Psychopaths rule the world!
I feel shaken by an episode of The Horizon series on BBC entitled Are You Good or Evil? (available on iplayer till 21 Sept) and what psychiatrist discoveries imply. If you ever wondered about the great injustice in modern world they just may have the answer for it. I recommend watching the program but for those of you who can’t I will summarise below.
The psychiatrist studying serial killers came across basic difference in their behaviour to the ‘normal’ person- lack of empathy. The test was done on them and scientists recorded the reactions in them. They had no emotional response to emotionally charged words like rape for example. The empathy is linked to production of hormone in our bodies that is largely responsible for our morality. Even one year old children can choose between good and bad (selfish, inconsiderate behaviour). This findings suggest that our moral sense and therefore behaviour can be largely determined by chemistry of our bodies and not our choice as such. This study needed to be expanded so scientist decided to look at serial killers brains. This study shown that their brains are very different. 100% of serial killers brain scans shown the same abnormalities. The parts of the brain dis-functioning in each case are the Orbitofrontal cortex (part of the brain right above the eyes) and front part of the temporal lobe housing the Amygdala were the animals drives are. Both these areas of the brain are crucial for controlling compulsivity and emotions. Amazingly the scientist who was give the brain scans to analyse discovered that his own family has a history of murder and they all decided to take brain scans. He then discovered this changes in the brain are present in him. From there he decided to find out what made him different from the serial killers. His family wasn’t surprised at the result so different personality was there in him but he did not become a killer. The difference lied in childhood. He was a happy child whilst serial killers suffered abuse.
To sum it up science is now able to predict by brain scan and DNA tests if person is a psychopath. If this person has a happy childhood the chances that they will kill decrease, but if they aren’t happy they are at a very high risk of violent behaviour. But how does this applies to politicians and corporate leaders? As Dr Paul Babiack, author of the book ‘Snakes in Suits “art of the problem is that the very things we’re looking for in our leaders, the psychopath can easily mimic.[..]Their natural tendency is to be charming. Take that charm and couch it in the right business language and it sounds like charismatic leadership”. The survey was done and it discovered that one in 25 business leaders in America is a ‘successful psychopath’, that means psychopath who didn’t become a killer. That is 4 times as many as in the rest of population. What’s more significant this psychopaths tend to be at the top of organisations. As Babiack explains “corporate culture today is ideal for psychopaths” that is because they need thrilling jobs and constant change, they get easily bored and business and politics provides such environment. They get to a high position because of charisma but they perform rather badly. This sounds to me a perfect description of so many presidents and prime ministers and other authorities.
So what this finding implies is that one in 25 business leaders in America has no emotional life, no empathy and sees himself as centre of the universe. They don’t care about consequences of their actions, about other people or environment. They simply are cold and ruthless by nature and we are more likely to choose them to be our leaders. They are also really good at manipulating others using their charm, manipulation and intimidation. I feel this is more scary than most complex conspiracy theory but this is real!
To me this calls for drastic change in the way people choose who is the leader or rather another good reason to abolish leaders. I would recommend a brain scan to current politicians and corporate leaders and removing psychopaths from power all together but then would this be a new form of discrimination against minority. Or is it my moral self dooming me to be preyed upon by psychos who have the advantage of not giving shit about me? what are we going to do about it? It seems to me we can’t just accept the sad truth and get on with our life as if nothing changed. The moral implications of such debate are immense but those guys in power won’t care either way. I think we really need Global Anarchy as soon as possible and science just proved it. Meanwhile we probably will do ourselves a favour reading Snake in Suits to learn how to distinguish psychopaths in our environment and the governments.
Here I include a link to THE PSYCHOPATH – The Mask of Sanity fascinating read if you want to know more and it’s free. I only just started reading but have a feeling it will be time well spent.