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Age of Psychopathy
Copyright @ Michael Eigen 2006
'Through money, democracy becomes its own destroyer,
after money has destroyed intellect.'
'Money organizes the process in the interests of those who
possess it. Herein lies the secret of why all radical (i.e., poor)
parties necessarily become the tools of the money powers.'
'Every state that emerges in history exists as it is but once
and for a moment; the next moment it has, unperceived,
become different, whatever the rigidity of its
'Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress
of the human mind. As that becomes more developed…institutions
must advance also.'
'Do not deny justice to your poor in their lawsuits.'
'Do not pervert justice. Do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.'
Money is real. Democracy is real. But they both have hallucinatory aspects. Today we seem to be slipping into a more radically hallucinated democracy. Is something more or better possible?
Preface: See Below.
Part 1: Guilt in an Age of Psychopathy
Part 2: Hallucination and Psychopathy
This book grows out of a sense of outrage and concern. It is a kind of reflective scream. I am not a very political person. My adult life has been devoted to mining personal experience, my own and others. Mining experience for its own sake, because it is an important and rewarding thing to do - a crucial thing to do. But also for the sake of helping others, as well as myself, an attempt to fulfill a need to be of use in this world.
The events dating from the 2000 presidential campaign have been too much to bear. They are unthinkable, one assault on personal sensibility after another, by leaders of my own country, as well as those who would bring this country down. It almost seems as if this country has two sets of enemies, its economic and political leaders, its own power elite and those who come from outside to wound it. I would not want to minimize the external threat, but at this moment of history, I fear the greatest threat to the good of the land comes from those who profess to guide us.
In the process, our sense of truth is one of the greatest casualties. Facts or presumed facts and situations are repeatedly misrepresented for the sake of getting one's way, whether to win, to gain power, money, establish position, or set strategies of world domination. Awful trains of events are unleashed under the guise of self-preservation, the self-interest of the American people.
We are in the midst of an Age of Psychopathy, with the present years being one of its high points.
Loosely speaking, a psychopath is someone with a deficient conscience. Someone for whom guilt is a dirty word or irrelevant, except as a tool to manipulate others. Guilt about hurting others does not seem to be enough to stop the psychopath from trying to get his way. Guiltless exploitation and exercise of power wreaks more and more havoc the higher up the dominance scale one goes. Those at the heads of banks, big business, and government have the lives of millions in their hands. A few thousand or hundreds of thousands deaths for the cause, seem trivial compared with the power at stake. To be at the top of the food chains takes on its own life, without care for destruction it leaves in its wake, including destruction of the very life processes that support it.
As a depth psychologist, I have formed an impression that hallucination, or something like it, is well nigh ubiquitous. I learned early on the importance of fantasy and myth in organizing patterns of thought and behavior. Now, after decades of work, at the age of seventy, I believe that something like hallucination goes on day and night, interweaves with analytic thinking, and seamlessly adds to the intensity of conviction and belief. Logic and hallucination do not exclude each other. One can evince the most acute kinds of thought processes commingled with hallucinatory belief.
There are many ways hallucinatory scenarios permeate daily life, the life of economic organizations, and political representations of reality. I am not sure we are ever hallucination free or need to be, if there is a democracy of capacities, that is, if one capacity offsets, corrects or limits another.
At present, hallucinatory work has been commandeered by psychopathic tendencies and the balance between caring and the desire to win is askew. The hallucination of being Number One coupled with world domination is not a workable model for a small world with lethal weaponry. Something further has to evolve, for those with us and against us. The human race on all sides of power and belief divides, hallucinatory and real, has a lot of growing to do.
The first part of this book, Guilt in An Age of Psychopathy, is based on a talk I gave for the Italian Psychoanalytic Society in Rome, April, 2005. The second part, Hallucination and Psychopathy, is a further amplification of a howl, a shriek extended over years, focused on our psycho-political condition.
Sometimes we wake up screaming. A scream that begins in our dreams wakes us up. Sometimes the dream vanishes and we can not find it. We sense a paralysis. For we know other dreams in which we try to scream but can not. We are paralyzed in face of danger, in face of a dread that tortures us. The torture in our dreams is often an emotional torture, something horrible going on in us, or something awful that is approaching that we can not stop. It is as if our scream can not wake us up enough and there is no end to this waking, this need to awake.