Lesson Five: Pathological Minds
A peek inside dark mental realms.
Ignoti nulla curatio morbi. - Do not attempt to cure what you do not understand.
In keeping with the Halloween spirit, today’s lesson will revolve around monsters. Real life monsters that look just like any other human. Monsters that can be born and monsters that can be created. These monsters walk among us in plain sight and do their very best to try and hide what they are. These are creatures of raw desire and instinct, lacking proper empathy for others, they are capable of devastating destruction just for their own gain. They can be murderers, rapists, managers, businessmen, teachers, health-care workers, thieves, CEOs, and even parents. The actual percentage of them thriving in our population is fairly low, however the effect they have on the rest of society can be vast and costly. These are people with pathological tendencies. We know them as psychopaths or sociopaths, our media commonly portrays them as creepy cannibals, or openly bloodthirsty murderers, yet that same media tends to avoid mentioning the prevalence of pathological thinking in our culture, possibly because our culture promotes their predatory behaviors. To properly assess these “creatures,” we must first begin to understand them. We will investigate their origins, how pathological thinking can vary, and what we can do to defend ourselves mentally from infectious paralogistics. It is my understanding that our civilization is insufficiently resistant to such pathological evils, and in fact may be conducive to being hijacked by them, therefore we need to “immunize” people with a greater understanding of the psychology behind pathological thinking.
We will be using the book Political Ponerology by Dr. Andrew M. Lobaczewski. This book itself has an interesting history, originally being compiled and written under harsh Soviet rule. A small group of psychologists under Communist rule decided to investigate the origins of the “evil” they were witnessing around them. The first manuscript was thrown into a furnace to prevent being found during an official search. A second manuscript was sent by the author to the Vatican, and never re-emerged. The loss of the second manuscript also meant the loss of much important data, which in turn makes this final version read more like a fantasy novel villain trope manual than a piece of science at times. The author, however, managed to compile from memory what he believed were the most important conclusions they reached as a result of their psychological research. For the most part, I will be presenting his definitions of certain words for consistency sake, however much the field has evolved since the book was originally published. Lobaczewski was deeply concerned with the causal roots of problems in society at large, however I will be keeping this lesson more closely in line with individual growth.
One of the most limiting factors of psychology is that it is one of the few scientific studies that exist wherein the subject and observer are of the same species. It can be easy to assume that each person you meet thinks similarly to you, because your only frame of reference for how a person thinks is your own. The first real difficulty is how one’s world view is formed. One’s world view is generally built of our instincts and our own environment conditioning us as we mature, and unfortunately it will never be an entirely accurate perception of reality if we do not control our emotions and thought processes as explained in previous lessons. Therefore, no person can ever be capable of being objectively universal or genuinely true to reality. When a normal person encounters someone with pathological behavior, our natural tendencies (i.e. our life experiences and learned knowledge) tend to moralize their behavior for us. “This person is doing something bad, therefore they must have had bad experiences in life to make them behave this way.” People tend to fail to differentiate between moral and biological evil, particularly young people because of their lower orders of consciousness dependent on their “natural world view.”
Lobaczewski on moralizing:
“The natural world view is also characterized by a similar, emotional, tendency to endow our opinions with moral judgment, often so negative as to represent societal customs. We easily extrapolate this method of comprehension onto manifestations of improper human behavior, which are, in fact, caused by minor psychological deficiencies. When another individual behaves in a way that we deem to be “bad”, we tend to make a judgment of negative intent rather than seeking to understand the psychological conditions that might be driving them, and convincing them that they are, in fact, behaving very properly. Thus, any moralizing interpretation of minor psychopathological phenomena is erroneous and merely leads to an exceptional number of unfortunate consequences, which is why we shall repeatedly refer to it.” [p. 38]
We will need to do our best to remain objective while learning about psychopathological persons, because they simply do not operate under the same rules and conditions that a normal person might. We may begin to believe that criminals are justified in the terror they cause on others if we do not separate cause from effect. It is of the utmost importance to realize that pathological persons believe that they are behaving perfectly proper, and that it is those with “normal” thinking that are incorrect. First, let us begin to understand the origin of these mental deviations, which will in turn help us define what is “normal” and “pathological” thinking.
Our investigation starts us off with the brain, a significant source of our consciousness, with its low capacity from regeneration. If there is damage to the brain, in limited ways, the neighboring healthy tissue attempts takes over the function of the damaged tissue. However, this is an imperfect recovery, and the capacity of the damaged tissue never fully recovers and thus there is deficits in brain function that inevitable become worse over time. The undamaged brain tissue retains our species’ natural psychological properties, however the damaged regions cause wildly different deviations in drive and inhibition. Certain types of damage (particularly damage to the frontal areas of the cerebral cortex) become evident by the negative effects that occur to the individual’s character and decision-making. Our author calls these deformations and disorders of character: characteropathies. [p.73]
“Characteropathies reveal a certain similar quality, if the clinical picture is not dimmed by the coexistence of other mental anomalies (usually inherited), which sometimes occur in practice. Undamaged brain tissue retains our species’ natural psychological properties. This is particularly evident in instinctive and affective responses, which are natural, albeit often insufficiently controlled. The experience of people with such anomalies grows in the medium of the normal human world to which they belong by nature. Thus their different way of thinking, their emotional violence, and their egotism find relatively easy entry into the other people’s minds and are perceived within the categories of the everyday world. Such behavior on the part of persons with such character disorders traumatizes the minds and feelings of normal people, gradually diminishing the ability of the normal person to use their common sense. In spite of resistance, victims of the characteropath become used to rigid habits of pathological thinking and experiencing. If the victims are young people, the result is that the personality suffers abnormal development leading to its malformation. Characteropaths and their victims thus represent pathological, ponerogenic factors which, by their covert activity, easily engender new phases in the eternal genesis of evil, opening the door to a later activation of other factors which thereupon take over the main role.” [73-74]
To demonstrate the potential of a characteropath having a pathological effect on normal people, our author offers up the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II [27 January 1859– 4 June 1941]. Subjected to brain trauma at birth, Wilhelm II had difficulties learning grammar, geometry, and drawing, which “constitute the typical triad of academic difficulties caused by minor brain lesions.”  He would eventually grow to have infantile ways of thinking and insufficient control over his emotions compounded with paranoid thinking. He would eventually remove from power anyone that was critical of him, replacing them with less intelligent, more subservient and potentially more pathological persons. Through Emperor Wilhelm II, the people of Germany were constantly inundated with characteropathic material that progressively deprived their ability to use their common sense. The constant barrage of paranoid, pathological propaganda as well as “together with that unrealistic way of thinking wherein slogans take on the power of arguments and real data are subjected to subconscious selection”  combined to create a wave of hysteria that progressively grew over three generations. The result? A Fuhrer that did not even need to hide his psychopathic, unrealistic, almost cartoonish ambitions of race superiority, genocide and world domination was raised to power and supported by the people of Germany. Many people were completely unable to recognize reality against the propaganda that was tirelessly pushed for decades. This near total blindness to reality is the terrible effect a characteropath can have on others.
Here’s a small compilation of one pathological type and their specific traits:
Not attentive to others
Below average IQ
Dull emotive responses
Black and white thinking
Prone to extreme actions (retaliates over minor offenses)
Involved in acts that appear moral, but are actually negative
A typical Schizoidal declaration: “Human nature is so bad that order in society can only be maintained by a strong power created by highly qualified individuals in the name of some higher idea.”
Normal persons naturally perceive schizoidals in a manner befitting their own nature, rather than the nature of a pathological person. This flawed perception can lead to the normal individual to have a more difficult time understanding reality, or properly evolving their order of consciousness. Dawbrowski tells us: “subordinating a normal person to psychologically abnormal individuals has severe and deforming effects on his or her personality: it engenders trauma and neurosis.” A child without any brain lesions can inevitably end up displaying schizoidal characteristics if raised by a characteropath.
No perspective is functionally complete without a thorough understanding of pathological minds and their behaviors. One cannot remain psychologically healthy without knowing what it means that a minority of people have certain deficits in empathy and human instinct. One needs to be constantly vigilant of their mind to prevent unwanted influence by lower order or pathological thinking. We also demonstrate that natural biological causes can create disturbances in the thinking of those without brain lesions. This de-evolution of “common sense” unfortunately leads to hysterical individuals and societies. The causative nature of pathological thinking is one that desperately needs wider public education. People need to fully comprehend the complex causative network in order to develop a prophylactic approach to pathological thinking. Another important fact to keep in mind is that a person need not be a psychopath or characteropath to start displaying pathological thinking. Let us delve into certain types of pathological thinking.
Conversive Thinking: Using terms but giving them opposing or twisted meanings. Examples: peacefulness = appeasement; freedom = license; initiative = arbitrariness; traditional = backward; rally = mob. Example: the words “peacefulness” and “appeasement” denote the same thing: a striving to establish peace, but have entirely different connotations which indicate the speaker’s attitude toward this striving toward peace. [pg 45 footnote 18]
Reversive Blockade: Emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person’s mind from perceiving the truth. This type of thought process and behavior are rarely seen in normal persons. Using their healthy “common sense,” the normal person begins to search for meaning between the truth and the falsehood, inevitably leading to erroneous conclusions. People that think like this do not realize that deviating their minds from the truth is the intent of being subjected to these methods.
Paramoralism: A linguistic device of persuasion. It is an argument or line of reasoning which is pitched to appear driven by ethical concerns, yet under scrutiny is revealed to be driven by self-interest or adherence to a system of rules disregarding conscience. Example: “My opponents are Judases bribed for thirty pieces of silver.” or “We are invading this country in order to free them.”
Information Selection and Substitution: When speaking about subconscious thought, we must remember that unconscious psychological processes outstrip conscious reasoning both in time and scope, which makes many psychological phenomena possible, including those generally described as conversive. This means that these mental processes occur quickly enough for us to not even realize they’re happening.
Blocking out conclusions: if the inferential process was proper in principle and has almost arrived at a conclusion and final comprehension within the act of internal projection, but becomes stymied by a preceding directive from the subconscious, which considers it inexpedient or disturbing. A conclusion thus rejected remains in our subconscious and in a more unconscious way causes the next blocking and selection of this kind. This can be extremely harmful, progressively enslaving a person to his own subconscious, and is often accompanied by a feeling of tension and bitterness. Example: I didn’t leave the door open because I don’t make mistakes like that.
Selection of Premises: Whenever the feedback goes deeper into the resulting reasoning and from its database thus deletes and represses into the subconscious just that piece of information which was responsible for arrive at the uncomfortable conclusion. Our subconscious then permits further logical reasoning, except that the outcome will be erroneous in direct proportion to the actual significance of repressed data. An ever greater number of such repressed information is collected into our subconscious memory. Finally, a kind of habit seems to take over: similar material is treated the same way even if reasoning would have reached an outcome quite advantageous to the person.
Substitution of Premises: Once uncomfortable data has been eliminated, a more complex process can occur. The eliminated premises are then replaced by our associative abilities with ideas that lead to a more comfortable conclusions, thus removing the need for self-critical thought. Such substitutions are often effected collectively, in certain groups of people, through the use of verbal communication.
Egotism: The attitude, subconsciously conditioned as a rule, to which we attribute excessive value to our instinctive reflexes, early acquired imaginings and habits and individual world view. Egotism hampers the evolutions of one’s orders of consciousness and personality development. An egotist measures others by his own yardstick, treating his concepts and experiential manner as objective criteria. Example: A person that starts a newsletter proclaiming to have “the answers” for helping individuals with all of their problems.
While I have listed pathological thinking that could effect the common person, there remains a far more dangerous subset person capable of causing gruesome amounts of real harm: the psychopaths. They are masters of the above pathological mindsets, and worse still, masters of understanding and manipulating the perceived weaknesses of normal people. Schizodia is a form of paranoid psychopathy, however we will be looking at what is known as essential psychopathy. Researchers tend to underline three particular qualities associated with this type of psychopathy: the absence of guilt for antisocial actions, the inability to love truly, and the tendency to ramble on in a way that deliberately deviates from reality for personal gain. Due to their extreme egotism, the idea of feeling guilty doesn’t even occur to the psychopath, owing heavily to the undue excessive value they give their own morals and standards. Love is an obstacle considered to be simply a fairy tale believed by the “normal people” for sexual conquest. From the perspective of a psychopath, it appears that do not only want to live their lives in instinctive pleasure seeking and antisocial behaviors, but also seem to enjoy making others suffer. They often tend to seek out positions of power to enact their brutal desires against others. They recognize from a young age that they are different than most other people: they lack the emphatic response the average person has and the psychopath realizes that they can use that as a weapon. Normal people are at a disadvantage against the psychopath because the normal person has no comprehension as to what it means to live without a conscience or empathy, while the psychopath has no qualms pretending to care through paramoralisms and conversive thinking. All the while, looking and sounding like a normal person would.
Personally, I find it quite terrifying that potentially 5% of the population could have some form of psychopathy and that their actions have a terrible effect on the minds of others. On a daily basis, I witness people commit senseless acts that only cause more harm than good and it feels as thought that insanity only grows. I cannot help but wonder if these acts are the result of being afflicted with pathological thinking, but such pondering does not lead me to a solution. While I share the author’s belief that knowledge of these pathological thought processes can be enough to prevent them from having a deeper effect on your psyche, we’ve also seen the result of such processes in countries that became hysterical and violent. Can an individual’s knowledge of insanity prevent an entire population from going mad? History has laid out a long gruesome trail of blood and tears, and it hasn’t been so long since our last illogical genocidal war. Happy Halloween!
Homework: Do you experience pathological thought processes on anything? Do you experience excessive egotism, justifying your bad acts as good? Do you know anyone that might be afflicted with pathological thinking?
Thanks for reading and thanks for all of your support! I hope that I’m delivering interesting content, and that the two weeks spent on this article was worth it. Please have a safe Halloween. Don’t binge on candy like I have been, I’ve gained weight this month from candy alone! Perhaps a lesson on sugar is in order…