Blade Runner

“Thirty years after it was released, this sci-fi classic still looks futuristic. You may not see this film as a psychopath movie but it features one of the most striking portrayal of pure psychopathy in cinema history.”

Psychopath Night, UK, Channel 4

james&kevinBlade Runner is about a futuristic society in which mankind has created robots, called “replicants,” so realistic as to be virtually indistinguishable from actual humans. Psychopaths are also hard to distinguish from “regular” humans and many people seem obsessed with the desire to find out “how to spot us.” The inclusion of this film in Psychopath Night was selected by neuroscientist James Fallon and Oxford psychology professor, Kevin Dutton. One of the key features in the story is the fact that these replicants can be spotted (or outed) by use of an empathy test. “Most scientists believe that this lack of empathy is the fundamental cornerstone of psychopathy,” intones the narrator of Psychopath Night. They bring out M.E. Thomas, author of Confessions of a Psychopath rather rudely (in my opinion) referring to her as a “specimen.” “M.E. Thomas feels that one movie is a particularly realistic portrayal of psychopaths,” continues the voice over. “Sometimes it feels like I am in the movie, Blade Runner,” explains M.E. “and any slip up or indication that I am different will draw suspicion. I do feel a little bit like a misunderstood methomminority. The only thing that you can sort of hope if you are a sociopath is that you are going to lie well enough and wear the mask well enough and hide in plain sight such that nobody will ever find out that you are a sociopath. I’ve always known that my heart is a little blacker and colder than most people’s. Will I end up being shipped off to a psychopath’s-only gulag? Perhaps if I’m lucky. Many visitors to my blog have called for much worse, including our total extermination.” I don’t think society is close to any “final solution” to the “psychopath problem.” But M.E.’s fears are not completely unfounded. She lost her job when her book came out. Other psychopaths have been inspired, however, to come out as well. Most protect themselves by hiding their identities so that society’s prejudice won’t jinx their careers.

The Psychopathic Times (Narcissist Nation) published an interesting poll. The results showed 24% of poll takers think we can live openly but they would shun us. Another 22% would accept us. 16% are psychopaths currently living openly while the rest said “no.” Some people don’t consider us even human. The replicants in Blade Runner are not human. They are robots created to be slaves of human beings (who would no-doubt pass the empathy test). As the movie begins, there has been a rebellion on the part of the replicants who have now been banished from Planet Earth. They are still used on “off world” where humans are encouraged to start settlements. Any replicant caught on Earth will be “retired.” (They don’t call it killing but that’s what it is.)

It’s kind of funny to see an older movie that is futuristic. The people don’t have smart phones rachelfor example.This is supposed to be Los Angeles. It’s really built up, congested, and much more multi-national. A large neon sign advertises Coca Cola. There is an eerie beauty about the place. Not as comfortable looking as you would expect a high-tech world to be able to afford. Of course, an elitist society wouldn’t care. The opening scene shows an empathy test taking place. The tester seems pretty devoid of empathy, himself, not bothering to put the nervous testee at ease.

Humans in this society are not very free either. The main character, Rick Deckard, is the best hunter of replicants in the world. But he doesn’t want to do it anymore. Never mind. He can be prisforced by threats of persecution should he refuse. There are about four replicants at large he is supposed to “retire.” He starts his hunt by interviewing the man who created them, Dr. Eldon Tyrell. Tyrell, whose marketing slogan is “more real than real,” has not be idle in perfecting his creation. To keep their emotional development stunted, he has made them with a lifespan of 4 years. They come to life as fully fledged adults, of course. They have superior strength and endurance the better to serve their masters. Recently, Tyrell has added artificial memories to his newest models in order to make them more stable. His secretary, Rachel, is actually a replicant who doesn’t know she is one. She believes her memory is real. Deckard gives her the empathy test because Tyrell wants to see how much better his newest version of replicant could be in avoiding detection.

royDeckard is not charged with “catching” her. He has four fugitives to round up and/or kill. Ooops! I mean retire. The fugitives are Roy Batty, Leon, Kowalski, Pris and Zhora. Roy seems to be the leader. Their goal is to have their lives extended beyond four years. Tyrell explains to Roy why he can’t extend his life and defends his choice by saying, “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. And you have burned so very very brightly, Roy.  Look at you: you’re the Prodigal Son; you’re quite a prize!” It’s a creditable choice but made by the wrong person. I might make such a choice if I had the chance. But I wouldn’t want it made for me by somebody else. leonRoy speaks for all the replicants when he says, “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.” It is ironic, indeed, for a slave-owning society to think it possesses greater empathy than its slaves. Roy states very poignantly how dying kills not only the self but also his memories. “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.” Roy dies in the end as does Pris and Zhora. But he manages to express his rage magnificantly:

[Batty has grabbed Deckard’s gun hand and pulled it, along with the gun, through a hole in the wall]
Batty: Proud of yourself, little man?
[Batty takes the gun out of Deckard’s hand]
Batty: This is for Zhora!
[Batty breaks one of Deckard’s fingers]
Batty: This is for Pris!
[Batty breaks another one of Deckard’s fingers, puts the gun back into his hand and lets him go]
Batty: C’mon, Deckard. I’m right here, but you’ve gotta shoot straight!
[Deckard shoots through the hole in the wall and blows one of Batty’s ears off]
Batty: Straight doesn’t seem to be good enough! Now it’s my turn! I’m going to give you a few seconds before I come.

The sacred humans create slaves, truncate their lives to a span of four years and yet see themselves as morally superior. Interesting, too, that psychopaths who are supposedly such bad asses identify with the replicants. The human master race wins out of course, like it always does. But nobody beats death for ever. The last line is “It’s too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?”

Intraspecies Predators

eyesDr. Robert Hare, the world’s foremost authority on psychopathy, has declared us to be “intraspecies predators.” This means, I believe, that we prey on our fellow human beings. We are, after all, members of the same (human) species, despite attempts of some people to relegate us to the realms of reptile and, in some cases, machine.

Of course, the human being, while great in some ways, can be so repellent that we are not all displeased by the fact that we have been ruled out of the club. Even so, a dispassionate look at the meaning of Hare’s charge and an examination of it’s truth or falsehood could place things in proper perspective.

Nature, itself, is predatory. Every species lives on another species. A “nicer” way of putting it would be to say that Nature is based on sacrifice. Mice are sacrificed for cats and eagles, etc. Even plants are sacrificed for some species that live on them. Almost all ingestion of food results in the death of the “sacrificed” being. The only exception I can see is the consumption of fruit which peacefully falls off the vine or tree, leaving it intact. But no species has ever managed to subside entirely on fruit.

cannibearIt is safe, then, to say that predation is the condition of life (on our planet, at least). But what about those who prey on members of their own species? An article in The Week, by Chris Gayomali, claims there are seven species that eat their own. They are sand tiger sharks, who actually feed on their siblings while still embryos in the womb. Polar bears have been known to eat their young. Spiders are notorious for females devouring males. Hamsters eat their young if they need more protein. Especially interesting:

Copidosoma floridanum, a type of parasitoid wasp, has a disgusting way of reproducing. To breed, an adult wasp will seek out an unsuspecting caterpillar, paralyze it with her sting, and then inject one male egg and one female egg into the living body. Once inside, those eggs “clone” themselves until the still-alive caterpillar is teeming with hundreds of larvae. Strangely, about 50 of the females emerge with large jaws and no reproductive organs. Their sole purpose for living? To devour as many of their brothers as they can, since only a few males are needed to fertilize their sisters. Nature!

Chickens sometimes eat their shells and tiger salamanders also have a complicated way of eating each other. To these seven, I must add yet another. When I was a child, we had two goldfish. We went away for vacation and apparently didn’t leave them with enough food. When we returned, only one, the larger, was there. He must have eaten his smaller companion.

Of course, cannibalism isn’t the only kind of predation. Members of a single species will often fight each other for limited resources, including mates. We have a “nicer” word for it psychocatwhen people practice it: competition.

We have managed to tame some species to make slaves or pets of them, they are usually our food with people at the top of the food chain. According to The Psychopath Next Door, psychopaths see the rest of humanity as beneath us on the food chain. “They behave like predators. They are at the top of the food chain and the rest of us are just lunch. In the psychopath’s world view, they are cats and the rest of us mice.” It is doubtful that she is implying that we are all cannibals. By predatory, she means the same thing that is meant when anyone goes after a resource that others also covet. In other words, this is competition. Psychopaths may pursue our goals more ruthlessly than others but the mousebottom line is still the same. People are competing for the same limited goodies and we are mainly competing against other human beings. We exploit each other. Sure. But we don’t usually eat each other.

While the word, “competition” sounds pretty benign, it can be cruelly vicious. Whole populations of people have replaced other populations from land the more powerful culture wants for itself. Although American children are taught a sanitized version of our own history, it is in reality the history of slavery and genocide. Native Americans had an elaborate civilization going in North America. Far from the “savages” we have been taught to believe they were, Native American culture was in some ways more civilized than that of the invaders.

“Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? What can you get by war?… What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants, if you will come in a friendly manner, and not with swords. and guns, as to invade an enemy.”

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

The atrocities of the settlers (now known as “the founding fathers”) against the indigenous people are well documented, including the infamous Trail of Tears. If psychopaths are guilty of treating other humans as “lunch,” what must we call this? Or does it not count when the aggressor is great in number and the winners?

This is only one example of predatory behavior performed en mass. The Holocaust against the Jews and other “inferior races” is probably the best known example of “man’s inhumanity to man,” probably because Germany lost the war and didn’t get to tell the story from the point of view of the torturers. But now, Jews, who should have known better, are doing to the Palestinians the same thing the Germans did to them. Mankind seems incapable of learning, just as incapable as psychopaths are said to be.

She’s Got The Blood of Reptile

kundaliniFrom the myth of Adam and Eve, reptiles have been hated and feared in Western culture. A DVD called Gods of the New Age by Jeremiah Films mentioned that only Christian tradition sees the serpent as dangerous and evil. Hindu Yoga considers a “kundalini” serpent force residing in the bottom of  the spine. Kundalini Yoga works to raise the serpent power up the spine and out through the head. This brings enlightenment. Shiva, one of the greatest gods in Hinduism, feared in Christianity as “a god of destruction,” is depicted covered with snakes. Other cultures show divine reptilian figures. The ancient Egyptians were big on reptilian gods. Their hieroglyphics depict reptiles and birds with their own associated mythology. “Reptilian and bird people fought lion people and humans.

alianDraco is the name of one of Harry Potter’s enemies. In the novel, Harry Potter, “draco” means “dragon.” But in ancient Greece, Draco was the Law Giver. The constitution of ancient Athens was laid down by Draco. Interestingly, the word “draconian” which means backwards in a very negative way, seems to have direct ties to Draco. An English writer, David Ickes, has had a lot to say about a conspiracy involving reptiles currently threatening our planet. According to Ickes (who is actually a progressive associated with the Green Party) seems to be a major source of the beliefs in human reptilians. “At the heart of his theories lies the idea that a secret group of reptilian humanoids called the Babylonian Brotherhood (including) controls humanity, and that many prominent figures are reptilian.”

In Harry Potter, the “good” house, Gryffinder, has the lion as mascot while the “bad” house, Slytherin, is associated with the snake. Consider how far back the notion of reptiles’ emnity with lions. All the way back to ancient Egypt.

Some people believe reptilian aliens, Annunaki, modified human beings to make slaves of us. Interesting coincidence that in Bladerunner, humans created “replicants” to be slaves of our kind.

snakeCertainly snakes are considered “evil” in the Western culture. Satan came to Eve as a snake to tempt her to defy God by eating the fruit of knowledge of good and evil. Instead of understanding “good and evil,” we are supposed to take the word of “god” or the bible. Just accept what we are told the way children are supposed to do. Reptiles are thought of as objects of revulsion in the West.

The myriad myths about reptiles aptly illustrates the importance and fascination humans have for these creatures. But reptiles are more than mythology. They are real beings believed to have evolved directly from dinosaurs which makes them the oldest life forms on earth. Their personalities are pretty low-key and beneath the radar. The page Reptiles,  says “When it comes brainpartsto their careers, reptile personalities are unfussy and have no false modesty in accepting menial jobs as long as it gives them time to develop their other passions: writing and art.” Hardly an image of what most people consider “evil.” Observing reptiles, myself, I find they are more sneaky than aggressive. Canines, Felines and Reptiles are all predators. Some birds are predators although most just eat seeds. Of predatory species, canines and felines are the most aggressive. Canines are pack animals. They are hierarchical and eager to establish who is the top dog. Cats are sneakier. They are more interested in not being seen until they are ready to make their move, either as predators or seekers of someone’s favor. Cats have learned to do this well. But they will not be open until they know they can trust you. Reptiles can stay hidden for very long periods of time. They are capable to a physical and mental stillness lionkingthat puts mammels to shame. Their unflinching gaze is unnerving to many who are not so capable. The fact that Hogwards has assigned the most disliked house to the reptilian Serpent shows how uneasy reptiles make other animals. Felines are proud and showy when they are in a sufficient position of strength to get away with it. This arrogance is clearly valued at Hogwards (and most other places) by the evident fact that their house, Gryffinder, is the most admired. As fellow-predators, Gryffinders and Slytherins are avowed enemies of one and other. Hufflepuffs (badgers) are predators. Some of their prey are snakes but Slytherins don’t seem concerned about that. Nobody seems to fear Ravenclaws (birds) either. It is the size and aggressiveness of Lions that earn respect confer upon them the title of King of the Jungle.

slytherinWhy am I going on about Hogwarts and Harry Potter? Because people’s attitudes towards different species seem reflected in Harry Potter as well as in life. The brain consists of three basic parts. The reptilian part of the brain is the oldest. It’s main task is survival. Everything that lives must survive. And they also must propagate their own kind. Everyone has a reptilian part of his/her brain.The other two are the limbic brain and the neocortex. The main structures of the limbic brain are the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. Characters of a personality based solely (or mostly) on the reptilian brain are supposed to be rigid, vigilant, obsessive-compulsive, traditional, conservative. Some of these traits are contrary to what we know about psychopaths. We are known for fearlessness, for example. That supposedly comes from the amagdala’s under arousal. Rigid? Why don’t we obey the law more exactly then? Are psychopaths really known for “accepting menial jobs as long as it gives (us) time to develop (our) other passions ?” It looks like we flunk the reptilian test. Yet so many people swear we are reptilian. How is this for an answer? The Reptilian Stare: Psychopath’s pupil dilation when you are the target. “The wiring from the locus coeruleus goes up through the midbrain to connect with the amygdala and other areas. The brain midline defects apparently found in psychopaths (here) seem to provide a wide open highway for the reptilian signals .  Here is a brain with no septum pellucidium (where the red arrow is, there should be a piece of tissue) – one of the anatomical defects, apparently, in the psychopath brain (as it was defined at the time).nospetumSo far, the actual personalities of real reptiles don’t live up to the notoriety of some psychopaths who have made big names for themselves as bad asses.  We do tend to live up to the traits imputed to us in the PCL-R and the MRI but this hardly measures up to the paranoiac visions of Illuminati shape-shifters. Perhaps novelists and  movie makers are failing to meet their quotas of mystery and horror, forcing amateurs to get into the business. Nice, colorful stories. If only I could turn into a reptile at will. I could join the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Until then, I will have to make due with playing Nine Inch Nails’ Reptile and await the coming of the New World Order.





I am a Blackstar

ormanLike many others, I am fascinated by David Bowie’s parting album, Blackstar. I have combed the web for interpretations of the title song, in particular. Interpretations abound. The Black Star has been identified with many things: the planet Saturn, cancer, a song by Elvis, the Midnight Sun, the new moon, Nibiru (a planet that’s gonna crash into Earth).

Almost everyone loves a mystery and Blackstar is nothing but. A hauntingly beautiful song recorded days before the author’s death can’t help but invoke mystery. Death, itself, is the ultimate mystery. Those who have gone beyond know something the rest of us can only guess about. Even a man on the brink of death doesn’t really know although he’s facing the immediacy of it in a way most of us have not had to do yet. Not only did Bowie make Blackstar at the brink of his death, Bowie is a great musician and visionary. All his life, he had the heart of an explorer, delving into occult explorations. We know he was a member of OTO. However, the rumor factory is always on high gear when the occult is involved so some of the most lurid stories get told. The Illuminati was a group in Bavaria in 1776. It’s goals were enlightenment, opposition to superstition and also to resist state oppression. It was outlawed along with Masonic orders. Since then, some various organizations calling themselves the Illuminati were founded. None of them were close to the fantasies of the Urban Legend Machine. According to urban legend, the Illuminati is a powerful shadow government to which the most powerful people in politics and entertainment are forced to belong. This group is dedicated to creating the New World Order, a totalitarian eye_rollone-world government. They have been blamed for Communism, Satanism and Nazism. Funny, Chick Comics blames the same things on the Jesuits. Only today, I heard someone say Wall Street created Communism.

Another theory which encompasses the totality of Western culture, including both Bowie and Harry Potter is called Wholly Science. This site is run by a Johan Oldenkamp. He has a total philosophy which encompasses everything under one roof. Mr. Oldenkamp informs us that anyone who doesn’t want to watch his 2 hour videos isn’t worthy of knowing the Truth. Which informs me that he is a narc. Be that as it may, this video on Bowie is interesting as it reveals some astonishing coincidences. For example, Bowie died on the new moon, which is also known as a Black Star. In addition, Princess Diana died on a  new moon. Diana is the name of the moon goddess in the Roman belief system. Selena was the name of the moon goddess in moongoddessGreek mythology. The star Selena also died during a new moon. Bowie was 69 years old when he died. That number happens to represent the Astrological sign of Cancer, which Bowie died of. There is a lot of gematria in this video. In gematria, you add numbers and tweak them until the represent something significant. He also mentioned that the TV show, The Simpsons, made references to Bowie on the day of his death. To Oldenkamp’s credit, he enters a diatribe against the consumption of animal products such as milk, which is very carcinogenic, according to him. Bowie died of cancer. Get the connection? But I do agree with him that a vegan diet is the healthiest one which our bodies are designed to consume.

Another blog, created by Kyle B. Still,  takes a crack at interpreting the video by looking at ancient gnostic writings (as does Oldenkamp). “The Gnostics were an early Christian sect – quite possibly even the original Christian sect, depending on who you ask. Their writings would seem strange and disturbing to modern day Christians because the Gnostics believed that the archonGod of the Old Testament was an evil demon. According to the Gnostics, he was created by accident and, because he was blind and demented, he couldn’t see any other gods, thus he believed that he was the only god in existence. From that perspective, a lot of the asshole-ish stuff done by the God of the Old Testament makes a little more sense.” The Gnostics wrote about beings called “archons” who are “parasites from a ‘higher dimension’ who feed on human energy. This explains why Bowie is in a room full of people who are shaking and jerking around. What seems like random weirdness may actually be a representation of people being worked up by various dramas and rituals before being milked of etheric energy. If you’ve ever been on a battlefield or watched a large sporting event or attended a megachurch, then from a Gnostic perspective you could assume that there were god-critters floating overhead and sucking on the energy generated by the excited human livestock.” Oldenkamp calls them “psychopaths.”

Bowie’s song Station to Station contains the line “Here are we, one magical movement from Kether to Malkuth.” In the Qabalistic Tree of Life, Malkuth is the physical, the “lowest” sphere. Most magical societies start there and have their initiates climb up  towards Kether (the summit). In OTO, however, they do it backwards, starting in Kether and working their way downwards. Interestingly, Bowie sings, “We were born upside down, born the wrong way ’round.” It seems not all species are born head-first. But some are.

bowieeyesThere are so many questions. “On the day he died, spirit rose a meter high and stepped aside. Somebody else took his place and bravely cried, ‘I am a blackstar.'” Who was “he?” Who was the “Someone else” who “took his place?” When Bowie says, “Just go with me,” I feel drawn. It seems dangerous but so intriguing. Then he sings, “I’m a take you home.” Why does he use the dialect of African Americans here? Then he sings, “You’re a flash in the pan,” and thumbs his nose at (us). Then he poses narcissistically and intones, “I’m the great I Am,” something some people consider blasphemous. Why are they all shaking? What’s with the crucified scarecrows? Could he be implying that the “he” whose spirit rose a meter and stepped aside was Christ? That the spirit of Christ was replaced by “someone else?” See how easy it is to trip on the meaning?  Maybe Bowie’s spirit is laughing at our earnest efforts to understand him.

I think the scenes where he is blindfolded with buttons instead of eyes represents looking within. Which we all must do after all to find truth, no matter how compelling and mysterious someone else’s hints may be.



Anatomy of a Hater

sheridanThomas Sheridan Thomas Sheridan, author of Puzzling People, has appointed himself major nemesis/pain in the ass to psychopaths. He has made many videos and published many books condemning us as subhuman scum. But, in the immortal words of the Bard, doth the gentleman protest too much? A typical series of videos, including my favorite, Steve: The Office Psychopath.

When UK Channel 4 came out with their excellent documentary called Psychopath Night, Sheridan was Johnny on the Spot dissing the program before it was even aired:

Sheridan, like many people, has a tendency to become what he most hates: The Real Thomas Sheridan exposes Sheridan as having admitted to having “no conscience.” He recently “diagnosed himself as a ‘borderline sociopath’. ” The author refers to Sheridan’s “his new-found role as counsellor to victims of psychopaths and public speaker on psychopathology..” Say what? It sounds as if Sheridan wants to be the Sam Vaknin of puzzling+psychopathy. A self-proclaimed “sufferer” of a condition who wants to save the victims of narcissists/psychopaths. It’s been done, Thomas. He has since claimed that he was only joking.

This clearest label for this man is “troll.” He loves attention. He loves to play the White Hat who gets to moralize to his heart’s content. More a vehicle of comic relief than a thinking to take seriously. For what it’s worth, here is the joker of the righteous.

Sheridan outdoes himself.

Sheridan actually denies our very humanity.  We are reptiles who are responsible for all the evil on earth. Psychiatrists don’t understand us because they don’t understand the concept of “evil.” Thank god we have Thomas Sheridan to blow the whistle on little old us.

He tries to show himself to be the voice of reason. He dismisses conspiracy theories about the “Illuminati.” Yet, he invokes the Masonic symbol of the pyramid topped by the all-seeing eye of Horus/Shiva. He aligns himself with the Left by making modern capitalism the villain. His solution is “no contact.” LOL! How is no contact going to help us fight the 1%. We are already not in contact with them. They are no contact with us. No rollingeyescontact includes throwing away our TV. I wonder how Sheridan hopes to keep up with what we evil psychopaths are up to by not watching his TV. They are winning against us. A major victory was the collapse of a world-saving climate agreement.

Funny how Sheridan pronounces the word “evolution.” He pronounces it evil-lution. Every time I’m called a reptile, I can’t help thinking of one of my favorite songs:


Am I Evil?


lecter“You’ve given up good and evil for behaviorism, Officer Starling. You’ve got everybody in moral dignity pants—nothing is ever anybody’s fault. Look at me, Office Starling. Can you stand to say I’m evil? Am I evil, Officer Starling?”

“I think you’ve been destructive. For me it’s the same thing.”

“Evil’s just destructive? Then storms are evil, if it’s that simple. And we have fire, and there’s hail. Underwriters lump it under ‘Acts of God.'”


“I collect church crashes, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The façade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special Mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If He’s up there, He just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans—it all comes from the same place.

pentagramDefining “evil” is as challenging as it is compelling. I once participated in a forum for members and non-members of the Temple of Set. Since that is a satanic temple, I thought this would be a good group to ask for such a definition. Most had as much trouble as I did but Tim Maroney, a kind of persona non grata in my local OTO, someone with a rougish reputation, came up with what I consider the most satisfying answer. Evil is something that so outrages our sense of how things are and should be that we feel it shouldn’t even exist. It threatens our very sense of reality. This definition puts “evil” firmly in the subjective category which explains why a satisfactory definition is so illusive.

For example, the Holocaust seemed to most people an event that just can’t be. Most people will name Hitler as the most indisputably evil person on earth. (Of course, we usually accept comparable acts of evil without thinking because they are so ingrained in our own society. I would include the genocide of the indigenous Americans as an example although there are others.) The point of this train of thought is that “evil” is really subjective. It’s about how we feel about an act. It has no truly objective definition.

lieThere is a book called People of the Lie by a psychiatrist named M. Scott Peck who actually wants to add “evil” to the DSM as a diagnostic category. Dr. Peck admits “we do not have a generally accepted definition of evil.” It has been pretty universally believed that “good” and “evil” are moral concepts, not scientific ones. Science is supposed to be objective. Morality is subjective. People cannot agree what is moral and what is not. We have already been troubled by people trying to insert their religious beliefs into science, thereby corrupting the purity of the discipline. For example, a politically potent group has managed to force some public schools to teach creationism along side Darwinism as if both can be considered valid scientific theories.


Dr. Peck seems to consider “evil” something of a more objective nature. He felt his son gave the most successful definition. “It’s ‘live’ backwards,” he said. “‘Evil’ is what goes against life.” One could reply that “god” must be evil as death is part of the life cycle. Of course, Christians believe salvation defeats death. On the other hand, most of them believe our souls are immortal whether we are “saved” or “damned.” The damned are condemned to infinite torment. So “evil” wouldn’t be anti life so much as it would be pro-suffering although suffering is part of life. Christ, himself, had to suffer to redeem “evil” mankind. The main symbol of Christianity is the cross which represents suffering. Of course, there’s bliss for those who pass the test and get redeemed.

goodevilTo believers in god, finding “evil” objective should be second nature. After all, god created all that is, including values. Evil, is then, whatever god says it is. In order to believe “evil” can be examined scientifically, one would almost have to believe it is objective. But how do we derive Christian dogma from science?

Dr. Peck admits that “the very word ‘evil’ requires an a priori value judgment.” So, in wanting science to deal with the concept of “evil,” Peck is seeking to overthrow the “value-free” nature of science.

In the course of discussing the psychotherapy of one of his patients, Peck comes close to my own (really Tim Maroney’s) definition of evil. “More than anything else, it is this “inhuman” something out of reach of ordinary psychodynamic understanding, that I have labeled—rightly or wrongly—evil. But I cannot be absolutely certain whether it was alien to me because it was evil or whether I called it evil because it was so alien.” Peck’s use of the words “inhuman” and “alien” remind me of the frequent instances in which bloggers refer to psychopathy in those terms. Some say we’re not really human, that we are really reptiles. This is pretty similar to the definition I stated above. Evil is the subjective label we apply to those things beyond our ability to accept or comprehend.

Peck knows that most “evil” people don’t consider themselves evil at all. In fact, they are more likely to impute evil to those who hold contrary values. Peck calls those others “scapegoats” when being judged by those Peck, himself, has judged as evil. So here we are again. The failure of people to agree on what is “right” and what is “wrong” is that very subjectivity which makes moral judgment an inappropriate subject for scientific inquiry.

Unfortunately, science isn’t always the clear-cut objective arbiter of Truth we wish it to be. While it generally follows rigidly objective methodology, there are certain issues in which there is not only disagreement but passionate partisanship on both sides. These issues include vaccination, global warming and diet. I think if people really considered these questions dispassionately, they would be able to reach a lot more consensus. However, politics seems to be tainting what should be a kingdom of pure intellect. In the issue of vaccination, for example, I have noticed that the arguments from the pro-vax side often take the form of appeals to historical events and authority. This side insists that Dr. Wakefield, a staunch advocate on the anti-vax side, was discredited in a court case. They also assert that they are better educated then their opponent so their opinions must be accepted without question.

scienceThe fact that issues of science can be so effectively disputed raises the philosophical question of epistemology. What is the final test of truth? It will not be the task of this blog to try to solve that question. But it is good to remember how slippery truth can be before we just slap down Dr. Peck’s opinions on first sight.

Dr. Peck, himself, agrees about “the limitations of science.” Even when science is applied in the most unbiased manner, scientists are just people and not oracles. They can only get the best answers available at the time. Often, the scientific consensus changes every twenty years or so. Recently, the psyche was considered practically a blank slate. Environment and upbringing was all. Now, the pendulum has swung to heredity.

Realizing how prone to error science is even when kept free of issues which are already known to be subjective, one would think Peck would want to avoid such a value-laden concept as “evil” out of science.

evilBravely walking where angels fear to tread, Peck an unabashed Christian, seems to believe that evil is such  threat to the natural order that clergy are not enough to combat it themselves. No, psychiatrists are needed to join the fray.

“Evil is a moral judgment. I am proposing that it may also be a scientific judgment. But making the judgment scientifically will not remove it from the moral sphere. The word is pejorative. Whether we call a man evil on the basis of pure opinion or on the basis of a standardized psychological test, we are passing a moral judgment on him either way.” Exactly. Psychiatry is already covertly judgmental. When people  used to say “evil,” they now say “sick,” meaning the same thing. I would rather critique science for hidden moralizing than give in to it.

evilbrainBut Peck says, “the time is right, I believe, for psychiatry to recognize a distinct new type of personality disorder to encompass those I have named evil.” At the same time, he likes the label “narcissistic personality disorder” as a possible home for his scientific witch-hunting. (Funny, he never mentions the favorite butt of the judgies, ASPD, “antisocial personality disorder,” historically associated with “psychopathy.”) No wonder, the narc-hating “recovery movement” with its “victims” of narcissists loves this book so much.  One must wonder how a psychiatrist would be trained to “diagnose evil.”

“Evil is ugly.” In Chapter 3, he wrote, “Evil was defined as the use of power to destroy the spiritual growth of others for the purpose of defending and preserving the integrity of our own sick selves.” Some of the examples he gives don’t even strike me as evil. A sad couple bound by the mutual agreement that he is an eternal fuck-up and she the sacrificial martyr. Essentially boring, these people aren’t harming anyone but themselves.  Already, cosmicwe have a lack of consensus about what acts qualify as “evil.”

“I am also saying that disease, whether it be evil or delirium or psychosis or diabetes or hypertension, is an objective reality and is not to be defined by subjective acknowledgment or lack of acknowledgment.” In other words, the sick don’t get to decide if they are sick. We scientists know better. He gives an example of someone trying to run off while in a state of acute psychosis. I think there’s a big difference between psychosis and disagreement with a doctor’s diagnosis or prescription. As mentioned above, there are people who would fight cancer with diet and refuse chemotherapy. These people are not crazy and their strategy has been known to succeed. He poo-poos the idea that someone he considers “sick” or “evil” can refuse his judgment because he/she feels fine. “The evil deny the suffering of their guilt—the painful awareness of their sin, inadequacy, and imperfection—by casting their pain onto others through projection and scapegoating.” No. Feeling fine is no proof of health. “Conversely, it is the unwillingness to suffer emotional pain that usually lies at the very root of emotional illness.” Of course, Christians worship suffering. Their religion gives meaning to suffering. If Peck can claim the scientific objectivity of “evil” as a “disease,” I propose we do the same thing with religion.

The book reaches an interesting tangent when Peck get’s into the subject of demonic possession and exorcism. He goes into a great deal of detail about a case of a woman he couldn’t “cure.” The reason he gives is the woman didn’t really want to be healed. Of course, it is not unusual for psychiatric patients to resist healing. But this particular patient was “evil.” Dr. Peck is sure of it. He takes another crack at defining evil. “More than anything else, it is this “inhuman” something, out of reach of ordinary psychodynamic understanding, that I have labeled—rightly or wrongly—evil. But I cannot be absolutely certain whether it was alien to me because it was evil or whether I called it evil because it was so alien.” The word “alien” pops up like a red flag for me. It seems to signal the conservative’s intolerance toward difference. People from Mexico are “illegal aliens” and politicians want to wall them out.

In the following chapter, Peck makes a claim that makes him look narcissistic (or, at least, grandiose). “The vast majority of cases described in the literature are those of possession by minor demons. These two were highly unusual in that both were cases of Satanic possession. I now know Satan is real, I have met it.” Interesting that the man who imputes evil to narcissists should be so narcissistic, himself. Is evil a disease? I say religion is a disease.

A new video discussing “good” and “evil” from Daily Motion Video.


  • Are Evil People Crazy? Psychology Today
  • Mental Illness or Evil? Talking Philosophy
  • The Evil/Mental Illness Debate
  • Why Did God Make Hell? This article uses all the usual arguments of free will and rejection of god’s “love.” Blah blah… What it doesn’t discuss, which, to my mind, is the only important problem, is the fact that people are finite and Hell is infinite. Yes, we are responsible for our choices. Yes, evil is “harmful.” It is “unjust.” Well, by that criteria, “god” is the wickedest being in existence. Think about the “evilest” sins ever committed and ask if these “sins” inflicted eternal pain on anyone. Then tell me who is really “evil.”

What is Psychopathy?

fallonNeuroscientist, James Fallon was moved to write The Psychopath Inside after he happened, in the course of his work, to discover that a brain scan that looked identical to the brain scans of psychopathic murderers was, in fact, a scan of his own brain. The first sentence of Dr. Fallon’s book is “What is a psychopath?” In order to understand the significance of his brain scan in his own life, he questioned “some of the most preeminent researchers in the field,” only to find a lack of consensus in, not only how a psychopath is evaluated by what the word even means. “Several dismissed the question, saying psychopaths didn’t exist at all and that asking them to define psychopath was like asking them to define a nervous breakdown. It’s a phrase people throw around, but it doesn’t bear any scientific or professional meaning.” The term, “psychopathy,” which used to be listed under Cluster B of the DSM, has been replaced by the term “antisocial personality disorder” which is not at all the same thing. Robert Hare, the “godfather” of psychopathy has lately denied that it is even a disorder. He said to an audience of students, “Psychopaths are not disordered. They don’t suffer from a deficit, but they’re simply different.”

tina2At the opposite side of the spectrum of opinion, is Tina Taylor whose blog, No Psychos, No Druggies and no Stooges, defines a psychopath very precisely as “A person with a neurologically impaired (lack of) conscience.” She provides a TED-Ed Lesson which describes characteristics of psychopathy most people can agree about. Where she is most radical, is in her solution to the problems of society. She would identify psychopaths in the government by compelling them to take an MRI brain scan. According to her, an MRI is all that is needed to diagnose or access us as psychopaths. But neurologically inclined people find it more complicated. Dean Haycock, Ph.D. whose recently published Murderous Minds: Exploring the mindsPsychopathic Brain: Neurological Imaging and the Manifestation of Evil, discusses the development of the brain which isn’t complete until we are in our late teens. The brain is so complex that scientists only study parts of it at a time. They want to infer characteristics of the whole from their studies of the part but they don’t always get correct results from that. Unfortunately or not, we are all individuals. Variations in myriad traits can confuse the patterns upon which rules of diagnosis depend.

One of the  most successful means of accessing psychopathy has been the PCL-R (the Psychopathy Check List-Revised by Robert Hare). Hare developed his checklist as a tool of research. But the penal system was keen on acquiring this as a tool of prediction. It mask1allowed them to label certain prisoners as psychopaths and predict their higher probability of re-offending. So predicting the likelihood of future “bad” behavior for the purpose of prevention became the major way in which the checklist has been used. For some reason, clinical practitioners have distanced themselves from it so far that it is difficult to impossible gulagto get this kind of assessment. M.E. Thomas sounded paranoid in Psychopath Night when she worried about society some-day putting her and others into a “sociopath-only gulag” but denying parole to a prisoner kind of verges on this kind of mentality. At least prisoners have been sentenced to their time as punishment for their crimes. To penalize or restrict the freedom of one who might offend, as was dramatized in Minority Report, a movie starring Tom Cruz, takes it to a much more dangerous level. Funny, how some people deny that we exist while others want to force “preventative” imprisonment or psycho-surgery on us to protect themselves from us.

lucy.jpgI’m glad we are speaking for ourselves now however guardedly.  Are we ever going to be accurately represented by experts? Not that I’m knocking those who have actually added to the public’s understanding and awareness (as long as it doesn’t make us the prey of the neural typicals {NTs}). Let us learn from them. But let us be our own greatest teacher. After all, what is all that grandiosity for if not that?