism. These are the 'elite', the 'powers that be', the oligarchs who seek to mould the world and the perceptions of the other classes through their manipulations. These are the global mafia - arch criminals that conspiracy deniers and coincidence theorists believe to be nothing more than a paranoid fantasy. Their relationship to the whole is that of the conquerer or predator. They see the world as a material prize and power as something to attain and to wield. Not all psychopaths are Parasites, but as all Parasites are undoubtedly psychopaths I’ll discuss the broader category.
Most psychopaths are not serial killers. There are very few serial killers - but many psychopaths. Between 1 and 5 per cent of us are said to be on the psychopathic spectrum, which amounts to around 70-400 million souls globally. Amongst this group will be those who are mildly sociopathic and psychopathic (the distinction is not important here), and those who may be extremely psychopathic but who are able to function morally in society, choosing the path of the Folk. Some psychopathic traits can actually be of great value when serving humane ends: fearlessness, single-minded determination, clear focus and ability to deal with and move on quickly from traumatic or regrettable situations, for example. Then there are the less ‘successful’ psychopaths that make up the lower strata of criminality, from the corporate and political worlds down to street level. Beyond these subgroups stand the psychopathic ‘elite’: the Parasite class - at least some of whom were likely born into a psychopathic environment and raised to view humane beings as lesser than themselves. It may be argued that no group has such focus, determination, ruthlessness, cunning, resilience, strategy, clearly envisioned intentions and access to resources. All they really lack is numbers.
The collective clinical term for these various pathologies - which are associated with measurable brain dysfunction - is ‘antisocial personality disorder’. This anomalous group lacks many of the qualities most associated with humaneness: empathy, compassion, remorse, concern, regret and sorrow. What such a person might ‘feel’ about beauty, art, truth, conscience, freedom, morality, courage, wisdom, value and humanity itself are all intriguing questions. Suffice to say, the most extreme examples of this mindset display a ‘cold-blooded’ lack of scruples and a single-minded and self-serving nature which can be almost impossible for humane beings to come to terms with or even to imagine. Yet to attempt this great leap of imagination may be our species’ most urgent task. In order to make sense of the apparent insanity of our world, it is imperative that we seek to take full account of the vast influence of the ‘successful’ antisocial personality.
You had no love for humanity, seeing the rest of us as Henry Kissinger’s ‘useless eaters’, Yuval Noah Harari’s ‘global useless class’, or indeed, as most of us have been designated in recent years: simply non-essential.
The very qualities that are appreciated as humane looked to you like weakness and dysfunction.
The rules the sheep follow were simply not for you.
The only disadvantage of immoral or unlawful action was the risk of being caught.
Layering duplicities was a perfectly natural and acceptable method of achieving your goals.
Your expertise in understanding and manipulating human psychology en masse was unparalleled in history.
You had successfully hidden your inhumanity to such a degree that the reality and prevalence of antisocial personality disorder were almost entirely unknown.
You understood perfectly that the vast majority of humans were utterly incapable of imagining the lack of regard you hold them in.
You were able to recognise, outmanoeuvre and manipulate less ‘successful’ psychopaths and status-seekers in order to create layers of protection between the Folk and yourself.
The only limit to your goals was - what?
It is said that the ‘successful’ psychopath knows us better than we know ourselves, as he has spent a lifetime learning to act ‘normal’. In order to do this, he must know exactly what normal looks like, have a methodical understanding of humane psychology and an above-average talent for mimicry.
A world of never-ending confusion, doubt and fear serves the Parasite best. Such a world gives him the opportunity to steal and manipulate while the Folk are distracted. If he can control all the elements - the source of the fear, doubt or confusion as well as the full spectrum of responses - then everything is perfectly aligned for him; he can second guess the rest of us and ensure that every advantage goes to him. Thus crises are reverse-engineered from the ‘solution’ sought. Change of every kind is the Parasite’s ally, as expressed in various sayings long associated with the Parasite class: Solve et Coagula - to break apart and mould back together; Ordo Ab Chao - order out of chaos, and, more familiar in recent times, 'never let a good crisis go to waste' (especially when you went to all the trouble of creating it). This world of incessant change ensures that the Folk are forever unsettled and lack confidence. In this state, they are easily swayed. As soon as a new norm is established, its uprooting begins - and a new threat is always waiting to be exaggerated or conjured out of thin air.
The common dismissal of this line of thinking is to ridicule the cliche of a paranoid fanatic who lives in awe and fear of an ‘all powerful’ cabal - the Illuminati, the ‘elite’ bloodlines, or other identifiable groups. No pretence is made here to understand the workings of what I am calling the Parasite class, and none need be. I certainly don’t believe they are all-powerful - far from it. And I don’t imagine they are cohesive and united. Nonetheless, the overwhelming evidence of organised psychopathic actions, past and present, demonstrates without any doubt that the ‘ successful’ antisocial personality is absolutely capable of pooling resources and working together towards shared ends. At this stage in our history, denial of this glaringly obvious fact is both perverse and dangerously irresponsible.
The Parasitic and antisocial view of humanity has long been propagated among us - infiltrating everything from the legal structures of society to our very psyches, life choices and the memes with which we make sense of the world; after all, we’re only human. A legal corporation is inherently parasitic and antisocial in that it has embedded intentions to increase profit, but no embedded or inherent morals or scruples to limit its appetite for growth or to consider growth in any other terms than material. This obvious recipe for disaster could be described as a psychopathic or Parasitic system - a means of legally sanctioning a real-world manifestation of the 'hungry ghost' archetype - almost a perfect ethereal (and potentially immortal) recreation of the anti-social personality itself. Of course, to the Parasite class, the crisis of capitalism inevitably caused by the ravages of these hungry ghosts will never go to waste, simply representing yet another opportunity to force change and to lever ever greater control of resources, both material and human, now symbolised by the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
As indigenous folk faith and then the organised religion that destroyed it have been degraded and destroyed, helped along by the apparent victory of scientific materialism, humanity itself has come to be held in lower and lower regard and is now seen by a great many otherwise humane beings as a virus or a parasitic species itself: as a problem to be controlled and managed, culled and controlled. This supposedly rational perspective has more than a little of the cold-blooded psychopath about it. It may be controversial to deny the popular narrative of global overpopulation itself as a psychopathic meme that humane beings could never have come up with on their own. But it is, after all, simply an opinion. No ‘expert’ is qualified to pronounce what number of people is ‘unsustainable’ - only an actual and indisputable lack of sustainability could do that. The sickening levels of overconsumption and waste currently bestowed on us by the neoliberal system are proof enough that we are, in fact, nowhere far from that point. That is all an aside, but an instructive one, I think, as the meme of an overpopulated planet, which may now have ousted genuinely pressing concerns around environmental degradation and overconsumption in the public mind was never truly debated but came to be accepted relatively quickly as an established truism instead - to whose benefit?
The Parasites’ antisocial and materialistic view of life has long powered the destructive industries and lifestyles which result in the environmental harm, personal atomisation and disconnection from earth and community we all suffer from. The Parasite’s next trick is to lay all the blame at the feet of the Folk - and even better, the youth. The Parasitic anti-human view is now promoted widely and openly to the young by the supposed role models of a sick society. In this way, children are scapegoated with the guilt that the Parasites will never feel. What could be more despicable and inhumane?
To summarize: there is an anomalous group of humans who lack many of the essential characteristics of humanity. It may be that they actually take pride in their inhumanity. Out of this group emerges an ‘elite’ Parasite class, which possesses the ambition, will and ruthlessness required to seek and pursue power and domination without limits. Their method is psychological manipulation, rather than overt use of force. In common with each class I’m describing here, the Parasites are not a cohesive and unified group, but an archetype that finds its ‘natural’ place in the order established by the dynamic between the groups.
In buddhist terms, the anti-social personality most closely fits the realm of Anger/ Arrogance.
The Flying Monkeys
This class consists of those who seek either to preserve the status quo or dismantle and attack it, or something of both, according to the fashion of the day. These are the status seekers, the 'woke' PC crowd, Lenin's 'useful idiots', the teacher’s pets, conspiracy deniers and coincidence theorists, the intelligentsia, sycophants, and defenders of the crown. The Folk may mock the heretics and idealists, but the Flying Monkey makes a lifestyle and even a career of it. They define themselves as a collection of beliefs, and woe betide anyone who points out any hypocrisies inherent in those beliefs - and there are many. They follow no internally consistent narrative or logic and cannot summon the self-reflection required to notice this. Their vast sense of self-importance rests on the flimsiest of foundations, which they protect at the cost of rational dialogue and genuine friendship.
Scientific or political 'consensus' is their holy grail and they will viciously protect the fantasy that such a thing can and should exist. Dissent can never be allowed to besmirch this fantasy of a perfect, pristine and righteous consensus and must be stamped out quickly and thoroughly before the infection spreads - so they will gladly rail against and ultimately attack the prescribed enemy of the day. Thus they seek peace of mind in the Borg - the hive mind, from the 'safety' of which all dissent is bundled together and called evil: You’re doubtful of the efficacy of lockdowns? You white supremacist, white trash, Q-tard, anti-vax, anti-science, Icke and Jones following, intolerant, homophobic, fascistic, oppressive, colonialist, racist, bigotted, capitalist, anti-science flat-earther! Your dissent genuinely pains the Flying Monkey - so they attack. This is personal, for they are attached to their fantastical 'consensus' umbilically. Their relationship to the world is self-centred but, unlike the Parasite, small-minded. They do not seek to conquer, but rather, to gain and maintain social status. Their relationship to power is to revere it unquestioningly while mounting an unrelenting attack on any power designated as illegitimate within the moral framework they inhabit.
Pomposity and self-righteousness mark them out, as well as a degree of limited and shallow intelligence which is used primarily to differentiate them from the Folk by manufacturing an appearance (and a self-image) of greater intelligence. Their argument is generally fallacious, as they lack the discipline, integrity, honesty and patience to sustain rationality - and why bother to attempt it when there are so many ways to maintain status without it? The entire media and corporate edifice backs up their every position, so there is little to fear in terms of social shame. They will always choose to be politically correct rather than actually correct, as the former brings social status which rarely attaches to the latter. They happily surf the latest wave of change, enjoying nothing better than to scold and shame the Folk and the Idealists for clinging to yesterday’s certainty: “It’s not coloured people! It’s people of colour, you racist!”. They lack any true love of truth and so stop at a comfortable resting place along the road towards it to harangue and insult those who would venture further. Intelligence and perceived virtue are to them simply levers of status. They may speak eloquently, repeating personal or societal cliches to soothe themselves and to mock, belittle or dismiss others, but independent and original thought is not their forte.
They sincerely believe that reading the Guardian or the New York Times or watching 'the news' every day renders them well informed. When a new threat or change is unveiled by the Parasites, the Flying Monkeys are always in the vanguard, ready to play their part in whipping the Folk into shape, stirring or shaming them into action or inaction as required. No difficult investigation of facts or uncomfortable soul searching is ever required - their opinions are handed to them fully formed by their trusted media source. They believe they are ‘good people’ and do possess a functioning conscience, but they don't use or examine it and never expose their own choices and actions to its healing fire - preferring the comfort of an unexamined life. Their conscience is applied to approved issues, where they know their virtue signalling and displays of outrage will always bring approval and will not be at risk of challenge and investigation. Though a conception of evildoers in high places is inherent in most Flying Monkeys' worldview, it is unlikely to have progressed far beyond Marx's analysis. They tend to identify evil in one ideology, social class, industry, institution, nation, race or person and fail to consider that the narratives of society including the ‘revolutionary’ counter-narratives they follow so slavishly might have been set by the real evildoers.
For example, big oil is now an approved 'bad guy', whereas new 'green' tech - presented as the antidote to big oil - gets a free pass. The reality - that both are owned by the same Parasites, along with the media which promotes the palatable and addictive colour-by-numbers good/ evil narrative - is beyond them. The Flying Monkeys love the self-regarding comfort of siding with 'good' against 'evil' and will happily accept any narrative which gives them such comfort. The Parasites’ common ruse of providing two visible enemies to argue over while the true power moves unseen in the background is beyond the Flying Monkey’s understanding, and any suggestion of such a possibility is met with ridicule, rage, blustering, projection and dismissal. After all, they are the informed ones. It can be quite a shock to realise how ignorant, unimaginative and gullible these people can be - especially as they make such a show of their erudition and grasp of the - approved - knowledge.
It’s extremely common for The Flying Monkey to angrily abandon dialogue when the cognitive dissonance caused by a rational questioning of their incoherent worldview becomes unbearable. This can happen within seconds. They hold a self-image of being 'right on', caring, and 'for the people', and the Parasites happily provide all manner of nourishment to these fantasies. This supports the Flying Monkey’s refusal to acknowledge in any meaningful way the shadow that exists within and without us - Solzhenitsyn’s line that cuts through the heart of every human being. They are good. Therefore you are bad. It’s science.
Though always open to new 'approved' ideas, the Flying Monkey’s minds are in fact closed, as their self-regard blocks true self-reflection - even as they claim self-knowledge. Their egoic status-seeking is activated by the incessant chaos show that the Parasites manufacture for us, without which the Flying Monkeys would be impotent and harmless. Though at heart they are well-meaning, their meagre intellect and self-serving nature have blinded them to their own ignorance. They are weak-spirited and their ambitions amount to little beyond self-aggrandizement.
Of the four classes I’ve described, I argue that the Flying Monkeys are the most harmful enemy of Humane Being - as they enforce acceptance of the incessant chaos that rains down from ‘on high’ more thoroughly than the Parasites ever could, and serve to shield and protect the Parasites from criticism and investigation, by maintaining - against all evidence - the illusion that sanity and humane values are prevailing. Without this shield, the Parasites would be naked and powerless to deceive. The Flying Monkeys are far more numerous than the Parasites, and this sheer weight of bullheaded idiocy protects the Parasites from justice.
In buddhist terms, the Flying Monkey tends towards the realm of Animality.
If I romanticize my own group, it’s only fitting. We are visionaries and dreamers. We see the world as pure potency and are driven by a burning desire to see truth, justice, freedom, beauty and the flowering of humanity. We love humanity though many of us are disillusioned and hopeless - which only proves our capacity for hope. Our relationship to the whole is one of responsibility and a wish to celebrate and manifest the potential we can never unknow. Our relationship to external power is that of the sceptic, though we gladly follow leadership that has proven trustworthy.
We feel the insanity of the world deeply and struggle with our own sanity amongst the chaos inflicted by the Parasites, the Flying Monkeys - who maintain that the hypocrisies and agendas we see playing out are legitimate and normal - and the Folk, who don't share our hunger for truth and beauty. We are heretics and dissidents who feel grand injustices personally. We are routinely dismissed, mocked, discredited, vilified and censored as conspiracy theorists, far-right trolls, science deniers, hippies, nazis, dropouts and contrarians. We have pulled our own worldview apart a thousand times, learning and relearning - happy to be proven wrong as the revelation of truth outweighs our attachment to a self-identity as ‘correct’. Thus we question and question again, tearing ourselves apart in the healing fire of conscience, never satisfied while deceit rules and the manufactured chaos rains down.
It is natural and easy for us to try on beliefs to see how they feel and if they suit us. We’re not scared of being misled, as we are canny, having learnt to trust our own judgement. We are unashamed of our idealism, miraculously maintaining and carrying a pristine vision through a stolen and decimated world. To us, the thought that anyone should be ashamed of their idealism is a despicable and anti-human disgrace. We are curious, analytical, sceptical and cynical. We are the natural defence mechanism of the species against dysgenic and anti-life perversions of our humane nature. We are the bullshit detectors - the species’ conscience and the only true defence against the onslaught of chaos. We are sensitive and often uncomfortable - but we love what is good and right and true more than anyone.
Our righteous rage at the injustices the Folk have been subjected to is forever compounded by the Folk's ignorance and apathy on the one side, and the pompous, condescending, mocking and self-congratulatory performance of the Flying Monkeys on the other. For generations, we have been ignored, belittled, scapegoated, imprisoned and slaughtered. In a healthy society, we would be respected and honoured as the guardians of humanity and integrity. But we are blocked at every turn. Our integrity marks us out and we are not welcome. We cannot live with the guilty conscience required to partake in a sick society. We see, feel and call out the shadow and are detested and rejected for it. We recognise and acknowledge humanity’s innate sovereignty and mourn the fact of a world which does not. We see through the emperor's old clothes and are hated by those who refuse to.
We are the most divergent and non-cohesive group by far - our scepticism and doubt extending to each other as well as inwards towards the self. We struggle to articulate our vision, as it is so out of sync with the reality we are faced with. We may not possess great superficial intelligence - the kind which is generally considered useful and which enables erudite argument and defence of one’s position - and we inhabit an impossible niche in society. We are not respected, we don’t have a place at the table, and the Parasites are very well aware of us and the threat we potentially pose. They line up narratives they know will titillate and excite our curiosity and desire for novelty and discovery in a hideously broken and predictable world. And many of us fall into these narratives - getting stuck on a flat earth; still trusting the plan, or whatever - lending strength to the accusations that we are deluded, paranoid, gullible and out of touch with reality.
Our role now must be to reengage with our instinct and integrity. To find our true self and voice; to do so wholeheartedly. To peel off layers of delusion and cloaking and false identity and trauma and get back to our own root, wherein our precious code is preserved intact and bursting with evergreen potential and vitality. To revel in our commitment to truth and beauty, utterly unashamed.
In buddhist terms, we tend towards the realm of Realisation.
It is every humane being's wish that the Parasitic grip on our world comes to an end and that we come to embody a humane way of being. The Parasite depends on the defensive shield provided by the Flying Monkeys, who receive in return only a hollow status of no lasting and true value. In terms of influence or mindset, I am nowhere near the Parasites. Where I may hold some sway is closer to home. Flying Monkeys are all around, and they do possess a functioning conscience, though it may be a little dusty and unkempt.
As ridiculous as it may seem, these petty tyrants actually hold much of the power within the dynamic I've described. It turns out that the mindset we find the most alien and terrifying - that of the antisocial Parasite - is not really such problem after all. Rather, it is something much closer to home, and more familiar to us all. The status quo is maintained by a vast army of Flying Monkeys, motivated by their stubborn, self-interested, unprincipled and reflexive hive mentality. Without their resistance to change from 'below', the game is over - humanity's natural love of truth, peace, freedom and beauty easily win.
The future of humanity is not in the hands of psychopaths. It is in the hands of ordinary messed up people like you and me. If you recognise anything of yourself in the Flying Monkey description; if you have ever parroted opinions or allowed your ego to be stoked by following the flow and praising or censuring without genuinely seeking out the truth for yourself; abandoned discussion in disgust without seeing it through; if you accept narratives from the same ‘respected’ sources you have for years and decades, without truly challenging the beliefs they convey, a monumental and world-changing responsibility is yours.
If you have the uncomfortable feeling that I’ve been talking about you, I have a small favour or two to ask: stop reading ‘the news’ for a few months. Just stop. Stop listening to the narrative - trust me, you won’t miss anything. Then simply, withholding judgement, go and talk to your crazy conspiracy theorist friend. Ask him what he really thinks, and then listen - and keep listening. Nurture your natural, actual curiosity. Drop arrogance and calcified views of reality. Why would I advise you to listen to the ravings of a conspiracy fanatic? Someone who might be really crazy - who might believe the moon is a spaceship? Because ultimately, I trust in you and in reason. It’s not about what he thinks - but what you think. It is essential that you rediscover your innate capacity to reason for yourself again.
Respectful dialogue is one of our most precious capacities. Nurture it. Tend it. Relish it. Test your ability to form cohesive and rational arguments. And when you can't do so, ask yourself why. Where you are unable to find a rational argument against something, you can no longer dismiss it and maintain integrity - and this is the road to true integrity. The road to recovery. The now common suggestion that we can be 'infected' with bad ideas is perhaps the ultimate infantilization. The more you encounter different ideas, the more you can really know - and really test - your own. Please - genuinely challenge yourself with ideas that are uncomfortable. This is the responsibility of a humane being. Aristotle taught that the mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. When was the last time you truly entertained a thought that was deeply uncomfortable for you and that challenged your understanding of society? If the honest answer is that you can't remember, then I've found you. Welcome to the Recovering Flying Monkey Club. And viva humanity.
At a time as messed up as this, I'm not convinced that a truly healthy human psyche can exist. However, in a 'normal' dysfunctional individual psyche the four archetypes described above arrange themselves just as on the global level. The ego (Parasite) is the single point of awareness at the centre or the eye of the pyramid. The self-image (Flying Monkey) protects the ego from the unwelcome scrutiny of the conscience (Idealist), which seeks the greater good of the whole psyche (Folk) and its harmonious relation to the external world. The societal remedy I've put forward above also applies at the individual level and would be expressed simply as allowing the conscience to do its natural work - that of checking and counterbalancing the ego unimpeded.
The ego is so fearful of such scrutiny that it enlists the weaker aspects of the psyche (addictive weakness or greed, false pride, unfounded anger or arrogance and delusion) to protect it. In this way, a brittle defensive persona is established - the primary purpose of which is to distract from and even deny the existence of the ego itself - even while ensuring that the perceived benefits of status, security and power accrue to it. This dynamic is at the root of our suffering, internally just as it is externally. The battle between the conscience and the calcified defence mechanisms of the psyche is as arduous, essential and ongoing as the societal battle described above. But without honestly engaging it, the frustration I've expressed here and which many of us feel with those around us cannot possibly bring positive transformation. As within - so without.
I don't advocate a particular path for this journey, and I don't claim expertise or mastery of the ego - far from it. All I'm suggesting is that the humble but persistent reassessment of our psychological superstructure 'on the daily' is an essential and unavoidable aspect of the radical transformation of the world that you surely seek if you've read this far - that acknowledging and engaging with the internal Flying Monkeys which protect our egos from the piercing yet ultimately loving attention of the inner Idealist is as central to winning this battle as any external actions we may take.
I wish you every success with it.
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My daughter sent this article to me last night via Messenger. In the morning I sent it to my sister. Immediately after, Facebook crushed. Could this have been a coincidence? I think not! (Just kidding.) Whether or not "they" at FB headquarters realized I am spreading dangerous truth you speak, and are trying to stop it, truth will never be stopped. And it is dangerous. Excellent article. It helps to know that the Author is out there. Also, I am proud of my daughter for choosing to follow your work. My sister already read it, over in the UK, and she confirms: Some people are a mix of the types you recognize and name. We think that the four categories correspond with reality very well. But - says she - I am not a mix. I am the despicable pariah 100%. My joy at reading you calling them flying monkeys out, is equally intense. Your insights are not shared by many.
I’m supposed to be finishing my own upcoming article, but I couldn’t stop reading yours. I really think you have the seeds of a book here. You have identified and articulated the four archetypes with exceeding clarity, and your perceptions are spot-on in every category.
I especially love the term “coincidence theorists” and think that is an ingenious way of inverting the framing. I will definitely be keeping that in my back pocket for future use.
Have you read Christopher Browning’s “Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland”? It is a fascinating analysis of how ordinary human beings (the Folk) can be contorted into psychopaths by the machinations of the Parasites and Flying Monkeys. Browning quotes the conclusion Philip Zimbardo drew from his Stanford prison experiment: “‘Most dramatic and distressing to us was the observation of the ease with which sadistic behavior could be elicited in individuals who were not “sadistic types”.’ The prison situation alone, Zimbardo concluded, was ‘a sufficient condition to produce aberrant, anti-social behavior.’”
By the same token, it is the Idealists/Dreamers—a tiny percentage, sadly—who possess the ability to see through the mass deception and resist the coercive efforts designed to manipulate them into committing atrocities. Browning cites Zygmunt Bauman’s explanation that “‘cruelty is social in its origin much more than it is characterological.’ Bauman argues that most people ’slip’ into the roles society provides them, and he is very critical of any implication that ‘faulty personalities’ are the cause of human cruelty. For him the exception—the real ‘sleeper’—is the rare individual who has the capacity to resist authority and assert moral autonomy but who is seldom aware of this hidden strength until put to the test.”
Thank you for being one of the Dreamers and for your gentle efforts in our joint mission to unmask tyranny and awaken the sleeping before tyranny triumphs.